Ullr, the rippin' skier of Norse Mythology and modern-day ski bum god of snow.
Skiers come from all sorts of religious backgrounds, ranging from the devout to the atheist. But no matter their spiritual beliefs, come ski season, many skiers find themselves praying. Praying for snow.
Some just cross their fingers, others may kneel by their bedside in formal prayer. Some even take it to the extreme, burning old skis in sacrifice to the ski god, Ullr.
Ullr, commonly known to 21st century ski bums as the god of snow, is a figure in Norse Mythology whose tradition lives on in modern ski culture. While historically he was never said to have any connection to the weather, he was known as a rippin' skier diety, often depicted on skis while holding his bow. "He is such a good archer and ski-runner that no one can rival him," states the 13th century Prose Edda.
Now, modern skiers look to Ullr to bring on the pow, and across the country you can find Pray for Snow parties, organized snow dances, frozen t-shirt contests, and rounds of shotskis filled with Ullr peppermint cinnamon schnapps helping ring in the ski season. Not quite your grandmothers Sunday services, but just as steeped in tradition and ritual.
Here in Big Sky, Ullr is often invoked and called upon, and last year he delivered with a heaping dose of La Nina. This season, after a week of praying over thanksgiving dinners and leftovers, we got our first real powder day this last weekend. With a taste of the good stuff, I'm starting to feel that religious pull again as we wait for the next big storm, and I, for one, will be including Ullr in my prayers all winter long.
When I told my sister last December that I I'd never heard of I Can Has Cheezburger, she was shocked and appalled. Apparently, I was the last person on the face of the planet not obsessed with Lolcats, and she had me visit the blog feed immediately.
At first it seemed inane. But now I find myself chuckling over ridiculous captions of silly cat pictures on a regular basis. Apparently, cute animal + bad spelling = obsession.
And then I discovered Animal Capshunz, I Can Has Cheezburger's sister blog that extends beyond the world of silly cat pictures into silly pictures of animals in general. My favorites are the LOLs of animals I can see in my own backyard, and in Montana that means moose, bears, and elk.
So in honor of the animals emerging all around Big Sky as summer approaches, here are some of my favorite Big Sky style Animal Capshunz, as well as some relevant LOLs of my own:
With less that epic ski conditions in Colorado, and Colorado's Epic Pass being honored at Big Sky for the month of January, skiers and riders are making their way to Montana. And even though there are 35 direct flights between Denver and Bozeman each week, chasing snow calls for the time honored ski bum tradition of hitting the open road. It calls for an Epic Road Trip.
I've taken my fair share four-wheeled adventures, and between cross-country jaunts and half-baked long-weekend college getaways, I've driven the stretch between Denver and Big Sky more than once. Most would stick to I-25 and I-90, making for the fastest route at 11-and-a- half hours (a leisurely cruise for any seasoned snow-chaser or road tripper). But a truly epic road trip calls for scenery, adventure, and quirky rest stops in podunk towns, and we're calling for an alternate route via Western Wyoming. The extra hour is worth its weight in scenic and small-town gold.
7am: Denver, CO
Lock your skis in the rack, hit I-25, and don't stop until Colorado is behind you. At Cheyenne, take I-80, and head towards Breakfast in Laramie.
9:30am: Laramie, WY
While Big Sky local, food connoisseur, and West Virginia expat Chad Jones recommends the "great food and pies" at Perkins, skip the sit-down chain and pull in for a quick coffee and made-from-scratch baked goods at Coal Creek Coffee in downtown Laramie's historic district.
2pm: Boulder, WY
Gas station snacks and stunning mountain views can tide you over until a late lunch near Boulder, WY, population 75. Keep your eyes peeled for Wyoming's own Brigadoon: a tiny diner oasis filled with Carhart-clad ranchers that only reveals itself to hungry road trippers on their way to Montana. Without proof of existence from any phonebook or webpage, you'll just have to take my word that this no-name place exists; I stumbled across the roadside gem on a trip through Wyoming in 2010. You'll know you've made it when you spot the stand-alone log cabin eatery - it's the only building around. Sit at the swiveling stools at the low countertop and order a burger - in meat country like this, sampling the beef is a must.
5pm: Jackson, WY
Two hours later, you're in Jackson. Stretch your legs with a lap around the town center with its iconic antler archways, but don't get sidetracked when you spot fellow skiers - the free skiing, a fraction of the crowds, and three times the terrain await you in Big Sky.
7pm: Island Park, ID
In the summer months we'd lead you through Yellowstone National Park, but roads close to vehicles there come winter, and instead you'll head northwest to Island Park for dinner. A little fancier than your average ski bum haunt, Last Chance Bar and Grill at the TroutHunter is true fine western dining. Relax in the high-ceilinged dining room and enjoy gourmet game before hitting the road for the final stretch.
10pm: BIG SKY, MT!
Pull into the Huntley Lodge for check-in and hit the heated pool with a Lone Peak IPA from Chet's Bar and Grill to unwind. Then head to Whiskey Jack's to dance the night away to live music. Skiing the best conditions in the Rockies and over 3,300 acres of terrain is on the agenda for tomorrow, but you don't have to worry about waking up early to catch first chair. This is Montana, where "lift line" isn't in the vocabulary, and good snow sticks around long after the lifts open. After a whirlwind Epic Road Trip, you'll have all the time you need for truly epic skiing.
While the rest of the west suffers bleak ski conditions, Big Sky Resort has gotten plenty of pow. Now, we're sharing the love by inviting Epic Pass holders to ski free at Big Sky through January.
Colorado ski conditions have been less-than-epic this season. In Montana, that's not the case - with several large snowstorms and 3,381 acres open so far this season, Big Sky Resort has the best ski conditions and most open acres in the Rocky Mountains. With such good Montana conditions contrasting with Colorado's distinct lack of snow, Big Sky Resort is spreading the love by inviting Epic Pass holders to ski for free throughout the month of January.
"Big Sky has about twice the open acreage that Vail and Breckenridge do right now, plus we've had some great powder," said Chad Jones, Big Sky Resort Public Relations Manager. "And with other Epic Pass resorts like Heavenly at under 200 acres, we decided to share the wealth. We're a skier's and rider's mountain, and no one should miss out on good snow just because they live in Colorado or California."
The home of the Biggest Skiing in America, Big Sky Resort is currently open with 3,381 skiable acres, 4,350 vertical feet, and 100% of lifts running. From rolling groomers to chutes off of the Lone Peak Tram and Big Sky's 5 new gladed runs, 131 out of Big Sky's 155 named runs are currently open.
Epic Pass holders are now able to take advantage of these great conditions and join in the fun throughout January: Big Sky Resort will honor Epic Passes by allowing holders to ski free for the duration of their stay when they book lodging with Big Sky Central Reservations and ask for the Epic Package. Big Sky Resort will extend the Bring a Buddy Coupon to holders as well, allowing friends in their reservation without Epic Passes to ski for $74/day.
So stop praying for snow, and just come find it. See you soon, Coloradans!
Big Sky partiers dance at the famous SnoBar, to be held Jan. 14th and 21st this year. Proceeds from the Jan 21 SnoBar will benefit the family of Jamie Pierre.
MUSIC. SNOW. ICE LUGES. Glowsticks. Flashyblinkylights.
SnoBar, held the next two Saturdays at Big Sky, is the ultimate winter party. Some might even say it's the coolest bar they've ever been to - literally: Big Sky's SnoBar is held in an outdoor venue made completely of snow and ice. Dancing, puffy coats, and jager luges keep partiers warm - a must when the bar you're bellying up to is well below freezing.
Other bars have tried to simulate the effect. Most famously, IceBar in London is an indoor bar kept at -5 degrees year round, and guests are given thermal capes for their 40-minute time allotment in the all-ice venue.
But in Big Sky, we don't fake this stuff. Our ice the real deal, sent to us by Old Man Winter and crafted into a dance club by the Big Sky Terrain Park Crew each January. We don't hand out stylish capes, but we do hand out glowsticks, and we've braved party temperatures colder than a balmy -5 degrees. Come on, Londoners - Big Sky knows what a real winter party looks like.
< Older Posts Newer Posts >