Saturday, January 21, 2012

Big Sky Resort, Montana 01/11-17/12

Ruth and I just spent most of a week boarding the immense, spectacular, ginormous Big Sky resort in southern Montana. We've been to a lot of ski mountains, and most of them have their charms. Big Sky's claim to fame is that they have the most ski-able acreage of any resort in North America. I now believe that claim. We fell in love with the place by the second run. The facilities are nice, the few people up there are nice and respectful on the slopes, but it's the mountain that steals the show. 
We'd been looking forward to this trip (any trip) for quite a while. Several friends had added to the anticipation with tales of interstate highway sized groomed runs that went on and on like there never was an end. Still, nothing is real until you've been there and I'm happy to report that Johnny actually underplayed the size and quality of the place. I've listed the mountain's stats below, but I hope I can create a little perspective regarding the size of this place.

Big Sky has 22 lifts accessing 3600 acres of skiable terrain.
The longest run is 6 miles (10km).
Highly impacted lift lines. Just terrible. Riiiight.
I couldn't believe the crowds. Hard to find the space to carve a turn. Riiiight.
Lone Peak.
A two-banger gondolla gets you to the top.
We both agreed that the Big Sky blue runs would likely be called "blue/black" or "black diamond" at most of the places we've been. Combined with the quality of the snow and the epic length of the runs, Big Sky's beautiful blues make this one our favorite mountains, from now on.
Our accommodations, shared with another ruth's BFF Michelle and husband Chris, was a nice house just 6 miles down the road. It was across the street from a tiny town center, home of such notables as "The Hungry Moose" and "Milkie's Pizza". Don't come to Big Sky if your partner doesn't ski, they will be bored and texting you all day while you are trying to ski. There is no night life, nor are there boutiques and shops ala most ski towns. In the winter here, it's ski or go fish.
Ruth and I spent most of our slope time together due to our counterparts' over-all sub-par fitness level or boarding ability, but we, Ruth especially, spent a good deal of time coaching Michelle through the turns. Point is, we got in many, many quality runs in the time we had.

Ruth & Michelle, at the bottom of Ambush, on a Saturday,
if that says anything about the crowds we had to deal with.
I'm sporting a new GoPro Hero that I got for 35% off.  It has numerous ways to mount it, it comes with a 65 meter waterproof housing, and takes fast-frame stills and HD video. The photos that have a touch of fish-eye are taken with the GoPro. I shot a ton of video so I guess it's time to figure out the video editor on the Mac.
Lone Peak, with gondolla access to the summit, 11,150ft.
Enlarge me.

Miles and miles of blue groomers.
Ruth and I have a redefined our own personal definitions of what "cold" means.
This morning was bone-cracking cold. Well below zero. I would personally like to thank those clever
Canadians at Arcteryx and their partners at Gore for keeping me protected.
Ruth recommends The North Face Guide Pant and Spyder.
A little dust on the corduroy.
A cold day after a 4" powder night. By cold, I mean -5 degrees Fahrenheit on a sunny, windless day.  Condition: Excellent! if you're local,
Chillingly Excellent! if you're not.
Ruth & I outside Whiskey Jack's at the base. Good place to defrost,
the chili ain't bad either.
A look at Lone Peak and Big Sky from the other side of Big Sky. Seriously, this place is huge. This doesn't even take into account Cow Flat, which lies on the other side of the left hand ridge, nor can one see Moonlight Basin over the ridge to the right. "Big" doesn't even do it justice.  

Ruthie, cuttin' up the pow.
The Southern Comfort lift.

1 comment:

  1. We used to own a home there and we miss you, Big sky - no place like it.