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100 Days of Big Sky

1 Turn at a Time

I like you, but I love Big Sky

Getting there is half the fun of it.  Traveling with Denise and her son Nick, and my two kids, we made our way south on Friday morning, stocked with tons of junk food, including gas station mini donuts with no expiration date.  Our halfway point was Ashton, Idaho, the seed potato capital of the U.S.  Luckily, we were there for the 100th anniversary of the American Dog Mushing Derby.  The  first one was held on March 4th, 1917.  Back then the residents depended on dog sled teams to deliver mail and supplies during the winter when the snow was too deep in the high country.

After the race, there was a soup challenge, and a dance.  $3 per person or a couple for $5.  We were tempted, but we had to mush on.

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We had two fantastic days of skiing, and an overnight dump of six inches.  Then the clouds set in,  turning Grand Targhee into Grand Foggy.  I rode the lift with a lot of the locals, and they could not have been a friendlier bunch.  They are very fond of their mountain, and very happy to share it.  There was a shared sense of pride for Targhee among them that I can relate to regarding Lone Peak.   I was starting to feel like I was cheating on my mountain.  Sometimes it takes a little time away, to make you realize how good you have it right at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip

Sometimes you just have to branch out.  With the upcoming snow system making its way through the Rockys, a short two and a half hour jaunt south to Grand Targhee, should make for a great long weekend.  I’m excited explore a new area, and to ski some new terrain.  The Tetons are an epic sight to see, but Ive only experienced them on the National Park side of the range.  We are traveling with another family which will make it twice the fun and Im sure memories that will last a lifetime. Stay tuned for road trip updates!

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The Numbskull on the Lift Awards

Having three people on a six person lift, one would think you have plenty of space to spread out.  Our first Numbskull on the Lift Award winner seems to have no sense of space or awareness below his ankles.  I’m sure you’ve sat next to this guy on the lift before.  The first time he knocks his board on mine, I let it go.  Even the second and third, I’m thinking, “he’s getting settled, he’ll stop when he realizes he being a kook”.  No, this went on at least 10 more times, so now I’m scooting over to the end of the chair to get some distance.  This maneuver however, allows him now to actually cross his legs so that now his board is on the seat of the chair making a wall between me and him.   As politely as I can muster, I move his board aside so I can ask him “Dude, really”?

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Our female Numbskull on the Lift Award winner goes to a girl I have affectionately named Saliva Sally.  I’m not sure if she has some odd medical condition, but she needs an exam.  The amount of sputum produced by Saliva Sally was truly remarkable.  Sally would lean forward and let one fall between her skis,  and then turn around, and hock another loogie behind her.  This went on repetitively, for the 10 minute duration of the lift.  Sally would even hang one, to see how long her drool could get before it dropped off onto the snow.  I reckon her record was an eight incher.

And the 2017, Biggest Numbskull on the Lift  Award goes to Peyote Pete.  I struck up a conversation with Pete, who was very nice, but a bit misguided.  Pete has been trying to quit smoking cigarettes, and has been doing quite well, but informs me he is only going to smoke for ceremonial reasons.  “Gee Pete, I didn’t know cigarettes were used ceremonially” I interject.  “Well, you know if I’m in a sweat lodge smoking peyote.  Peyote is all natural, and the plant will teach you want the plant thinks you need to know and life lessons you need to learn.” Pete replies.  “However the last time I smoked peyote, I projectile vomited for an hour straight”.   “Oh, so I assume the plant was trying to teach you that you need to purge all that crap out of your system, right?”  But Pete, also a vegetarian, insisted that this plant provided more of a cleansing of his soul than his body.  I’m thinking smoking cigarettes might be better for him.

The Numbskull on the Lift Awards

Having three people on a six person lift, one would think you have plenty of space to spread out.  Our first Numbskull on the Lift Award winner seems to have no sense of space or awareness below his ankles.  I’m sure you’ve sat next to this guy on the lift before.  The first time he knocks his board on mine, I let it go.  Even the second and third, I’m thinking, “he’s getting settled, he’ll stop when he realizes he being a kook”.  No, this went on at least 10 more times, so now I’m scooting over to the end of the chair to get some distance.  This maneuver however, allows him now to actually cross his legs so that now his board is on the seat of the chair making a wall between me and him.   As politely as I can muster, I move his board aside so I can ask him “Dude, really”?

reallydudememe

 

Our female Numbskull on the Lift Award winner goes to a girl I have affectionately named Saliva Sally.  I’m not sure if she has some odd medical condition, but she needs an exam.  The amount of sputum produced by Saliva Sally was truly remarkable.  Sally would lean forward and let one fall between her skis,  and then turn around, and hock another loogie behind her.  This went on repetitively, for the 10 minute duration of the lift.  Sally would even hang one, to see how long her drool could get before it dropped off onto the snow.  I reckon her record was an eight incher.

And the 2017, Biggest Numbskull on the Lift  Award goes to Peyote Pete.  I struck up a conversation with Pete, who was very nice, but a bit misguided.  Pete has been trying to quit smoking cigarettes, and has been doing quite well, but informs me he is only going to smoke for ceremonial reasons.  “Gee Pete, I didn’t know cigarettes were used ceremonially” I interject.  “Well, you know if I’m in a sweat lodge smoking peyote.  Peyote is all natural, and the plant will teach you want the plant thinks you need to know and life lessons you need to learn.” Pete replies.  “However the last time I smoked peyote, I projectile vomited for an hour straight”.   “Oh, so I assume the plant was trying to teach you that you need to purge all that crap out of your system, right?”  But Pete, also a vegetarian, insisted that this plant provided more of a cleansing of his soul than his body.  I’m thinking smoking cigarettes might be better for him.

White-out Vertigo

Remember when Morpheus and Neo are downloaded in to the “construct” program of the Matrix?  It is a dimensionless, completely white room where they can simulate training situations, and that is exactly where I thought I was after getting off the  Powderseeker.   I had absolutely no point of reference, being completely engulfed, and overwhelmed by absence of normal space perception.  Inching my way down, searching for something to visually cling to, I wished I could download a sunny clear day in the “construct”.  Moving wasn’t actually the problem.  Stopping was.  Every time I came to a rest, I felt my head spin, and came close to falling.  Eventually I emerged from the void and decided I would take the “blue pill” and ski the rest of the day in the Matrix.

Why Ski?

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Day 30 is in the books, and I guess this just about says it all.

Not Coyote Ugly

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The Jack Creek Preserve is a 45oo acre protected habitat and wildlife migratory corridor of the Madison Range.  This preserve connects Big Sky to Ennis and the Madison Valley, and is largely an untouched gem and true piece of paradise.  Eight miles in we met up with Sarah Tilt and her husband Whitney, at the Outdoor Education Center and geared up for a day of cross-country along with their three bird dogs, Blaze, Chase and Birdie.  Sarah is the Executive Director for the Foundation and was very gracious to host us and educate us on her mission for the preserve.  Plus she makes a mean chili.

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The Preserve was created to protect this pristine landscape from future development, and to secure the open space for the wildlife.  This all begins with education of the community at all ages, especially the school aged kids. I’d love to see the Big Sky School District connect with Sarah and all the programs and camps she is offering.  Maybe we’ll see a new generation of environmental stewards, enjoying the wilderness, and protecting it at the same time.  Thank You Sarah and Whitney for an unforgettable day!  Check out their website at http://www.jackcreekpreserve.org.

 

Crazy Raven on a Bluebird Day

Day 27 brought sunshine and great times skiing with friends.  As we were skating over to Big Horn, we were confronted by Crazy Raven voicing his dissatisfaction with all the intruders.  He was not impressed with our raven impersonation.

The Powderseeker chair on a sunny day compares to a Disney ride.  Imagine being whisked away in a giant blue bubble, surrounded by brilliant steep walls of white.  It is warm and quiet inside, and all you see around you is vivid and bright.  Unloading to the real world almost seems like a let-down, until you take in the panorama.

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Slope Cred

I’ve been riding the same board for about 5 years, and after a few runs of wrestling through the crud, and fighting my backside edge, I started thinking there must be a better way.  As I’m in the lift line, I’m checking out what the “other kids” are wearing like I’m in high school, and Im starting to feel very uncool and will probably not be sitting at their table at lunchtime.  I’ve got no slope-cred.  What I recognize however is that I definitely need an upgrade.  Board shapes have changed, materials have changed, and binding technology has progressed markedly.

There’s only one thing to do.  Visit Tom at Gallatin Alpine Sports. (GAS).  Everyone at GAS is super-helpful and soon enough, I’m working with Kelsey and looking at the Arbor Swoon Rocker with NOW bindings.  The board has extra contact points at the toe and heel that assists with carving on a rocker-type board, and the bindings have a skateboard-like action in the base that gives you a “turn assist” when moving edge to edge.

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After the first 100 yards on this board/binding set up, I’m giggling at the ease of turning and carving.  I’m not doing any ollies or board grabs, I’m more of a surfer style-cruiser. But I do think, with the help of the good folks at GAS, I got my slope-cred back.

 

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