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100 Days of Big Sky

1 Turn at a Time

Not a Yard Sale

No, this is not a yard sale, and I am not selling these on Craigslist.  All of this contributed to the one outfit I had to wear to endure the negative temperatures and windchill today.  Starting with an Under Armor Cold Gear base layer, I then opted for two Smartwool mid- layers.  Next came the North Face thick down vest, and topped off with an insulated Mammut jacket.  That was just for my top.  Patagonia has expedition weight capilene long underwear, so I doubled those up and then put on my ski pants.  I swear  I was ready for Everest, especially when I donned double ski masks! Oh ya, then I popped in two hand warmers into my gloves with liners.

One piece of ski gear that really has made an impact and allowed my to stay on the mountain longer is the S4 Hotronic Footwarmers.  Today I had them in my snowboard boots and cold toes were never even an issue.  Im thinking Hotronic should make a full body warmer.  I suppose that battery would a little larger.

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Satis-Faction

One of the greatest pleasures Ive had over the years, is ringing in the new year skiing.  New Year’s Eve at any ski resort seems to have that festive buzz, that can’t be compared with any other celebration.  I’ve never been to Times Square on New Years, but honestly, what is the allure?  Id rather freeze my tush off on a mountain that crammed on a city street.   No cops necessary at security checkpoints, just the liftys scanning my pass.

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And today, like mother, like son, we were twinning with our Faction Skis.  Mine however did not make it through the gladed drop Mikey took me through, quite as nimbly as his carried him.  My theory is that he is lower to the ground and his skis are shorter.  But he did wait for me, when he could have left me in his dust.  I will never forget the first time our whole family skied together.  The kids had gotten to that point where they could manage the lift and the terrain independently, and all I could think of was all the great times we had in store for us on Lone Peak.  Skiing with family…true satisfaction.

Pardon the Interruption

After an unplanned trip back to Hawaii that took me out of action for about 10 days, I returned to find winter has settled in nicely on Lone Mountain. All lifts and the majority of runs are open and the snow is deep.  The holiday crowds are here, but with over 5800 acres of skiable terrain,  you can still find yourself on a run all by yourself.

When there is fresh deep snow, I trade in my skis for a snowboard and my alter ego emerges.  Having surfing as a background, it is a natural transition.  I really enjoy making a big sweeping cut up the side of a trail, imagining it is a wave, and “hitting the lip” producing a big snowy spray.

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In my opinion, Moonlight is a more boarder friendly mountain.  There are fewer flat spots that would leave you hopping, jumping or skating to get you over the next ridge.There is nothing worse that falling short of the next descent, and having to unstrap and walk.  Its like the walk of shame.  Moonlight also offers benches to sit on while you strap in, and the run to the Six Shooter gets you right there, again without trekking.

On a lunch break, I popped into the Moonride Rental and Repair. I had some questions about my binding position because I had a lot of pressure on the outside of my lead foot.  Brian, went above and beyond to help me and I am happy to say that the adjustment of the front binding has me more balanced and pain free.  Thanks Brian!!

The last four days has been amazing, and has me energized for the rest of the season.  I better start counting!

Feeling 50

11 days of Big Sky are officially in the books, and my legs are definitely feeling it.  We started off at  Moonlight Basin on Elkhorn mostly, then made our way over to Big Sky proper, via Fast Lane.  There were still a few stashes of untouched powder, and my legs were screaming the whole way.  This is going to get easier as the season progresses right?

On the way up the hill we spotted a moose having a lunch of willow and aspen.  Moose don’t really care how much you spend on landscaping.

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Rock Star Parking Only

When Saturday rolls around, its time to become the ski shuttle.  So today I have five kids stuffed in the truck with all their gear.  This year I sprung for the mountain mall parking pass which gets you rock star level access.  I am haunted by the years of parking a mile away from the various east coast ski lodges, trudging through slushy or icy pot-hole filled lots.  I am so scarred by the memory of those treks that I swore, one day, so help me God, I will never park far away, again!

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Ski-n-Stroll

After two days of sub zero temps, I was back at it on a Friday with no crowds, 4 inches of new powder, and accompanied by my good friend Mona.  Portions of Moonlight Basin opened and we decided “Bad Dog” was the run of the day.  Mona likes to find all the little gladed short cuts between runs so she had me zigging and zagging.

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That night was the Big Sky Town Center 19th Annual Christmas Stroll complete with a hot air balloon as the centerpiece.   Our kids were set free to roam the town, and enjoy the sleigh rides, bonfire, magic show, and ice skating.   The spirit and generosity of all the business owners is overwhelming.  At every storefront there was something to nibble on or giveaways for the crowds.  Blue Ribbon Builders had the best ‘adult’ hot chocolate, a guarded secret recipe.  Big Sky Western Bank offered chocolate fondue with homemade marshmallows.  My favorite home decor store ‘Horse of a Different Color’ had carolers, wine, hot cider, and ginger cookies.

 

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If I had any doubts about my decision to move to Big Sky Montana, they were put to rest on this night.  I am exactly where I want to be, skiing a fantastic mountain, and strolling a town whose people know how to celebrate.

 

A beard is better than a balaclava

Yesterday was a balmy 0 degrees at the base, so I did venture out for a few runs.  I met Mike, Montana born and raised, and sporting a magnificent beard.  I was heeding the frostbite warnings of having no exposed skin, so I looked like a mummy.  Mike on the other hand, said that having a beard is the greatest face and neck warmer, and when it ices up, it’s even more insulating.  Like a face igloo?

Today is a different story.  I may try to go out this afternoon if it climbs into the single digits, or if I grow a beard.

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Just plain cold.

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This is basically how I dressed today.  I would have taken a photo but my phone froze and shut off in protest.

The new snowfall and lack of crowds, made the extra layers worth it. Nothing like having a major ski resort to yourself.

Sunday Apres

With two inches falling overnight,  Sunday was another tease of greater things to come.  I thought Tippy’s had the best snow, while Mr K held up pretty well throughout the day.  I am feeling that early season burn in my quads that reminds me I should have done something to prepare for ski season.  Someone told me once that the best preparation for the ski season is to ski.  So I’m going with that.

Apres at the Riverhouse was very mellow, which is nice because this place is usually rocking.  It’s nice to feel like you’ve got the place to yourself, especially when they put a plate of their fried chicken in front of you.  For $7, you get three pieces of family recipe fried chicken, corn bread, cole slaw, and beans.  How can you beat that?  Thanks to Nate at the bar.  Good luck with that Audi!

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