For those of you who may be traveling out this way....
Big Sky is skiing well. We got a lot of early season snow and that got a lot of terrain open. Once it was open, it got trampled down well over Xmas week and we have been getting snow since. The early season snow became a bad layer at the bottom of the snow pack up high. The avalanche danger is extreme. Marx, Lenin and the North Summit Snowfield all slid to the dirt and are now building back nicely. The truth is that we need more avalanches to get rid of those bad layers.
In many years, we don't get the tram open until now. This season it was open on opening day ( Thanksgiving ). I havn't looked at the web site but I think we are just about 100% open. Some trails are closed for avi danger and only morons are going out the back country gate. Now that Big Sky took over Moonlight, a big new world of back country skiing will be available with good access back inbounds. Maybe next month.
The ski area is now about 9 square miles. It was already big but now we have 33 lifts. The " All Lifts Race " could take 2 days to complete. This is my 23rd season here and there are still some trails I have not skied. There are even some bars I have not been thrown out of, but Hey, there is always tomorrow.
Thanks for the update! I'll be heading to Big Sky at the end of the month as part of a road trip to Bridger, Targhee, and Jackson. I never got to explore Moonlight when I visited Big Sky last year. There was plenty of good skiing to be had without it. Looking forward to exploring that side of the mountain when I visit.
Is Y/C worth checking out? I know someone that works there and can get me access.
Just got back from MT...skied Bridger for a few days and got an epic super cold smoke pow day! Everything is skiing great there with no shortage of terrain. Then hit Big Sky/Moonlight for a few consecutive days. Big Sky was skiing great with just about everything open now...and it's huge I'm mean damn big! Get your legs in shape if your gonna try tackle it. Moonlight was by far my favorite though. Tree skiing there with fresh snow feels like you're in a dream and with each new section of fresh glades it gets better and better. Best two tips I got from the wonderful locals in the area. 1. If you see fresh snow and nobody has been skiing it that day stay away from it if you like your skis (rocks). 2. Willies Big Horn Bourbon Whiskey...simply some of the best whiskey I've ever drank. To all of those headed out there this season enjoy! it is a world class ski destination with one of the nicest locals scene I've encountered. Gonna try to get back for March!
The day that I wrote the first ski report here, it snowed 6" in 2 hours while I was writing. I ended up having to go out and plow snow that afternoon. We had a couple flurries the next day and it hasn't snowed since then. And the skiing is fantastic.
We're skiing on really nice packed powder. It's very smooth and fast. You can just let 'em go. I have not skied this fast since Scotty Jack and TJF were here a couple years ago. Our altitude and latitude ( give us the attitude ) keeps the snow nice. Even with the temps in the 30's, the surface isn't turning into boiler plate. It's like the whole mountain was groomed.
They say we may get some flurries tonight but then clear for another few days. I hope this means that we will be in a snow cycle when Campy comes out here. First week of March?
Oh Yeah, the Y/C. Do it. Unless you lead a wealthy lifestyle all the time, it is quite an experience. If your friend can get you in but can't ski with you, let me know. I have strings to pull that get me in there. If you are there and get bored you can always ski back to Big Sky. But it takes more than one day to get bored there. There is some terrain there that will make you shit your pants. And the lodge is more than cool. I love pulling up in my old pick up and the valets come running out to get your gear and park the truck. They don't mess with the roaches in the ashtray either.
Thanks for the update, lokl. It's reassuring to know that conditions haven't gone to shit despite the lack of recent snow. Also, thanks for the tip about the Y/C. I'll now definitely check it out for an afternoon.
Definitely some fast conditions right now-- perfect for ripping on the groomers. Off piste is highly variable, but satisfying on the right aspects. Light accumulations overnight won't be enough to bury the crusty layer. Lone Peak has a lot more rocks exposed than this time last year despite comparable base depths.
Yup, I shit the bed.
Last Friday, my birthday, I was enjoying a beautiful powder/packed powder day. I was skiing with a group of friends, the " Active Seniors ", then I finally ditched them so I could go and ski hard. A buddy and I went and skied moguls on purpose. The skiing was great and we were lighting it up in the easy bumps. We got to the bottom and I felt like I just did a pretty good job for turning 55. It was 3 o clock and just about cocktail time. I was heading for the barn just like every other day. I dropped off the trail a few feet before making a big left hand turn onto another trail. But this time I was a little too close to the woods and a branch took my ski off clean. I was leaning the wrong way for that to happen. I never reached the left hand turn. I was upside down and going backwards when I hit the trees. I got my head and shoulders between two trees but my legs were flopping all over the place. My left leg hit a tree about 4 times before I landed.
It hurt quite a bit. My buddy picked up my skis and untangled me from the mess. It took a while but I got my skis back on. ( At Big Sky, this area of the mountain, Andesite, is patrolled by mostly volunteer patrol. The pro patrol calls them " Re Re's " because you always have to go and redo what they were supposed to do. And no self respecting dirtbag King or former pro patroller lets re res take them on a sled.) I skied to the bottom. Before the swelling took off, I checked myself for real structural damage. My knees worked ok and I could take weight on the leg and even bang my heel. But when the swelling began I was all done.
I went to the clinic and the Doctor told me to ice and elevate and beware of my foot going numb. And NO drinking. WTF. I spent the weekend in lots of pain. The swelling in my calf is so bad that I can't put weight on my foot. The achilles tendon is locked up from the swelling so I can't flex my toes/foot up. Crutches.
I am going to the hospital today for an ultra sound. They will try to locate to compartments where the blood is bound up. Then they will try to drain it with a needle. I heard that this is very painful. If that can't do it then surgery, where they will need to fillet my calf, ending not only my ski season but I'm in the middle of sheetrocking my new house.
I need to get better in a few weeks so I can ski with Campy when he comes out. It has snowed 2 feet since then and more expected this week. The current skiing is very good.
In Lieu of flowers please send donations to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.