Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Big Sky Montana, Alpine Ski Trip with 7 good buddies

I took a break from the intense spring conditions of late February on Donner Summit and drove north and east 14 hours to meet up with some long time ski buddies in Big Sky Montana.  As I departed the summit, a huge spring pineapple express storm was bearing down, and subsequently dumped 5 feet of snow at the house before it petered out on Thursday.  Meanwhile, in the Bitterroot range of the Rockies in southern Montana, we got daily refreshments of cold dry powder.  Luckily the tree skiing is absolutely incredible at this well thinned resort and once off the exposed lifts, we headed for the trees and had the time of our lives.

Sorry about this long video - For those of you who love tree skiing and big mountains, you'll appreciate the steep chutes and bowls, and the windswept ridges edged with open sub-alpine glades.  This was definitely not a low energy trip full of mellow epiphanies of middle aged men with a mountain hall pass, but a highly charged, active pursuit of steep and complex terrain.  Big Sky is great for that type of enterprise with it's vast complex mountain terrain, and sparsely populated slopes.   I hope this video reflects some of the magic we experienced.  Keeping seven guys together is an amazing undertaking, and I thank each of my companions for not leaving me alone in the woods.

If you pay attention, you'll see Andy double eject into a tree well, you'll meet the blue buzzer, almost always seen from behind as one can never seem to get in front of the guy. You'll see cautious Bob, on all the difficult terrain - Bob, did you even fall once? Paul slides into home on a powder slope, and although you can't hear it, Dave D. waltzes down the slope with some Venetian tune repeating in his head. This is just to keep his RPM down to that more closely matched to our group's speed. Sam modestly guided us to all the powder stashes and new glades he has learned about since he started ski patrolling there last season. Thanks Sam for all the great ideas and cutting through the top-of-lift debates with a simple "stop gabbing and just follow me..."

See embedded video below:

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