March 13, 2016
Ahhh Big Sky. Home of ultimate Montana skiing opulence and such a strange, strange place. I mean no offence to Big Sky. It’s awesome; but every time I drive through the lower village I have a difficult time reconciling the fact that Big Sky is in fact, a TOWN, not just a resort.
Not far from the town in the lovely Lone Mountain Ranch, a dude ranch that is well established in Big Sky and that offers some great cross country skiing during the wintertime. I, having left off from alpine skiing for a long time now, was very excited at the prospect of getting some Nordic in while the snow was out.
I paid $20 in the main shop of the
horsey resort ranch, which gave me access to all the trails for the whole dang day. Awesome! It was also 8:00 in the am after daylight savings time and I felt like crap having dragged my butt out of bed at 6:00 in order to hitch a free ride to Big Sky.
The ranch had a yurt outside where I was welcome to stash my stuff. As I began changing, I realized that I was worthless to go out for any ski, let alone ski all dang day. In NH, I usually go out for a ski for an hour, not six. I wandered back to the ski shop and found a lovely set of couches in front of the main entrance. “I paid for a day pass, ” I thought to myself, “It’s cool if I just sit here for a bit and wait for my body and brain to wake up.”
So I sat my self down, opened up a Montana photography book and fell the hell to sleep. As one does.
No one really seemed to care, and I applaud the staff of the ranch for letting me be.
I finally got out at 10:00 and went for a two hour ski-turned-walking-on-sticky-snow as a storm set in. Still, I made it the 4 miles out the the lowest chairlift of the Big Sky Resort, which was pretty cool.
Returning by noon, I had nothing to do but sit in the Ranch’s lovely outdoor sitting area, munching on PB&J, listening to podcasts, and…you guessed it, falling asleep again! Hooray daylight savings!
By 1:30, the sun had come out in full force, causing the trails to become a heady combination of super-fast, cold snow in the shade and quicksand in the sun. It’s always such a fun core workout to go downhill in conditions like this, hoping and praying you won’t either face plant or whack your brain stem on the snow as you go. The sun was so intense at one point that this sassy skier lady even took her shirt off. Ahhhh! to feel the fresh air on my belly button. One man warned me of the dangers of sun burn. I welcomed it.
To my personal hilarity, I was about 3 miles away from the ranch in the middle of the woods when I happened upon a realtor’s sign. Tapping into a niche market, are we? Having chosen to access the trail called “Mountain View,” with the hopes that the name would indicate something about the trail, I fought through the sticky conditions until I finally found my Lone Peak peek (heh heh).
After which, I scooted my butt back to the ranch so I could pack up and meet some buds at the Beehive Basin Brewery for an IPA at the end of the day. No great lessons from the day, but appreciation to the staff of Lone Peak Ranch for letting a girl get her rest on their couches so she could have a great time outside.