Thursday, March 20, 2008

Early Spring in Big Sky

Our five days in Big Sky included 2 days on snowboards, 2 days on XC skis and 1 day on snowshoes, and not necessarily in that order. The snowboading offered fantastic views that we don't quite see in Vermont and some really friendly people at Big Sky. One highlight was the offer from another boarder, who appeared to be in her 50's, to take our photo. She said she only made this offer to other boarders ever since two small kid's on ski's declined her offer with the following reply, "My mom said 'never give my camera to a snowboarder!'" The people in Montana are as lovely as the views.

The highlight on XC skis was a long ski up to a high peak one sunny afternoon. We shared the mountain with one other skier, and a very large moose. We came upon the moose late in the afternoon during our descent as we came around a very sharp and icy bend. The moose was awesome, and we suspect looks on our faces were equally awesome as we did our best to avoid running over the moose. The other highlight was the ability to XC ski out our door at 4pm in bright afternoon sun, to come back to beers on the porch.

Perhaps the most rewarding, and exciting day was our excursion on snowshoes. We hiked up to Beehive Basin, which is north and west of Big Sky. Beehive Basin is a popular place for backcountry skiing, and we learned why. Fantastic snow, untouched and plentiful. The day was warm and sunny and we extended our trip beyond the "lake", which we think we hiked over, to the very bottom of the basin, a cathedral of rock. It was a bit reminiscent of standing at the Roaring Brook campsite at the base of Mt. Kathadin in Maine. Our hike out was uneventful, until we reached the rental car, a lovely gray Pontiac something-or-other. It was late in the day, the skies turning gray and snow starting to fall. Unfortunately the trail head, a few miles off the main road at the bottom of a steep hill was too much for the 2-wheel drive Pontiac (*&$#*(&!!!!! rental car. Apparently there is only one company for towing in Big Sky, and only one truck we suspect, which happened to be in Bozeman that night. Anticipating a cold night in the car with two Cliff bars, we were relieved to be found by the local Deputy Sheriff who was a caretaker at a near by "compound" (think 6000+ ft really nice house with views of Lone Peak) who gave us a ride back to our accommodations in Big Sky. Thanks Ted! Really, his name was Ted. Ted also told us a skier was killed at Beehive Basin in an avalanche in January. This put having a rental car stuck at the trail head in perspective.

You can see photos of Big Sky, including the bill for the tow (we eventually go the car out) at the link: When in Big Sky, rent a 4-wheel drive car!