Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We Were Rolling Through the Rockies, We Were Up Above the Clouds...

Does anyone know what rather obscure song I reference in the title?  It is called "The Song Remembers When" by Trisha Yearwood and was released in 1993!  I thought about songs with Rocky Mountain references, or mountain references in general, besides songs by John Denver, and that one popped into my head.  I can still see the album cover with sunflowers on it!

I have the Rockies on my mind because my family just returned from our annual ski trip!  The first one happened when I was in 4th grade and we have only missed three years since then.  We have tried a few other places, but everyone loves Big Sky, MT, the very best!  I know that I get excited as soon as I see that majestic mountain peak with the runs snaking down the sides!  It is so BIG!  There are 150 named runs totalling 85 miles of length on three separate mountains.  The longest run, from the summit of the highest peak to the base area, is six miles long (and I've done it!).  That peak really is up above the clouds and is regularly closed for avalanche blasting and because wind and bad visibility. 

The trip started on Saturday for me and Friday for everyone else (and a few days later for Justin).  We take a rented bus (Haha, I know, it's weird!  My dad obtained a CDL license with a passenger endorsement jsut for the purpose of driving this bus!  We've used it three times now).  The crew set out on Saturday morning even though the interstates were closed because of a blizzard the night before.  They made to to Bismarck on state highways and when they arrived around 2 pm I-94 was still closed although the sun was shining and the ice was melting off the streets!  Soon we noticed other drivers were driving on there even though it was closed so we followed and found conditions to be perfect.  It was a very strange and annoying day of travel.  It didn't matter, though, because we made it to Billings, MT, without incident and had time for a quick supper and Fuddruckers (YUMMY!) and some hot tub/beer time at the hotel. 

There I am with my cousins Katie and Brenna!  I felt that I needed to sit next to the big container of chocolate and peanut butter cookies. 

We arrived at our rental condo on Sunday and were delighted that it looked exactly the same.  We have rented it before.  It is a five bedroom, four bathroom place (owned by fellow ND residents!) that has sleeping room for up to 16 people or more (there is a bunk room).  It is also ski-in so we don't have to worry about shuttle busses or parking when we stay there.  We got out the wine, beer and snacks right away and I was in the hot tub pretty quickly!

What followed was a lovely, snowy week.  One night it snowed 12 inches while we were sleeping.  It was the night Justin arrived and the car was buried when we woke up. 
Here is a nice family photo!  From the left...Justin, me, Pete in his outlandish blue pants, Kirk in his outlandish green pants, Andrea, Mom and Dad.
Here is a shot of Justin!  It looks like he is in a snow globe!

One night some of us walked to our favorite bar at the base area called Whiskey Jacks.  My hair looks really bad because I wore my hat all day and then I was in the hot tub when they decided to go at the last minute.  If there is a drawback to this trip it is that you have to accept right away that you will look like crap the whole time, with a red face, flat hair, and unnattractive clothes. 

It was snowing out on the way home so insisted on taking some winter wonderland style pictures.  I didn't think that my camera lense might be fogged up with moisture. 

Such nice brothers-in-law!

This is the view of Andesite mountain from ouside our condo!  It contains some of my favorite runs!
That little figure sitting on the run is my mom...her first day of skiing was a mess because her skis were not working properly.  She said they felt out of control and like they were unsteady beneath her.  I knew something was amiss because she usually is toward the front of the group, that the last one!  She brought them to a ski repair shop and they informed her that they were tuned for someone who races competitively.  She had brought them to a local shop a few weeks before the trip and asked for them to be tuned and waxed and they sharpened the edges drastically and waxed channels into the bottoms!  I am very baffled wny they would do that for someone who didn't ask for it and who brought in some not fancy, 10 year old skis!  Maybe they swapped two orders or something.
There is a run on the edge of the Big Sky property that borders on a fancy gated community.  You can see some of the houses.  Naturally, we gawked at them like a bunch of tourists!  Well, everyone else did.  I am no tourist!  This mansion in progress actually belongs to me!  I bought it after I won the Powerball drawing.  My next property is going to be a beach house in Mexico.  Hahaha.
This picture was taken in "The Bowl", which is just like it sounds.  It is above the tree line and shaped like a big bowl.  It is one of my favorite areas of Big Sky.

St. Patrick's Day landed during the trip.  It was also the anniversary of my cousin's engagement at Big Sky two years ago!  We went to Whiskey Jack's again and my mom surprised us with a bunch of novelties that she had secretly purchased before the trip.  Those beads will also work for Bison games!

My sister and cousin snuck away from the table and returned with these green shots for the ladies (the men had some stronger, boozier selection).  Thanks girls!

Mom and Kris are so excited they can barely focus on the camera!  Actually, I think there were probably several cameras competing for attention so someone else probably has a photo where they are looking and the rest of us are not! 

What a lovely family photo!  I think Dad wishes he had some shamrock antennae!

It was a fun trip that, as usual, ended way too soon!  And now it is Tuesday and there is some crazy spring ND storm going on outside that has it all...sleet and snow combined with thunder and lightning!  Yeah for real!  I have never seen anything like it before!

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