Sunday, March 24, 2013

Back From Big Sky

The first year my family went skiing and the year I learned was in 1993.  We went to a small resort called Indianhead that was in Michigan somewhere on the upper peninsula.  I was in 4th grade.  I can't believe I have been skiing for 20 years!  Most of those years have included skiing at Big Sky, Montana.  It is my favorite vacation place and always will be.  There are fancier, warmer, more glamorous places but that doesn't matter if you are in love!  Even the journey there is something I look forward to.  I love the grocery shopping before heading into the mountains and the excited restaurant meals on the way and the overnight stay in Billings. 
This year the first Saturday of travel happened to be on St. Patrick's Day.  We ate at a fun old restaurant in downtown Bozeman.  Some people had green beer.  I forgot the food coloring for Ben's milk so he had to have regular white!  Boring!  Sorry buddy!

Everyone wanted to take a picture with him in his green shirt!


He got a little raft for his birthday so we had some fun at the hotel on Saturday night.  He really likes water. 

I insist...he really likes it!  Even though he looks mad!
On Sunday night we arrived at our cabin for the week.  It was beautiful and just what you imagine a mountain cabin to be like with stone fireplaces and timber rafters.   Here it is!
Haha.  Riiiight.  This is an actual cabin at Big Sky but not the one we rented!  There is a run at the edge of the resort that is lined with these mansions.  This one is one of the biggest.  There is even more square footage to the left that was cut off in the picture.  The strangest part is that they all look unoccupied!  No tracks, no lights and some have not even had snow removed from the stairs and walkways.  People, if you don't want to use your mansions I know some people who would take care of them for you! 
Here is what ours looked like.  It was plenty big even though it was no mansion!  It had four bathrooms and a hot tub which is what our group requires. need to learn not to put your tongue on metal! 

This is how we would ski in and out.  The access lift passed in front of us but you can't see the chairs because they are blending into the trees. 
There were thirteen adults on this trip and everyone kindly took half days off to watch Ben so Justin and I could ski.  It felt so wonderful to ski again!  Last year I had recently had a c-section so I had to take it easy.  Also, to my dismay, I couldn't fit into my ski pants or jacket.  It is pretty amazing to see how a body can recover from pregancy and birth. 

This was taken in "The Bowl".  It is as it is named...a big white bowl of snow above the tree line.  You get off the lift and traverse around until you find where you want to start skiing down.  The path is hair raising.  I usually get off the path at the most moderate spot.  This year, my brother, brother-in-law, dad, and cousin-in-law (is that a real term?) decided to push the limits and challenge themselves by going farther around to where it was steeper.  It was fun to watch! 

There I am at the main base area.  You can ski for miles here and you have to start at the bottom!  I can't believe that I have skied from that peak in the background all the way down.  The tram that goes up there was closed this year although I don't know if I would have had that in me this year!  I'm not a teenager anymore! 

Here is a nice view of Andesite Mountain (the location of many of my favorite runs) from the Bowl on Lone Mountain.  

Times have changed for me.  During the college/law school years we rented a condo near the base and would go to the bars at the base probably three nights of the week we were there.  It was usually during Spring Break and there were often other friends of ours vacationing at Big Sky as well.  We would have lots of fun. This year we were driving distance so we just went to our favorite bar/restaurant, Whiskey Jack's, one night.  We fixed our matted, flat hat hair and put on non-spandex and non-thermal pants and headed down the mountain.  They always have some mellow live music there and it is fun to try the local beers they serve.  It was still fun even though I spent more time picking Ben's cheerios off the floor than swilling drinks. 

We took a picture with Ben in this spot last year.  Hopefully it will be a long lived tradition!

Some of the crew including my brother and his fiance, my sister, my cousins, my aunt and my dad.  Some of the men stayed home to grill our dinner. 
There couldn't be a mountian vacation without bundling Ben into his snowsuit while it still fits and taking a bunch of pictures! 

He was thrilled.  Because all babies love being bundled into big, bulky clothes!  Notice his cute ski goggle hat! 

Baby in the fire pit!  To give an idea of how much it snowed, think of this.  A few nights before this photo was taken, we had a fire out here so the whole thing was cleared off.  I can't believe how much it snows in the mountains!
It was a successful trip.  The bad parts were that Ben decided to not sleep unless we were holding him for the last two nights we were there and it was a struggle getting him to sleep all week.  Too much commotion I guess!  Fortunately, last night he was back to his old self.  Also, it was really cold for a few of the days!  Yes, I know, we are form North Dakota and should be used to cold but that doesn't mean we like it!  A good skiing temperature in my opinion is around 25 or 30 degrees.  I like it even warmer but the snow gets melty then so not everyone likes it.  On Friday it was zero.  That was not pleasant. 
See you next year Big Sky!  I miss you already!  And don't worry, you big empty mansions!  I know this is the year that I will win the Powerball jackpot and then I will come and get one of you along with your luxurious furnishings and you won't be alone anymore! 


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