Northern Rockies/Alberta Big Sky sentiments. Input welcomed

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Jnelly

Jnelly

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My notes for Whitefish last year...

Feb 26 - Powder day 18"
Feb 27 - Chair 1 went down (power failure), nice day but cut short.
Feb 28 - Snow overnight and during the day, fantastic!

I am beyond stoked to get back there, I racked up 766,404 ft of vert while I was there in all kinds of conditions but I would like to check out Big Sky too.
Thats the same days I was there. I was lucky enough to be "stuck" on the backside when #1 went down. I actually almost screwed myself bc I took a wrong turn and was heading down a trail that went back to the frontside just after the outage.. I soon realized it and had to hike about 15 mins back up to get back to the trail I wanted.
 

mmascolino

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We are at the Lodge at Big Sky. Hope its nice
My one and only trip to Big Sky was this past Feb and we stayed here. The price was right and the walk to the lifts in the morning was pretty reasonable. As long as your expectations for the free breakfast are low you will be fine here. The place looks good, the staff was very friendly and the hot tubs were hot.

As others have mentioned, BIg Sky really shows you how the Rocky Mountains got their name. Despite a ton of snow base, you'd still routinely hit rocks even on groomers. It was quite disconcerting at first but you sorta get used to it. Lift lines were essentially non existent except for the tram. As a fellow level 7, Liberty Bowl would be perfectly fine in good conditions...with that said, for me it was very wind blown and the first several hundred feet of vertical had a ton of exposed rock bands. It wasn't that fun for me.

The rest of place is huge and almost disorientating in how the mountains really are in comparison to how the map depicts them.

Long story short, you will have fun.
 

graham418

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Doing some google diligence, I read that a lot of runs on Lone Peak, even the inbounds ones, require signing in with the patrollers and having full avalanche gear. Is this still the case?
 

Tony

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Doing some google diligence, I read that a lot of runs on Lone Peak, even the inbounds ones, require signing in with the patrollers and having full avalanche gear. Is this still the case?
When I was there early March 2015, only Big Couloir and Little Couloir required avy gear. Both were closed the day I was there; Big was closed due to rocks in the entry and Little probably requires a better year than 14-15.

I did have to sign out and list next of kin to ski the North Summit Snowfields and wait for someone to go with. Ski patrol lady tried to discourage me from doing it.

I should have waited longer as boarders I went with, one of whom who had done it before, but not recently, and I did not follow correct route to Great Falls and ended up coming down rocky Ripps. Edited for clarity and to correct dates and add link to report.
 
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skidrew

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^ Pretty sure this is still the case. Liberty Bowl, Marx, Lenin, etc. all can be skied without av gear and signout.
 

milkman

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Couloirs and Snow Field require avalanche gear and sign out. Avy gear is certainly a good idea for other XX terrain. The top of Big Sky on all sides of the peak is "high alpine" with all the snow conditions, wind and visibility issues that make it so challenging, and so much fun to experts. Fortunately for the other 99% of us we have about 3,000 acres of green, blue and black groomed and gladed runs from 9,000 feet down. ogsmile :yahoo:ogsmile
 

milkman

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Couloirs and Snow Field require avalanche gear and sign out. Avy gear is certainly a good idea for other XX terrain. The top of Big Sky on all sides of the peak is "high alpine" with all the snow conditions, wind and visibility issues that make it so challenging, and so much fun to experts. Fortunately for the other 99% of us we have about 3,000 acres of green, blue and black groomed and gladed runs from 9,000 feet down. ogsmile :yahoo:ogsmile
12/13/17 Update - BS is off to a good start. Opening day both Big Couloir and Liberty Bowl were open off the tram! About 2,400 acres open today with light snow. No BIG projects completed this year but numerous improvements in Liberty Bowl access off the Tram, new glades, hand clearing in old glades, increased snowmaking and connecting trails between the four mountains.
 

blah

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So, looks like I'll be spending a weekend in Bozeman just before the new year. Looking to check out Big Sky and/or Bridger Bowl, neither of which I've been to before. Any suggestions on the time split? 1 day at each? Or go full weekend at one or the other?

Prices at Bridger Bowl look very reasonable. Even with advance internet purchase, I'm getting some sticker shock for Big Sky.
 

SShore

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I skied there on Saturday and the snow conditions were very good. The conditions of my legs, not so goodogsmile
 

SShore

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I was up yesterday with light snow all day totaling about 2". Conditions were good and they continue to open terrain, with the Madison base area opening up this week. I was skiing with my daughter, mostly skiing the blue runs. She was hitting the trees in between and was raving about how good the powder in the trees was. They got 5-6 more inches today and snow is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday. It is going to be a Merry Christmas indeed:yahoo::snow::yahoo:
 

milkman

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Big Sky is having a better than average (Big Sky average) early season. While the snow stake numbers may not look impressive, many runs are skiing at mid-season quality. I don't quite understand it but a number runs and glades are covered at a level normally only achieved by February. Last week there were a lot of Utah and Colorado visitors looking for snow. A few new glades, tweaks to the trail system and a great improvement to the entrance to Liberty Bowl have improved the mountain without any big "newsworthy" changes. Still no lift lines.
 

blah

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Lots of wind holds today. Managed to escape the morning lift line zoo at Mountain Village base and did laps on the Powder Seeker lift, hitting the all the powder lines off the traverse in The Bowl
20171230_134152_002.jpg

Eventually Lone Peak tram started running, but only Liberty Bowl off the top was open.
20171230_120909_003.jpg

In Liberty Bowl, powder turns could be found on skiers left, but not of the blower pow variety -- mostly windblown and chunky. Views were great off the top, though
20171230_122330_007.jpg
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Eventually the skies parted and the Ramcharger lift started spinning again after 2pm, allowing access to Andesite Mountain. An iconic view of Lone Peak from the top of Southern Comfort lift on Andesite
20171230_151238_004.jpg

Even better, since Ramcharger lift was on wind hold for most of the day, Andesite Mountain was virtually untouched. Ended the day with mellow pow turns on the trails and gladed runs on Andesite.
 

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mcl116

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Just booked Jan 30-Feb 3rd.

Never been before. Going with my dad, we’re both aggressive advanced skiers. Have skied a bunch of mountains out west. We like to challenge ourselves and push our limits.

Just looking for some comments on current conditions and what type of storms you guys are expecting.

Any advice/suggestions on bars/restaurants to check out??

Super pumped to cross another awesome mountain off the list!
 

Monique

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I actually have more or less the same question as @mcl116 , but with a more specific question in mind.

I'm thinking about going mid February. Would love to ski some of the gnarlier terrain. I was there a few years ago, and the snow conditions didn't allow for much exploration.

In particular, I would love to ski the Big. I see that it's currently closed. Is there a time in the year when it usually opens? Are they on track?
 

SShore

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I was there today and the snow and coverage is holding up pretty well. We have only had two inches this week but are suppose to get a dump mid week next week. Can’t give much advise on nightlife (other than there’s not a lot). I do really like the bar at Everett 8800 at the top of Ramcharger and Adiamo at the base has good pizza at lunch and a nice bar.
 

SShore

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@Monique, when are you coming up? We are actually staying at Big Sky the weekend of the 10th for Big Sky Bluegrass. I think Big Coulior was open earlier. We are getting a dump next week so that may open it again.
 

Monique

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@Monique, when are you coming up? We are actually staying at Big Sky the weekend of the 10th for Big Sky Bluegrass. I think Big Coulior was open earlier. We are getting a dump next week so that may open it again.
This is a last minute "let's see if this comes together" thing, but if it comes together it would be the weekend of the 17th (a holiday weekend, so our usual lesson program isn't running at Breck).

Aside from the Big (which can't yet be my white whale as I only got interested in it the first time I was at Big Sky), how's the other steep stuff skiing? I saw that Firehole and friends are open - I skied Firehole in truly abysmal conditions, so it would have to be better than when I was there.
 

SShore

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I don’t have a pass that accesses the tram so can’t really comment on the conditions up there. I know the week between Christmas and New year, it snowed over 40” and they were blasting up there every morning.
 
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