With eight world-class ski resorts within an hour’s drive from my house, why do I still dream about skiing elsewhere? Well, maybe because it’s fun to ski something new and exciting and maybe it’s just the lure of the unknown combined with the surreal powder fantasies of ski films or marketing brochures. I must admit… the happy faces and bottomless pow draw me in.
Regardless of the hype, there’s something about getting out of your comfort zone and skiing somewhere bigger-than-life. Many times I dream of going back in time and skiing the little areas, like Alpental, WA, where I learned to ski. Or, someplace like Anthony Lakes, OR just because it’s there. Other times, I dream of the mega-resorts I’ve yet to ski like Aspen and Vail or Squaw and Mammoth.
The cool thing about dreaming about and then actually skiing at one of these resorts is that the memory stays with you forever. I’ll never forget the wide-open bowls of Blackcomb and the bottomless pow of Telluride. Likewise, I’ll never forget riding in the old tram at Jackson Hole with the late Doug Coombs and the chest-deep powder at Grand Targhee. Not to mention the killer days as a youth ripping it up at Crystal Mountain, Mt. Baker or Mt. Hood Meadows.
Putting aside all the great days I’ve had at many Utah resorts, I’m still searching Northward. Right now, my fixation is with the Northern Rockies of the US and Canada–Red Mountain, Kicking Horse, Fernie and others–all epic skiing wonderlands. But, I’m thinking Stateside still and just a bit South of the border… Big Sky, Montana.
Why Big Sky, Montana?
Well, just one look at Lone Peak and you’ll be drawn in too. Rugged, untamed and unknown (at least to me), Big Sky is huge when combined with Moonlight Basin at 5,512 skiable acres. And, with over 400-inches of annual snowfall (not quite as much as Alta, but close) and 4,350 vertical feet in this remote mountain location seems like the perfect combination of steeps and untracked powder.
But, compared to the mountains to my back, access to Big Sky is far from easy. The drive looks to be about 9 hours from my home in Cedar Hills, Utah–even a flight into Bozeman still leaves you with an hour-and-a-half drive to the slopes (all this according to Google Maps, which, based on the comments below, now seems a bit off).
In spite of the distance and remote-ness… there’s no question that when my mind wanders to the unknown and mythical on my list of un-skied resorts, Big Sky, Montana will rise to the top. Someday… someday…
What resort is tops on your “must ski” list?
More Info: Visit BigSkyResort.com