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July 13, 2006

Bitterroot Resort Proposed Near Missoula, MT to have 5300 ft Vertical Drop

The Q and A section of the new plans for Bitterroot Resort near Missoula are posted online and link provided.

Ski trails have already been cut on the Maclay Ranch hillside that feeds into the proposed Village area. Bitterroot Resort will apply to the Forest Service for a special-use permit that will allow alpine and Nordic skiing on the north-facing slopes of Carlton Ridge, and in the Carlton Lake Basin area below Lolo Peak. This permit will offer the resort the unique advantage of having the greatest vertical drop (5,342 feet) in North America. The lift system in Phase I (covering approximately the first ten years of operation) will include seven four-seat chair lifts, four of which will be high-speed quads. Bitterroot's Nordic village, at the 6,000-foot level, will originate a trail system that will take advantage of approximately 40 miles of existing logging roads, interspersed with segments of new trail construction.

I was born in Northern Wyoming, but consider Billings my hometown. My mom still lives there as do her parents. Matter of fact, of my four biological grandparents (and also my step grandmother), all are either from Northern Wyoming or Southern Montana. I regularly try to get up to Big Sky and learned to ski at Red Lodge in Montana. Obviously as a skier and Montanan, anything of this magnatude bringing jobs to Montana is a good thing.

Check out the details on the resort at the link above. This is just south of Missoula, which houses the University of Montana (Go Griz). The area has a large granola eating, non bathing, armpit hair sporting, dreadlock wearing hippy crowd and happens to be the location that most Montana residents from the eastern part of the state head to when they need HMMM, HMMM, Smoking Supplies. I can think of nothing better to go with a community of hippies than a place to snowboard.

If you are from Montana, especially if you live in the area, show your support for winter recreation and look over the details. Destination skiing is a good thing. It generates new tax revenue (property only in Montana) which goes directly into the local schools and police and fire departments. It brings new business opportunities and benefits all.

Posted by Justin at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2005

Early Season Travel Plans - Big Sky, Montana

The last couple of seasons, Big Sky has done something unique with their sky reports. They have a special entry at the bottom called "The Way I Ski It" that evolved out of a need by their PR Manager, Dax Schieffer, to convey some of the early season conditions that were not really reflected by the basic ski report. Dax writes a daily entry at the bottom of the report describing what the mountain is actually like, not simply New Snow, Base, Percent Open like most resorts.

Like a high school sophomore, I kinda stole Dax's idea. My English teacher warned me that "borrowing" from the hard work of others will get me an F, so first and foremost, shout out to Dax for having a great idea at Big Sky. I took your idea, much like my ex-girlfriend's high school chemistry notebook (a story that we won't go into for sake of ripping the scab off of a closed wound), and changed a line or two and called it my own. But let's talk about Big Sky because it is well worth talking about.

First off, Big Sky is about 45 minutes from Bozeman, the home of Montana State University. Big Sky has two other resorts that share the same general area--Moonlight Basin, that offers a combined ski pass opening up obscene acres and insane skiing, and the Yellowstone Club that is so exclusive, I should not even be allowed to write about it. Details about Moonlight and Big Sky now offering an interconnect and shared pass are still being worked out, but Lone Peak makes frequent appearances in Warren Miller movies and the area offers some of the best steeps and deeps in the country. 400" of snowfall does not hurt.

As Dax said, "TWISI" was written because the resort is massive and during the early season, you can miss some of the best parts of the resort if you don't know where you are headed. I have spent several days at Big Sky and still have only skied the Lone Peak runs. Now with Moonlight and the interconnect, the Big Sky-Moonlight area becomes one of the largest in the country.

I went to college in Billings, about 120 miles east of Bozeman, and go home to see Mom over Thanksgiving. Big Sky offers a "frequency pass" that let's you ski the entire week after Thanksgiving for the price of the pass or about $50. We usually spend at least 2-3 days at Big Sky when we go up and it is awesome. Last year they were only 40% open or so, but the 40% was spectacular.

Dax generously offered to let me "interview" him about "TWISI", which is my code for, "Let's spend a day finding the hidden powder stashes that only a local knows". Look for my series of articles about Big Sky and Moonlight coming in Late November or Early December. Forget turkey and family time with Mom. She figured out why I am suddenly so focused on spending time with family in the winter. If you have never skied Big Sky, you have no idea what you are missing.

Posted by Justin at 12:10 PM