Skiin’ the Big (Mountain) pow pow

My official opinion on ski vacations is that they are awesome.  What could be better than heading out with a bunch of good friends to spend the whole day shredding the gnar, meeting up for apres ski beers at the lodge, making some yummy dinner at the condo and finishing the night by taking a soothing dip in the hot tub with another refreshing beverage?  Go to bed.  Wake up.  Repeat.   I love it. 

And there you have our Big Mountain Whitefish Mountain Resort ski trip last weekend in a nutshell.    But you know me, I can’t leave it at just that…I’m much to wordy to leave a four-day ski trip to one paragraph! 

Really though, our trip was no exception to the awesomeness I spoke of above.  Whitefish is a great little town north of Missoula.  It’s definitely what could be considered a resort town thanks to the 2nd biggest ski hill in MT being located there, as well as its close proximity to Glacier National Park.   We opted for a condo away from town and up on the mountain though because there’s something to be said about ski-in/ski-out capability.  Need 30 extra minutes of sleep?  Go for it.  Forget your goggles?  No problem.  Want to be able to walk to the bar?  Yes please.  There’s really no other way to go in my book. 

The one downfall to skiing in Whitefish is that it’s foggy.  All.  The.  Time.  I’m talking serious don’t-ski-more-than-8-turns-ahead-of-me-or-I’ll-be-lost-forever fog.   Don’t believe me?  (ask the dishes).   Please tell me someone got that?  Amy??

Here’s a pic from the chairlift our first day.   They actually rank the degree of foggyness by how many chairs you can see in front of you (or maybe that’s just something I do).  You can see that this was a “one chair” day; meaning we could see one chair in front of us.  Not too shabby. 

Can you see why skiing in this mess might be a problem?  Hence the 8-turn rule.   

The other thing Whitefish is known for are their snow ghosts, which is what you call trees when they’ve been entirely blanketed with snow.  I’m not talking puffy powder on the branches, I’m talking the entire tree is encased in a hard windblown snow.   They are quite eye-catching and beautiful when you can see them, but given the foggy situation I mentioned above, they take on more of the “ghost” quality of their namesake.  Meaning you don’t really see one until it’s in-yo-face.  Allow me to demonstrate with some pictures. 

Don’t they look ghostly and eerie??

Thanks to the fog I experienced vertigo for the first time in my life.  Real, live vertigo.  And whaddyaknow, it’s real (just like spontaneous combustion)!  And it’s AWFUL.  Imagine trying to ski down a hill blindfolded; not knowing which way was up or down; getting more and more nauseous as you go; inching along, hoping that your next turn isn’t uphill.  That’s vertigo on a ski hill, and it’s effin real.  I’ve never experienced anything quite like it!  All I could think was that this group of normally advanced skiers must look like a shit show…skiing in circles, uphill at some points, falling down and all on the verge of puking.   Ha ha.  After that we quickly learned to ski the treed runs so you could get your bearings.  Sorry for not listening to ya the first time Hubs.   

Other than the vertigo….the first two days were great.  It snowed all day everyday, which means the conditions kept getting better and better. 

Things culminated the second day of our trip when we found Jesus.  For real. 

Can I get a hallelujah?!

But the highlight of the trip was definitely waking up to 8 inches of fresh powder and SUN on Saturday.  Glorious sun! Blue skies!  No fog!  It was amazing.  Funny how all it takes is two days of skiing in fog to make you appreciate being able to see more than 10 feet in front of you.   The best part (aside from fresh powder) was the view.  From the top of the mountain you can see into Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies.  It’s so fricken beautiful!  

Have you guys ever heard of the saying “There are no wives (friends, boyfriends, sisters….enter appropriate relationship here) on a powder day?”  Well.  It’s true.  You know what else there isn’t on a sunny powder day?  Time to take pictures.  I really wanted to get some good ones to share with you but my picture-taking was pretty much limited to the chair lift.  We can’t be bothered with photo ops when we need to ski the pow.  Sorry.  But I do think you’ll get an idea of just how gorgeous it was …and also a clearer idea of the snow ghosts I mentioned above.

Check out those first tracks!

A little less ghostly now, eh?

Saturday truly was amazing.  The snow was fantastic and the weather phenomenal.  What a great way to wrap up the trip.

There’s one final story from the vaca and it goes something like this:  Friend #1 asks me to make reservations for four at this great sushi place in town.  I oblige.  Friend #2 makes a suggestion.  I oblige.  The result?  We have a reservation for four at the sushi restaurant to celebrate Friend #1’s 50th Birthday.  Is it his birthday?  No.  Is he even close to 50?  YES.  Ok no, he’s 40.  But we made fun of him the whole weekend for being the “dad” of the trip…so it seemed fitting.  Not to mention a sweeeeet joke that went off perfectly.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better.   The waitress came over and threw confetti on him while the whole wait staff sang Happy Birthday.   Friend #1 never saw it coming!  But he was a good sport.  Ha ha.  Too funny. 

Happy 50th!

I think at one point the waitress said to me “Gosh, he doesn’t look a day over 40.”  Good news for him, eh? 

Annnywayyyys.  That wraps up the Big Mountain ski weekend.  Good skiing, good friends, good times.  Can’t wait for next year!  Next time I promise to try to get some action shots of me rippin’ it up.

Update:  I just ran across this article in our local newspaper about the history of Big Mountain’s Jesus.  If you’re interested, it’s quite an interesting story.   Click here

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