Where To Ski This Winter (Now That It Has Arrived)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Now that La Nina has finally reared her head onto America’s northern Rocky Mountains, I’ve been rejuvenated to wax my skis in anticipation of escaping all those mind-numbing groomer runs and finding some powder. Really, La Nina? WTF? With a recent system blanketing western Montana — we’re talking like one of those uber-beefy, 14-inch thick, quilt-like blankets (if you know what I mean) — I grabbed my fat skis and headed to Big Sky Resort.

It was purely a research trip to follow a lead that has been sitting in my e-mail for a few weeks now (Matt, I had a reason for waiting, I promise). It had nothing to do with the recent dump, nor anything to do with Outside Magazine naming Big Sky as having the season’s best new glades in the country. It was all research. All of it.

I was sure researching as I rode up the Ramcharger lift to see what these new runs were all about. Andesite Mountain is the overlooked stepchild in the shadow Lone Peak — the striking, pyramidal summit and gnarly terrain Big Sky is known for. It’s time for Andesite to step out of the shadow, because it now has some of the best tree skiing on the property. Booking runs through delicate powder and beautifully-spaced trees on Wolf Den and Coulter’s Hell changed my attitude from, WTF, La Nina!?, into a Cheers to you, La Nina!

But keep in mind, it was all done in the name of research. My conclusion? I had a sneaking skepticism toward the Outside article — it just sounded too much like a paid advertisement for the resorts included in the piece. Though, now that I’ve experienced the new steep ‘n deep tree runs at Big Sky, I can confidently say there’s truth to the Best New Glades honor.

This also peaked my interest to dive a little further into their list. It includes all the usual suspects, though some of the insights may have you looking at your favorite resort a little bit differently. For the East Coasters, Sugarloaf in Maine was named as having the best new trails, while Vermont was cited for having some of the best deals (specifically, Mad River Glen and Sugarbush). More importantly, check out Taos, New Mexico, for the best spring skiing — which typically involves a spring party — or you could simply head to Vail, Colorado, to experience their honor of having The Biggest Party.

All I ask is that you party in the name of research.

[Big Sky Lift by Jon Wick]

[The 25 Best Ski Resorts of 2012/Outside Magazine]

By Jon Wick


About the Author

Jon lives in Butte, Montana, spending most of his time on skis or bikes; sometimes both. He began travel writing while teaching in Korea and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Technical Communication at Montana Tech. Jon has begun writing his first book, The Story of Will, whose movie rights are still (very) available. Catch more of Jon at TheJonWickproject.wordpress.com. (@ExpedJon)

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