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After skiing in the pouring rain after New Years, and then the onset of the
polar vortex, I was feeling some despair and decided to take a long weekend
in Montana. My friend just moved there and I had an open invitation and
some frequent flier miles, so it seemed like the right thing to do.

My friend said it had snowed a bunch and the skiing was very good, so I got
the last seat to Bozeman for 50,000 Delta Skymiles and $11.

As I landed on Friday, I noticed low clouds in the valleys with the
mountains poking through...a sure sign of an inversion.

Saturday we went to Big Sky which is now merged with moonlight Basin, now
totaling over 5,800 acres. The week had been warm with an inversion the
days prior, everything was pretty solid. By eastern standards, the groomers
were great...no ice. But the Lone Peak conditions were "slide for life" so
we didn't even go on the tram and just found some good skiing everywhere
else. Non-groomed trails and glades softened by the afternoon and skied
just fine. We visited some of the smokeshacks while we were there. This was
a new thing for my friend and his friend with whom I was skiing. They were
very impressed and wanted to seek out the other few dozen shacks in the
woods. It's kinda like a scavenger hunt. We hung out with a bunch of locals
and the "Dirt Bag Royalty" in "The Blue Room". All of them were over 60 and
enjoyed skiing daily and stopping for some social time at the shacks. We
had a full day of skiing and smiles on our faces.

We went to the Coldsmoke Awards in Bozeman Saturday night. We were really
disappointed because they only showed short clips of each of the nominees.
I would have rather seen the full film of the winners.

Sunday we went back to Big Sky and found 3" of new snow which made
everything very skiable. Lone Peak was pretty socked in, so we didn't ride
the tram. My host had only skied 2 days this season, so he was not in the
best shape and was struggling with his fitness and didn't feel like going
to the Peak was in the cards for him anyway. There is so much to ski there
than it really didn't matter that much and we found fresh snow protected in
the trees to keep us happy.

We stopped at the Bozeman Hot Springs for a soak on our way home. It was
ok...but Norris Hot springs is much better and less crowded, well worth the
extra drive time.

Monday I was on my own because the guys had to go to work. This was
actually fortuitous because I went to Bridger Bowl alone. The guys had
never been there anyway and if they were with me, I would not have hiked
the ridge. I would not have hiked the ridge if I was alone either, but
being a lone female it is pretty easy to find people to ski with. I was
invited to hike out with a group of college students, but I realized that
this 50 yr old, who was already tired from skiing 2 full days at Big Sky
would slow them down, so I opted to wait for the right situation and did
some warm-up runs off the Bridger Lift. 8" of snow fell on Sunday! The
skiing was fantastic! The sun was shining, but it was cold, though it felt
very warm. I kept near the trees and north faces (there are not a lot) for
the coldsmoke powder.

I rode Pierre's and down to Schlasman's. You need a beacon to get on
Schlasman's lift.

Since it is a double, I got paired up with a local guy, Doug, who was
skiing by himself. I asked him if he wanted company and that I would ski
whatever he wanted to ski. He showed me some of his favorite lines in
Schlasmans and we did the steep boot ladder up to the Ridge. Wow, it was a
hard climb with legs burned out after 2 full days of skiing. My body just
doesn't recover like it used to. I could hardly get my legs high enough
into the boot pack. It was only hard for 5 minutes though and once at the
top it was pretty spectacular and there was plenty of fresh snow.

Doug took me down through a chute that did not have enough snow yet and
required going over rocks or hucking a 10' rockledge. I just picked my way
over the rocks. I was on brand new Rossi S7s and was careful not to mess'm
up too bad.

Oh, btw, I LOVE those new skis. They are so easy to ski and do well in all
conditions.

We did about a half-dozen runs in Schlasman's, which are quite long, and I
was feeling quite weary. I didn't even realize that I had skied through
lunch, so I decided to take a late lunch at the Deer Park Chalet. I went
back out at 2:30 and rode Pierre's. I had hoped to do a few more runs, but
after that one run, my legs were like spaghetti and everything started to
hurt. While my mind wanted to ski, my body was done, so I called it a day.

I don't know how I'm going to ski 6 days in BC next month. This trip was
"training" for the BC trip. I sure hope it is easier for this ole body
after another month of skiing. It was a nice getaway while the skiing here
is less than stellar and super-frigid.

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