Featured Northern Rockies/Alberta Big Sky Gathering Trip Report

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Tricia, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    Boston Suburbs
    It was steeper, but not otherworldly steeper. Just a smidge more than the steepest shot on the fronnt of Challenger. It was steep enough that you got a little of that weightless feeling in the middle, evenn without an up move to start the turn.

    The skiing wasn't really technically challenging. The snow was soft and grippy, but not deep enough to make it hard to start the next turn. There were no abrupt changes in pitch, narrow spots, or ledges.

    (Ironically, the apron at the bottom where it started to level out was more difficult to ski... lumpier and less uniform.)

    My problems were fear and uncertainty. Fear because, well, it was scary. The low-contrast view as we came around the corner to the entrance looked steep as hell.

    Uncertainty because I literally could not see the snow where the next turn would end. I could not tell if the next turn was going to wind up 3, 5 or 10 feet lower than the last. But I had seen enough videos online that I had a general idea how the run went.
    Most of the way was one run (edit: one turn) and stop, but I did get brave and link several turns in a row a few times.

    To enter, you go through a gate and down a surprisingly long, steep, and firm traverse around the corner. At the end, there was a small sheet of ice at the corner and I'm thinking "Uh-oh"... But it was just that one spot. Once we got around the snow was very nice.

    The entrance from the approach to the Couloir itself is just a typical side-entrance traverse into a gulley. The problem was I couldn't see it. I think I side stepped down a few more feet beyond the spot in the "contemplating" photo before dropping in. It looked to me like the drop might be bigger at the bottom of that range of options.

    I tapped my pole over the edge and confirmed the entrance started vertical. But I couldn't tell if it was 1, 3, or more feet. (I think it was only about 2 feet, based on how quickly it was over.) You traverse across to the belly of the gulley. After that, the first turn was a bear.

    Again, I was very glad I had watched several descents on video.

    By the way, @Unpiste and I skied the rest of the day after the Big (till last chair, of course) with @KingGrump, a reduced-size posse, and @SkiDB on Challenger, repeatedly doing the face to skier's right of the chair to a tree chute (with a debris-filled choke). (I never did manage to get through the choke elegantly.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
    Scruffy, Spooky, KingGrump and 11 others like this.
  2. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    Maine
    Italians can do this sort of thing in their sleep. They even named their favorite vegetable"arty-choke."
     
    Scruffy, John Webb, Unpiste and 2 others like this.
  3. Pumba

    Pumba Out on the slopes Skier

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    Brooklyn, NY
    Ohhhhhhh! And he’s here all week folks...:D
     
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  4. John Webb

    John Webb mdskier Skier

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    Nov 14, 2015
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    Location:
    Nevada City CA
    Trish was very upset that no one was selling rear entry boots when her grey Nordicas "exploded" 10 years ago.
    The toe box cracked 1/2 off at a free ski day. There was actually a thread on Epic at the time about how many
    with this particular 12 to 14 year old grey Nordica had them all "explode" ( crack or entire bottom fall off etc)
    at the same time!. Nordica, of course, would do nothing. Her size is 8.5 US. I suggested used ones at a ski swap
    but she wanted new.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  5. Brad J

    Brad J Getting on the lift Skier

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    Newbury, Ma.
    I know , I thought that I would see people on the hill where as we seamed to ski the same terrain, The room was way to hot to be in fully dressed, may be next year we can have a meet up time outside , as was done in Jackson Hole a few tears ago. I realize its on me to make the effort ,I will make a better effort in future
     
    John Webb likes this.


  6. Dean

    Dean Booting up Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2017
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    23
    Location:
    DC area
    2nd gathering for me (2nd & a half maybe?) & had a great time once again. Remembered some names & faces (& handles) from before and enjoyed meeting other folks for the first time. Great group all around - the enthusiasm is contagious.Of course I came home with a todo list:
    • Get some new skis (stop nagging me already)
    • Boots too? (uggg)
    • Try to suck a little less at skiing
    • And take more pics -- here's a few...
    @bigguyski
    DSC01985.JPG

    @Flying Dutchess
    DSC01986.JPG
    DSC01990.JPG

    @Weegie McAdams
    DSC01994.JPG


    And some Yellowstone pics that don't overlap too much w/ the others posted:

    DSC01872.JPG DSC01932.JPG DSC01943.JPG DSC01954.JPG DSC01959.JPG DSC01974.JPG DSC01978.JPG
     
    Tricia, MaryG, BS Slarver and 10 others like this.
  7. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator Pugski Ski Tester

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    Reno
    Well, PUGSKI2 made it condo door to Mink's door in 12 hours almost on the nose. A few flurries, some rain, and a lot of hacking and coughing in the back seat.

    @Philpug drove to Wells and I finished the drive from there. @Tricia and @AKMINK enjoyed the ride in the Miss Daisy seats. Thanks again to everyone for making this a great trip!

    P.S.-We determined it's still easier to drive than fly!
     
  8. bbinder

    bbinder Out on the slopes Skier

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    Massachusetts
    Home. We were able get on another plane by going standby. Props to Delta for actually getting our luggage on the same plane as us and delivered to baggage claim before we even got there.

    We had a great week! The Best. Week. Ever. Thanks to Phil and Tricia for all the work they did. Thanks to all who skied with us and spent time with us. We will ski with everyone else next time.
     
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  9. Shifterkart

    Shifterkart Booting up Skier

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2017
    Posts:
    77
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Kolette, @jimmy, and I were delayed 2.5 hours in Bozeman. Finally made it to SLC where Delta booked Kolette and I on American through Phoenix so we could make it home tonight.

    Hope jimmy made his connecting flight!
     
  10. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Location:
    NYC
    Big Sky was mobbed everywhere I went. I just don't understand. My be it's just me. :D

    Photos of some of the mobs I keep finding on the hill. A (1).jpg A (2).jpg A (3).jpg
    Après.
    The vultures picking the bones clean even before the ribs had a chance to make it out of the kitchen.
    B (1).jpg

    Quieter moments. B (2).jpg B (3).jpg B (4).jpg
    Balmy Florida like temps encountered in northern Montana on our way to Lake Louise this morning.
    C.jpg
     
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  11. Tony

    Tony tseeb Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2016
    Posts:
    482
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Not sure when I'll be home. Lucia and I left Big Sky Friday about 5 after a beer a Montana Jack, where we went after skiing all of our days at Big Sky. We enjoyed all the Pugs and friends and family there although we never stayed long enough to see everyone in pictures that were posted. We snowmobiled into Yellowstone on Saturday from West Yellowstone, which is about an hour South from Big Sky turnoff and has an amazing amount of activity for being such a cold place. We stayed at Stagecoach Inn, designed by same person and built at about the same time at the Wort in Jackson and highly recommended in winter - I heard it's over $300/night in summer. 6847ParkSignCR.JPG The snowmobile tour from there to Old Faithful is also highly recommended. We snowmobiled 64 miles. The coldest I saw on my phone was -3 before sunrise, but the official low was -13. Lucia got their suit, boots, gloves and helmet with visor while I made do with what I brought. It got into the 20s in the afternoon. Park in winter is beautiful and from what I heard, much less crowded than summer. This bison walked but by about 10 feet away while we were stopped. 6852BisonCloseCR.JPG
    After snowmobiling, we drove to Driggs, ID where we had great view of the sunset on the Tetons on the way and spent night after a great dinner at Teton Thai. 7034TetonsACR.JPG We skied Jackson Hole today. I got lucky on tram. I was too far back when they said 15 more, but I was single and there was only one ahead of me so I was the last one on. IMG_7039.JPG On my ride up to lunch at super-busy lodge at top of Bridger gondola, I realized that there was too much to do in area including Bill Brigg's band playing at Stagecoach Inn IMG_7042.JPG He is on banjo at right and was first to ski the Grand Teton and will have been playing there on Sunday for 50 years sometime this year. For $5 I was able to delay our night in Evanston, WY and got a second night at the Antler mostly using a hotels.com rewards so we don't have to re-locate after skiing tomorrow. We pushed our planned day skiing Deer Valley back a day so we now have three days skiing at Jackson, plus two nights in Jackson, then a day at Deer Valley before Lucia flies home. Not sure when I'll be home.
     
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  12. Thread Starter
    TS
    Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Location:
    Tahoe
    Just to give you some perspective, we started getting a meeting room because we had one at Snowbasin and it ended up being a huge powder day, so meeting up in the room to boot up and socialize to get acclimated with each other was nice.
    Maybe we need to consider an outside meet up as an alternative after booting up in the room.

    We will see how it shakes out at Jackson Hole for 2020.
     
  13. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    Boston Suburbs
    Two ways to deal with that have evolved (both in the mornings and at lunch). One is simply to decide who is going to ski together and say I will meet you by the line for the X lift.

    The other is to do the slow parts of getting ready -- boots and getting stuff organized. Then sit and socialize. Meanwhile, look around, and when someone starts to do the final steps (balaclava or neck warmer, coat, helmet) we all frantically do the same so we won't be the last one ready.

    I like having the room, especially at the end of the day.

    The trades obviously are different for people staying within walking distance who arrive fully dressed.
     
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  14. PisteOff

    PisteOff Jeff Skier

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2017
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    790
    Location:
    Michigan
    I prefer the room as well. It works out better at some resorts than it does others, but I still preferred it to a common room this trip. There was a little extra walking but I didn’t find it to be that far out of the way.
     
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  15. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    Location:
    Maine
    LOL. So true!

    What it boils down to is that in order to ski with a group comprising people of disparate habits and practices, I may need to abandon some of the personal preferences I indulge when I'm skiing alone or with a "usual suspect" buddy. It often helps to agree explicitly on a concrete execution plan. For example, "I'm going to go take a run while you slowpokes are getting dressed. Can we meet at 10:00 at the bottom of Ramcharger?"
     
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  16. John Webb

    John Webb mdskier Skier

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    Nevada City CA
    Nice that you saw a live bison from 10 ft away ! I stayed at the Stagecoach Inn Saturday a week ago. What did you think of the giant full sized stuffed animals, bears, sheep, wolves etc in the lobby! They were amazing. The 2 bears were 10 ft from my room:eek:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  17. Brad J

    Brad J Getting on the lift Skier

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    Newbury, Ma.
    I realize the room is a good idea for those who are arriving to the area by car , but for those who are staying within walking distance an outside meet up time serves all. I think a meet up time 10 minutes before opening chair outside works , I felt it certainly worked at JH when I went there in 2015. Like I said It was on me that I didn't wait or ask. I am making a suggestion that I think can work for most. Thanks Brad
    PS I really admire MDF for doing Big Couloir , I would have passed out and rolled to bottom !! Congratulations !!
     
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  18. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    That area is not the same as it was in 2015 with the addition of the new Sweetwater Gondola, especially considering the additional Ikon traffic that everyone is clammering about :rolleyes:;). The add 80-100 odd (and I mean odd) Pugskiers trying to meet up? I will say having a room and not having to deal with a place to store bootbags will be a huge benefit..if we can score a room. It will cost $20/day just for a locker down stairs.
     
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  19. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator Team Gathermeister

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    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Perhaps a room and a meetup spot outside? I know some groups were doing that this year anyway... i.e. "see you in the room, or if not, at lift X at 9:00."

    We were more informal with groups this year too - often in the past we've had a couple of locals announce what level and where they'd be guiding in the morning, so people can identify them and get in on the group. Not sure if that will happen in the future or not, but the room was really handy for that as opposed to a bunch of folks milling around outside.
     
  20. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    Boston Suburbs
    The giant screen over the Ramcharger lift
    P1070295.JPG

    and the important information it was displaying:
    P1070296.JPG
     
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