Skisailor

Laziest Skier on the Mountain
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Here are a few pics to get those who would tackle The Big stoked for this season's upcoming Gathering:

First you need to check in here:
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Enjoy the views while you wait for the slot that Patrol assigns you.
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It's time! Head through the Gate and stay to the right!
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Get ready to drop in:
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Breathe!
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One at a time. Get out of your partner's slide path and meet up at the dogleg. Ok . . . . you've skied the steepest, narrowest part once you get to this point.

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Enjoy the lower half. And watch out for the chop!
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Celebrate!
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You did it!!
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RachelV

Hi.
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Boulder, CO
This is great! I’m on the fence about both the Gathering and skiing the Big Couloir, but it’s possible skiing the Big will become my motivation to go to the Gathering...

How’s the entrance, generally? And can you compare it to other inbounds runs in terms of steepness? :)
 
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Skisailor

Skisailor

Laziest Skier on the Mountain
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Hi Rachel!!!

I hope you come! It would be great to see you. The entrance is no problem - this run is about the exact opposite of something like Corbett's where the entrance is everything and the runout is no big deal. The entrance to the Big is easy - just traverse in. Then you can sideslip a bit to get a feel for the snow condition before your first turn. The toughest part comes a few turns in where it gets narrow at just the place where it's also steepest - 50 degrees. If the cheesegrater rock is buried - as it is in the pictures above - it's a bit easier. The difficulty comes in the the sustained pitch for a very long way compared to what most skiers are used to. And you really really don't want to miss a turn because you could slide a long way or slide into rocks depending upon where you are.

That said - there are a few runs we use to prep for The Big - although nothing quite compares. One is a section of Lenin called "The Rollover". It's essentially the skier's right entrance to the run. Give yourself a narrow corridor and make sure you can stay within that corridor. There are also some sections of the Wave Wall (below the Dictator Chutes that are as steep - just very short by comparison and not always open.

Skiing The Gullies (above The Bowl) is a nice warmup. The Outer Limits Chute off the Challenger chair is also as steep and narrow - but only for 3 or 4 turns. The Big is easily 40 turns or more.

Nothing quite compares is the one thing I have to repeat. It is a mental as well as a physical challenge.

One thing I will also say - make a few runs with Ursula if you're not sure. She has aLOT of experience evaluating skiers to see if they are ready to go. If she says you are - you ARE. Go with confidence. If she warns against it - I'd listen to her.
 
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Skisailor

Skisailor

Laziest Skier on the Mountain
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Oh . . . And I'm not entirely sure, but I think runs like Marx and Lenin off the peak are maybe 42 degrees toward the top and then they mellow out from there. Another possibility is to ski the North Summit Snowfield (also with Patrol signout) first. It would be a nice warmup. The snowfield itself is really fun and not super steep - you just don't want to fall and slide because there are cliffy rocks below it. The various lower runout choices (Great Falls, Rips, Tears, Direct and Double Direct) are where the difficulty is and would be a nice warmup for The Big - especially Great Falls. If you ski the snowfield - DO go with someone who knows the way the first time. You have to pick up the various traverses below the snowfield . . .
 
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Skisailor

Skisailor

Laziest Skier on the Mountain
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I ski it. But I don't yet SKI it, if you know what I mean. I ski it very carefully and deliberately. And all of my bad habits that I've rid myself of on other terrain pop right back out again in The Big. LOL! Notice my wide arms, for example. Ursula calls them my "angel wings". Ha! That's not where I usually have my hands when I ski . . . .
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
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This is great! I’m on the fence about both the Gathering and skiing the Big Couloir, but it’s possible skiing the Big will become my motivation to go to the Gathering...

How’s the entrance, generally? And can you compare it to other inbounds runs in terms of steepness? :)
@Bob Barnes and @Chris Geib did it during the last gathering. I had some video but they were sooooo tiny from where we watched, the video didn't come out very well.
 
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Skisailor

Skisailor

Laziest Skier on the Mountain
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Bozeman, Montana
@Bob Barnes and @Chris Geib did it during the last gathering. I had some video but they were sooooo tiny from where we watched, the video didn't come out very well.
I skied two laps in the bowl with them right after they had taken their run in the Big. They wanted to ski with Ursula and probably just remember me as the little tagalong. LOL. I think they enjoyed their run though.
 

David Chaus

Blissfully unencumbered by the facts
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Ha, I said *approaching* middle age. ;) Depends which Google result you pick as to whether I'm actually there yet...
David’s theory of relativity:
Anyone younger than me is young.
Anyone older than me is old.
I’m middle aged, and the definition changes by a year every year.

Now, will I take the Big Couloir Challenge? Maybe.....I have a few places to practice around these parts.
 

jmeb

Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior
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Whoa. Nice post. The gathering wasn't really on my radar for this year, but with that tempting me -- maybe it could be part of a Red Lodge -> Bridger trip.

What a line.

Pretty rad you get to ski it one at a time. Opportunity to let it run. Do they ever have more skiers than slots to ski it? A daypass is pricey, and missing this opportunity would be a downer.
 
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Skisailor

Skisailor

Laziest Skier on the Mountain
Team Gathermeister
Joined
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Posts
280
Location
Bozeman, Montana
Whoa. Nice post. The gathering wasn't really on my radar for this year, but with that tempting me -- maybon.e it could be part of a Red Lodge -> Bridger trip.

What a line.

Pretty rad you get to ski it one at a time. Opportunity to let it run. Do they ever have more skiers than slots to ski it? A daypass is pricey, and missing this opportunity would be a downer.
It's all over the map. In low visibility or choppy snow, there are probably more slots than skiers. In good conditions, the best plan is to wait at Swift Current chair in the base area starting about 15 minutes before lift opening. Then head straight to Powder Seeker lift and right into the Tram Line. If you do this, it is unlikely you will not get a slot.

And yes. Patrol requires/asks that we ski it one skier at a time. First skier to the dogleg, then gets out of the way of the above skier's slide path behind the outcrop. 2nd skier comes to that point. Then repeat for the lower section. If the 2nd skier is having an awesome run and wants to continue uninterupted, the 1st skier could wave them through.
 
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