I am going to Big Sky for the first time this March. Also plan to ski Moonlight and Bridger we are there. Does anybody know of a good mountain guide for hire to show us around Big Sky or Bridger?
Big Sky this March
I've been know to give Bridger tours for the staggeringly steep price of a beer or two apres ski. I almost always available on weekends but will occasionally take a day off work during the week if enough bears are showing up at Bridger.
Always good to have someone local show you the best times to ski which trails on the mountain. We arrive on the 12th and will be at the Huntley Lodge all week. We get one day of BS/MB on our BS tic and was planning to ski Bridger on Tuesday the 15th, but Bridger could be any day.
I have always manged to catch up with a local guide for most western trips. In Steamboat it was a friend's brother and in Jackson Hole it was a friend's son. Both times our guides were embellished with food and beverages.
I don't have avy gear so unless I rent? so we can plan on being in bounds. Maybe we could plan on Sunday the 13th which will be our first day out at BS? Any thoughts on an attack plan?
I have one extra set-up (peep, pack, probe and shovel) I can loan you. Unless conditions are severe (AKA lots of recent snow) I generally just carry a peep. I'll put in for the 15th off (I need to use or lose some vacation time.) We'll stay within the area Bridger Bowl does avalanche control for the whole time but you need a peep to ski Schlauchman's Chair and hike the Ridge.
Sounds great. We are renting a car a will drive from BS. Map Quest shows 60 mile. Whats the drive time? I will have maybe three ours with me that just want to ski in bounds, so your plan sounds good to me. Now the next question, I am planning on bringing two pairs of skis. My options are Blizzard 81s or 87s, Nortica Helldivers and Blizzard Atlas. Right now I am thinking the 87s and the Helldivers. But I may change my mind once we get closer a get a weather shout. Does BS or Bridger get dry powder dumps in March or is it typically more carvable in March?
The drive time is about 90 minutes depending on road conditions. Big Sky have a 4,000 foot vertical drop. The temperature variance can be huge. Ergo, there is a good chance of dry powder on the upper mountain in March. My two most used skis for Bridger are some Mythic Riders (89mm waist) and Nordica Blowers (110mm waist).
One more thought on skis. If I know for sure the conditions at Big Sky I pick a ski specific to the conditions & rarely go with anything narrower than my Mythic Riders. If I don't know or I'm expecting a mix of left-over powder, crud, groomers, etc. I usually opt for my Legend Pros (97mm waist) or Salomon Sandstorms (99mm waist).
Sounds good to me. I'm plan to get a weather/conditions update before we ship out. Right now I'm thinking the 87's if the conditions are carvy and the Atlas for powder. I thinking that the other half will take her 81's and 87's. I just bought the Helldivers at last season end and hope to ski them a bunch next week in the White Mountains and at Sugarloaf. They seem pretty stiff. Can't tell till I get them out. Always liked the Blowers but to wide for a east coast guy. How are the conditions right now?
The Atlas should be fine for the time of year you're skiing. There is little chance of encountering 'cold smoke' conditions where you truly need something with a waist in the 100s. Too bad you can't drag along the Hellcats. One of my favorite things about Big Sky is the wide and wide-open groomers. They give you a chance to ski as fast as you want without worrying about endangering others. I often will drag along my Superspeeds for a few bomber runs on Big Horn and Elk Park Ridge.
Current conditions are spring like. Currently, there is a Pineapple Express aimed right at Whitefish & we're getting the warm air surge from it without the moisture.
I am heading to the White Mountains ans then up to Sugar loaf this coming week, so I hope to try out the Hellcats there. I am wondering if they carve better than the Blizzard 87's? They feel pretty stiff. The northeast seem to be in a snow slump right now but La Nina is still going strong so we should be seeing some big dumps.
When skiing Big Sky & Bridger the one thing you have to really take into account is how do the skis handle in moguls. You just can't avoid them if you're planning to ski the whole mountain. While a stiff ski is great in wide-open spaces they can be punishing and exhausting trying to work your way though a mogul field to get to the good stuff.
That is the lesson I learned at JHSA last Feb. I only had one sport tube for the two of us so I took my 87s. They were great on the not so good packed powder and granular conditions, but they wore me out in the moguls. Two of my skiing pardners were on 81s and did the moguls much easier. So I bought another sport tube so I can take two pair on western trips. So the 81s are in I just need to decide which will be the second pair.
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If you are willing to hire a guide for Big Sky, there is none better than Ursula Howland. She is a fantastic instructor, and rips the mountain. She is also very busy, so you might see if she is available.
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You can book a certified ridge guide at Bridger Bowl for three hours for 160.00, with each additional person costing 45.00. This includes pack, shovel, and beacon. You would need to call ahead. Having a pro show you around along with situational coaching and tactics is money well spent.
Back from eight straight days of skiing eastern packed powder, no deep stuff. Skied the K2 Xplorers at Cannon and Burke and found them to be good in moguls (nice tip flex) and carved the packed powder very well, however on frozen granular the K2s do not have the edge grip of the Blizzards as I found out this weekend back at Seven Springs. I also skied the Helldivers for the first time at Sugar Loaf and Saddle Back and was very amazed with how well they handled packed powder and moguls (not quite as much tip flex as the K2s) and also the steep icy snowfield runs at Sugar Loaf. And so the debate rages as to which pair will be in the Sport tube with the 81s for the Big Sky run.
Great! We just got back from a 8-day run of eastern slopes and meet locals at Cannon, Wildcat and Sugar Loaf that gave us a quick tour of "their slopes" as they put it. Always great to have someone who knows the place to show you around.
Houston we have a problem. I waited too long to rent a SUV. Last week they are are out except for BIG ones which cost more than a pair of skis, so we will not make t to Bridger on Tuesday unless I get enough folks to fill a bus. Anyway Bridger will have to wait until the next Montana run. Thank ls for the tour offer. I did decide to bring a pair of 167 Blizzard 87's and the K2 Xplorers out. Looks like conditions are still real good out there with snow almost every day.
Isn't that just the pits. Just when I thought I had the perfect plan something always happens. Oh well, I am thinking this won't be my last run to Bozeman so next time Bridger will be included. On the bright side it looks like your snow is still coming.
Point???? What fun is that? The time I guided a bear (Tog) off the tram I took him down the steepest dictator chute taht was skiable for his first run. Since he was was on my skis I did warn him not to fall as there was a cliff at the bottom and I didn't want my skis harmed.