This was a family ski trip, where had we decided to try yet another "non Colorado location". This was because the snow in Colorado continued to be very erratic, and because Big Sky would not have the same altitude (7,218 feet) issues that Colorado has.
View from the Gondola
We had never been to Montana before, having spent all of our ski trips in Colorado. So we
decided that we needed to mark that check box off, and flew into Bozeman, MT. Picked up
our rental vehicle, and drove down to Big Sky.
We had decided to rent a 4WD, and it proved to be a fortunate decision the very first night we were in the condo! We wanted "first tracks" and departed the condo early only to find the parking lot was knee deep in snow, but our 4WD allowed us to roll out with no problems.
Our Condo Unit
The condo was nice sized, sufficient room for everyone to be comfortable, get their ski equipment on, etc. However, the very first night, the condo heating unit did not function. We called the condo owner, but he could not get anyone to come out and repair it until the next day. Overnight was a full tilt blizzard, and the wind howled all night long as the condo temperature dropped like a stone.
The next morning, when we got up, we found that it had snowed 17 inches overnight! We had the only 4WD vehicle in the condo parking lot, and were able to drive out without any problems.
There were people everywhere in the parking lot, digging out their 2WD vehicles! We offered to help a few, but there were so many people digging, and so many snow removal trucks trying to get into the parking lot, that they just motioned us onwards.
Deep Powder Skiing
Chelsea and I waving at Mom as she glides over all that powder! It is difficult to adjust one's snowboarding riding stance to clumps of fresh powder, but once you adjust, riding becomes fun again. We had some initial issues dealing with snow that deep, and each of us had different issues, as Celeste and I were on our snowboards and Chelsea was on skis.
Deep Powder Skiing Discussion
Chelsea is explaing to everone how much work it is to ski on fresh powder. Celeste and I were on snowboards, and we had some difficulty with it at first too, but soon found a rhythm.
Deep Powder Everywhere!
See how deep the powder is on the table tops? The powder has stacked up everywhere. As cold as it was that morning, something warm to drink hit the spot.
Weather was Perfect!
It was such a beautiful day, that we wound up taking a lot of pictures. As this picture shows, it did remain cold outside which made the occasional hot cocoa feel really good! You can see by the crowd that most people felt the same way.
Gondola was Warmer than Outside
I think Chelsea & Jeremy were laughing because it was nice and warm in the cable car, compared to outside conditions!
We took a day off from skiing, and drove down to Yellowstone Park. Here we are after waiting for a new snow cat to come and get us. The one we were on for our tour of the park, broke down and we had to wait for an hour for a new cat to arrive.
Bison are Everywhere
The bison in Yellowstone, were obviously dressed for the weather, and were no doubt much warmer
than we were!
There were several large bison herds that our snow cat drove by, these guys were everywhere. And as you can probably see, this picture was taken from inside the snowcat, as Bison are tempermental and sometimes take exception to humans approaching them on foot.
Throughout Yellowstone Park the geography is highly variable, and as you can see, very rugged
The park covers an area of 3,472 square miles (8,987 sq km) that is made up of various geothermal features like geysers, as well as mountains, lakes, canyons, and rivers.
Did I mention our snow cat broke down? As you can see in this image , the track mechanism has completely sheared off from the drive axle.
They Sent out another Snowcat
Since the original Snowcat was going to require a new axle, the driver had radioed in and had the tour company send out a replacement snowcat. That was good news indeed, because as you can see, the snow and cold were not going to get better anytime soon.
Everyone is celebrating the new snow cat arrival, as we knew that it was going to be warm inside!
Moose'ly Montana Arts & Crafts Store
Located at the Gallatin Gateway, MT and a fun place to stop and get a drink and look at the locally created wares for sale.
And like all good vacations, this one came to an end and we flew back to Virginia. This was a fun trip, and we all came away with the feeling that Montana was a great place to recreate at. Not the altitude related issues you bump into in Colorado!
In fact, we liked it so much that we decided that we were going to go to Whitefish, MT at some future date.
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