Lucky to Be a Local (ski when you want)

Recently I was reminded how lucky we are to live here. There was another ski area that was having a very busy day, and it looked a lot different than one of our busy days. Although a busy day may require a little more time to get here and get home, it is evident that we ski a lot more than skiers in some other places.

Man, do we ski a lot. For the past several years, we’ve broken our own records for vertical feet skied. Last year we skied a collective 2,138,088,989 feet! Part of that is we have more passholders than ever before, part of it is our passholders are awesome! Part of it is that it’s easy to get here and get as many laps in as you want. Even on the busy days, you may be slowed down a bit however you will eventually find your own nook on the mountain where you can get busy having fun.

Plus, if you are a passholder, you have the freedom to ski as much as you want, whenever you want. Some of you like to rise early and head up here before the lifts open so you can find parking and drink your coffee while you change into your boots. Some of you may have checked out breakfast at Ed & Mully’s. If you love it when someone else makes you a hearty breakfast, you need to check this out—biscuits & gravy, huckleberry pancakes, burritos and more—all BIG like the mountain. Breakfast is served from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday-Monday, and passholders receive 10% off.

My favorite part about breakfast at Ed & Mully’s is sitting at a window seat watching the skiers. It’s about 9:10 a.m. when the first skiers cruise down Heaven, Nice Day and Hellroaring racking up their first 1,110 feet of the day. I can often pick out a few I know for their vertical prowess.  Speaking of which, Fred Frost is leading the pack with 1,911,617 feet (as of Thursday, February 13), he hit one million in mid-January. More than two dozen passholders have hit the million feet mark with Randy Helgath, Jim Petersen, Susan Armstrong and John Gibson rounding out the top five. There’s still plenty of time to catch these guys, or your friends.

Another great way to catch up to or beat your vertical buddies is to start your weekend on a Friday. Leave work early enough to grab the last chair up to the summit to start your session with 2,004 feet of vertical. Then get your extra laps in on Chair 2 or 3 during Night Skiing—only three weekends left! On Saturday, feel free to sleep in, walk the dog, run a few errands and then head up to the slopes mid-afternoon when you can slip into someone else’s parking spot and avoid the 4 p.m. traffic while night skiing, or have a drink and eat a snack at Ed & Mully’s while listening to live music.

If your routine brings you here when everyone else likes to come, that’s okay too. It’s a lot more fun to do this with two or more of your favorite ski buddies. For those of you who have made a point to carpool this winter, we want to thank you. Remember you can park for FREE in the Dogwood Lot Friday-Saturday with three or more people in your vehicle.

Need some friends to carpool with up the mountain? What about your friends and family who didn’t get a pass? If you have yet to take advantage of your four $53 lift tickets for friends and family now through the rest of the season is a good time because there are no more blackout dates. If they are coming from out of town and you don’t have room for them, don’t forget you receive 20% off lodging. You could have them stay at your place and you can stay up here for a mini-vacation, just sayin’.

It’s good to remind ourselves that our daily lives are often the same as other people’s vacations. We get more freedom to choose what days we want to ski and for how long. Some years we get after it, racking up the vertical, or a certain number of days. Some will make it their mission to ski all 105 runs on the mountain. There are lots of ways to take advantage of living here.

There are a great many of you who have been doing this for years, decades even, and I wonder how many places can say that! There are also a lot of you who are new, new to the valley, new to the mountain and even new to the sport. You’ve realized that skiing and snowboarding are the best way to make the most of winter.

Being outside on a mountain getting exercise is a great way to beat the winter blues. Every year we get better at it too—and you feel the sense of accomplishment in skiing more challenging terrain and feeling strong while doing it. Which reminds me, we will offer more Adult Ski Clinics on February 29 and March 21 call 406-862-2900 option 2 to reserve your spot.

Mostly we’re lucky because we live in a beautiful place and we’ve found our tribe. Skiing is way more fun when it’s shared with friends. We’ve passed the halfway mark for this winter—go grab your friends or family and go ski more!