Last weekend, we drove a few hours east to join friends on skis. It’s always a haul getting on the road for our clan, so I’ll withhold the predictable details. The thing is: we get on the road a lot and we are always “behind schedule.” But really, truly I know we are always just right on time.
Andy is out of town for the week, working in Condon, Montana. He’s staying in a cabin somewhere with no phone service. Last night, he found a phone and we talked for a minute, right before I sunk our sharpest knife straight through my left thumb nail while chopping an onion. I dropped to my knees in pain, which my kids have never seen. They sprung into triage. Margot wetted a towel and fetched the essential oils, Ruby got the bandaids. They hugged my legs while I tried to hold it together — both my digit and psyche. Today, I am better.
The bags from last weekend’s road trip still sit in the hallway. As a general rule, we don’t unpack. We just dig out what was packed until satchels are empty. Sometimes I wish that was different but I’m mostly ok with choosing anything but unpacking.
It’s such a different thing this year, the skiing. For the last many years, I’ve skied with a kid on my back, taking lots of breaks. It’s been more about the outing than the activity. This was intentional as Andy and I really have one goal for outdoor adventure with our kids: FUN. We figure if it is always fun, it always will be.
This year, our kids ski, both of them. Run after run. They ski. Confident and excited. I remember those first feelings of flying across snow away from my parents. Andy remembers it too. Skiing was a big part of our childhoods and to share that history and passion with our kids feels really, really great.
Last weekend we skied at Big Sky. The hill recently joined forces with their neighboring hill, Moonlight Basin. Now the resort is even more huge and awesome. They kindly gave me a pass to check out the area with my family. We have skied there many times in the past but this was the first time with our two kids, with all four of us on skis.
We are impressed with Big Sky’s friendliness and accessibility — the mountain offers something for all abilities and interests from steep, ungroomed terrain to tons of fun, wide open cruisers. Big Sky is an awesomely unique environment: It feels very professional and glossy yet also very down-home Montana. And it’s just so flipping gorgeous.
My friend and I went to the SnoBar to meet up with the Big Sky employee I’d emailed with the last few weeks. We didn’t know what it was; she’d told us to follow the music. When we arrived, we were gobsmacked by the big city, cozy feel of the whole thing. Also, the woman we were to find met us with a hug and a beer. It was instantly awesome. Set on the ski hill with walls made of snow, they’d created an entire room with a bar made of snow, a dj dressed in silver, snow bunnies dancing on platforms, colored lasers, a smoke machine and rainbow LED batons. We may have seen a unicorn jumping over the moon.
On our way to the SnoBar, we shared a shuttle with a group of young guys. My friend, the perfect American Ambassador, immediately struck up a warm conversation with them. We discovered they were from Kuwait, living in Bozeman. Caroline asked the question she always asks, teach me something in your language. Her brain holds conversational tidbits from all over the world. Ajeeb was the word they taught us. It means fantastic! superb! happy! In that five minute ride we also learned their mom is Mexican. Caroline is fluent in Spanish so the shuttle lit up with conversation. I had no idea what they were saying but it didn’t matter. I got it.
- Big Sky Resort
- We stayed with our friends at a cabin they rent every year. Here is a link to the lodging options on the hill. Our friends usually book through Expedia. I did learn, however, that if you book through the resort, you get additional benefits like free skiing for kids under 10, deals and discounts at area businesses and free post-ski childcare in the village.
- If you are a resident of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, North Dakota, or South Dakota, you can get a discounted daily ski pass. Click here for the coupon.
- The SnoBar happens a few times every year.
- Our kids’ current favorite road trip phone app: Letter School.
- We stopped in Bozeman on the way home and had lunch at Starky’s. It was fantastic: great, fresh food and friendly service.
- Whenever we are traveling along that stretch of I-90 we stop at Wheat Montana in Three Forks where we purchase bulk items farmed right there. Specifically, we buy pinto beans, kamut, white flour and oats.
I’m working on a post answering your questions about skiing with kids. Do you have a question or thought? Share in the comments here!
I skied compliments of Big Sky Resort. All the thoughts and opinion in this post are my own.
I love it!! The unpacking part, there is always a partially filled suitcase sitting in my bedroom, I too do not like to unpack and will dig through it until it empties. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now but have never commented before. I really enjoy keeping up with it, your beautiful pictures and lovely family. I’ve always wanted to visit Montana, have gotten to North Dakota, Wyoming, and Canada but have never made it to Montana except skirting the edge of it when visiting Yellowstone…one day!