It’s late Friday evening and my fourth day back on the snow is over. Starting to get a bit tired and my knee is swelling up a bit in the area just above the kneecap. It’s a bit soft and pudgy, so there is some fluid there but it’s not hurting so no big deal. I was getting tired up there today though.
My exploration of this amazing mountain continues. Yesterday in the afternoon a big storm came in and started dumping corn snow followed by a vicious wind. Going up in the chair was like being blasted in the face with small, stinging shotgun pellets. I had to bury my face in the crook of my arm and bend over in the chair. It really hurt and was coming in sideways. Despite the storm, I decided to explore the eastern part of the resort and ended up at the bottom of the Iron Horse Quad after a long traverse in the blizzard. This is the area known as Moonlight Basin. It used to be a completely separate resort but was purchased some time ago by Big Sky and incorporated into their infrastructure.
Just as I arrived at the Iron Horse lift there was an enormous crack of thunder, really ear splitting and they immediately closed the lift. In fact they closed every lift on the mountain. There was nothing for it but to head into Moonlight Lodge and sit in the lounge with all the other punters who immediately proceeded to get pissed. I waited and watched NFL football highlights on TV. Not so bad.
About half an hour later the storm started to abate and I noticed the lift had started so I zoomed up Iron Hose as quick as I could. To my astonishment it was covered with about 4 inches of fresh snow and I had it completely to myself. I was completely alone up there making fresh tracks in the snow on the Powder River run. Then the wind dropped and it got very calm. A chipmunk ran out of the trees and seemed surprised to see me there. We stood looking at each other for awhile before he skipped away, with his tail bobbing. Beautiful moment.
I never saw anyone else and the snow was fresh. I had three runs where the only person on the lift was me and the only tracks up there were mine. Complete stillness. Complete silence. Just me and the chipmunk. It was one of those mountain experiences you never forget. Wish I’d had someone to share it with. Soon all the punters realised the lift was going and the storm had dropped and stumbled out of the pub. But for them it was too late. There were three sets of tracks up there. Powder River run on Iron Horse. Excellent. That was yesterday.
After all the excitement, had a decent night’s sleep last night and decided to go and tackle this mountain in a serious way today. Knee was a bit stiff to start with and fluid is developing on the right hand side above the kneecap. I had a lot of oedema in that location after surgery. Never mind, it’s not hurting.
Spent the morning on the Lone Tree Quad doing the single blacks into the Lone Peak Bowl. Got more and more confident as the morning wore on. Went back over to Moonlight Basin again and did a couple of hours on the Elkhorn which is a beautiful long black run. Not game to tackle the double blacks yet, but I’m getting there, certainly getting to know this lovely, lonely, big mountain.
Had to come in early as I was bidding over the phone for a property at Manly. Phil Thomas was on the phone for me but it went just a bit high. I was exhausted at the end of it and a bit disappointed as I’d done so much work on it. Maybe I should forget about Manly and buy a house up here in the mountains in Montana. It would certainly be cheaper.