Spring Skiing, Big Sky Style

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Spring is in the air…well kind of.

March is upon us, and although in many regions this means that back yards will soon be turning green, Montanans are still seeing white. But for us, we know that means that it’s time for some of the best skiing in the Rockies.

While many spring breakers flock to warmer climates, ski conditions in Big Sky, Montana are at their prime. A typical day in March or April features bluebird skies, warmer temps, and soft snow. A lot of it…with a cushioned base from a winter’s worth of accumulation (91-inches and counting).

Here’s the lowdown on spring skiing, Big Sky style:

Spring Weather

From the top of Lone Peak, spring looks a lot different than it does in most parts of the country. For one, it’s snowfields and snow-covered peaks for as far as the eye can see.

Spring snowstorms are likely to keep coming, and in the Rockies more snow will fall on average during these one to two months than in any other time of the year. Between storms, days are often sunny and longer than they are in mid-winter (thanks to daylight savings), creating wetter and often carvier snow conditions from the heat build up in the snow packs.

And spring ski days tend to be warmer, with temperatures averaging 43°F.

Spring Snow

By March, the snowpack freezes at night and often softens up during the day, creating a batch of wetter snow. Skiers and snowboarders describe this as corn snow, mashed potatoes, cream cheese, and sand snow, depending on the exact makeup. Skis and snowboards grip, bend, and carve wonderfully atop of these types of snow, creating a rare flow of movement from turn to turn. And on a sun-filled afternoon, it can be pretty dreamy!

When skiing this type of spring snow, it’s important to remember that timing is everything. The best time to ski is from about 10 a.m., once it has softened up a bit in the sun, until closing. In the late afternoon, as the sun sinks, the process starts again in reverse and the slush turns back to “corn” before freezing.

Spring Skiing Tips

· Consider the strong sunshine and the sun’s reflection on the snow on these long, sunny days. Make sure to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.

· Layering is key for spring skiing! With good base layers and an outer layer, one can add or remove a mid-layer depending on the time of day (think about the snow corn freeze/melt cycle). And because of snow conditions, it’s a good idea to have a waterproof outer layer along with light, breathable waterproof gloves.

· Adjust your stance for the wetter spring snow. What this means is make sure to keep even weight on each foot in order to ski more solidly, especially when you go through the wetter spots.

· Make sure to get the appropriate wax for the spring snow to help you cruise.

Enjoy the spring skiing!

Property Roundup: Homes with Extraordinary Hot Tub Views

Having a hot tub in Big Sky is almost essential luxury; there’s nothing like returning home from a day on the slopes or on the hiking trails and relaxing in a therapeutic pool of bubbles. Having a hot tub with a view, however, lifts the luxury to a whole new level. In a setting as dynamic as Big Sky, where stunning peaks, fascinating wildlife, and the ever-changing colors of the sky provide near-constant delight, it makes sense to take it all in from your very own personal hot spot.

Here are some of Big Sky Sotheby’s current listings with to-die-for hot tub views:

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29 Peaks Views Drive

See the spectacular Spanish Peaks through old growth trees from a covered porch at this four-bedroom home in Moonlight Basin. Outfitted throughout with built-in works of art by Big Sky Carvers, the home also features an expansive rec room for kids of all ages, as well as an apartment above the garage, complete with kitchen and fireplace, for guests.

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10 Mountain Trail Road

This breathtaking Moonlight Basin log home is situated on 20 acres and just a short stroll from the serenity of Ulery’s Lakes. Two master suites on the first floor allow for easy, single-level living, while floor-to-ceiling fireplace and antique-style stoves in the raised kitchen lend ample warmth to this home’s open floor plan.

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4 Saddle Ridge Road

This cozy, convenient townhome offers a gorgeous view of Lone Peak and easy access to both Big Sky and Moonlight. Ski down to the Pony Express Lift or take a short stroll to the Lodge and hop on the Iron Horse Lift. Then return home for a soak on the patio hot tub overlooking countless fragrant pines.

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39 Homestead Cabin

This inviting, ski-in, ski-out cabin in the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club is adjacent to the Tom Weiskopf Golf Course. Spacious and beautifully designed with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, and stainless steel appliances, this home features an outdoor fireplace on its private deck in addition to the private hot tub.

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2224 Beaver Creek Road

This is the quintessential log home in Montana nestled in the woods with beautiful views of the Spanish Peaks on 20 horse friendly acres. Fabulous outdoor entertaining spaces include a screened in porch and large deck where you can spot local elk herds from your hot tub.

Roundup: Big Sky’s Slope Side Après Ski

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After the energetic hours on the sun- or snow-filled slopes, it’s heavenly to spend some time sipping a drink or two at one of Big Sky’s après ski watering holes. Skiers (and non-skiers) can unwind, get cozy, soak up the sun from a patio or rooftop, enjoy live music, and try some of the Treasure State’s most innovative beverages at these popular hideaways. With a variety of enticing après ski options in Big Sky, it’s tempting to get the actual skiing out of the way in a hurry and experience the refreshment, camaraderie, and fun that follows at any one of these spots, right off the slopes.

Scissorbills – This lively ski-in/ski-out bar and eatery offers tasty appetizers to accompany its cocktails or micro-brews, and live après ski music every Saturday & Sunday. Located in the Big Sky Mountain Village, in the Arrowhead Mall (next to the Summit Hotel).

Whiskey Jack’s – Skiers in need of a boost should try the Challenger Coffee at this warm and welcoming spot just beneath the Swift Current Lift in the Mountain Mall—the perfect post-ski preparation for a night of fun. Also Southwestern foods and live après ski music.

The Carabineer – Regular live après ski music, appetizers, and an extensive wine list, cocktails, and micro-brews in a more intimate setting at the base of Ramcharger in the lobby of the Summit Hotel.

The Jack Creek Bar – Lux environs, plush seats, great views of Lone Peak, and an enormous stone fireplace lend this bar in the Moonlight Basin Lodge a regal, lodgey vibe. Try on of their made-from-scratch cocktails, or enjoy a warm beverage on the deck on a sunny day.

Chet’s – Ski right to the door for après ski drink specials, tasty bar food appetizers, and live entertainment in the Huntley Lodge, right off of the sunken lobby.

The Cabin – Enjoy après ski/happy hour drinks and a laid back, small bar atmosphere, or stay for a delicious dinner. Located in the Big Sky Mountain Village, in the Arrowhead Mall (next to the Summit Hotel).

Roundup: Big Sky’s Slope Side Après Ski

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After the energetic hours on the sun- or snow-filled slopes, it’s heavenly to spend some time sipping a drink or two at one of Big Sky’s après ski watering holes. Skiers (and non-skiers) can unwind, get cozy, soak up the sun from a patio or rooftop, enjoy live music, and try some of the Treasure State’s most innovative beverages at these popular hideaways. With a variety of enticing après ski options in Big Sky, it’s tempting to get the actual skiing out of the way in a hurry and experience the refreshment, camaraderie, and fun that follows at any one of these spots, right off the slopes.
Scissorbills – This lively ski-in/ski-out bar and eatery offers tasty appetizers to accompany its cocktails or micro-brews, and live après ski music every Saturday & Sunday. Located in the Big Sky Mountain Village, in the Arrowhead Mall (next to the Summit Hotel).

Whiskey Jack’s – Skiers in need of a boost should try the Challenger Coffee at this warm and welcoming spot just beneath the Swift Current Lift in the Mountain Mall—the perfect post-ski preparation for a night of fun. Also Southwestern foods and live après ski music.

The Carabineer – Regular live après ski music, appetizers, and an extensive wine list, cocktails, and micro-brews in a more intimate setting at the base of Ramcharger in the lobby of the Summit Hotel.

The Jack Creek Bar – Lux environs, plush seats, great views of Lone Peak, and an enormous stone fireplace lend this bar in the Moonlight Basin Lodge a regal, lodgey vibe. Try on of their made-from-scratch cocktails, or enjoy a warm beverage on the deck on a sunny day.

Chet’s – Ski right to the door for après ski drink specials, tasty bar food appetizers, and live entertainment in the Huntley Lodge, right off of the sunken lobby.

The Cabin – Enjoy après ski/happy hour drinks and a laid back, small bar atmosphere, or stay for a delicious dinner. Located in the Big Sky Mountain Village, in the Arrowhead Mall (next to the Summit Hotel).

The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center: March 2014 Shows

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Big Sky Sotheby’s Internationally Realty is the official sponsor for the The Arts Council of Big Sky’s March 28 event Crawfish and Cornbread at Warren Miller Performing Arts Center’s (WMPAC). But WMPAC is featuring shows throughout March, and tickets are going fast!

A Ukrainian pianist who is known to “Set the keys on fire,” a Poetry Slam coupled with an award-winning singer songwriter, an evening with composer Aaberg and his original WMPAC commissioned piece and a composer, performer and engaging speaker from Stanford University. These electrifying performances are all taking place in March 2014, concluding the debut season of Big Sky’s Warren Miller Performing Arts Center (WMPAC). With a winter season of sold out shows, these tickets are on sale now online at http://www.warrenmillerpac.org/, and going fast.

Poetry Slam – As the poet laureate, David Mason is attempting to visit local communities for readings, each time recruiting local poets to the stage alongside him. “I go into a community where people might tell me that poetry never interested them, they didn’t have it in school, they were always afraid of it, something of that nature,” Mason explains. “And they respond to it very positively.” Mason’s visit to WMPAC on March 8 will include surprise local guests—including our state’s own Poet Laureate, Tami Haaland–along with a perspective-shifting talk about words with the award-winning songwriter and performer Martha Scanlan.

Montana Music – Three of Montana’s most preeminent musicians are performing at WMPAC March 19 for a one-of-a-kind-evening. Composer Aaberg will premiere his original WMPAC commissioned piece performed by violinist Angella Ahn, cellist Mike Reynolds and Aaberg on piano. “As a Performing Arts Center we have an obligation to highlight our local performers,” says WMPAC artistic director John Zirkle. “And as it happens our local performers are also internationally-known musicians.”

Ahn, a teacher at MSU has been featured in Time, People and on TED with her sisters, who together make up the Ahn Trio. Aaberg, a native Montanan, is an Emmy-nominated composer and performer for Windham Hill and Sweetgrass Music. Reynolds, a Grammy Nominee, is a member of the Muir Quartet, and internationally renowned composer and performer in his own right. The Big Sky Commission is graciously sponsored by Martel Construction, Inc.

Crawfish & Cornbread – Join the Arts Council of Big Sky as they bring New Orleans to Big Sky for second annual fundraiser gala on Friday, March 28, at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. This will be truly a magical night of food, art and music, graciously sponsored by Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty!

The evening begins at 5 p.m., when six Montana artists will grace the WMPAC stage while they “quick finish” their work. Confirmed artists include painters Todd Connor, Tom Gilleon, Shirley Wempner, Laurie Stevens, Tom English, as well as sculptor Greg Woodard. They will complete their work and then it will be auctioned off in an exciting live auction with acclaimed auctioneer Emory Sanders.

New Orleans Cajun food will be provided by Buck’s T-4 from 5-7 p.m., at which time the auction will start. After the auction you can enjoy live jazz from renowned singer Eden Atwood and the Glen Johnston Swing Band–a nine-piece band that will fill the theater with jazz standards and originals. Eden has performed all over the world sharing bills with Gene Harris, Joshua Redman and the Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band. She has been featured on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland and Ms. McPartland appears on three tracks of Eden’s CD There Again. Starbucks Coffee, Eddie Bauer and Brooks Brothers have all put tracks of Eden’s on their compilation CDs along side Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Nancy Wilson.

Frontiers of Music – An engaging speaker, composer, performer and Stanford University professor, Mark Applebaum garnered nearly half a million views during a TED talk when he provocatively declared that Beethoven is “boring.” In his WMPAC address on March 29, Applebaum will explore what he calls the “frontiers of music” as he explores the “sound world” and the role of the inventor/composer.  In the past, he has demonstrated music made by cutting carrots and sawing wood, the silent music of conductors with no musicians and much more.

WMPAC, a 280-seat venue, has been featuring an exciting line-up of national and international acts in the town of Big Sky throughout the 2014 winter season, ranging from The Portland Cello Project to the Moth Mainstage. And so far, all performances have been sold out. Each show features custom hors d’oeuvres catered by Bucks T-4 and a cash bar. Tickets for shows range from $15-$45, with options for budget, general and premium seating, available through the WMPAC website (http://www.warrenmillerpac.org/). Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Lodging is available at a number of outlets throughout Big Sky (advance reservations are recommended) for the optimum ski/culture weekend.

Buy your tickets for March 2014 performances at WMPAC before they sell out. For more information and/or tickets, go to http://www.warrenmillerpac.org/.