Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ski trip

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus from blogging. Just a few days after settling back in at home, I was on a plane again for a week-long ski trip in Montana with my dad and sister. I hope that inches of powder and a total lack of lift lines will suffice as passable excuses for the absence.

Rarely on a ski trip are we so fortunate as to get fresh snow from day one. Usually, we seem to get one good dumping towards the end of the trip. This, time, however, it snowed for the first two days and nights. One of the greatest aspects of Big Sky, Montana is that it is near essentially nothing. While most ski resorts in Colorado are in driving range of Denver, or most in Utah of Salt Lake City, Big Sky is about as remote as it gets. For the powder obsessed, "no lift lines" are words to die for. There are no friends on a powder day.

As great as the skiing was, after day three we decided to try a new activity to break up our seven-day stay: cross country skiing. Having never ventured into this realm of snow-related antics before, we signed up for a morning lesson at the local Nordic center. In surprisingly little time, we were off and skating, and spent the rest of the day exploring some of the 100 km of trails the center had to offer. While by no means experts, and certainly not yet Olympians, we had it down well enough to enjoy a hard day of aerobically taxing adventures. Excessive amounts of pizza were in order.

The rest of the trip went much of the same way. Two more days of downhill on our still-deserted mountain, followed by one more day of cross country out in West Yellowstone on Friday, where we once again flogged ourselves for hours as we explored one of the nation's most prized national parks. After a 16 km ski, we had built up quite the appetite. While burgers and pulled pork did the job of satiating or hunger pangs, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly this:

The Lone Peak Brewery sampler. A beer rack built of two sawed-off skis, the sampler consists of 10 4 oz. samples of the beer currently on tap at the brewery, which brews all of its own, well, brews on site. From left to right you have: 1) Nordic Blonde 2) Headplant Pale Ale 3) Hellroaring ESB 4) Lone Peak IPA 5) Buck Snort Porter 6) Hippy Highway Oatmeal Stout 7) Swiftwater Pilsner 8) Wit's End Belgian White Ale 9) Steep n' Deep Winter Ale 10) Bourbon Barrel Stout.
The favorites were numbers 4, 6, 9, and 10. The oatmeal stout and bourbon stout were particularly interesting, and by the time we got half way through the bourbon stout, it tasted a whole lot more like bourbon than it did stout.

Back home now, I am literally snowed in. I got in a ride this morning before and during the start of the the massive snowstorm that has now delivered well more than a half foot of white and fluffy to our doorstep, but I have a feeling that will be the last for a least a few days as the storm rages on tomorrow. Forecasts have projected as much as a foot and half. Sadly, that probably means hitting the trainer for the first time since June, when I got all the practice I will ever need at getting through indoor workouts. Let the Food Network marathon commence.

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