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Big Sky, Montana

Date: Jan 31-Feb 7, 2015
Trip Leader: John Kelly
Trip Assistant: Raghu Naik

On Saturday our group headed out to Newark Airport for a trip to one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Big Sky has been calling the Holmdel Ski Club for a while now, and finally we were headed its way. We had a 9 AM non-stop flight from Newark to Bozeman. Ah, but first, we have to deal with the Newark Airport rumors of a baggage employee strike, which explained the really long lines at check-in. Plus, a special agent was needed to approved each ski bag and boot bag as one piece of baggage. (Note: With the rise of many airlines using kiosks to enter your baggage info, the special equipment policy of skis/boots counting as 1 bag but requiring 2 bag tags is executed as an agent override, which doesn't work well with the self-service kiosk approach. A quicker strategy is to check your skis but carry on your boots)  Some boots and some skis didnít make it on our flight into Bozeman. We had a nice bright and short ride down to Big Sky and the Huntley Lodge. Our group increased to 41 when we were joined by the members flying from Florida and California.

At the Huntley Lodge we had a nice reception and passed out the lift tickets, Our members enjoyed the features of the Huntley, Great buffet breakfast and breakfast views and a lovely lobby where we had several club get-togethers. The Ski Valet at the base of the lift and the slope side location made this great lodging.

On Sunday we were all off to a large mountain where our members enjoyed the diversity of uncrowded terrain that included bowls, trees, wide-open slopes, and cliffs. Locals told us the snow was not its typical depth for February, and on one of the guided trips someone found a stone under their ski. However, there was so much great terrain and many powder stashes that nobody worried about a few bare spots. The Big Sky lifts converged to a few central areas where we often ran into other Club members, making this resort an excellent location for socializing. Plus we were able to go from one side of the mountain to the other with ease.

On Wednesday a super caldera, one of the worldís largest volcanoes, called out to us. Most of us gathered up and headed to Yellowstone. At Yellowstone, we boarded two snow coaches; Private automobiles are not allowed in the park during winter. The bison were wandering towards the grass near the boundary, and along with the elk, were all very close to us. Not sure if any of the elusive gray wolves were spotted. Indeed winter in Yellowstone is very different. Very quiet with just a few two legged pests wandering around. The lodge at Old Faithful was busier than Old Faithful itself. Our guide told us there were other eruptions that were more faithful. We all had a nice long day of nature. Unfortunately we had one over crowded coach that also ended up having some major mechanical issues. That gave all of us some time to be with each other, generating laughs, irritation and overall, experiencing life.  A fairly long delay later, we got back to the comfort of the Huntley.

After several more days of wonderful skiing, large bountiful breakfasts, pools and hot tubs, and socializing, we were ready to head back home.  We had a record 11 guests of members who became members themselves. Departure time was late enough for us to enjoy one more large breakfast.

John and Raghu thank all of our trip participants for a fun trip and we look forward to sharing another skiing experience with you in the future.

 

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