Cross Country Skiing

Clear frosty nights are the prelude to wonderful snowy days to come. The winter storms will be coming soon and I want to be ready for the ski season. Being out on the snow is seductive and addictive. I feel compelled, almost possessed to take advantage of the cold smoke that Big Sky receives, whether downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing. My passion, though, is really on my cross country skis gliding through the forests around Big Sky’s Lone Mountain Ranch and Yellowstone National Park.

My skis are talking to me and as I scrape off the summer wax and I think about silently gliding through the snow laden trees on Walkin’ Jim’s Way, my favorite groomed cross country ski trail at Lone Mountain Ranch. Following the North Fork creek up toward the Spanish Peaks, the trail meanders along through dense forests and small open meadows.  The bright sunlight glows off the ridgelines of the Spanish Peaks and makes the snow twinkle like diamonds. Often I follow the tracks of a moose who takes advantage of the groomed trail for easier walking than the deeper snow off to the side. It’s fun to see where it decides to take a nap under the comfort of a fir bough.  I often wonder how many times I have passed one who is perfectly camouflaged in the shadows of the trees.

A bench is waiting for me in a sunny meadow where I stop for a snack and some water.  The bench also signals where the trail heads downhill back to the Ranch.  I’m going to add a layer and get ready for the fun, twisty-turny run down. It’s an exhilarating step, turning around the corners & gathering as much speed as I can handle, tucking as I go.  My eyes watering from the wind, stresses clearing from my mind, I am in the zone. Another perfect day cross country skiing!