Aerial view of Big Mtn. Ski Area
Subject: Big Mountain Rally Report
People refer to the state of Montana as "Big Sky Country" but for the last two days of the ski season at Big Mountain they could have called it "Low Sky Country." Both mornings saw heavy cloud cover which extended nearly half way down the side of the mountain.
It wasn't nearly enough to deter the five skibike riders who came to test the hill. These hardy sportsmen took advantage of the $10 lift tickets (a season-ending offer by the resort) and rode through the fog that turned into sleet and then to snow. By mid day Saturday, the cloud cover started to lift and people could see the likes of Ron Mickleberry (Wash.), Dave "Gonzo" Gonzalez (Calif.) and Jeff Crocker (Mont.) flying down the most challenging runs.
Fred Petersen (Ariz.) was there too, but after getting in some good runs during the morning he stopped to help out his friend Chris Piper from Canada. Fred had done some work on a Ludwig skibike Chris had bought but never ridden. This was his first chance to test it out so he came down from Edmonton to meet Fred at the rally.
Some other Canadian skibike riders were supposed to be there but apparently there was some difficulty with "metric calendars" and none of them showed up.
On Sunday, Big Mountain was socked in by clouds again. As a group, the four out-of-state riders tried to make the most of the fresh snow and did a bit of racing on some of the steeper slopes. A run called "Moe-Mentum" was emerging as a favorite. On the lower part of the run some skibikes were seen catching some air while going over a few bumps.
The weekend ended too soon and should have seen more skibikes on the mountain but those who attended the rally did a good job representing the sport and showing interested onlookers just how much fun skibike riding can be.
Subject: 2002 Ski Bike Rally
Here's how it went down:
I was the 'lone local' and the "rookie." We had a great day Saturday. I wasn't, unfortunately, able to atttend on Sunday, due to other commitments. The weather was rather typical of a day in
'February' rather than that of a typical April day. Any other year we would have been in shirt sleeves and wearing sunscreen. As is customary in Montana, we had all 'four seasons' in one day. We had some sun, sleet, snow, "FOG", ice, slush and cheap tickets. Big Mountain is locally known as "Fog Mountain." Our other ski area in the valley (Blacktail Mtn.) was basking in clear visibility! The usual.
As I was saying, we had a great day! We all met on the hill about 10:00. It was myself, Fred Peterson, Ron Mickleberry, Dave Gonzales (Gonzo) and a Big Mtn. instructor (Brett) at first. We started with a 'check ride' and couple hour tour of some of the more familiar runs on the mountain. About noon, Brett left and I hosted the rest of the day. We broke for lunch around 1:00 and at that time, Chris from Edmonton arrived. Fred took him under his wing for the rest of the day. Gonzo, Ron and I hooked up with a couple of young Mountain employees who were out testing the rental bikes for the first time that afternoon. We did a widespread and varied tour of some 'new' runs that Î suggested to the gang. One of them was on the back side of the mountain which included a 'fun park' consisting of obstacles designed for snowboarders. We also skiied a 'washout' known to my friends as "the Gully" and to others as the "Gorge."
Finally, around 4:30 we all ran out of 'gas' and lifts to ride and had to pack it in. We ended the day tired and happy. I think most of the crew had the opportunity to watch the "furniture" race on chair three at 5:00.
All in all it was a fun experience and I made some great friends. Thanks for including me guys!
The 2002 Ski-Bike Rally was held on April 6 & 7, at Big Mountain Resort, near Whitefish, in northern Montana.
Riders from distant lands like Arizona and California made the long journey north to the Canadian border for the gathering of brothers. Hands were shaken, runs were shared, and though they were small in number, a grand time was had by all. Promises were made.. We shall meet again..
From left: Chris Piper, Fred Petersen,