Montana sure has a lot of BIG..BLUE SKY. And all those news clips of Denver drowning in snow would make you think the Rockies are currently a bright, white delight for skiers. NOT. Crystal Mountain has twice the base we met when we reached Big Sky (and Vail is fairing no better.) But thirteen SkiHawks, under the able leadership of Raunie Grottolo, hit the slopes at Big Sky with gusto anyway, January 27 through 31.

Al, the Iceman, Erlandsen won the prize for the most guts. He got off the tram at the top of Lone Peak, skied right past the sign that warned Slide for your life because of ice-covered runs and got to the bottom in good enough shape to tell about it. Other than that, the challenge for the group was to find the runs with the best snow, the tastiest meals, and most fun entertainment. (The Crazy Austrians win again!) And to have a great time in the process.

With snow conditions less than prime, Yellowstone National Park beckoned even more enticingly. The views were glorious and the wildlife plentiful. Frosty-coated bison, pairs of coyotes, trumpeter swans, and elk all made the trip magical for SkiHawks who ventured in via snow coach. Those who planned to snowshoe were told not to bother to put them on. Hiking boots and ski poles worked fine. The cross-country skiers were in for a treat when they had to navigate the ice-crusted boardwalks, but they pulled it off without falling into something hot and smelly, so it was all part of the fun.

It was sort of a family kind of trip. We celebrated Susan Becklund's birthday with Phillippe, a newfound friend from Brazil (who swore he was 24 but looked more like he was 12). We shared meals, colds and cold remedies, and names. ( Al..Al..un unh, Bob, Susan...Nope...Mary!)

Definitely a fun trip.                  
Submitted by Mary Lloyd

                                                                           Photo's courtesy of Susan Becklund