Category Archives: Fall

Off Season in Big Sky

Off-season is upon us here in Big Sky. After the chairs stop spinning at Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin, tourist traffic slows, seasonal employees vanish, and locals travel. Big Sky becomes a mellow hideaway. Some associate off-season with desolation and chaotic weather, but it’s an incredible time of year.

At Grizzly Outfitters, we pack up our ski rental fleet and set up our bike and fly shops. We mark down our winter gear and set up for summer. Locals hit the backcountry, or voyage to warmed climes to hike, bike, climb, surf, etc. I took my boys for a week of camping in Southern Utah. We biked the Slickrock Trail, jumped off hidden waterfalls, and climbed on the Swiss cheese rocks at the San Rafael Swell. It could not have been a more perfect getaway.

Mother Nature has been treating us to wonderful weather since our return. We’ve gotten enough moisture to help the gardens grow, but enough sun to draw us outside. Right now, my purple hyacinths and daffodils are bursting. It’s time to rake the yard and check the sprinklers – but, I probably won’t (sorry neighbors).

As you may know, Grizzly has a full-service fly shop and guide service. I’ve made it out for a couple floats on the legendary Yellowstone River. I stripped my first streamer, and caught my first decent Montana native cutthroat trout. Our guides are busy already, and it’s going to be a great summer. Stay tuned for gear reviews, casting clinic and demo information, as well as our area fishing report.

Back in the shop, we’re geared up for summer. We’ve received most of our 2013 summer clothing and gear. Our buyers have picked out some gorgeous clothing, so keep an eye on our Facebook page to check them out.

I got my bike tuned and have been hitting local trails to whip myself back into shape. The snow has melted from the lower elevation trails in Big Sky. To celebrate Mothers Day, I met up with a bunch of friends for a great early season ride up the Buck Ridge Road, and down the Doe Creek trail. It was a great ride and great company. On the ascent, we came upon grizzly bear tracks up the center of the trail. Remember, bear spray season is here, so don’t forget yours as you explore around Big Sky.

Considering we had a group of 12, we forged on until we hit snow. The cruisy downhill was a blast, and the beers at The Corral were cold as usual. Our bike shop is up and running. We’re planning to bring back Grizzly’s weekly mountain bike ride, and some basic bike repair clinics. Have you ever used a chain tool on the trail?

As you know (hopefully), Grizzly Outfitters has an expert boot fitting staff. We can also help you find the perfect fit for your summer footwear. Our state-of-the-art custom Amfit footbeds can also be used in slippers, sneakers, hiking boots, or almost any shoes you want to feel great. I put my extra pair in my roller skates. They’re performing incredibly.

This morning, I went for a run and let the dogs splash in the river. When I was just about to head to the shop, Marc Lange (our magical bootfitter and bike repair geek) told me that our long-time rep from Kona Bikes was in town. I figured the only polite thing to do was join them on a bike ride.

Trying to keep up with Kevin and Marc was a challenge, but the only way to get stronger is to ride, right? We laughed, we cried (not really), we talked bikes. I stumbled into an incredible day during off-season.

AAAhhhh, Montana

A chill is in the air, in Big Sky, Montana. The hot summer of 2012 has given way to frosty mornings, but winter isn’t quite here yet. September is a glorious month. The chilly mornings turn into warm afternoons perfect for hiking, biking, fishing, golfing – whatever! The kids are back in school, the tourist season is slowing, and the trout are hungry again. Ahhhh, Montana.

August was another hot and dry month overall. The Pine Creek and Millie Creek fires devastated their areas. Big Sky was relatively smoke-free, compared to the Bozeman area, but still suffered smoky days due to other fires burning to the west. Our thoughts are with those who were affected by the wildfires. The firefighters and others who help are true heroes.

I avoided some of the smoke when returned to my birthplace in upstate New York. When I visit New York, I’m always surprised by the water that seems to hang in the air. The lush growth, hot nights, and cadent crickets make me feel like a kid again. But it also recalls memories of wet, cold, cloudy winters. The dry cold of a Montana seems friendly when compared to an ice storm. Yes, Big Sky has also spoiled me with its fluffy powder and blue bird days. I dearly miss my friends and family back east, but when it comes to skiing Big Sky, Montana is hard to beat.

I guess it’s obvious I’ve been obsessing about ski season already! The new winter gear and clothing has been pouring in at Grizzly Outfitters. It makes it difficult to resist sneaking out of the office to try on clothes and bend skis. Of course, I do need to check out the merchandise for marketing purpose, right? Our customers near and far, need to know this information!

I finally took the plunge and bought a jacket I have been eying for a while – The Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket. It’s a great all-around piece, great for layering or on its own. It’s filled with just the right amount of premium 800-fill goose down to make it a useful coat in warmer temperatures. The shell is a special edition nylon that is half the weight and twice as strong as Patagonia’s other down fabrics! It will fit perfectly under my ski jacket!

I know, I know, I am jumping the gun as far as ski season is concerned. September is my secret favorite month of “summer” here in Big Sky. The days are delightful and the perfect temperature for getting active outdoors. The nights are cool and perfect for campfires, hot tubs and sleeping. The aspens are turning gold, and the willows into their autumn wine color. The smell of wood stoves burning lingers in the night air. A bear swats my grill of the back deck, and a mother moose tries to trample my dog. Ahhhh, Big Sky. I love this place.