A Glide Big Sky group last winter. Typically, at least three people attend each Wednesday. PHOTO COURTESY OF MACKENZIE JOHNSON

Glide Big Sky back for year two

Learn the trails, make some friends

Glide Big Sky kicks off its second season on Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. meeting at the Community Park. Every two weeks, the program will visit different Big Sky trails.

“It’s to encourage visitors, locals, really anyone in the community, to explore our trail system with an experienced guide,” Mackenzie Johnson, program manager with the Big Sky Community Organization (BSCO), said.

Glide Big Sky is the winter series, sponsored by Visit Big Sky (VBS) and Lone Mountain Ranch (LMR), that pairs with the summer series, Hike Big Sky.

“The winter version is really to encourage people to meet others at the same ability level as they are and to also explore the trails,” Johnson said. She went on to explain that if one is unfamiliar with a trail, it can be more intimidating to explore on skis than on foot. Glide Big Sky’s guide helps ease that discomfort and provides participants with knowledge of what is to come on the trials.

Pointers are given through the approximately two-hour tour. Johnson explained cross-country skiing is really about moving from the hips and keeping the upper body stable. Using poles properly and pushing from the balls of the feet to propel forward are also key components.

Beyond learning about the trail systems, the other element of the program is similar to a club—participants meet others at a similar ability level, learn how to navigate the trails and can eventually go out together on their own.

“I love the Glide program because it’s a local program. It seems like mostly locals come but we also have people from away,” Laurie Spence, who has worked at the LMR Nordic Center for 21 years, said.

Spence goes to every Glide event she can and likes meeting locals she may not have while working at the Nordic Center. Additionally, her experience lets her give some tips along the way or help others with their gear.

Glide Big Sky participants are asked to provide their own gear and understand basic cross-country skiing principals, mainly how to stop. Cross-country ski rentals are available at multiple outdoor recreation spots in town including Grizzly Outfitters, LMR, Gallatin Alpine Sports and East Slope Outdoors.

Glide Big Sky is free to the public, but donations are welcome, and funds received go back to BSCO’s parks and trails.

Jan. 20 will host the Trails to Tavern course—skiing from the Crail Ranch Museum to Horn & Cantle, where beverages may be purchased and enjoyed by the outdoor fireplace. Other dates and corresponding trail systems may be found on BSCO’s website under programs.

More Information

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