It must have been a Thursday. The temperature was brisk, the powder deep. I remember the crispness of the air and how the chill tickled my nose. My breath was visible as I lingered on the crest of Thunder for a moment. The trees looked like ghosts, every branch and needle enveloped by ice crystals. The cold had turned the snow to the consistency
of sugar. Off in the distance, the view was familiar: a snowy
road wound its way into Idaho. The mountains, layer upon
layer to the horizon, met a perfect blue sky. Montana to the left and Idaho to the right.

I gave myself a little pep talk as I watched my mom, my partner in crime that day, fly past. One last deep breath, and I was off, moving through the snow, turn by turn, without effort. Untouched powder underfoot, I was suspended; nothing held me back, a feather on a breeze. In my periphery, I caught a glimpse of my mom, poaching powder in the trees – her favorite place to ski. “Woohoo!” she shouted, carefree. I felt infected by her lighthearted spirit. This was the beginning of another transcendent day at Lost Trail Powder Mountain.

I grew up skiing Lost Trail. From snowplow to ski instructor, it has always been, and will always be, my home mountain. For eight weeks, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through eighth grade, the Wisdom Elementary PE program gave us Friday afternoons to ski at Lost Trail. In high school I worked as a ski instructor, which meant I was on the mountain every weekend all season. College took me to Bozeman, five hours from home. I majored in architecture and skied Bridger Bowl, Big Sky and Moonlight Basin.

After receiving my Masters degree in architecture, I was ready for a new experience, something far from the familiar. Ambition for something new took me to the east coast, and Washington, D.C. A new city with new people was exciting and different, and I remember the exhilaration of the metro and finding my way around the city. In time, the mountains of Montana and the slopes of Lost Trail called me back home just in time for ski season to start.

In my 22 years on skis, I have been fortunate to ski Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, but I still call Lost Trail my mountain. I love the terrain and the incredible snow conditions. I always feel welcome here. At LT, it doesn’t matter what you ski, where you’re from, or who you know. Coming back to the Big Hole Valley and skiing Lost Trail has been a breath of fresh air. Knowing I can always come back gives me confidence to let life take me where it will. I love this place.

On skis by age three, Ali Havig grew up in Wisdom, Montana, and the slopes of Lost Trail. She and her mother, Diane, just re-opened The Crossing Bar and Grill at Fetty’s. If you’re in Wisdom, Montana, stop by for a delicious meal.