By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

It’s that time of year again at Big Sky Resort, when the days are longer, the snow cornier and the jumps dummy-er.

On Saturday, March 29, the 11th annual Dummy Jump returns to the resort. It’s a contest of cunning, skill and something that resembles an “organic life form,” according to official rules.

Where else can you see a cow flying through the air on skis?

Grab your pals, a bunch of cardboard, some glue and perhaps some pyrotechnics and assemble a dummy for the ages. Dummies, which must be manageable by no more than two people, are judged on creativity, amplitude, form, sturdiness and best eruption on impact.

“It’s a safe way to watch some great carnage and have a lot of fun,” said Sheila Chapman, the resort’s public relations manager. “It’s that idea of getting some friends together and seeing what they can build with their imaginations.”

Andrew Schreiner, co-owner of Grizzly Outfitters in Town Center, has the only dummy that’s competed every year. Named Sweet Thing, Schreiner’s dummy is made of steel and variations of her design have won three years in the past 10, including the contest’s inaugural year in 2003.

Sweet Thing is getting a slight redesign this year, including shortening her skis to 207 cm K2 SLCs, Schreiner said. “She’s a little top heavy, but when she hits, she’s legendary.”

The Dummy Jump is a time-honored mountain tradition, along with dirtbags, ditching work on pow days and sipping après ski suds.

There’s still a month of great spring skiing to be had, including Dirtbag Day, a Big Sky Resort ski patrol fundraiser on Saturday, March 22.

Carve out some time as well on the 29th to head up the hill, be ready for carnage, and launch a cardboard Mystery Machine or perhaps a spaceship made of old pallets. Come on out and take one for the dummies.

P.S. Schreiner, watch out for the dark horse this year.