This winter, Montanans Bob and Sylvia Torter logged 144 ski days at Big Sky. They skied the equivalent of every day of the resort’s regular season, despite a fractured ankle, a bout with pneumonia and cancer treatments in Florida.
Their season began on November 7, 2015 when Big Sky opened for one day to take advantage of 30” of early season snow. The Torters logged their second day on November 24, when Big Sky opened for the season.
Skiing Big Sky as often as they do, the Torters know the mountain well. Big Sky is huge with over 300 named runs, four mountains, 34 lifts and 9 square-miles of lift-accessed runs. And while you might think it would be hard to pick a favorite, Bob and Sylvia have a clear preference.
“No ifs, ands, of buts,” shares Bob. “Marx is our favorite run. I like to ski down the right side and Sylvia likes the left.”
One of the so-called Dictator Chutes off of the Lone Peak Tram, Marx, along with another run named Lenin, are famously steep and not for the faint of heart. Some of the couple’s other favorites include laps off the Ramcharger, Thunder Wolf and Swift Current lifts.
There is just one run the Torters haven’t tried: Big Sky’s famous Big Couloir.
“We are not extreme skiers,” explains Bob, a Marine Corps veteran who has a rare cancer developed from exposure to Agent Blue, a rice poison used during the Vietnam War.
“I’d rather swim in the Gallatin River in winter than ski The Big Couloir,” says Sylvia, a former Miss Argentina who never experienced snow until she moved to Montana.
Once she moved to the mountains, Sylvia took to skiing in a big way, starting off right with lessons. In fact, in addition to now holding the Big Sky record for the most days skied, the Torters also hold a record for the most ski lessons of any couple at the resort – some 300 hours of professional instruction in the 18 years since Sylvia began skiing.
Even more interesting is the fact that the Torters remain one another’s best ski buddy. In 18 seasons, they’ve never skied apart. Never. Not one day.
As for this season’s record, their total was boosted by Leap Day in February and by the support of resort management. Big Sky’s closing day was April 17, 2016, which would have given the Torters 143 days out of a total of 144 regular season days (not counting the bonus day in November).
In order to help Bob and Sylvia reach their 144 day goal, Big Sky General Manager Taylor Middleton asked his ski patrol and lift managers to open the mountain just for the Torters on April 18th.
On the last day of their Big Sky season, the Torters skied with Mike Unruh, Big Sky’s Director of Mountain Operations.
“We skied from one end of the resort to other,” says Sylvia, on a route that included Bighorn Lift on the south, zigzagging across the mountain to the Lone Tree Lift on the north. They rode the Headwaters Lift and hiked over to Challenger Lift for one last rip down Marx.
“We skied basically everything we could in a day,” adds Bob. “There are just too many runs to ski them all, but we tried.”
As for next season, the Torters are pondering two goals: either skiing the Big Couloir or logging 40,000 vertical feet in one day.
“They are an inspiring couple,” says General Manager Middleton. “Not many couples ski together every day and certainly few septuagenarians like Bob keep pushing for new adventures.”
- North America’s Favorite Powder Day Resorts, March 7, 2016.
- Big Sky, Montana: Two People. Two Days. America’s Biggest Skiing, February 16, 2015.
© 2016 – 2017, braveskimom. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.