From small local hills to mega resorts, we bring you the insiders guide, where SYNC Athletes share secrets to success and local knowledge about mountain and race trails they know best.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Benedicte (Benni) Lyche, 23, from Oslo, Norway. I grew up skiing all around in Norway, but mainly at the local resort in Oslo (Wyller and Tryvann). Former Montana State Ski Team member. 2018 Montana State University Graduate in Business, Marketing. 2017 RMSIA Women's Alpine Skier of the Year. 2017 NCAA Women's Giant Slalom Champion. 4x All-American. Now skiing for Team X Alpine!
Relationship to Big Sky's FIS racing hill ("Tippy's Tumble"):
It really has been a love-hate relationship from the start. I’ve had some good days on this hill, but more often-than-not, I’ve had some not-so-good days. It's one of those hills where you can feel really good, and then be pretty disappointed when you see your time. Skiing aside, we've had a lot of people come out for the MSU invite in the last few years, which has made the whole experience a lot of fun - regardless of the outcome of the race.
What makes this run different or unique?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that it's that unique, but it's one of those runs that is pretty easy. Out of the start, it's pretty slow. There's about 20-30 seconds of flats before it rolls over onto a moderate pitch. There's another roll 6-7 gates down that adds some difficulty (sometimes), before it rolls onto another short flat. Before the finish, there’s one last moderate pitch into a compression. So, in short, it's up to the course setter to make it interesting and difficult to ski.
Key things to nail in order to do well?
Top flats are pretty important. You need to be able to create and carry as much speed as possible. Most of the races are won or lost there. It's also important to ski smooth down the pitches, without over-skiing it, because it’s really easy to give away time on this hill! Try to carry as much speed as possible onto the mid flats, and then be smart as you enter the bottom pitch, because that's usually where the course can be a bit tricky!
What type of skier wins here?
It does depend on the course set, but I'd say speed skiers often have an advantage since the top flats are so important. It's all about connecting the turns smoothly without being too techy. It’s easy to lay it over and lose time because you’re too harsh on the pressure, or you’re just trying to do too much. That’s not to say a tech skier who has a fast start and can glide really well can’t win here. It’s just about making it as easy as possible. Don’t overthink it!
What’s your favorite memory from this trail?
My sophomore year I had a really good GS race and ended up in 2nd place. It was a lot of fun to stand on the podium at home! What I remember best though is having friends and family at the finish cheering! It has also been really fun having our strength coach and other members of MSU athletics there to see what we really do, since many of them never fully understood, or even knew about ski racing, before working with us.
Non-skiing things to do in Big Sky/Bozeman and surrounding area:
Honestly, there are mostly outdoorsy things to do like hiking, mountain biking, camping, touring (technically still skiing), snowmobiling, climbing, etc. But there’s also really good restaurants, breweries, concerts and events (and more) in both Bozeman and Big Sky. So it’s a little bit for everyone I think!
My favorite biking trail is probably Leverich Canyon. It’s a pretty popular trail, which is good and bad. It’s doable for any level of rider, which is nice, but that also means it’s pretty crowded at times. But the fact that you can do a lap in 30 min to an hour, and it’s close to town, makes it perfect when you don’t have that much time. And you get a lot of bang for your buck! It’s such a fun downhill!
Thanks Benni for sharing! Be sure to follow her and the rest of Team X Alpine on Instagram: