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How to ski Big Sky for free on Friday

What would you do for a free lift ticket to the "Biggest Skiing in America"? Sing and dance? Dress in a costume that's worthy of winning any sort of contest? Camp out to be the first person in the lift line?

How about bringing a turkey? And no, not one that you have to go hunt in the wild--a frozen turkey, you can grab at the grocery store before driving to Big Sky Resort in Montana.

If you're planning to ski at Big Sky on Friday, December 13, you don't need any fancy gimmicks to score a free day of skiing on the mountain. You just need a turkey or 20 cans of food to donate for Big Sky's 7th annual Turkey for a Ticket day, which is the largest one-day food drive benefiting Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Madison Valley Food Bank and the Big Sky Food Bank. In exchange for the food donated, participants receive a free lift ticket to Big Sky and businesses receive a lift ticket voucher for every 20 pounds of food donated.

"Thankfully, food drives like this enable us to scale up our operations to meet the need," said Lori Christenson, Program Manager for Gallatin Valley Food Bank. "Turkey for a Ticket is a critical food drive that helps fill our shelves."

Since the inaugural year in 2007, Turkey for a Ticket has collected a cumulative total of 115,788 pounds of food for the food bank.

Here's how it works:

  • Big Sky Resort will give a free lift ticket, valid for the day of the food drive only, to skiers, snowboarders, and Big Sky Silver pass holders when they donate at least 20 cans of food or a frozen turkey.
  • Donations from Big Sky Resort Gold and Bronze, Moonlight Basin and Biggest Skiing in America pass holders will receive a lift ticket voucher valid December 13, 2013 to January 31, 2014, holiday blackout dates apply.
  • The business challenge entails donating 80 pounds of food or four frozen turkeys to receive four lift ticket vouchers to be used December 13, 2013 to January 31, 2014, holiday blackout dates apply. A maximum business donation is 800 pounds of food or 40 frozen turkeys and receives 40 lift ticket vouchers. Businesses need to make a one-time donation at the Albertson's location; multiple drop-offs will be considered individual donations.

Currently, Big Sky is reporting temperatures in the high teens (hey, it's warmer than some parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin at the moment), a 27-inch base at mid-mountain, and a 41-inch base on the upper mountain. Early-season conditions still exist, but skiers were taking laps on The Big Couloir and Marx, according to a snow report. Big Sky celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend--lifts started turning for the first time Dec. 15, 1973--and a historic weekend can't get much better than kicking it off with some free skiing.

For more information, check out bigskyresort.com.