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Big Sky

Big Sky’s Locally Owned & Published Newspaper

March 4, 2011 Volume 2 // Issue #5

Greg Stump’s Legend of Ahhhs

Skiing Elephanthead Mountain

Interview with

Mike Meldman Chairman & ceo of Discovery Land Company

Photo by eric ladd

Sacagawea School’s Winterfest People, Passion, Progression: Jason Thompson Photography

The Crossing Bar and Grill in Wisdom

Big Sky

Big Sky Weekly

Happy St. Patrick’s Day - March 17

March 4, 2011 Volume 2, Issue 5

Abbie Digel prepares for take off on the Big Sky zipline

CEO, PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Eric Ladd COO & SENIOR EDITOR Megan Paulson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Martins MANAGING EDITOR Emily Stifler GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kelsey Dzintars EDITOR Abbie Digel Sales Director Hunter Rothwell Distribution Director Danielle Chamberlain VIDEOGRAPHER Brian Niles CONTRIBUTors Tyler Allen, Big Sky Firefighters, Bozeman Pet Pics, Andrew Coleman, Deb Courson, Angelyn DeYoung, Cloe Erickson, Dave Granger, Ali Havig, Kuka Holder, Abi Hogan, Brian Hurlbut, Mike Quist Kautz, Brandy Ladd, Les Loble, Russ Mcelyea, Reid Morth, Brandon Niles, Danielle McClain, Katie Morrison, ALex Tenenbaum, Jason Thompson, LeeAnn Theard, Jeni West, Ennion Williams

Editorial Policy Outlaw Partners LLC is the sole owner of The Big Sky Weekly. No part of this publication may be reprinted without written permission from the publisher. The Big Sky Weekly reserves the right to edit all submitted material for content, corrections or length. Printed material reflects the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the opinion of Outlaw Partners or the editors of this publication. No advertisements, columns, letters to the editor or other information will be published that contain discrimination based on sex, age, race, religion, creed, nationality, sexual preference, or are in bad taste.

Big Sky Resort offers early season pass rates March 9 - April 30 Get your ‘11-’12 season pass early, and ski spring 2011. Big Sky Resort just announced their Adult Unlimited Gold Season Pass for $789 plus tax and a Student Unlimited Gold Season Pass for $589 plus tax. The sale will run March 9 through April 30, and payment plans are available. 406-995-USKI

Paper Distribution Distributed every other Friday in towns across Southwest Montana, including Big Sky, Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Three Forks and Livingston.

CORRECTIONS The Big Sky Weekly runs corrections to errors we’ve printed. Please report them to OUTLAW PARTNERS & THE BIG SKY WEEKLY P.O. Box 160250 Big Sky, MT 59716 (406) 995-2055 © 2011 The Big Sky Weekly Unauthorized reproduction prohibited

2 March 4, 2011

Letter to the Editor Parameters This is a platform for readers to express views and share ways they would like to effect change. The Weekly will run letters, positive or negative, of 250 words or less that are respectful, ethical, state accurate facts and figures, and are proofread for grammar and content. We reserve the right to edit letters. Please include: first and last name, address, phone number and title. Send letters to

Table of Contents Community…4

Real Estate…25

Local News…7




Montana…13 Sustainable Living…15 Profile…17 Explore…19

Gallery…33 Food & Dining…35 Outdoors…37 Reel Review…41 Events…43

Health & Wellness…20





Back 40…48

Big Sky Weekly


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Big Sky Weekly


Letters On December 21, 2010, my beautiful 8-year-old golden retriever, Amos, was struck and killed by a speeding car on Spruce Cone Drive. The driver had a fight with her parents and was speeding, wasn’t looking where she was going, and hit Amos going 30-40 mph. Amos wasn’t on a leash; my mother couldn’t open the clasp on his leash because of the cold. I said it was ok because we were right outside my driveway; this was a dog friendly neighborhood. I was lagging behind because I was bagging his poop. Amos was running back to make sure I was still behind him…I yelled at the speeding car, she didn’t slow down. She killed my best friend. Please slow down on our streets. It is unacceptable to be going as fast as this girl was. What if it had been a roaming bear, a wandering moose, or a proud elk? What if it had been your best friend or your child who was just running down the street to the park? What if? Please be more careful in our neighborhoods. Thank You LeeAnn Theard The Big Sky Firefighters would like to thank Chief Jason Revisky for his years of dedicated service to the community of Big Sky. Throughout his 16 years of service, his promotion of firefighter safety and his institution of valuable trainings have made Big Sky Fire what it is today. Chief Revisky has been instrumental in providing the Big

Sky community with 24 hour, seven day a week advanced life support coverage. His dedication to the community and all we serve is apparent in his insistence that we provide nothing but the best customer service possible to our community and its visitors. Events like the annual Pancake Breakfast, the Halloween haunted house, open houses, fire prevention with Ophir School, and public fire education are just a few examples of the dedication he has brought to Big Sky to make this community a better and safer place to be.

There were 32 skiers, from novice to advanced, and eight snowshoers. 60 volunteers came out for the event, and each was paired with an athlete to help him or her navigate the resort and the courses. Montana is divided into 12 local areas for the Special Olympics, and usually the athletes from the Big Sky area travel four hours to Lost Trail to compete.

2/19 – 10:38-13:57 - EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Ski Patrol. Patient received BLS care and was transported to BDH. 2/19 – 11:08-14:02 - EMS personnel responded to Moonlight Ski Patrol. Patient received BLS care and was transported to BDH.

We as a fire department will never forget the words you taught us: “Be nice, work hard, protect lives and property, and return to the station alive and healthy. “

2/19 – 14:57-20:14 - EMS personnel responded to a SAR transport. Patient received BLS care and was transported to BDH.

Always your friends, Big Sky Firefighters

By Abbie Digel

Penni Kolpin, the winter games coordinator, beamed as she waved to competitors from the chairlift. “It’s all about providing opportunities for the athletes,” she said.

Please ensure the safety of your home and family, take a few moments to shovel out the fire hydrant closest to your property. This small task can make the difference when there is an emergency. Thank You!

As Big Sky Firefighters, we would also like to thank Chief for providing an excellent work place that is family oriented and above all else, safe. Beyond his fanaticism for community service, Chief has emphasized safety. Innovative thinking, open-minded outlooks, and the vision to bring in outside resources have made the Big Sky Fire Department one of the more progressive fire departments in the country in terms of firefighter safety, and for that Chief, we thank you.

Local Winter Games Provides Opportunities for Special Olympic Athletes

It was a breezy day at Moonlight Basin on February 28, and most of the lifts were on wind hold, but that didn’t stop 40 athletes from competing in the second Big Sky Area Special Olympics winter games.

Big Sky Fire Department

“It’s huge we get to do this locally,” said Kolpin.

The athletes, participants and Moonlight Staff were all smiles at

First Annual Gransberg Cup Dual Challenge

2/19 – 14:18-18:00 - EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Ski Patrol. Patient received ALS care and was transported to BDH. 2/19 – 14:22-18:00 - EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Ski Patrol. Patient received ALS care and was transported to BDH.

2/19 – 15:08–15:58- EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Ski Patrol. Mutual Aid was called to provide ALS care and patient was transported to BDH. 2/19 – 18:57-20:01 – Fire personnel responded to Big Sky Resort for report of smoke. Conditions were mitigated and no evacuation was needed. 2/19 – 19:32-20:01 - EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Resort. Patient received BLS care and refused transport. 2/19 – 20:37-21:15 – Fire personnel responded to an Alarm at Big Sky Resort. No hazard was found. 2/19 – 21:45-01:00 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received ALS care and was transported to BDH. 2/20 – 02:59-03:30 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received BLS assessment and refused transport. 2/20 – 16:05-16:30 – Fire personnel responded to a Dumpster Fire. Hot ashes on garbage were extinguished and dumper left out of shed to cool.

About a third of the athletes in the area were present on Monday, but Kolpin hopes if the games are consistently held in Big Sky, more will show up. The athletes have eight training sessions before the competition, and since the events are divided by skill level, most everyone has a chance to place. Some had their own gear, but other snowshoes and skis were borrowed from Eagle Mount, or donated from Round House Ski and Sports Center.

2/19 – 12:16-16:02 - EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Ski Patrol. Patient received BLS care and was transported to BDH.

2/21 – 13:24-16:07 - EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Ski Patrol. Patient received BLS care and was transported to BDH. 2/21 – 15:30-16:00 – Fire personnel responded to an Alarm at Big Sky Resort. No hazard was found.

the awards ceremony, where participants ate refreshments and gushed about their scores. “We are proud to have hosted the Special Olympics Montana for the second year in a row. Even though we were faced with less than ideal weather, you’d never know it by the big smiles on the athletes’ faces,” said Greg Pack, GM of Moonlight.

2/21- 16:00-16:30 – EMS personnel responded to a Vehicle Collision on Hwy 191. No injuries were reported and 3 patients refused care and transport. 2/22 – 09:22-12:45 - EMS personnel responded to Moonlight Ski Patrol. Patient received ALS care and was transported to BDH. 2/22 – 17:44-20:30 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received ALS care and was transported to BDH. 2/24 – 08:22-09:49 – EMS personnel responded. Patient received ALS care. 2/24 – 14:03-18:00 - EMS personnel responded to Big Sky Ski Patrol. Patient received ALS care and was transported to BDH.

Photo by Reid Morth

The Big Sky Ski Education Foundation invites the community and visitors to participate in the Gransberg Cup Dual Challenge, Saturday, March 12 on Hangman’s at Big Sky. Registration is from 8:30 – 10 a.m. in the Mountain Mall. $15 for adults, $10 for children. Course inspection will be 10:15 - 11:15 a.m. The race begins at 11:30. Racers will split into age groups and start on a first come basis. All winners in the age class over 15 will receive a special edition belt buckle.

4 March 4, 2011

Skijorign at Bozeman’s Wild West Winterfest this February - Spela Bertoncelj slingshots around the final gate to take 2nd overall in the woman’s division.

Big Sky Weekly


Sing Out! By Danielle McClain Big Sky Community Chorus would like to welcome anyone with a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves to join us on Tuesday evenings from 7-9 p.m.

experience to the project. Director JZ says all you need to participate is an open mind and commitment to the endeavor.

The choir is made up of an eclectic mix of community members of all ages and backgrounds who assemble as much for the fun of it as the musical experience. The chorus practices in the Big Sky Chapel; it has no affiliation with any religion.

“Aside from the fun of it all, the chorus is a great way to meet people in the community and take a muchneeded break from our hectic winter lives,” says Zirkle. “In general, singing with others provides that feeling of being a part of a whole, which is something we all strive for in our.”

The chorus is under the energetic direction of John Zirkle and masterful accompaniment of Klaudia Kosiak, both of who volunteer their time and

Some members have never sung in a chorus, and many have not done so since as far back as grade school or high school. The group has a solid

core of approximately 25 people and is preparing for a spring concert in April, where they’ll sing an arrangement prepared by Zirkle from the hit show Glee, Mozart, Aaron Copeland and Eric Whitacre. For an ideal sound, the choir would like to expand membership to 32 members or more. To join is to simply attend rehearsal and become part of the fun. All the music is provided. The goal is to make a beautiful noise and have a good time doing it. For more information contact

Madison Valley Park and Recreation District Resolution Rescinded; Efforts Remain Steady On Feb. 17, 2011, the Madison County Commission rescinded Resolution 41-2010, which would have put to a vote in May 2011 the issue of whether to create a Madison Valley Parks and Recreation District with a maximum taxing authority of 3 mills. The proposed boundary of the District followed the Ennis School District boundary, including Ennis, surrounding Madison Valley communities, and the Big Sky portion of Madison County (Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin, Yellowstone Club, much of Spanish Peaks, and other properties). The Madison County Commission passed this resolution on Dec. 14.

Shortly thereafter, a group of Big Sky representatives organized efforts to remove Big Sky from the proposed district. This group felt Big Sky would be better served by creation of a separate district, rather than paying into a larger Madison Valley-focused district and dividing the Big Sky community on the county line. Also, the group felt the proposed district might disproportionately tax Big Sky for park and recreational amenities not easily accessible by the town’s residents and visitors. The Commission received approximately 100 letters in support of Big Sky’s removal from the proposed district.

This organized effort discovered a 1988 vote that had created a Big Sky Mountain Village Park District. This District was never ‘activated’, according to county documents, and has never imposed taxes, but remains on the books. Due to this, the Madison County Attorney advised the Commission to rescind Resolution 41-2010, citing overlapping park districts as not legal. The Commission stated a referendum could still go to vote this year, and that they support creation of a Madison County district. The boundaries that district, or districts, may follow are not yet delineated.

During the several public hearings about this issue, the Madison County Commission stated they would support the creation of a new Big Sky Parks and Recreation District, and they advised Big Sky’s community leadership to begin organizing one soon. Big Sky representatives are researching the issues that will come up in the next few months as the community discusses this. Katie Morrison, Executive Director of the Big Sky Community Corporation, will be speaking at the Chamber’s Town Hall meeting on March 10 about the possible creation of a Big Sky parks district.


David Mueller

Dave Mueller has left this planet, and hopefully he is sight casting to very large fish in the great beyond. Known to many Big Sky locals as BBD (Big Bald Dave) Dave was a skier second, and a fly-fishing fanatic first and utmost. I had the privilege of sharing a boat or a riffle with Dave on several occasions but not nearly enough of them to satisfy me. We will miss you big guy, see you in the next life. - Randy Spence

chitecture Program. Caleb is a 2007 graduate of Cedar Grove – Belgium High School in Cedar Grove, WI.

David Gerard Mueller passed away on Thursday, February 17, 2011. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, he traveled through the West in pursuit of outdoor activities, settling in Montana for the past 15 years. He worked at the Yellowstone Club, and was a prolific fisherman, skier, bicyclist and hiker. BBD’s magnetic personality attracted many friends. On Feb. 22, family and friends scattered Dave’s ashes on the Yellowstone River. Following that, a funeral service was held at the Catholic Community Center in Bozeman, and then a Celebration of Life at the American Legion Hall. Memorial contributions can be sent to Trout Unlimited, Madison-Gallatin Chapter. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

Caleb loved the Montana outdoors, and he died doing what he loved most: snowboarding in the backcountry.

Caleb Acker

Caleb Clay Acker, 22, of Alberton passed away February 14, 2011 in the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman.

Caleb is survived by his parents, Clay W. and Constance P. Acker, of Alberton; his siblings, Joshua W. (Laura) Acker, of Alberton, Sarah C. Acker, of Washington, D.C., Grace E. Acker, of Los Angeles, Calif.; nephews, Silas Acker and Micah Acker; and niece, Rainier Acker.

Caleb was born on January 5, 1989, in Wausau, WI to Clay W. and Constance P. Acker. At the time of his death, Caleb was a senior at Montana State University in the Ar-

The viewing was Feb.19 at Sunset Memorial Gardens, followed by a funeral service at 1 p.m. also at Sunset Memorial Gardens with Pastor Daniel Disch officiating.

March 4, 2011 5



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local news Big Sky Water and Sewer Sponsoring Manhole Cover Design Contest Winner to receive $1,000 prize By Emily Stifler Grant Burroughs has worked at Big Sky Water and Sewer for 16 years. In his travels, the wastewater Superintendent always looks at manhole covers. “I’ve noticed a lot of different styles,” he says. “There are some really cool ones out there.” It really came home when he noticed Bozeman’s manhole covers, which have the city’s seal of a horse drawn cart. “I saw those lids and got to thinking maybe it’d be neat to re-design ours.” Big Sky’s standard lid reads WSD363—pretty boring. Burroughs approached the Board of Directors of the Big Sky Sewer District with an idea: hold a contest for the best design. The Board agreed to the idea, and together, they came up with a set of rules and a prize for the winning design: $1,000.

Integrity. Vision.

Burroughs says the city of Spokane held a similar contest, and an eightyear old girl won. Big Sky’s cash prize will come from the Sewer reserve fund. The new lids will cost the same as the current standard, Burroughs says. He’ll send a drawing of the winning design to the foundry, and once they have the mold made, the price is the same.


The intent isn’t to replace every manhole lid—but many of Big Sky’s manhole covers are 35 years old, and Water and Sewer replaces 10-15 of them a year, also providing new lids any time a developer builds a sewer extension. The District will accept design submittals until April 25, 2011. A panel consisting of community members and District representatives will hold a blind judging.


Fire Chief Revisky Announces Departure from Big Sky Fire Department By Les Loble Fire Chief Jason (“Rif”) Revisky, of the Big Sky Fire Department, has announced his departure from the Big Sky Fire Department, effective March 2, 2011. Revisky has served with the BSFD for 16 years, and now has accepted a position with the Sourdough Fire Department in Bozeman. A celebration of his career in Big Sky was held Monday night at the Bugaboo Café. After beginning as a volunteer Firefighter/EMT-B with the Big Sky Fire Department in 1994, Revisky went on to serve the Big Sky community as a Paramedic, Captain and Assistant Chief, and was promoted to Fire Chief position in 2003. Prior to joining the fire department, Revisky came to Big Sky as a fly fishing guide. He married Sandy Revisky, a local realtor, and they have three children, and—in the Big Sky tradition—two dogs. I worked for Rif as a volunteer for five years and know firsthand his many accomplishments. Between 2002 and 2007, he reduced the response time by 22 percent (four minutes) and tripled the number of training hours. The Board, the firefighters (volunteer and paid), and the emergency medical, support and administrative staff all wish Rif and Sandy the very best in this next phase of their busy lives. Les Loble is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Big Sky Fire Department.

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Big Sky Weekly


What’s in Store for Yellowstone? New Draft of Winter Use Plan By Brandy Ladd

In the mid ‘90s, the combination of large visitors numbers and high bison mortality rate caught the attention of wildlife protection groups. After the ensuing federal court case in Washington, D.C., an environmental group petitioned banning recreational snowmobiling within all national parks. In 2000, the park service responded with a plan to phase out most snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks. The basis for the plan was to reduce air and noise pollution, while maintaining the natural splendor for the enjoyment of the people. Snowmobiling groups then sued the Park Service,

“Over 9,000 letters and web submissions suggested needs and objectives to be examined in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).” and once again, the case found its way to the federal court, this time in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where the decision was overturned.

focus on wildlife habitat, soundscapes, air quality, visitor use and experience, socioeconomics, and park operations and maintenance.

Finally, in 2009, after more trips to the federal court, a temporary winter use plan was implemented. Meanwhile, tourist-dependent border towns suffered. Families scrambled to restructure businesses to accommodate for the new laws.

A draft of six alternative plans has been proposed for the EIS. The plans range from prohibiting all winter motorized travel, to continuing the current plan, to increasing daily snowmobile numbers. Nonguided permits are also a consideration in the alternatives. The Final EIS will be released this fall.

Now, a new winter use plan has been through a public scoping process. Over 9,000 letters and web submissions suggested needs and objectives to be examined in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Consideration will


I graduated from Gardiner High School in 1993. That same year, the Forest Service and Park Service began to address the growing popularity of winter recreation in the Greater Yellowstone Area. I remember trailer-loads of snowmobiles and bubble-headed adventure seekers flocking to Jardine, Mammoth and Cooke City. Business was flourishing in Gardiner and the

other border towns – Cooke City, Big Sky, West Yellowstone, Cody, Flagg Ranch and Jackson. That winter, the snowy roads supported 140,000 visitors, 90,000 of whom rode snowmobiles, and 10,000 rode in snow coaches.


In regards to motorized travel, Yellowstone National Park’s temporary winter use plan will expire this March. The plan currently allows 318 snowmobiles and 78 multi-passenger snow coaches (led by commercial guides) to enter the park daily. Snowmobiles are required to have, “Best Available Technology” such as four-stroke engines, which discharge less noise and emissions. For over a decade, the subject of over snow vehicles in the Park has raged a litigious battle. What is in store for the newest draft?


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regional MSU to Hold Make-A-Wish Event Give back to your community while burning some calories at Lift-AWish on March 5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Montana. Held at the MSU\ Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center, the Lift-A-Wish event will encourage teams of two to perform as many bench press and squat repetitions as possible in a given amount of time to help make wishes come true. A grand prize will be awarded to the team

who can raise the most amount of money, while other prizes will be awarded to teams who complete the most repetitions in a half-hour. Each team is responsible for collecting donations and sponsorships from local individuals and businesses to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Everyone is welcome to join low weight exercises to achieve the maximum amount of repetitions.

Director of MSU’s Farrier School named to international hall of fame Tom Wolfe, Director of the MSU Farrier School, was recently inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame in Kentucky, for his contributions to farrier education. The award honors farriers around the world who have made significant contributions to the profession and have left a permanent positive impression on peers and clients. Wolfe has been a full-time professional farrier since 1971. Before his

Big Sky, Montana

10 March 4, 2011

position as instructor in charge of the MSU Horseshoeing School, he worked in Albuquerque, NM. Wolfe is a member of the Montana Professional Horseshoer’s Association, has served three years on the executive committee for the American Farrier Association, and is a journeyman farrier for the AFA. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of New Mexico. - from MSU wire service

Big Sky Weekly

North African Scholar Speaks about Regional Turmoil March 3, 4 Mustapha El Qadery, a renowned North African scholar, historian and anthropologist, will speak in Bozeman about the current political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. On March 3, El Qadery presented “The Berlin Wall Falls in the Middle East and Mustapha El Qadery (left, white turban) discusses developNorth Africa,” at ment work with village leaders in Zawiya Ahansal, Morocco. MSU. On March 4, he awarded two Moroccan film awards will present “How Araregarding his work on the history of bism Hijacked Islam,” at the Bozeman the Colonial Conquest in the Eastern Library, from 12:10 - 1 p.m. Moroccan Sahara. El Qadery is a Fulbright Scholar in For the past five years, El Qadery has Residence at Virginia State University worked closely with Cloe Erickson, In Morocco, he works at the National MSU alumni and founder of the Atlas Library of the Moroccan Kingdom and Cultural Foundation, on community in the Faculty of Law at Rabat Univerdevelopment work and an MSU study sity. El Qadery has published over 30 abroad program in a remote region of papers on his fieldwork, which focuses Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. In on Colonial and Postcolonial Political addition, El Qadery has been a guest Systems in Africa and the Middle East. scholar for the Livingston-based travel He is now finishing a book, written company Bella Treks. in Arabic and French, titled ism of the Self-hate. Also a documentary film producer, he was recently

Big Sky Weekly


BYEP’s Character Education Empowers Local Youth By Dave Granger Most people know Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP) supports local, at-risk youth in ultimate outdoor adventures like snowboarding, rafting and climbing. However, fewer folks realize the crux of BYEP programming is the character education curriculum. Delivered in weekly regional workshops to groups of six youth with three adult mentors, BYEP’s curriculum educates participants on everything from the essentials of trust and teamwork, to the importance of community stewardship. BYEP’s unique blend of character education and stellar adventures results in broader perspectives, positive change, and a reduction of problematic behaviors. Feeling a sense of place in one’s hometown or knowing where to turn to help a friend in crisis are examples of qualities and knowledge bases which are emphasized in BYEP workshops. Beginning with broader topics like Effective Communication and honing in on equally important, but far more sensitive subjects like Suicide Awareness and Prevention, BYEP workshops provide a safe, confidential setting for participants to share and become aware. Regardless of the topic, BYEP workshops always begin with a “check-in.” Each group member has the opportunity to share how they are doing and comment on personally significant current events in their respective lives. Once check-ins are complete,

groups use various icebreakers to start thinking about that week’s workshop topic. At the beginning of the Identity and Consumerism workshop, for example, participants identify something they feel they couldn’t live without. Answers vary from qualities (“my courage”) to consumable goods (“my iPod”). What follows is a lesson plan utilizing initiatives, which challenge group members to critically examine who they are and what defines them at this point in their lives. In a continuum facilitating group bonding and growth, BYEP workshops focus on teamwork and trust, effective communication, identity and consumerism, conflict resolution, respect and healthy relationships, suicide awareness and prevention, drug education, sexual reproductive health, and stewardship. BYEP also invites select organizations into its workshops to create a network of expert support. Peer educators from MSU’s VOICE Center and Bridger Clinic inspire participants to think and act “outside the box” in favor of positive change related

to healthy relationships and sexual reproductive health. Matt Dexheimer and Jessica Buboltz, representatives from Bozeman’s HELP Center, educate group members by highlighting the warning signs, current statistics, and local support agencies for suicide. BYEP’s character education curriculum encourages participants to be informed, take responsibility for their actions, and reach positive potentials. Learn more about Big Sky Youth Empowerment today, and make a positive connection with your community. Visit or call Pete MacFadyen at (406) 539-0399. Dave Granger is Program Director for Big Sky Youth Empowerment.

Sixth graders learn winter skills at Sacajawea School’s 17th annual Winterfest By emily Stifler On a Friday in February, Sacajawea Middle School teacher Peter Jacoby stood in front of a group of his sixth graders at the old Bear Canyon ski area, teaching class.

“We take them downhill skiing once a year, … and we wanted to get kids interested in cross country skiing and backcountry trekking, too.”

“I’m going to tell you why you should ski in the backcountry,” Mr. Jacoby said. The kids listened from a bench, next to a pile of cross-country skis and boots. “First, you can ski powder,” he said. “From this trailhead, you could literally ski almost to Salt Lake City without crossing a road or encountering anybody… Being in the backcountry is harder work than riding lifts.”

At one station, students sat in a circle on a bench dug out of the snow, and Dennis Treut taught winter camping. Treut showed his warm sleeping bags, his bivouac sac, and his big winter backpack. Then they talked about cooking.

Mr. Jacoby and two other Sacajawea Middle School teachers, Cindy Whitmer and Carrie Sampson, brought more than 90 sixth graders to Winterfest this year. Together with parents and community volunteers, they taught: cross country skiing, search and rescue, avalanche safety and winter camping. Kids learned how to use avalanche beacons, dig snow pits and assess stability, build igloos, and set up a camp and melt water for cooking. Special guests included avalanche expert Scott Savage and his search and rescue dog, Gobi, and Angela Patnode with Friends of the Avalanche Center.

“This is white gas,” Treut said, holding a red fuel bottle attached to a Whisperlite stove. “It’s pressurized.” He pointed to the fuel line where the gas enters the stove. Then he filled a pot with water and snow and lit the stove. “Is one bottle enough?” asked a student.

A serious discussion ensued about the detritus, and Treut showed how to pour off the water, leaving the debris in the bottom.

“That depends how long you’re going out for,” Treut said.

“But do you cook your food in it?”

“If you wanted fondue, what would you do?”

Treut shrugged. Sometimes you just have to eat a little dirt.

“Well, I’ve never done fondue in the backcountry.” Treut smiled.

What’s so great about winter camping, anyway?

The day was part of a week-and-a-half winter program that teacher Cindy Whitmer has organized for 17 years. This year, to kick off the week, avalanche survivor and cyclist Sam Cavanaugh visited the classes and told his story. In literature groups, the students read and discussed Jack London’s To Build a Fire.

“We have wild rice, dehydrated vegetables and beans, which are lightweight.” Treut handed around bags of dried food. “We can cook these in the water.” The snow had melted, so he picked up the steaming pot and everyone crowded around to look into the warm water.

“These activities are lifetime opportunities, especially if the kids stay in Montana,” Whitmer said.

“Eew, look at the dirt on the bottom! Do you drink that?”

“Anybody can do it,” Treut said, in conclusion. “The nice thing is, it doesn’t cost anything. All you need to get is your sleeping bag and gear.” “And it’s really fun!” shouted several sixth graders, at once. “If we needed to survive, we know how to do it,” Alexa Coyle said. “They told us how.”

March 4, 2011 11

12 March 4, 2011

Big Sky Weekly


Former Forest Service Chief Disappointed with Budget Moves By Deb Courson Camping, hunting and hiking experiences in Montana would likely change if Forest Service budget cuts under the House Republican budget proposal became final, according to a former Forest Service chief who lives in Montana. 

 Dale Bosworth is questioning the decisions because he says the programs targeted for cuts are associated with things well-loved and appreciated by the public.

 “Clean water: 50 percent of drinking water come off National Forest land. Road maintenance. Trail maintenance. Campgrounds. Habitat improvement for things like elk and deer.” Cuts targeting the Forest Service have been part of a long-term trend,

Bosworth says, and are hamstringing the agency’s ability to do its job to keep forests healthy and accessible. 
“What I’m really concerned about on this is that the Forest Service has been so underfunded for so long, and now, looking at more reductions, they’re just not going to be able to meet the expectations of people.”

 He’s hopeful that the U.S. Senate will find ways to reverse the budget squeeze on national forests and bolster programs that promote collaboration in problem-solving, forest restoration work and rural jobs. Bosworth adds that the House Appropriations Subcommittee chairman, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, did help limit some of the proposed cuts.

Growth Through Agriculture Montana Department of Agriculture Offers Advertising Grant Program By Angelyn DeYoung Retailers that want to promote Montana farm products can receive minigrants this year to help pay marketing costs under a program available from the Montana Department of Agriculture. The Montana Farm to Table Advertising Grant program matches up to $500 of money spent on advertising of Montana farm products, encouraging more than $40,000 worth of consumer advertising during the coming year. “There are Montana farm products sold in retail stores all across the state,” says Ron de Yong, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture. “We get the biggest bang for our buck if we help retailers place their own ads to let consumers know about these local products. Then consumers are encouraged to shop locally for

Montana’s farm products, providing a big assist for our state’s economy and rural communities.” The program was funded out of the Department’s Growth Through Agriculture program, a grant program designed to offer investments for new and innovative agriculture marketing ideas or agribusiness development. Montana retailers, including grocery, convenience and gift stores; restaurants; farmers’ markets; and distributors are the only eligible applicants.

Big Sky Teachers and Students Learning Online Montana Digital Academy connects Montana schools By Emily Stifler Cassie Kapes, a Spanish teacher at Ophir School and LPHS, also has students from Libby, Colstrip, Conrad, Victor and other rural towns across Montana. Mrs. Kapes is one of over 60 Montana teachers working as part of a brand new online teaching program called Montana Digital Academy (MTDA). Enrollment was free this year, and MTDA offered accredited classes ranging from core subjects to AP and electives. One of five Spanish teachers in the program, Mrs. Kapes assigns lessons every day and a quiz every couple weeks. Her students also have writing and speaking quizzes they record directly onto a computer program. She says for students who wouldn’t have the option to take Spanish, it’s a great opportunity—as long as they are self motivated and driven. “I do harp on them if they’re not getting their work done, but they can ignore my emails and feel no im-

mediate consequences, because I’m not physically there.” She adds that language can be hard to learn online.

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MTDA’s website reports Spanish I and Digital Photography were the most popular courses in the opening semester. Physical Education, English 1, Psychology, Health, French I, Web Design, Earth Science, Latin I, and U.S. History round out the top ten. Big Sky kids are also on board, with several students enrolled in virtual classes. Montana Digital Academy allows students to access coursework “whenever and wherever they want and learn at their own pace.” The program aims to help students meet college admissions requirements, make up missed or failed classes, resolve scheduling conflicts, and take advanced coursework—“allowing more students to graduate on time.”

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March 4, 2011 13

Big Sky Weekly

90% OF BUYERS UTILIZE THE I N T E R N E T T O FIND THEIR PROPE RT Y If you are serious about selling your property in 2011, it’s time to ask your listing broker exactly how they are going to be marketing the property. represents the starting point of a comprehensive online marketing strategy that expands the exposure of your property to the most significant media companies and real-estate focused websites in the world.

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14 March 4, 2011

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Big Sky Weekly

sustainable living

Gallatin Zero Waste Coalition is Expanding Join the group for its second annual glass recycling day By Emily Stifler Until the mid-1960s, American soda and beer drinkers returned glass bottles in exchange for a deposit. Coke began selling “no-deposit” bottles in 1967—bottles not meant to be returned. Oregon’s 1972 “bottle bill” was the first of its kind, and required consumers to pay a deposit on cans and bottles, redeemable upon return. Other forward thinking states soon followed, essentially paying people to recycle and reducing litter by more than half. Today, the Coors factory in Golden, Colorado is the closest facility to Montana that recycles glass – actually melting it down and turning it back into glass. Since 2008, Livingston, Montana has pulverized its old glass for use in trail and road projects. Until a few years ago, Bozeman did the same, using it for civic projects and then as a landfill drainage cover. Now in the Gallatin Valley, residents throw used glass in the trash or pay private companies to haul it to Livingston. Seem backward? That’s what a group of concerned Bozemanites thought, too.

“We were frustrated,” says Michelle Gantt, cofounder of the Gallatin Zero Waste Coalition (GZWC). The group came together almost two years ago, in an effort to create a glass recycling program in Bozeman. On April 16 this year, GZWC will hold their second annual glass recycling event. Coinciding with Gallatin Earth Celebration Clean-up Day, the collection will be in the Fairgrounds parking lot in Bozeman. GZWC is encouraging people to start saving glass now for the drop off. Last year, the group collected 21 tons of glass. Full Circle Recycling, a private recycling company based in Four Corners, carted the glass to Livingston’s pulverizer. Donations covered the cost of crushing, and Full Circle didn’t charge for manpower or equipment use. Glass is 100 percent recyclable, but it’s difficult to deal with because it breaks, is heavy, has little value, and the process is expensive. While bottle factories can melt down and truly recycle glass, pulverizers like Livingston “downcycle” the material, turning it into aggregate and reusing it.

Gallatin Zero Waste Coalition’s April 16 Glass Recycling Collection at the Fairgrounds. For more information or to get in touch with GZWC, find them on Facebook.

In an effort to reduce all kinds of waste, the Gallatin Zero Waste Coalition has expanded beyond glass. At a Gallatin County Solid Waste Board meeting in February, the Coalition proposed creating a “Waste Reduction Task Force.” GZWC envisions this group would be made up of citizen experts and solid waste board members.

From • Glass constituted 5.5 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream by weight and 1.5 percent by volume. An estimated generation of glass for Montana in 2007 was 47,893 tons. • Glass is heavy and weighs 2,800 lbs per yard. • All glass food and beverage containers can be recycled.

Private companies like Full Circle Recycling, J & K Recyclers, Triple R Recycling and Gone Green offer curbside recycling services. As part of a national program, Target collects glass with other recyclables, then transports it to the closest distribution center – ours is in Albany, Oregon. Form a neighborhood collection, and then send a truck once a month to the Livingston pulverizing facility.

Montana is still trying to establish recycling infrastructure, in general. In terms of glass, the Montana DEQ says the state doesn’t produce enough consumer glass to be an effective source for a “full scale” recycling program. Not having a nearby bottling plant would then require shipping glass out of state to be recycled – an expensive prospect, especially considering glass’ primary ingredient is silica, one of the most abundant minerals.

Glass Facts

Options for glass recycling:

Headwaters Recycling Cooperative

Gantt says, “The task force could spend time researching new waste reduction efforts, providing education and outreach and working on other projects that would be beneficial to the solid waste board and the community.”

Impacts from Recycling Recycled

Savings per Consumed Product

Recovered BTUs Glass Tons 3,000 10,000


Millions Barrels 10,799 1,982 35,996 6,605

Greenhouse Gases




Landfill Diversion

Tons 320 1,066

Count 51,000 170,000

KWh Gallons Dollars 12,300,000 21,000,000 111,000 41,000,000 70,000,000 370,000

March 4, 2011 15

Big Sky Nordic EVENT LINEUP: Ski Festival At Lone Mountain Ranch

Sunday, March 6 Third Annual Glide and Gorge Ski or snowshoe on the Golf Course trails, stopping along the way for gourmet appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts. Local breweries and wine distributors will provide spirits. 12-3 p.m.

Yellowstone Ecosystem.” Varley and McGinnis have been studying the oasis of life at the bottom of Yellowstone Lake, which supports the truly unique ecosystem forming the underlying resource for an enormous food web – from microscopic organisms to trout and grizzly bears. 6 p.m.

Monday, March 7 Clinics and XC Ski Gear Demos Aimed toward improving techniques like downhill control and skating uphill, there are clinics for all ages and abilities. Gear demos with Fisher and Madshus and a waxing clinic with Toko. Meet at LMR Outdoor shop.

Thursday, March 10 Terrain Park Challenge Terrain park on nordic skis? You bet! Come pull some tricks and win prizes and listen to music at the LMR cross-country ski terrain park. Meet at the Town Center Trails.

Tuesday, March 8 King and Queen of the Mountain Race A downhill race on cross-country skis, beginning at the high point of the Ranch’s trails. Starts at 4 p.m. Meet at LMR Outdoor shop. Don’t miss the first annual Big Sky Nordic Ski Festival, co-hosted with Lone Mountain Ranch, March 6- 13, 2011. Events are designed to be fun and are scheduled so folks who work and have kids in school can still be part of the festivities. With some of the best cross-country skiing in the country, Lone Mountain Ranch is an important part of the Biggest Skiing in America. This event has something for everyone: serious and recreational skiers, people who just want to stroll and dine on gourmet local food, families, kids and even dogs. Staying community-based, the Nordic Fest will be a fundraiser for the Big Sky Ski Education Foundation’s nordic program. Festival organizer Katie Smith says, “Nordic skiing has been growing in the past few years. Come see why!”

16 March 4, 2011

Big Sky Weekly

Wednesday, March 9 Family Sprint Races Races and events for all family members, including dogs, on the Town Center Trails. Prizes, refreshments at the warming hut, and lots of fun. 4 – 6 p.m. Meet at the Town Center Trails. Yellowstone Science Presentation Join Big Sky Institute researchers John Varley, and Steph McGinnis, M.S., at the Town Center for a special presentation: “Yellowstone Science and Creatures of the Lake Depths Yellowstone Lake, the jewel of the Greater

Friday, March 11 Skijoring Races Bring your canine pal and join races and other events on the Town Center Trails. 3-6 p.m. Prizes sponsored by Barkenhowell’s dog supply store in Bozeman and Westpaw Designs. Meet at the Town Center Trails. Saturday, March 12 Ninth Annual Gallatin Glissade 20 km cross country ski races. Meet at the Bunker. Sunday, March 13 Mad Wolf Classic The week’s festivities culminate with the reintroduced Mad Wolf Classic ski from the top of Andesite Mountain at Big Sky Resort to Lone Mountain Ranch. This awesome event has a rich history. Prizes for the winner and the best costume. Join the party!

March 4, 2011 Volume 2 // Issue #5


Big Sky

Mike Meldman Discovery Land Company Since fall 2009, Discovery Land Company has managed operations at the Yellowstone Club. Over President’s weekend, the Big Sky Weekly sat down with Mike Meldman, Discovery Land Company’s Chairman and CEO, and discussed Yellowstone Club, dive bars and the Big Sky community. Who is Discovery Land Company? We do private club communities, which are resort communities without the hotel and resort amenities. We have them around North America and are looking around the world. I started doing this in 1994. Before that I graduated from Stanford, and originally wanted to go to law school. Instead I went to Lake Tahoe and dealt black jack at Harrah’s. In 1981, I started as a commercial real estate builder in Silicon Valley. I was in Fremont, which was farmland. I met with farmers and helped them sell their land. I put a sign up and hoped someone would call… I sold all of it and made a fortune. I thought, ‘that was easy.’ I was 23. All I knew was land. I started buying land and taking it through the entitlement process. In order to develop land, you have to be an environmentalist and you have to do it properly. I took that attitude with me toward development to reduce density to make it as natural as it could be. My core philosophy is the money is in the land. Anyone can build a building and just take the money.

When did DLC come to YC? We were always trying. Tim [Blixseth] … cut a deal with me to buy it and then went and sold it to Sam [Byrne]. That was the best thing that ever happened to us, because we didn’t have to go through that year of drama and diligence that Sam did. Sam had a passion for the place, and they wanted him to save it. How has your progress been since you’ve been at YC? This is such a unique piece, because of the skiing, magnitude and scope. Operations will take it to the next level. 2009 was the bankruptcy year, and nothing was really going in terms of projects. The high-end market became inelastic. No one was buying at any price. For example, in 2009 we [Discovery Land Company] had 40 million in sales, down from 800 million. That shows how much the market was affected. People started buying around Thanksgiving, a year ago. We had 750 million in sales. The market has come back, and it’s very elastic now. People are paying, but not top dollar. Do you see the trend continuing to grow? We need to promote Big Sky. It’s the most undervalued, underrated place ever. There’s not enough flights coming in. We have pretty good commercial access in the summer, but it stops in the winter. I think that’s backwards.

“We need to promote Big Sky. It’s the most undervalued, underrated place ever.” How have you dealt with the economic downturn? We did everything with equity— because of our brand [and our] strong membership base—and we were able to get sales early. Our projects became self-financed, and we always had big investors to carry through. We are very fortunate it happened that way. Tell us about your experience with Montana. I’ve been in Montana for 15 years. I was looking at the stockyards, and someone showed me Whitefish. I fell in love. I thought, ‘Now there’s a four seasons resort that will be the most popular place in the world.’ Not only was the property beautiful, but the whole Montana lifestyle was there, too. Ironhorse [in Whitefish] was the third resort Discovery ever did. I was developing it before YC even

started, and I’ve been coming to YC since it started. I always knew we’d be involved [with YC] somehow, because no one really develops on this scale [besides] us. Tell us about your family. I’ve got two boys, and I’m a single dad. My kids grew up in San Francisco, and now they’re 23 and 20. Hunter works at the Club, in sales. They’ve been wakeboarding since they were kids and are great snowboarders. They learned to tie their own flies when they were 10. We do backcountry trips to the Bob Marshall and Glacier. How many employees does YC have? Is it important to bring in local labor? 350 employees [year round], with 650 to 700 in peak season. We’re lucky we’ve had no issue finding labor for Club operations, ski operations or construction. Most employees are local. Bringing people in isn’t cost effective, and the local labor base here is strong. We do that everywhere, because we operate in small communities. We have to incorporate local people and culture in order for our properties to work. For example, people want to ski with a person who lives here and knows the area.

Entrance to Yellowstone Club - private ski and golf community in Big Sky, MT

March 4, 2011 17

Big Sky Weekly

Profile What makes the Discovery Land Company approach successful? All of the clubs are different, and not one is cookie cutter. Each one is custom-made to the environment. People come to Montana to be mountain men. It’s different from going to Sun Valley, where you see everyone you know at the coffee shop. People here don’t want that. They want the local culture, flavor, and experiences. Here it’s skiing, mountain activities and fishing. In the Bahamas it’s water sports, snorkeling, surfing, diving and water activities. It seems you’re bringing in bigger names than YC did in the past.

What’s your favorite part of YC? I haven’t skied much in the past 30 years, so getting back into that has been fun. Have you skied Moonlight or Big Sky? No, but its pretty amazing when you look at the whole Big Sky package. How would you like to see Big Sky grow? We could use few more restaurants…as many venues as possible outside the Club. Do have a favorite spot in town?

Our projects attract people who are at the top of their industry, whether it’s sports, entertainment or business. People like the privacy, the service, the whole package.

Probably Milkies. We love it up here. Everyone thinks we are some corporate group coming from the outside, but we’re not. The roots of the company are in Montana.

Are there aspects of DLC that stand out and affect membership?

How much time do you spend here?

You never know what a buyer is going to like. My philosophy is every detail has to be perfect, from the toilet paper to the food.

I’ve been here since Christmas. I was born in Milwaukee, my main house is Arizona, but I’m always traveling. I come in the summer, too.

Baker’s Bay - a Discovery Land Company property in the Bahamas How does DLC give back to the community? [Here in Montana] we have the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, and we raise money for them. Our members come here because they love the place, the environment and the culture... The community has become part of their lives. Whitefish was a pretty sleepy town, and Ironhorse people bought a lot of property there. Now, it has one of the greatest hospitals you’ll ever see, and a great community center. People really give

back there, but that was a ten-year process. We’d like to see that happen here. What is the future of YC? We’re excited about it. We’re planning a core village around the Warren Miller lodge. It has a pretty big ski population, but members don’t use this place in the summer as they should. We have the golf course, ropes course, tennis and basketball. It’s a great spot. See video portions of this interview at


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Big Sky Weekly


HabiHut Building on Success in Haiti and Africa Belgrade social entrepreneurs creating villages, solar powered water kiosks

By emily Stifler Haiti, says Bruce Leep, was really hot. His photos show a collection of small, white shelters called HabiHuts, grouped in a meadow. This February, Bruce and his brother, Brian, both Montanans, spent five days in Jacmel, a half hour outside Port-au-Prince. Working with a group of eight local men, they set up the village of shelters for earthquake survivors. With three people working, each hut went up—with ease, aside from the heat—in about two hours. Through HabiHut, Bruce has also worked in Kenyan slums. “To be there and see, smell and hear how bad it is, was a big eye opener,” he says. For 20 years, Bruce and his father Eldon had a construction business together in Montana. They first started designing the HabiHut in 2008. While creating the concept, the Leeps partnered with Ronald Omyonga, a Kenyan architect who’d worked with MSU engineering students. Omyonga suggested designing a shelter that was easy to put up, lightweight and low cost. They wanted it to be long-lasting, strong, easy to disassemble and move, resistant to wind, rain and fire, expandable and environmentally friendly.

The units took a day to install, versus the six months it takes other established water kiosks—and at a third less the cost. Solar panels provided light and cell phone charging. During the first three months, 85 percent of total sales were in water, and 15 percent in phone charging. Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., each kiosk served an average of 2,600 customers monthly. At night, the solar-powered lights provided added neighborhood safety, another advantage over other existing kiosks. SIDA, a Swedish NGO that was involved in the program, says this pilot was one of their most successful projects that year. Based on the program’s success and proven financial viability, HabiHut is creating the “Hot Spring Micro-Franchise” initiative, a turn-key business ready to sell to micro-entrepreneurs for immediate in the developing world. In addition to water

HabiHut will announce these strategic partnerships in April. “If we convince them in the whole enchilada, that would be a million dollar project,” Weas says.

1. To provide 100,000 people with clean drinking water. The average person needs 2.5 liters of water per day. They plan to provide 5 liters per day, per person.

-Bruce Leep

Back in Montana, the Leeps and HabiHut President Buz Weas are reviewing Bruce’s trip to Haiti, as well as another recent success: Last year, in cooperation with NGOs, HabiHut installed three solar/water kiosks in Kenya.

The Initiative will work with cell phone service providers, cell phone trade associations, water NGOs, and micro-finance organizations. Weas says HabiHut is “very close to signing one of the world’s largest companies as a major sponsor.” That company is a significant player in water technology. “We are also pretty far along in dialogue with a key mobile phone carrier that will sponsor this initiative,” he adds.

Their goals for the initial Kenyan program are:

They came up with a 400-pound, 118-square-foot structure made of durable, corrugated polypropylene and high strength aluminum. The hexagonal floor plan and high-pitched roof create 100 percent space usage, and the roof and windows allow cross ventilation. The double panel walls repel rain, wind, dust and UV, and insulate from outside temperatures. Minimal tools are required for setup. A single unit “To be there and see, smell and hear can be packed in a 96”x 48”x 24” box, costs $2500 how bad it is, was a big eye opener.” U.S., and is recyclable. “[This is] the first time I’ve seen the world from a global point of view,” says Eldon, who was also a minister for many years. “I was born and raised in the Gallatin Valley, and that’s really all I saw for most of my life. Now I’m seeing much more, and caring about much more.”

sales and phone charging, the franchises will offer billboard advertising and pre-paid cell phone card sales as additional revenue streams.

2. Provide cellular charging for 2,500 phones per day. 3. Provide 100 economically sustainable microfranchise businesses. 4. Provide 150 jobs. 5. Provide shelters for 100 families. HabiHut’s creators are thinking big: “The potential to help people is awesome,” says Eldon. “Potentially millions of people could benefit.” Company President Buz Weas, a successful entrepreneur and former Yellowstone Club builder, says it’s different being involved with a company that has social responsibility. “None of us have been paid anything for our efforts for the last year and a half. We keep scratching our way forward and pushing on this thing hard, just because we really want to make a difference.”

March 4, 2011 19

health & wellness

Training for the Ironman at Elevation By Andrew Coleman

FIND RELIEF FOR TRAVEL-RELATED DISCOMFORT. Don’t panic if your baggage shows up late (or not at all) for your ski vacation. We’ll outfit you with much of what you need to salvage your stay. We’ve got over-the-counter medication, toiletries, and makeup. And we’ll make every effort to contact your doctor back home to keep your prescriptions filled. (You’ll also find remedies for all the headaches.) Find us across from the Big Sky Chapel. Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm; Closed 2:00-2:30 pm for lunch Meadow Village Center | 36 Center Ln, Suite 2 406-993-9390 |

It wasn’t until Town Center was in my proverbial rearview that I began to understand exactly what I was up against. I pointed my headlamp up Route 64 as it snaked tortuously up to the base of Lone Peak. As a two-time Ironman finisher, I was relatively sure that I could handle running the 12-miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain between Ramshorn and the Medical Clinic of Big Sky just off the White Wing ski run. But as the roadway steepened, the temperature dropped, and the air thinned, I began to fixate on a conversation I had earlier in the day about high altitude illness (HAI). HAI is a medical syndrome caused by decreased oxygen levels in the air we breathe. Normally, traveling from lower to higher elevations triggers the body to increase its respiratory rate to bring more air into the lungs and its heart rate to supply more blood to the body’s tissues. But in some cases, the acclimatization process is derailed by accumulation of fluid in the brain, leading to HAI. In its mild form, called acute mountain sickness (AMS), HAI causes headache and decreased appetite. When moderate, nausea and vomiting can occur along with the headache. In severe cases of HAI—uncommon at altitudes attainable in the continental states—severe brain and lung swelling occur, followed shortly by death if the patient does not descend to a lower elevation. So there I was, passing mile marker five en route to the base of the Peak, out of breath and alone but for my mounting paranoia about becoming the poster child for why lowlanders should take it easy when they first get to Big Sky. With 25 percent of AMS (i.e., mild HAI) occurring between

6600 and 9800 feet, I was at risk anywhere in Big Sky, let alone my destination (base elevation, 7500 feet). I had only been in Big Sky for a few days, not long enough for my body to completely acclimatize, and with all the Montana microbrew sampling I had been doing, I had inevitably slowed the process (alcohol hinders acclimatization). Further increasing my risk was the weather: low temperatures and inclement weather both decrease oxygen levels in the air. But I pressed on, rationalizing that my cardiovascular fitness would compensate for the decreased oxygen availability. As it turns out, however, Ironmen are no less susceptible to HAI than your 85-year-old grandmother. In fact, young athletic males may be at the greatest risk because we tend not to give our body sufficient time to acclimatize and will often continue to ascend despite the presence of HAI symptoms. Just as I arrived at Summit Lodge, my head began to pound. I’m not sure if this was HAI or perhaps just dehydration, but I was glad I’d be taking the Summit Express back to lower pastures. It’s not likely that the denizens of Big Sky will experience HAI—after all, if you live here your body has long since acclimatized. But please, do me a favor: remind us lowlanders to give our bodies a chance to get used to the altitude before we run up mountains and, should you see the more severe manifestations of HAI take hold of someone, remember that the only treatment for moderate and severe HAI is to descend to lower elevations. Andrew Coleman will be graduating from Duke University Medical School in the spring. He plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine.

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20 March 4, 2011


As part of a language arts assignment, Ophir Fifth grade teacher Dave Neal asks his students to write newsworthy articles for the Big Sky Weekly.

APEC 2011 By Kuka Holder The 2011 Annual Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is kicking off its series of events and meetings in Big Sky in May. The events will culminate in Honolulu where the APEC leaders will meet. This is the first time it is being held in the U.S. since 1993. APEC was created in 1989 to promote cooperation among the member countries of the Asian Pacific region. Although this will be a big meeting and a great opportunity in Big Sky, it is only one in many. Big Sky will host the 32nd Small and Medium Enterprise Working Group Meeting where trade and SME (small medium enterprise) ministers will get together and talk about many economic concepts and ideas for small businesses. The member countries, which border the rim of the Pacific Ocean, are: the U.S.A, Chile, Russia, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, the People’s Republic of China, and many more. The Asian pacific region is 40% of the world population, 60% of the world’s production, 58% of U.S.A exports and 40% of world trade. APEC is the main vehicle of stimulating open trade in this region. It helps bring together a community of countries that work together, free of unnecessary trade restrictions. APEC’s goal is to make ways to keep the economy growing and create

Big Sky Weekly


economic prosperity which means more jobs, a better quality of life, and better standards of living. Other goals are: to remove barriers to trade and investment, and to help Small Medium Enterprises become visible in the international world of trade. The interaction between countries will help them teach and learn from each other. It will also help create long-lasting economic growth. Something that may be overlooked is the economic impact locally, due to the conference being held in Big Sky. Thousands of people will be coming to the resort, using our airport, local transportation, hotels, restaurants, national parks, and our many recreational offerings. Security, housing, and airport transportation are just a few of the complicated issues surrounding a this event. The event is taking place during what is normally our offseason, when the resort would be closed. However, an extra three weeks of business will be added to our local season. Another boost to Big Sky, Bozeman, and to all of Montana, will be the recognition we receive from an international event of this magnitude. The conference is expected to be broadcasted on national news stations across the country, and the world. Montana locals will be the background focus of most news for three long weeks in May.

Do you have a one dollar bill in your pocket? If so pull it out or go get one. The one dollar bill first came off the presses in 1957. Paper money is actually a cotton and linen blend. You can wash it without it falling apart. (Unlike a tissue or regular paper.) It is over printed with symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it a nice crisp look. Look closely at the back of a one dollar bill. You will see two circles. In the circle to the left there is a pyramid. Notice that the face is light and the western side is dark. That is because at the time of its origin we had not explored the West, or decided what we could do for the Western civilization. The pyramid is uncapped, signifying that we were not even close to being finished. Inside the top, you have the all Seeing Eye. It’s an ancient symbol of divinity or holiness. The Latin above the pyramid ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, “God has favored our undertaking.”

It meant that this country can now stand on its own. At the top there is a white bar that signifies congress. We were coming together as one nation. In the eagles beak there is a banner that says, “E PLURIBUS UNUM” meaning “one from many.” Notice what is in the eagle’s talons. In one he holds an olive branch; in the other he has arrows. That means this country wants peace but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in the time of war he is looking at the arrows. If you look on the front of the dollar bill, look on the bottom left corner. Put it in the light. If you look closely you can make out the shape and body of an owl. Almost every one thinks that the number 13 is unlucky. But think about this: 13 original colonies 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence 13 stripes on our flag

The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means, “A new order has begun.” And at the base of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776 (MDCCLXXVI) Now look at the right hand circle and check it carefully. It is on every national cemetery in the U.S. Altered slightly, it is the seal of the President of the United States of America. First grade Ophir students and BSSEF team members Luke Kirchmayr and Kassidy Boersma proudly showing their medals. Between the two inspiring young racers they have completed 12 races in a span of two weeks in Great Divide and Showdown. Luke and Kassidy proudly represented Big Sky by earning 10 first places and two second places in the J7 Northern Division. Way to go Luke and Kassidy! - Markus Kirchmayr

The bald eagle was selected as a symbol of victory for two reasons. First, he is not afraid of storms. He is strong, and he is smart enough to soar above a storm. Secondly, he wears no crown. We had just broken from the king of England. Also notice that the shield is unsupported.

13 steps on the pyramid 13 letters in “ANNUIT COEPTIS” 13 letters in “E PLURIBUS UNUM” 13 stars above the eagle 13 bars on that shield 13 leaves on the olive branch 13 fruits and 13 arrows I never realized how much the one dollar stands for until now. Share this with your friends and family so everyone can learn what the one dollar bill stands for, and how much it means for this country.

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Big Sky Weekly


Melo Movement By Brandon Niles I was going to talk about the NBA All-Star game and the very cool over-the-car slam that Blake Griffin performed to win the dunk contest this year. I was going to bring up the Celebrity game where we got to see that Scottie Pippen still has it, Michael Rapaport is still fantastically obnoxious, and somehow Justin Beiber had game. I was even going to mention All-Star snubs (LaMarcus Aldridge) and top performers (Kobe Bryant). However, in the wake of bigger news, I must forego the All-Star discussion and focus on what will probably go down as the most controversial trade in the NBA this year. Carmelo Anthony (Melo), longtime star of the Denver Nuggets and one of the ten best players in the game right now, was traded to the New York Knicks. This is a fantastic piece to the puzzle for the Knicks, who already have a top ten player in

Amare Stoudemire. With these two star players, the Knicks are definitely in a good position to compete for a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

ally, losing so much young talent could potentially put the Knicks in a position where they lack enough role players to compliment their stars.

Most surprising is the fact that Melo The question remains however, is would’ve been a free agent after this this a good trade for the Knicks in season. He also the long term? “While Melo and Amare pairing up has explicitly stated on mulThe in New York will definitely sell seats tiple occasions Knicks and will surely help them put up that he wants essentially some points, the price was too high to play for the Knicks, gave up and the timing was all wrong.” and only three key the Knicks. players, Instead of giving up so much, why two guys with potential, and a first didn’t the Knicks just wait until the round draft pick for Melo, point end of the season and sign Melo to guard Chauncey Billups, and backup a free agent contract? Even if they shooting guard Corey Brewer. While took that gamble and Melo signed Billups will be a temporary upgrade elsewhere, they’d still have a shot at the position, he’s only likely to be at another marquee player next year with the team for two or three years in Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. at the most. He’s not the long-term Both players are arguably better than solution at the position. Addition-

Big Sky Broomball The Big Sky Employee Broomball Games are every Tuesday night from midFebruary through mid-March. 10 teams duel it out between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. In mid-March, playoffs begin, and teams will take on last year’s winners, “Tramdangle,” who went all season undefeated and are still waiting for a team to beat them. In this photo from a February 2011 game, last year’s second place team tries their best against the champs, however Tramdangle still came out victorious. - Danielle Chamberlain


Melo, and both have expressed desire to play in New York. New York was desperate for a guarantee of Melo’s services. As a result, their long-term future could suffer. While Melo and Amare pairing up in New York will definitely sell seats and will surely help them put up some points, the price was too high and the timing was all wrong. Kudos to Denver for getting a lot out of a guy who was leaving at the end of the season anyway, and shame on the Knicks for competing against themselves in this negotiation. Brandon Niles has done online freelance writing about the NFL since 2007. He is a Communication Studies graduate student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

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Howlin’at the Moon Snowshoe Shuffle Photos by Bozeman Pet Pics

Big Sky Weekly

Howlin’ at the Moon Snowshoe Shuffle raises record amount for Animal Shelter The Seventh Annual Howlin’ at the Moon Snowshoe Shuffle was a great success this year, raising a record $18,195 for Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter. Event organizer, Tracie Pabst, says the Saturday, February 26 event at Moonlight Basin was “a howlin’ good time.” “Dogs happily chased balls and played, awaiting the start of the snowshoe,” she says. After the walk, the party convened around a blazing bonfire and in the Headwaters Grille for chili. During the raffle, Auctioneer Cory Vellinga energized the evening with

24 March 4, 2011

his “fast talking enthusiasm.” $8500 in prizes had been donated by local businesses, and winners went home with trips, skis and gifts. Goody bags included dog and people treats and event t-shirts. After, the crowd filled the Madison Lodge to capacity, dancing to live music from Mountain Grip. Pabst reported that of the five HOV shelter dogs “strutting their stuff on stage,” two were adopted. Ajax and Pepsi, husky mixes, and Osa, an Australian Shepherd mix, are still waiting.

Big Sky Weekly

real estate

J E W EL R Y - A R T - A R T I FA C T S


Video: The Future of Real Estate Marketing Insight from Brian Niles, Outlaw Partners Director of Video Production By Abbie Digel


In 2009, an individual in Bend, Oregon sold his million-dollar home to a buyer from Seattle, sight un-seen. How did he convince the buyer into such an investment? It was easy. The listing agent had a video tour made of the property, posted it to a couple key online sites, and the buyer was hooked.

Niles says the beauty of video is that it can be customized. “Every home has its own unique story, and we showcase that story through a lens.” From there, the options are expansive: “From the basic tour that is edited to music and bullet style text, to full-on aerial filming and voiceover.”

Brian Niles works in Bend, Big Sky, and filming locations across the globe. He’s been making videos like these for six years, and sees the real estate industry changing drastically.

Bryant Green, a broker who works with Niles in Bend, says most buyers are looking at each home online for an average of 30 seconds. “You need to catch their attention, and a video tour is a great way to do that.”

“There are more efficient methods of marketing a home now than there were, even five years ago,” says Niles. “Online video is where the industry is going.” Through websites like YouTube, and Facebook, agents have a much broader reach for listings. From realtors, Niles has heard numerous accounts of a buyer watching one of these videos and making an offer, or sparked interest that led to a purchase. “Video is the most compelling online medium these days,” Niles says. It’s a far more effective and efficient marketing plan for real estate.” Victoria Smith, a realtor in Bend, started using Niles’s videos last summer for Alpenglow Vacation Rentals. “When compared to a home of the exact same price and neighborhood, [people] chose my house to rent because of the video,” she said.

Video tours are advantageous to both buyers and sellers. They save time, energy and money for realtors and clients. Niles says it’s all about first impressions. “If I’m looking at houses online and the first photo I see is a zoomed in picture of a bathroom, or a washed out photo of a wall…. I’m out. We’ve got an edge, and we take pride in helping agents be successful.” The Outlaw Partners offers a range of video options for any budget, and also provide training on making a video tour go viral through home search sites across the country. Check out Brian Niles’ work online at To schedule a video tour, call him at (541) 7713047 or at the Outlaw Partners office at (406) 995-2055.


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CEOs Say They’re Hiring, Recovery is Accelerating By Alex Tenenbaum For the first time in three years, the majority of small-business CEOs nationwide said they plan to hire in the next twelve months, according to a recent Vistage CEO Confidence Index study. Of the 1,729 respondents in the quarterly study, 77 percent expect increased revenues and 63 percent foresee higher profits in their own companies. A whopping 54 percent expect to expand their staffs in 2011, while only one in 20 said they’d have to trim back. “On the whole, companies are coming out of their bomb shelters,” said Becky Smith, Ed.D., the Vistage Chair in Bozeman. “They are no longer in survival mode. Increasing revenue means there’s more money to invest in growth, more money to invest in people, and more money to enter into new markets.” The quarterly Vistage CEO Confidence Index is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive report on the opinions and projections of CEOs at small- to mid-sized businesses (grossing at least $5 million annually). Since its inception in 2003, the index has fairly accurately predicted changes in GDP and employment two to three quarters hence. The overall confidence of CEOs spiked in the fourth quarter. After reporting an overall confidence rating of 93.7 for the first quarter of 2010, 94.4 for the second and 95.1 for the third, the index exploded to 106.3 for the fourth quarter. The surge in confidence is tempered by hardship. Nearly half of the CEOs surveyed said they used personal assets in the last three years to keep their companies afloat and their people employed. “CEOs are pouring a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their companies right now. They will be the heroes of our economic recovery,” Smith said. Christian James of Xcentric, a cloud data hosting company for accounting firms, with offices in Bozmeman and Atlanta, participated in the Vistage survey. A Vistage member CEO for six years, he said he expects his company of 40 current employees will add four new positions in Atlanta, and another four to six in Bozeman in 2011. All of these positions will be in computer technology.

“We have a desire to invest and to grow, and the way the economy looks, we’re pretty confident in doing so,” he said. At the depths of the recession in late 2008, 97 percent of the CEOs said their companies were in decline. In this latest study, just seven percent reported continuing declines. For the broader economy, 58 percent of CEOs expected improvement during the year ahead, while just five percent expected any further declines. That’s the most favorable outlook for economic growth since the start of 2004. Revenue growth was expected by 77 percent of all firms in the 4th quarter survey, up from 59 percent one year ago and 36 percent two years ago. Just fiver percent anticipated declines in revenues, the lowest proportion in five years. Given that 60 percent of firms expected no increase in the prices they charged, most of the revenue gains were expected to come from increased sales. The relative inability to pass along cost increases to their customers meant that managing costs was a top priority for one-in-five firms. Another one-infour firms placed greater emphasis on maintaining or expanding their customer base.

“On the whole, companies are coming out of their bomb shelters...They are no longer in survival mode.” - Becky Smith, Ed.D., Vistage Chair in Bozeman. common. At their helms are Vistage member CEOs, who participate in chair-led advisory board peer groups, receive one-to-one coaching, learn from expert speakers, and interact among a global network of CEOs from a broad range of industries. A 2010 analysis showed that Vistage member companies in the U.S. substantially outperformed the average comparable Dun & Bradstreet companies in growth over the last five years.

The Q4 2010 Vistage CEO Confidence Index includes responses from 1,729 US CEOs, surveyed between December 14 and December 24, 2010, with a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points. Vistage International serves more than 14,000 members in 15 countries. Vistage member CEOs participate in chairled advisory board peer groups, receive one-to-one coaching, learn from expert speakers, and interact among a global network of CEOs from a broad range of industries.

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Two thirds of all firms expected increased profits during 2011, double the number of CEOs who expected rising profits at the low point two years ago. Among all firms, 46 percent planned to increase their investment spending, up from 34 percent one year ago. While there remains some uncertainty about whether the strength in their future sales would be long lasting, the investments now planned by CEOs have increasingly reflected the likelihood that growth in their firm’s sales would justify those investments over the foreseeable horizon. This is certainly a bevy of good news for national and state economies, especially since the index has proven to be a reliable indicator of economic shifts, predicting the Great Recession six months before the markets slid. However, the companies represented in the index are not a random sample. Rather, they all have one thing in


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2605 Little Coyote Rd. Meadow Village Recently built. 2800 sq ft. 3 BD 3BA plus large loft. 2 car heated garage, finest fixtures and finishes, custom cabinets, beautiful Alder floors, & stacked stone fireplace. Make this a must see. Minutes to golf, world class fly fishing & hiking trails in summer. Out your door, access to cross country trails in winter. Skiing at Lone Mountain’s Big Sky Resort just up the mountain. Motivated seller asking $689,000 Possible owner financing. Call Mike’s cell 239-273-4809 for a showing or go to for more information and photos. Buyer agents welcome at 4%

Business Profile of the Week: Locals Love the Wrap Shack By Abbie Digel Now in their seventh year of business, Josie Bolane and Lindsie Hurlbut roll huge burritos and wraps with scrumptious fillings. Both women are young mothers. “We had an idea that Big Sky needed a burrito place, and we went for it,” says Hurlbut. She opened the Wrap Shack with two ski buddies, Bolane, and Jason Luchini, who recently left the business to pursue other interests. “We all wanted to be [in Big Sky], but we didn’t want to be working three different jobs each. The three of us wrote a business plan, and got a loan,” Hurlbut says. The space housed a hot tub business before the trio revamped it into the island and travel themed establishment it is today. “We did all the demolition, put in the floors, and recycled as much material as we could. We made this our home” Hurlbut gushes about the familial atmosphere of the Shack. “The last few years have been tough, but we’re still excited. I love my business partner. We’re great friends, and we love going to work. The most important thing is a love of the job.” The Shack has six employees, and is a tried and true local business. “We are here primarily for the locals. That’s who we want, it’s who is always here, and who we like to see. The locals are who we work for.” Monthly and daily specials geared toward that demographic include the $5 after five deal, the

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Big Sky Weekly

Balance your Life Delilah Price Eakman, RYT® Certified Integrative Relaxation Facilitator Certified Restorative Yoga Trainer Offering: Amrit Yoga - a gentle yoga suitable for all levels Relax and Renew® Restorative Yoga Integrative Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) Senior Yoga Prenatal Yoga Reiki (Ray Key) Provider To schedule a class call 406-581-2442 or email

Powder Pounder (free beer if it snows more than six inches), the Weekday Work Special, and the Ski Pass deal ($5 for two tacos and a drink). On top of rolling fat burritos, The Shack also offers alcohol catering at events, and Hurlbut says they’d like to expand their food catering services. “The product we offer is totally different, specific and easy.” The ladies would also love to have another location on the mountain. They also give back to the community. The Wrap Shack’s fundraising program allows local organizations to pass out Wrap Shack coupons; when those coupons are redeemed, the Shack donates 20% of all sales generated from the coupons back to the organization. But what do locals love the most about the Wrap Shack? “The Margaritas. People come in all the time for just margaritas,” says Hurlbut. “It doesn’t matter if it’s winter.” The ladies have a secret ingredient that gives the tangy drink its popularity, but you’ll have to try one to find out.

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This is how Big Sky gets into hot water.

NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING The 58th Annual Meeting of 3 Rivers Telephone Cooperative, Inc., will be held on Monday, March 21, 2011, in the Fairfield Community Hall, Fairfield, Montana. A smorgasbord dinner will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m., and the meeting will be called to order at 1 p.m.

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The business agenda includes election of three trustees, an Audit report by Moss Adams, LLP, report by the General Manager, and other business that may come before the membership. The following members have been nominated by the Nominating Committee for trustees pursuant to the bylaws: from the Ennis/Harrison area – William R. Dringle; the Geyser/Raynesford/Neihart/ Belt/Stockett area – Mary E. Hill; and the East Conrad/Conrad/ Brady/Shelby/Power area – Kyle

Burgmaier, Ken Johnson and Catherine Odden. Each nominee will have the opportunity to give a three-minute speech. Additional nominations for trustees may be made as per the bylaws. Voting by proxy is not permitted, so we urge you to attend and cast your ballot. Door prizes will be awarded during the afternoon. The Business Office will be closed the day of the Annual Meeting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for walk-in traffic, but will still be taking phone calls and trouble reports. Please mark the date on your calendar and plan to attend. If you are unable to attend and want to watch this via the Internet, log onto and follow the link to the annual meeting. Brian E. McCollom, Secretary BDM/ei

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Big Sky Weekly

Big Sky Weekly home of the




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Each Ad can be up to 4 lines (Maximum of 30 words). Additional lines are $5 per line, Maximum of 8 words per line. Email classifieds and/or advertising requests to: (406) 995-2055

Ophir School District #72 School Board Trustee Position Ophir School District #72 has one 3 year term school board trustee position available. Election will be held May 3, 2011. Any person who is qualified to vote in Ophir School District #72 is eligible for the office of trustee. Nomination petitions are available from the main office at Ophir School or by calling Marie Goode, District Clerk, at 995-4281 ext. 202. A valid nomination petition requires five signatures of registered voters from the district. The deadline for filing a petition is March 24, 2011. NO CANDIDATE MAY APPEAR ON THE BALLOT UNLESS HE OR SHE MEETS THIS DEADLINE. No person signing a petition may sign more nomination petitions than there are trustee positions open.

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Office Spaces across from the Post Office. Professional Image. AC with shared conference room and kitchenette. Value priced flat fee with no extra charges. Call Debbie at 581-5785. -----------------------------------------Office space in the Jefferson Building in West Fork Meadows Great space with reception area and 3 seperate rooms. $500.00 per month. For more information call 406-580-5191

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Big Sky Weekly

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March 4, 2011 Volume 2 // Issue #5

Big Sky

Jason Thompson Photography: People, Passion, Progression Maybe a childhood on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington gave photographer Jason Thompson his honest, mischievous, grin. Or maybe it’s his “outside office”—Since graduating from MSU in 2002, Thompson has been a Big Sky ski patroller and a mountain guide in Washington and Alaska, all while building a career in adventure photography. E.S.

Hurricane Ridge is a tiny ski area near where I grew up. It has a rope tow. During high school I skied at Crystal, Alpental and Mount Baker.

I started skiing when I was 12. We were in upstate New York, visiting family. My uncle took me out, and I remember thinking ‘I’m gonna do this for a long time.’

I have a sister and three brothers, all younger. My sister is a surfer, and one of my brothers skis. Another brother is a chef in San Francisco, a culinary artist. I knew I wanted to be a photographer when I was 12 or 13. I had an old-school Olympus and took painting, drawing and photography classes in high school. I took action photos of skiing, backpacking, soccer. I’ve been guiding for ten years. I work in Alaska, in the North Cascades and on Mount Rainier. I skied at Bridger before I started working at Big Sky in 2004. My favorite part of ski patrolling is the people… and the avalanche control… and the powder skiing. In 2008, on a Hans Saari Grant, I went to the Svaneti Region of the Republic of Georgia with Tyler Jones and Seth Waterfall. Our host family in the village of Ushguli was friendly and welcoming. They thought our idea of skiing on Mount Shkhara (17,200’) was absurd.

I’m more of a skier. I like combining skiing and climbing. For me, that’s the ultimate. Photography is a way to creatively document people’s passion for the outdoors. It’s cool to … see how athletes I shoot have progressed, to see how we all become more competent in the mountains. My style is raw, unposed. I’m going to stay based out of Bozeman as long as I can. I love the community of likeminded people. It’s centrally located, … [and we have] mountains in our backyard. This March, Ann Gilbert and I are going on a skiing/climbing trip in the Canadian Rockies. Then I’m going to take pictures of heli skiing in Cordova with Points North.

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Big Sky Weekly

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Big Sky Weekly

food & dining

The original Fetty’s

Rising from the Ashes After a devastating fire, the Havig family re-opened the Crossing Bar & Grill at Fetty’s Dennis and Diane Havig moved from Livingston to Wisdom, Montana in 1988, when Dennis transferred to the Big Hole Valley with the Forest Service as a District Ranger. In 1994, Diane bought a struggling restaurant in Wisdom. “It was her first venture into the food industry, but she had eaten out quite a bit, knew what she liked, and was ready to go with her instinact and some great recipes passed down to her,” says Diane’s daughter, Ali. With delicious, made-from scratch fare and Diane’s outgoing personality, The Big Hole Crossing grew a loyal clientele. Customers came from Salmon, Butte, Dillon and the Bitterroot every week. On May 31, 2010, a fire destroyed the restaurant and a neighboring art gallery. That summer the Havigs and their two daughters cleaned their burned equipment and considered their options. That December, they bought out their competition, Fetty’s Bar and Café, and spent the New Year renovating the building. The new restaurant opened January 14, 2011, and now seats 100, between the dining room and the bar. Ali describes their food as “simple, delicious homemade American food,” and says they make their own

bread, bagels, biscuits, pies, cookies, desserts, soups, and “anything and everything we can from scratch.” Prices range from $3.50-$25, and the meals make your mouth water: biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs, double bacon blue cheese burger, liver and onions, hot veggie dinner, or prime rib. “My mom’s philosophy is to do simple food with the best ingredients and to make things as healthy as possible. We use non trans-fat cooking oils and shy away from processed ingredients or pre-made foods.” The Crossing’s fire put them in good company: Dennis estimates 60 percent of Wisdom, Montana’s buildings have burned over the years. He says old houses with dry walls and roofs, wood stoves and bad wiring typically have problems with fires. Some of the businesses that have burned include the town’s gas station and car dealership, the bar, and numerous houses. The Havigs are glad to be up and running in their new location. “It’s awesome to be finally open,” says Ali. “Everyone seems so excited.” E.S.

Pork Pozole Soup (Southwest Hominy Stew)

Cook 1 ½ hours Prep 40 minutes 4 C chicken broth 10 oz pork loin (pork chops w/ bone give extra flavor) ½ tsp cumin seeds, crushed ¾ C onion, diced ½ C chopped celery ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 oz can chopped mild green chilis ½ C medium hot salsa 15 ½ oz can Golden Hominy ( with juice) salt to taste Cook above in a large pot for about an hour and a half. Remove bones from meat and cut up. Return to soup.

Heading over for a ski weekend at Lost Trail and a soak at Jackson Hot Springs? Be sure to stop in at the Crossing Bar & Grill at Fetty’s in Wisdom.

To Serve: Top soup with corn tortillas cut into 1/4” x 1” strips that have been deep fat fried and salted. Add shredded cabbage (red cabbage is ok), radish slices and a squeeze of lemon.

In the Big Hole during the week? Stop by for cribbage night on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.

Source: Pork pozole soup is the union of a recipe from Glorious Soups and Breads by Nancy Brannon, and the imagination of Serena Towry, who worked at the Big Hole Crossing Restaurant for a number of years.

This summer during fishing season, they’ll be open seven days a week. Archived newspaper covering a 1925 fire in Wisdom

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Big Sky Weekly

Skinning towards the summit of Elephanthead.

Elephanthead Mountain

A Wilderness Adventure Minutes from Livingston By Tyler Allen As we climbed toward the looming face of Elephanthead Mountain, the skiing possibilities unfolded. A steep headwall rose above us. Technical, narrow couloirs sliced through it for nearly 1,000 feet. West of the summit, a huge amphitheater offered descents on just about every aspect. The snowfield on the north side of the peak, our intended route, was capped with a plume of spindrift that made the mountain appear like a smoking volcano. At the northern edge of the Western Beartooths (also known as the Absarokas), Elephanthead Mountain is a short drive from Livingston. While it certainly is not the highest or most imposing summit in this complex, rising to a mere 9,431 feet, its north face lures skiers from Southwest Montana with aesthetic ski terrain and easy access. With its short approach and straightforward ascent, it is a great introduction to ski touring for novice backcountry explorers. For those same reasons, it is not to be overlooked by the experienced backcountry skier either, and was why we chose Elephanthead for a late December 2010 tour, when the daylight hours were short. The final few hundred feet of the climb took us around giant dolomite boulders, to the summit, where the sheer south face drops thousands of feet into the heart of the range. The view from this perch includes the spectacular summit of Mount

Delano, the long sweeping ridge of Shell Mountain with the Beartooth Plateau spreading east beyond it, and the southern end of the Crazy Mountains dropping into the Yellowstone basin. The skiing off the summit was firm and wind-scoured, but once the slope rolled over into the steeper, northfacing chutes, the wind-sheltered snow was soft and boot-top. We leapfrogged the 1,200-foot pitch toward the valley floor, finding powder skiing all the way to the trailhead. It was almost dark by the time we skated across the road to our car, but a full moon on the rise illuminated the frozen expanse. The toughest decision we faced that day had nothing to do with route finding or what to ski, but where to celebrate our success in Livingston. This little town has plenty of après ski options. Fishbowl margaritas at the Rib and Chop House, or strong cocktails in a classic Montana bar setting at the Mint. We settled on the Murray Bar, in the heart of town. It was pizza night, with small pies from the adjacent 2nd Street Bistro on special for five dollars. A trip to Elephanthead offers just another excuse to enjoy the appealing atmosphere and culinary delights of historic Livingston, gatekeeper to endless mountain adventures. Tyler Allen writes from Bozeman.

Joshua Boulange skiing off the summit of Elephanthead Mountain.

How to get there: From Livingston, dirt roads take you about nine miles southeast of town, to a ranch at the mouth of the Mission Creek drainage. If the road is clear, take a right at the ranch gate and follow it for 1.5 miles to the trailhead. The landowners do not take kindly to people parking on their property, so if you cannot make it all the way to the trailhead, turn around and park outside the gate.

21st Annual Snowmobile Expo On March 11- 13 join snowmobilers from around the world in West Yellowstone for the 21st Annual Snowmobile Expo. Recognized as the “Largest Snowmobile Event in the West,” the event features the unveiling of new 2012 snowmobile lines, exhibits, racing events and competitions and tours through Yellowstone Park. Highlights of the event inlcude Dane Ferguson’s World Record backflip attempt and the TOUGHMAN ENDURO Race scheduled for Saturday, March 12th beginning at 2:00 P.M. Racing and other outside events take place just west of Iris Avenue on the ‘old’ airfield. Newcomers to the sport are welcome. For lodging, please visit

March 4, 2011 37

Big Sky Weekly


Fly Fishing in Big Sky By Ennion Williams Fly fishing in Big Sky, Montana is a 12 month passion for some, an eight month passion for many, and is a full time job about five months of the year. This is a new column for the Weekly, aimed to keep both the year round angler and the visiting enthusiast interested and informed about fly fishing opportunities in Southwest Montana.

During the winter months, trout’s metabolism lowers, so they can survive long periods without a steady food supply. For this reason, trout are aggressive when they see a fly. In the Gallatin and Madison rivers, fish will gather in deep holes. There, the water is moving slowly, so fish do not

In the next couple of weeks, fly fishing will only improve. As the days get longer, the window of productive fishing increases. To the local angler this means now there is enough time in the day for a float trip. This spring will pose challenges to the float fisher, as there is so much snow and ice that access with be an issue.

This area is blessed with some of the most productive trout fisheries in the world. The history and current conditions of our rivers reflect both the positive and negative impacts fishing has had on the natural environment. As we move ahead in conservation, preservation and sustainable management of our resource, we must strive to educate, enlighten and share the passion for trout streams across Montana.

For those eager to float, the Lower Madison River near Bear Trap Canyon will offer the best early access. The Madison River from the McAtee Bridge down to Ennis takeout is a good option, as well. Remember the section from Earthquake Lake Outlet to Mactee Bridge is closed from March 1 until May 21. Ice dams and diverted channels are hazards that may be encountered during an early float. Be careful, and consult a local shop before venturing onto the rivers.

Through reports and stories from regional professionals and interested parties, this For a spring float trip, raid the fly rod quiver column will celebrate the passion of fly and rig up a dry rod, a nymph rod and streamer fishing on the rivers of the Yellowstone rod. It may seem like overkill to show up with Winter Catch: Big Sky local, Louise Astbury holds up a nice brown trout Ecosystem and Southwest Montana. three rigged rods but you’ll be happy when caught on Gallatin River. you can change methods according to the water you’re fishing. Plan on short floats, and get out to WINTER 2010-2011 wade productive sections. Remember, the fish are have to exert much energy. Fly patterns in this Winter fishing this year has been very producseason range from very small mayfly and midge holding in the deeper, slower sections this time of tive on both the Gallatin and Madison rivers. year, and these locations need more attention and nymphs to larger stonefly nymphs, which the trout Frigid temperatures have been intermittent, with time to have a successful day. can see. warm pleasant weather making for optimal fishing conditions. On these warmer days there has been Ennion Williams is a professional Fishing Guide and The optimal time to fish in the winter is through decent midge activity and significant hatches on the middle of the day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Outfitter in Big Sky. He can be reached at (406) 579the Madison. 7094 or at As the sun goes down, so does the productivity of the fishing.

helping owners of rental properties enjoy a pleasant, hassle-free and rewarding second home ownership since 1999. East West considers the relationship with our Big Sky and Moonlight Basin homeowners a partnership. We’ll work together to maintain and improve the condition of your Big Sky/ Moonlight property and its rental performance.

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“Fear was replaced by pure, deep joy and a profound conviction that nothing mattered but this time and this place.”

Steep and Empty

Moonlight’s North Summit Snowfield By Russ McElyea It’s difficult to understand how massive and wild Moonlight Basin is without skiing the North Summit Snowfield. My first trip down this incredible route was several years ago with Merik Morgan of the Moonlight ski patrol. Merik is a veteran with a love of steep, empty places where the rules are different and decisions have consequences. He gets quiet joy from sharing these places with others. Merik told me he patrols for Moonlight because terrain like North Summit gives him

a full opportunity to use a craft built over a lifetime. Unlike Merik, I spend most of my day at Moonlight on the phone, in front of a computer, or in meetings. Although I’d skied Moonlight’s lower mountain before there were chairlifts, and have skied many great lines at other resorts and in the backcountry, I’d never made time for the North Summit. I thought it was just another nice route among many. I was wrong. The tram ride to the top of Lone Peak

was typical. Conversation died as we got closer to the Big Couloir, and each skier became lost in his or her own thoughts. Merik and I made the short hike around to the Moonlight patrol shack, checked gear and signed in. I ventured a peek off the north side. There was no bottom, only vast space and a world tipped vertical. Like many skiers pushing 50, I remembered what it was like to be 25 and log a 100 plus days a season. But those days were gone, and places like the North Summit force a hard reality check. I knew my timing was off, my legs were not what they used to be, and that too many days behind a desk might produce a reckoning I was unprepared to accept. Despite the friendly banter in the patrol shack, my heart rate accelerated, and my breathing flattened. As we waited for the Snowfield to clear, I wondered whether I had gotten into something bigger than I could handle. If Merik sensed this, he said nothing. After a briefing on protocol, we began the descent to the top of the route. By the time we got to the entrance, I had forgotten most of what I knew about skiing, and a potent mix of fear and exhilaration dominated. My belief that the North Summit was just another line was gone. Merik invited me to go, and I knew I had to stick those first turns. The snow was creamy and forgiving, and all those years of skiing came back in a rush. Fear was replaced

by pure, deep joy and a profound conviction that nothing mattered but this time and this place. I was completely and fiercely alive for the first time in a long while. The first safety zone came too quickly. Merik and I paused, and talked operations: whether we could, or more importantly, should build a lift to serve this incredible terrain. We looked into Great Falls, decided it was thin, and traversed into a world of awesome steepness. For the first time, I saw the bottom and our objective, the Meeting Trees. Each pole plant was a long reach of faith; each turn burned vertical gone forever. Then it was over. I’ve skied the North Summit a number of times since. I, too, have felt the satisfaction of sharing this experience with others; and each time has been a reminder that life is only full at the boundaries where outcomes are uncertain. With experience, I have a different perspective on the Snowfield, and although familiar now, it stands beautiful and undiminished. But there was only one first time, and it profoundly changed how I think about our mountain and the people who work here. Thanks, Merik, and the entire Moonlight team for this gift. Russ McElyea is COO at Moonlight Basin.

March 4, 2011 39

Big Sky Weekly

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Big Sky Weekly

reel review

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia By Hunter Rothwell The White family of Boone County, West Virginia, is infamous in Appalachian folklore. That unique mountain area between Northern Alabama and Southern New York State has produced a history of moonshining, clan feuding, and a culture of rebellion and lawlessness. The people there are often stereotyped as hard partying, uneducated, and prone to impulsive violence. In his newest indie documentary, “The Wild and Wonderful White’s of West Virginia,” director Julian Nitzberg, with executive producer Johnny Knoxville of “Jackass” fame, records day-to-day adventures of a family who are the last remnants of an outlaw mountain people as old as America. The Whites first gained attention when family patriarch D. Ray White was profiled in a Smithsonian Folkways documentary called, “Talking Feet: Solo Southern Dance: Buck, Flatfoot and Tap.” He was known as the last of the mountain tap-dancers, before being murdered in 1985. D. Ray and his wife Bertie Mae had 13 children; four of their sons aspired to fill the shoes of their father and become his heir apparent. Jesco White continued the tradition, and was featured in a 1991 PBS special, “The Dancing Outlaw,” that became a cult classic. “The Wonderful Whites of West Virginia” follows the exploits of Bertie Mae White, her surviving children and an ever-growing number of grandchildren. Interviews with Boone County law enforcement and attorneys explain the White family is involved in shoot-outs, robberies, drug dealing, pill popping, wild partying and murder. “The Whites live at three times the speed of ordinary lives,” said director Julian Nitzberg in a 2010 interview. “They have way more drama than most people could handle without going mad.” In a tragic yet comical scene, Jesco describes his “brain damage” from huffing gasoline for ten years—he just can’t figure out which brain cell was actually affected. This hasn’t slowed old Jesco down; he still loves “gettin’ plastered and ripped out of the frame.”

“Even though they might be the most hated family, well, they are probably the most free. They are the true rebels of the South.” -Hank WIlliams III Over the past decade, Jesco, his sister, Mamie, and the White family gained attention when their lives showed up in popular country music. “Jessico” by the Kentucky Headhunters, “Comin’ to Your City” by Big & Rich, and “The Legend of D. Ray White” by Hank Williams III are a few examples of White family inspired songs. Hank III appears in the documentary and acoustically performs three of his popular songs to the accompaniment of Jesco’s skillful tap-dancing. Some will find this family entertaining and funny, others will be awed by the spectacle of their unbelievable exploits, and still others will be offended by the pillsnorting, foul-mouthed, hardcore ways of a group of people who do not understand the word discretion. The Whites are a product of a mountain culture isolated by geography for generations. A significant theme resonates throughout the film, concerning the powerful forces of poverty and corruption that are the result of a dominating coal industry. “Even though they might be the most hated family, well, they are probably the most free. They are the true rebels of the South,” says Hank III in the film. With technology bringing us closer and making us more alike, the uniqueness of the Whites is becoming a rare phenomenon in a country founded on personal freedom, individualism and cultural variety. The Whites are a deep and smart group, but also self-destructive in their love of sex, drugs and crime. Bo White put it best: “We’re good people. Everybody puts us down here and there, but you can’t believe everything you hear. Seeing is believing...from my heart we’re just right down, dirty, good ol’ people—hillbillies.”

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i k S s é r p A



March Music Wed. 2nd : Open Mic Night

Sat. 5th : Kayli Smith 5:00-7:00 Sat. 5th : Bottom of the Barrel 9:30 Wed 9th: Open Mic Night Sat. 12th : Kent Johnson 5:00-7:00

• Daily drink specials • Live Music • 12 HDTVs • Amazing Food

Wed 16th: Open Mic Night Fri. 18th : One Leaf Clover 9:30 Sat. 19th : Big Water 5:00-7:00 Wed 23rd: Open Mic Night Sat. 26th: Hairy Dog Show 5:00-7:00

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EVENTS big sky 5th Annual Huck-ABerry Jam Moonlight Basin Saturday, March 5th 8 a.m.

Water Through the Seasons: Avalanche Safety and the Dynamics of Snow Science Big Sky Resort March 5 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Denny & the Resonnators Live @ the Half Moon Saloon March 5 9:30 p.m.

Big Sky Nordic Ski Festival Lone Mountain Ranch March 6 - 13 995-4644

Visiting Author: Jeff Strickler Big Sky Community Library March 8 7 p.m.

Yellowstone Science and Creatures of the Lake Depths Big Sky Nordic Center Warming Hut March 9 6 p.m.

Big Sky Weekly

Planning an event? Let us know! Email and we’ll spread the word. Check for an extended calendar.

31st Annual Ophir School Pie Auction Buck’s T-4 Lodge March 12 7 p.m.

Hope on the Slopes ACS Fundraiser Big Sky Resort 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. March 12

ACBS Dinner Concert Series Presents Chuck Suchy Buck’s T-4 Ballroom March 13 5:30 p.m.

Friends of the Library Meeting Big Sky Community Library March 16

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Half Moon Saloon March 17 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. Free shuttle

Pennies for Peace Ophir School and Lone Peak High School March 1-11 7 pm.



AIDS Outreach Fundraiser Emerson Ballroom March 8th 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Chili Contest

Springtime Wonders and Recreation in Yellowstone

The American Legion Post 118

March 5 6 p.m.

An evening of camaraderie and fun Community Center March 19 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.

REI Bozeman March 10 6:30 p.m.

Montana Raptor Conservation Center REI Bozeman March 12 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

West Yellowstone 32 Annual Rendezvous Race

Bike Matinenance BASICS

Rendezvous Ski Trails March 5

REI Bozeman March 17 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Youth Ski Festival March 6

Livingston Free Spay Neuter Clinic Hosted by the Park County Fixer Uppers Washington School March 6 222-2134

21st World Snowmobile Expo March 11, 12, 13

Yellowstone Closes to Over-the-Snow Travel March 15-April 16

Bozeman Bison Citizens Working

Morningstar learning center’s

Group Meeting Bozeman Public Library March 7 4 - 8 p.m.

Chuck Suchy at Buck’s T-4 for ACBS Dinner Concert Series

Dance and Wine Tasting at Buck’s T-4

By Brian Hurlbut As part of the annual Peggy Dicken Schwer Memorial Fund Concert Series, the Arts Council of Big Sky is bringing regional and national musicians to Big Sky. The events will be held at several local venues and will include dinner served up by some of Big Sky’s best chefs.

point of view. Suchy is an astute observer of the Plains—he’s seen farm crises, population loss, and a major restructuring of the agricultural economy. His songs chronicle not only the events, but also the emotions and feelings accompanying such upheaval and change.

On Sunday, March 13, the winter’s final concert will feature acclaimed singer songwriter Chuck Suchy, at the Buck’s T-4 Ballroom. The evening starts at 5:30 with a social hour/cash bar, followed by a three-course dinner at 6:45 p.m., and the concert at 8 p.m.

Crossroads Magazine called Chuck Suchy “…one of the shining lights of the Upper Great Plains.” His music and stories speak to everyone – urban and rural – because laughter, love, gain and loss are common human property. The Boston Globe proclaims Suchy is “a man with a rich, wideopen-spaces voice.”

Chuck Suchy (pronounced soo-key) is one of the foremost musical voices of the American Great Plains. A working farmer, Suchy’s music is influenced by a childhood in the blue hills along the Missouri River south of Mandan, North Dakota. His ballads and songs are honest portrayals of contemporary American farm life from an insider’s

Check for a complete schedule of the concert series, or call the ACBS office at (406) 995-2742. Tickets are $40, are by reservation only, and must be made by calling the office.

Saturday April 2, 2011, 7:00 p.m. Auction and Rafflfflle items

Jeni Fleming and band will perform for the event and

Natalie’s Estates Winery will be featuring their fabulous wines


Tickets on sale March 5 at Morningstar Learning Center

March 4, 2011 43

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Big Sky Weekly


Getting over the Fear Factor

Learning to look at life with an open mind By Jeni West Satellites falling out of the sky, every inactive volcano becoming active, the earth spinning completely off its axis… Somewhere between morning sickness and finally being able to hold my newborn son, I believed wholeheartedly in these fear-based thoughts I’d contrived from hearsay, media and hype. I’d stay up for hours at night thinking about what to do and where to run and I was projecting all these fears onto my son. Then, something changed. With a shift in consciousness, I began looking at life differently. It was the beginning of something new: letting go of that which I could not change, and just accepting what is. How did I get to that realization? I was tired of feeling so low. Horrified to look at myself, I was always seeking change in others. But when I did finally look inward, I found the key, and answers to lifelong questions. Listening to my body instead of my ego, I became sensitive to the world around me. As a result, I am a better mother, a better friend, and life is good. Is it perfect? No way, not even close. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Change is certain. We are in continuous motion and evolution. By accepting this, we can embrace a new way of life, become more in touch with our rhythms, as well as the world’s. Stop and listen to yourself, listen to your

children. We can make decisions that honor our bodies, mind and spirit. Ghandi said, ‘Be the Change you wish to see in the world’. It begins with me. It begins with you. Begin by being present. You may find yourself in the tram line, impatient, or in line at the post office, in disbelief the person in front you needs to mail 37 letters, all weighed individually—and all you need is one stamp. In those moments, take a deep breath and remember, ‘nothing is next’. Take a look around and realize you are here, nowhere else. How does that feel? Eckhart Tolle said, ‘There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.’ Don’t let one moment go un-noticed. When we’re present, we’re at ease, focused, and in alignment with the universe and ourselves. In those moments we radiate, open in heart and mind. Practice being present for one moment a day. It is remarkable, uplifting and will come easier and easier. Jeni West spent most of her life romping around the mountains of Northwestern Montana, and has lived full time in Big Sky since 2006. She is a mother of a beautiful three-year-old boy and is a certified Yoga Instructor under Yogi Amrit Desai.

“There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.” -Eckhart Tolle

Shawna Winter


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People on the street If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Mitch Casey Timbers deli “Flight, obviously.”

Jan Ethen Willow boutique “Rid the world of hate and violence.”

Patrick Hudson Visiting Big Sky from Baltimore, MD “You might think this would be a supermicrowave, but I would have the power to put anything in the microwave and have it come out as a perfect, delicious meal.”

Katie’s Joke Corner What do you call a snail on a sailboat?

The Outlaw Big Sky “I already have superpowers.”

A snailor!

What does a cloud wear under its shorts? Thunderpants

March 4, 2011 47

Big Sky Weekly

Noun: wild or rough terrain adjacent to a developed area Origin: shortened form of “back 40 acres”

For the Big Sky Weekly, the Back 40 is a resource: a place where we can delve into subjects and ask experts to share their knowledge. Topics include regional history, profiles of local artists and musicians, snow and avalanche education, how-to pieces for traditional or outdoor skills, and science.

The Lion of Winter

Greg Stump’s pre-premier of “The Legend of Aahhh’s” will be in Bozeman By Mike Quist Kautz Over the last few years I’ve watched ski movies with less and less enthusiasm. Each fall a new stokefest is distributed from the Tetons, in which athletes take wild risks and the filmmakers take none. While the narration uses the word “progressive” liberally to describe the skiing, the same adjective rarely applies to the filmmaking. The movies are cooked up like cake mixes. Each fall I’ve wondered what happened to Greg Stump. Stump made the 1988 classic “Blizzard of Aahhh’s” and helped launch a reinvention of American skiing. By assuming risk in the mountains and in the editing studio, he produced a body of work that is offbeat, intelligent and prescient. Stump’s films predicted and precipitated shifts in the core of the sport: from extreme skiing (“Blizzard”), to the influence of snowboarding (“P-tex, Lies and Duct Tape”), to Johnny Mosely’s Olympic stardom (“Fistful of Moguls”). After premiering “Fistful of Moguls” at Sundance in 1999, Stump stopped making feature ski movies. For more than a decade he’s been somewhere else. Hollywood, Maui, Whistler, Aspen? A search of the internet turns up 2155 Facebook friends, Finnegan’s Wake as one of his favorite books, and a birth weight of six pounds two ounces. A foam puppet maker in Brooklyn lists Stump as a client who commissioned a sixfoot tall pink yeti for a Dinosaur Jr. music video. The address for his production company is on the Idaho side of the Tetons. You can also find Stump making the case that Extreme Combos at Taco Bell and Big Sky’s Lone Peak tram owe their existence, in part, to “Blizzard of Aahhh’s.” He describes current ski movies as montages of “bad music with big jumps” narrated with bro-speak. In an interview with he says, “But maybe I’m jaded. It’s like, do lions eat their young? Maybe I’m just old now and I don’t get it. It’s possible I’ve turned into what I was rebelling against.” Perhaps to explain where he’s been, perhaps as a retrospective of his own work, or maybe to prove he’s still a lion, Stump finally has a new movie. On March 25, the legend himself will be in the control booth at the Emerson Theater in Bozeman, screening a special pre-premier version of “The Legend of Aahhh’s.” He describes the new movie as a reinvention of the documentary; part rock op-

era, part autobiography and part ski film. If “Legend” is vintage Stump, maybe it will serve as a reminder that “progressive” is an adjective that can be used for ski filmmakers too. Mike Quist Kautz is a Mainer who moved to Bozeman, Montana from Erzurum, Turkey. He has worked as a potato truck driver, a longshoreman, a newspaper photographer, a logger, and a middle manager. Look for his exclusive interview with Greg Stump in the upcoming March 18 issue of the Weekly.

Now that Greg Stump’s catalog is available on DVD and NetFlix instead of VHS you can pick out segments to watch without all the fast-forwarding or rewinding. Here are four not to miss: @ 8:34 in “Groove Requiem:” Bozeman’s Tom Jungst describes how Montana is populated by guys who don’t eat vegetables, followed by footage of him tearing up Big Sky and Bridger back when a young man could wear a mustache without irony @ 51:00 in “P-Tex Lies and Duct Tape:” a strange and haunting segment on Rogers Pass in the Selkirks that includes archival footage of steam locomotives, the narratives of old railway workers and a snowboarder in a hooded robe pretending to be the ghost of an avalanche victim @ 1:13.35 in “License to Thrill:” Glen Plake displays humility, an understanding of ski history’s continuum (the ski was invented before the wheel), and an ability to self-reflect, three qualities not often summoned by modern ski movie stars. “We’re not the best in the world,” he says. “We’ve just been skiing, and there’s been a lot of people that’ve been skiing for a long time.” @ 1:05.15 in “Blizzard of Aahhh’s:” Montana-raised, Bridger-schooled Scot Schmidt at Les Grandes Montets, France, proving the vision of skiers was far beyond their rear entry boots and 55mm-wide skis. Schmitdt’s direct line and huge air preceded fat skis and the use of the word “tomahawk” as a verb by 10 years.

From the 1988 film, “Blizzard of Aahhh’s”

48 March 4, 2011

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25, Greg Stump be giving an unofficial, pre-premiere, off-the-record, test screening of “The Legend of Aahhh’s” at the Emerson in Bozeman with a Q&A to follow. Tickets will be $10 at the door.


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