Big Sky Weekly
Big Skyâ€™s Locally Owned & Published Newspaper
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April 20, 2012 Volume 3 // Issue #8
Big Sky School Board
Dirt Biking in Pipestone
Town Hall Meeting
two montana tourism awards go to big sky
wild turkey hunting season Yellowstone roads open to motorized travel email@example.com
Publisher of the big sky weekly
Big Sky Weekly
2011 big sky chamber of commerce
Business of the Year april 20, 2012 Volume 3, Issue 8 PUBLISHER Eric Ladd COO & SENIOR EDITOR Megan Paulson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Martins MANAGING EDITOR Emily Stifler GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kelsey Dzintars EDITOR Abbie Digel Assistant Editor Taylor Anderson Distribution Director Danielle Chamberlain VIDEO director Brian Niles videographer Chris Davis
A valiant attempt with a snow bike at the Big Sky Pond Skim April 14.
Account relations coordinator Kacey Brown
Win a trip with Gallatin River Guides
Operations director Katie Morrison
It may be the off-season in Big Sky, but there’s still plenty to do in the world close to home. In this issue of the Weekly, learn more about dirt biking at Pipestone, hunting wild turkeys, the upcoming TEDx event in Big Sky, the C.M. Russell Western Art Week in Great Falls, the Big Sky softball league, getting a manicure at Monica’s Salon, and new gear for spring hiking.
WEB Programmer/Designer Sean Weas CONTRIBUTors
Kurt Dehmner, Ken Lancey, Jimmy Lewis, Mike Mannelin, Brandon Niles, Stacey Ray, Barbara Rowley, Scotty Savage, Donnie Sexton, Deb Courson Smith, Richard Smith, Diane Tipton and John Zirkle
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.
Letter to the Editor Parameters The Weekly accepts letters to the editor to give readers a platform to express their views and share ways they would like to effect change. These should not be Thank You notes. Letters should be 250 words or less, respectful, ethical, state accurate facts and figures, and proofread for grammar and content. We reserve the right to edit letters. Include: first and last name, address, phone number and title. Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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2 April 20, 2012
Still working on your goggle tan in the backcountry? Submit a pic to our second annual goggle tan contest on Explorebigsky’s Facebook page before April 27, and win a guided fishing trip with Gallatin River Guides!
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Big Sky Weekly
Big Sky School Board candidates By Taylor Anderson
big sky weekly assistant editor
The following are answers from the candidates for the Big Sky School Board to pressing questions in the community. Answers were lightly edited for brevity.
Ty Moline is challenging current board member Barbara Rowley for the two-year board term. Rowley was unable to submit answers. Matt Jennings, Rich Lindell, Kristen Ramirez and Jolene Romney are running for two seats, each with three-year board terms.
Levy items for the May 8 election have not yet been set. There will be a public candidate forum on April 26 at the Lone Peak Cinema. Time for that was also not set as of press time.
Matt Jennings Questions
I can’t imagine “early graduation” would be beneficial for any child.
1. Why did you enter the race for the Big Sky School Board?
As I said above, I am new to the school on a whole, as my family is just entering this stage. I need to understand a bit better all the reasons for changing the name to give a complete answer. It seems the Big Sky name has a strong connotation, and it may help with funding to capitalize on the strength of it. I look forward to learning more on this topic.
2. What are your thoughts on the recent changes to the school curriculum requirements and district name from Ophir to Big Sky School District? 3. Some have said the school is running out of room. How does a district like Big Sky—whose population fluctuates annually— plan for a growing student body? 4. Ennis and Big Sky’s Madison County residents will vote for two new trustees on May 8. They will have a new superintendent at the end of June. How do you see the two boards maintaining a strong relationship in the future? Is there a need for this? 5. What do you see as the most important aspects of the school budget and budgeting plans in the coming three years?
1. Last summer I came to my first Ophir/Lone Peak High School board meeting. We were hoping to get our first son Matthew into kindergarten early, as his fifth birthday was not until October. I was drawn to the issues the board was dealing with, and impressed by their passion for the school. It was my first real glimpse into my son’s education, and I knew right away I wanted to play a role to make sure it was great. 2. The recent changes in curriculum are a positive step for students. I believe giving children more structure will give them a more solid base to move forward. We need our children to have all the opportunities and requirements a larger town can provide so they can be competitive in whatever they choose to do after high school.
3. We need to start addressing the problem sooner than later. Big Sky is growing, and as the word gets out about what it have to offer, we will continue to grow and change. [Also] our current residents are expanding their families each year. Next year the incoming kindergarten class will be even larger than the class this year, which had to be split into two classes to accommodate the high number of kids. It’s necessary for each teacher to have their own space to do what they do best. We’ve had amazing donations to create the school we have now, and I hope to be a part of the next stage. I look forward to learning about all levels of funding and growth to see that we’re able to expand with our ever-changing population. This will be a huge challenge, but an exciting one. 4. This is another issue I look forward to digging into, so I can more fully understand. Looking in from the outside, Ennis feels like a world away from our little community and a very distant relation. It seems to me the best option is to look into drawing up new district lines that make more sense. The fact that
such a substantial amount of the taxes collected from Madison County go to the Ennis school district even though they are paid by Big Sky residents is wrong. Clearly Big Sky residents would not even have the option to take advantage of that tax money and send our children to Ennis even if we wanted to. If Ophir/Lone Peak had even a portion of that money I am sure we would be able to entertain growth with building space, curriculum needs and increased pay for our amazing staff. 5. In my opinion our most important budget points should be: creating space for our growing student body, expanding our curriculum, and paying our teachers what they deserve. I feel these three areas are connected directly, and it will be very hard to grow one area without addressing the next. Already there is a shortage of space for certain classrooms. Without proper building requirements we can’t expect to offer more/different kinds of classes or expect our staff to do their best job. We need to constantly be expanding curriculum so we can obtain all our goals in academics and give our children the most opportunity to find their strengths. It has always amazed me that teachers receive as little as they do for their noble profession. Ophir and Lone Peak High have great staff and they should be compensated better for the influence that they have on our kids.
4 April 20, 2012
1. I feel serving as a board member on some of Big Sky’s many boards is one of the most important responsibilities a Big Sky citizen can undertake. The school board is one of these positions as this board makes decisions that will help shape the future of our community. Besides, a couple of wonderful women already involved with the school twisted my arm, as they felt I have much to offer to my community.
cause some issue if we ever play Big Sky High School but that is another bridge to cross later.
2. I like the name change. The community does need to have an image or brand name that we can all be uniform in communicating. It may
3. Good question. This is an issue that will be a tough one to tackle because there are so many factors that come into play. If we only had a crys-
As for the new curriculum, I’m sure the current board and school staff reviewed this inside and out before they adopted it. If the program needs [to be] tweaked down the road, the staff and board will address the issue and again make a decision they feel is best for the district and its students.
tal ball and could see five or 10 years into the future. 4. It’s important that the boards keep an open, working relationship, and I cannot see any reason they wouldn’t. 5. I can express opinions on what the most important aspects may be, but until I am on the board and get filled in on issues I’m not fully aware of, I will keep my lips sealed and ears open. Besides, things will come up that the current board and future board may not have been fully aware of, that will be more important than any current budget items.
Big Sky Weekly
Jolene Romney 22 credits to between 27-30 credits were agreed upon by most people in the community. I concur with this opinion and believe our school should raise the bar toward excellence. With next year’s sophomore class on track to graduate with the increased credit load, the school has not only met its goal and vision of excellence, but has effectively worked through one of the inevitable growing pains of having a new high school in a collaborative manner with the community.
1. With three young children, I have a vested interest in serving our community by setting goals and implementing policies that provide our students with the an excellent education. I set high standards and have high expectations for each of my unique children, thus value the school’s vision for excellence and its core philosophy to nurture each student’s potential to the fullest extent. I want the best public educational opportunities for all the children of our community, and I’m ready to work hard and make smart decisions that reflect this vision. 2. There have been multiple community forums on these issues during this school year, which have proven to be a positive way to hear all sides of the issues. The recent changes to the curriculum requirements to increase credits required for graduation from
The district name change to Big Sky School District, which will take effect in July, is another example of how the school is keeping pace with what is happening in the community. As leaders of the community continue to work on community branding and strategic planning, it is important for people to recognize our school by name as being a vital part of the town. 3. If the projected class sizes over the next few years are realized, there is no question the school will run out of room. This is already being discussed within the administration and the current school board, but I believe this a good problem to have. I would like to see our town grow, and I would like families with children to stay in (and move into) Big Sky, contribute in their own way to our wonderful town, and help it expand. It’s important to explore all the options for finding space for more students. In the immediate future this may require creatively using the space we have, but [beyond that] I hope
we can expand our quality and exceptional facilities to accommodate our student body. Our school building is one of our biggest assets. 4. The recent issues with Ennis School District have been very interesting to watch unfold. Not only because Ennis is our neighbor and the issues surrounding funding of the building of their new school are unprecedented, but because the property taxes of Madison County Big Sky home owners have played a big role in the story. It’s quite a complicated issue as is evident by the research and articles done in our local papers, and it leaves me with many answered questions. I would like to think that in the past few years the Ennis School administration and board acted with the best interests of the students and community in mind. This is not an excuse for negligence, but my hopes are that the two new Ennis School Board trustees and superintendent will be able to provide the district with enough fresh insight into their problems that the school district and town itself will be able to get out from under their cloud. It seems the community will vote on whether this will involve delving into an audit that answers some of the unanswered questions. I’m in favor of full transparency. From my understanding of how the laws are currently written, changes regarding the re-drawing of school district lines or county lines would re-
2. Changing the school district name is in alignment with continuing to establish the community ID. The name change builds upon those efforts to have Big Sky known as its own separate entity versus as a subcommunity of Bozeman or any of the other surrounding communities. The part of change in the curriculum that allows greater choices is needed to better suit a diverse student body and community. As the community grows and evolves, students and families have different educational objectives, and the school needs to be able to adapt and meet those objectives. Education is evolving across the US and we need to keep pace.
5. I’ve learned quite a bit about school budgets over the past several years at school board meetings, and I realize there is still much to be learned. While I understand that good personnel are key to the success of any organization (good teachers and good administrators are what make a school successful) until recently I did not realize that 84 percent of our school budget is personnel services, salaries and benefits. We’re not an exception, as this is the norm for most school budgets. Therefore, it’s hard to ignore that this is the most important aspect of our budget. Our time with Mr. Jerry House (Superintendent) is short, and so finding a fabulous administrator to fill his shoes will be vital to the success of our school. Further, keeping and hiring exceptional teachers who see eye to eye with our school vision and are motivated by the teacher training and further education opportunities the district provides, as well as the lifestyle our town has to offer, will be very important. Lastly, it seems clear that an expansion of facilities will be a necessary consideration over the next three years to accommodate our growing population of young children.
Kristen Ramirez 3. By planning for change and being prepared to adapt quickly. As part of that planning, the school administration needs to be intimately knowledgeable of the community’s growth and strategic goals, as well as that of the local business community. The size and growth of the student body is directly proportional to the fluctuations of the business community. As business growth yields year-round employment opportunities, the population increases, which then needs an educational system suited to support family needs.
1.For three reasons: 1) I want to contribute to the community of Big Sky for welcoming me and my family as this is our home now; 2) Education is a growing concern as I have two sons in Ophir, and their educational needs were one of the reasons we chose Big Sky to live in; 3) simply, I was asked to.
quire an enormous amount of work and cooperation between the two school districts and/or counties. Therefore. I feel it’s very important to maintain a strong relationship between the two boards. I would be willing to cooperate with the Ennis School Board in any way our community finds necessary.
4. By the question itself, it is evident that there needs to be a strong relationship, and to have a strong relationship it is necessary to have a strong Board here in Big Sky (Ophir). The relationship should be based upon mutual needs and objectives, and leveraging the best of both districts to provide both student bodies with the resources to excel. How? Big Sky establishing its identity; capitalizing on its growing and changing student body; and by leveraging the support of its business community to promote the development of Big Sky’s educational system. 5. Most important is budgeting funds for the changing needs by ensuring the teaching staff and facilities can adapt quickly for changes in growth and educational goals. The budget should provide for increased technology and teacher and classroom development.
1. I was blessed enough to attend Ophir School growing up and I wanted to give back to the school and community that was such an important part of my beginning. 2. Education is freedom! It’s our job to make sure the children receive an education that will send them into the world. By raising the curriculum requirements, we’re helping the students to understand their full potential. The name change of the district created an umbrella for the Ophir Elementary School, Ophir Middle School and Lone Peak High School. It will give us a common identity even though we have three separate schools. 3. The Big Sky District is so blessed to have the current administration and staff. They work diligently to make use of every closet, office space, nook and open space. We are, however, running out of space in our school. The district is doing everything it can to make due with the current space; however, it’s important we provide the students adequate learning space. I personally feel so blessed we have such a growing student body in a state where schools are merging or closing. 4. [No comment] 5. In an era of ever changing technology, we must continue to fund technology in our school along with the need for an expanding building.
April 20, 2012 5
Big Sky Weekly
Scholarships available from Gallatin Canyon Women’s Club Gallatin Canyon Women’s Club is accepting scholarship applications for the 20122013 academic school year. Applicants must be graduates of Ophir School and entering the first year of post-secondary education at an accredited academic or technical institution. The club has designated $4,000 to be made available from the scholarship fund. Money for the fund comes from member donations. The minimum award will be $1,000 and the maximum award will be $2,000. The application deadline is June 1, 2011, with awards being announced by July 1, 2012. The scholarship criteria and application form can be found at gcwomensclub.org. Big Sky Community Chorus Concert April 9, 2012 Photo by Ken Lancey
BSCC nominated for Dreyer’s Link to the past Communities Take Root program Collaborating to celebrate Big Sky’s 40th Community votes needed to win tree orchard BIG SKY – Big Sky has the chance to win a fruitful orchard that will grow 3 the community for genbenefits for erations to come. On April 16, voting begins for the 2012 Communities Take Root program, a collaboration between Dreyer’s Fruit Bars and The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.
BSCC could potentially win 25 trees for the park by the end of the summer, “but we need your daily votes to win,” said Camp Big Sky director Katie Coleman. Even a small group of people can make a big difference by casting a daily vote, she said.
Communities Take Root is a program created by Dreyer’s Fruit Bars to help the brand give back by providing fruit orchards in deserving communities, beautifying neighborhoods, encouraging healthy eating and building strong community relationM O N ships. Dreyer’s has already planted 45 orchards in communities across the U.S., and will award 20 more as part of this year’s campaign
Four rounds of winners will be chosen throughout the summer. ”I feel very hopeful as the program correspondent told me they've worked with communities at our before with great success Aelevation N A and that our new park is a great candidate,” Coleman said.
Visit CommunitiesTakeRoot.com to cast a vote in support of BSCC, which was selected to be part of this pro6 gram. People of all ages are encouraged to vote.
Last year, tens of thousands of people voted, and the comittee expects even more participation this year as awareness grows.
Update: Big Sky softball Teams have begun to register for the upcoming season of co-ed softball in Big Sky. Games will start June 11 and be played on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
B I G S KY
Teams interested in signing up can contact Krsita Mach at firstname.lastname@example.org. The fee to play in the league is $500 and is due by May 23. A softball meeting will be held at the Outlaw Partners office on May 23 at 5 p.m. For teams interested in scheduling a practice, please coordinate with Jessie Neal at the BSCC office. - Eric Ladd
6 April 20, 2012
By abbie digel
big sky weekly editor
BIG SKY–Before Big Sky Resort’s chairlifts were spinning and the Huntley Lodge was built, there was a small, active community of locals, some of whom still live in Big Sky today. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of Big Sky Resort and the moment when everything changed in Big Sky as a community. A small group of people that were here “before anything else,” says J.C. Knaub, will gather in March 2013 to celebrate the 40 years that have passed since the inception of the resort. Because of the advent of social media, this group, consisting mostly of past construction workers, ski instructors, ski patrollers and people who helped “build everything from nothing,” have been gathering on sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube to share stories, photos and videos, Knaub said. Knaub encourages anyone who is interested or who has something to share to find the page, named Big Sky 40 Years DTR (down the road). The page’s purpose is also for sharing updates on reunion news. The party will be held at Buck’s T-4 in March of 2013.
“It’s a celebration of locals that are still around,” he said. “We did one at the 30th anniversary, but this time we are going to become more structured. Basically, we are a link to the past.” Knaub explained that while this small group lived in Big Sky in the 1970s, they recorded their experiences through filming and taking pictures, similar to what we do today. The Facebook page is full of ruminations on that time. “You can try to explain what we did there, but if you did not experience it, you could not possibly know the freedom of youth we experienced,” one testimonial read. Pictures of early softball games, gondola and hotel construction and people enjoying cross country skiing are posted on a daily basis. Also, an arsenal of old 8 mm reel film footage is available on YouTube, provided by Gary “Fry” Collins. To see more videos, visit gcollinsbigskychannel on YouTube. Knaub says this is an ongoing project, and they will continue to gather and solicit photographs, videos and memories to add to their online time capsule.
Correction In the April 6 edition of the Big Sky Weekly, freelancer Jimmy Lewis wrote that Greg Stump’s film Legend of Aahhh’s featured filmmaker Dave Seone, when in fact Stump interviewed Corey Gavitt and Steve Jones from Teton Gravity Research.
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Local gallery owner grows business through C.M. Russell auction By emily stifler
big sky weekly managing editor
BIG SKY—Colin Mathews studied art history at Stanford and in Europe, but he received his education about contemporary Western art and Western masters at Western Art Week in Great Falls. Called “The Russell Show,” the annual three-day fine art exhibition and fundraising event takes place the third week of March and benefits the C.M. Russell Museum. “It’s become the most important business trip I make every year,” said Mathews, who with his wife Paula owns Creighton Block Gallery in Big Sky. Mathews has attended every year since 1999.
Of the three auctions that take place during the event, two benefit the C.M. Russell Museum directly, and a third, the Western Masters Auction, is organized by Great Falls business people to sell the work of independent artists from across the West. The auctions are juried, and the artwork involved ranges in value from $1,000 to more than $500,000. In total, the three auctions gross about $4 million in sales.
Creighton Block Gallery in the Big Sky Town Center
Many of the artists Creighton Block represents have display rooms during that week, and there, Mathews can see “the newest, finest pieces that artists whom we represent have done in the previous 12 months.”
An additional auction, organized by the Coeur D’Alene Auction House separately but concurrently, adds another element of prestige to the week. That group runs the highest dollar auction of Western art that takes place annually in Reno, in July.
Because this is the biggest show of the year for many artists, they bring their largest and best work to try to sell themselves, Mathews explains.
“These are experienced auctioneers and this is something I keep my eye on,” Mathews said.
“I get the pick of the work… from the artists we represent, so trip accomplishes replenishing inventory with wonderful new work from artists in our gallery.” Mathews returned to Big Sky with nearly 20 new artworks.
Attending the auctions helps Mathews stay abreast of market prices, something he says is very important, and it also helps him find fresh work for Creighton Block. He’s excited to have picked up several new artists this year, including John Demott, Frank Hagel and Tom Dean, and to
have come back with major pieces from an existing artist, Laurie Stevens. Another major perk of the event for Mathews is spending time with artists—both those he already knows, and meeting new friends. He describes visiting a colorful local bar called the Sip n’ Dip at around midnight after the auctions, and finding half a dozen or more of the most prominent living Western artists and the owners or operators of major Western art galleries there, with the bar’s trademark mermaids bobbing up and down in a pool seen through a window behind the bar. “It’s just a hoot, and a fun way to get to know these artists and their spouses better,” Mathews says.
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8 April 20, 2012
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local news Community update: Looming changes 2
By Taylor Anderson
big sky weekly assistant editor
About 125 members of the Big Sky community packed the chapel basement on April 11 for a three-hour update from various business leaders heading into the Big Sky Resort Tax appropriations in June. The turnout was about double what the annual meeting typically draws, according to the Chamber, perhaps indicating a greater interest from residents on changes in their community. The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce organized and ran the meeting, with new board president 5 Dave O’Connor acting as overseer. O’Connor was one of four new members of the now seven-person board. John Richardson, Bill Simkins and Sarah Phelps are also new to the board. The meeting was also attended by the A/D Creative Group hired by the Chamber for a three-year, threephase marketing plan, the second phase of which the Chamber has asked for funding from the resort tax board. T A N A
The group’s president, Eric Finstad, along with another employee, presented to the group their ideas after months of brainstorming of what makes Big Sky a great place. The result: time. Big Sky is the only “uncrowded resort community that offers a gateway to adventure coupled with Americana and Western romance, for adventurers seeking unique and authentic self-expression in a natural alpine environment, where time is the greatest currency, and in an era when people think there is nothing new to be discovered,” the group’s presentation said in what it calls the town’s “only” statement. Finstad then presented hundreds of logos, one of which will be used for town branding and marketing campaigns. The selected logo (a draft of which is shown above) incorporates the natural aspects of the community in a diamond-shaped logo with Lone Peak acting as top, the meadow and the West Fork. The Chamber board highlighted its future plans, some of which depend on funding from resort tax, including hiring three new employees to work the visitor information center. The visitor center is also a topic of potential change for the Chamber,
LOT 488ACRE S LOT 488 | 1.77 B I G S KY M O N T A N A who is talking with the owner of a property on the corner of Lone Mountain Trail and Highway 191 about leasing that building as a different location for better exposure to the millions of visitors driving the canyon annually. Allen Armstrong from Gallatin County GIS presented his findings on public and private roadways in Big Sky. He also said that there has never officially been a Big Sky Spur Road, and that GIS will work at affirming Route 64 in Big Sky as Lone Mountain Trail.
Architect Wayne Freeman presented ideas for a 35-foot tall by 100foot long entryway monument to be placed 40 feet off the highway. Also near the intersection would be eight decorative roadway lights staggered from the intersection to the bridge.
THE ULTIM AT E
B I G S KEXY Alpine PERIENCE M O N T A N A
W ITH IN Y E LLOW STON E C LU B
Only seconds to 8,000 acres of powder, glades and chutes. 6
Le t t h e m e m o r i e s b e g i n .
Panoramic View from Lot 488
B I G S KY
The Chamber this year will ask for more funding from the tax board than ever, saying in a press release that its projects are “strategically designed to bring more people to Big Sky." In order, the Chamber has ranked its application in three priority tiers. First, for $400,000, the group wants to fund its staff, Biggest Skiing in America marketing campaign, and wayfinding signage construction. For $180,000, the Chamber has asked for the roadway lighting, phase two of the town’s marketing plan, and the cost of leasing the building at the intersection. The last tier of the application is the entry monument construction documents and printing of the Chamber’s publications, totaling $60,000, bringing the total to $640,000. Other presenters at the meeting included Anne Marie Mistretta and John Zirkle from the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, Jessie Neal from the Big Sky Community Corporation, Brian Hurlbut from Arts Council of Big Sky, Lisa Beczkiewicz from Women in Action, and Ryan Hamilton, representing the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center committee.
Big Sky Weekly
10 April 20, 2012
Big Sky Weekly
Big Sky wins tourism awards at Montana Governor’s Conference By emily stifler
big sky weekly managing editor
GREAT FALLS—It was a big night for Big Sky in Great Falls. The Montana Office of Tourism awarded Big Sky two tourism awards at the 2012 annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation, April 11-13. Meg O’Leary, Big Sky Resort’s marketing and sales director, was named Montana Tourism Person of the Year for her contributions to Montana tourism at both Big Sky Resort and in the community. Big Sky as a whole was named Tourism Community of the Year for its work hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Conference in May of 2011. Ronda Fitzgerald, chair of the Tourism Advisory Council, spoke at the Thursday night tourism banquet, honoring both O’Leary and the Big Sky community. “The annual awards recognize people and organizations across the state that go the extra mile to enhance the tourism and hospitality industry in Montana,” Fitzgerald said. You could call them the “Montana tourism industry’s version of the Oscars,” said Sarah Lawlor, from the promotions division for the Office of Tourism. “It’s an opportunity for us to recognize [individuals and communities], and give credit where credit is due.” Fitzgerald described O’Leary’s holistic approach to tourism, her ability to look at the big picture, spirit of coopera-
L-R: Jeri Duran, Administrator for the Montana Office of Tourism, Mike Schultz, Lt. Governor John Bohlinger, Meg O'Leary, Robin Brower-McBride, Greer Schott, Lindsey Owens and Dave O'Connor Photo by Donnie Sexton
tion, enthusiasm, leadership skills and laugh. A native of Helena, O’Leary has dedicated much of her career to promoting Montana tourism, promoting her home state through her work at the resort, as an inaugural board member of the Big Sky Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, a founding member of the Big Sky Transportation District, the chairperson of the Big Sky Lodging Association, and her work helping to secure new direct flights to the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. When she stood to receive her award, she received a standing ovation.
The Tourism Office has been awarding Tourism Person of the Year since 1989. Mike Schultz, owner of Bucks T-4 in Big Sky, received the award in 2007. Bringing the Asia Pacific Economic Conference last May, Big Sky partnered with Montana businesses, community organizations and government offices to bring more than 2,000 national and international visitors to the region. The conference promoted Montana as an international destination and gave local businesses an opportunity to promote their products to foreign economies.
Local boy wins YCCF Outdoor Experience Award Jackson Wade will fish in Canada this summer By barbara rowley
big sky weekly contributor
Twelve-year old Jackson Wade of Big Sky will spend a week on a remote Canadian island this summer learning deepsea fishing, as the second recipient of the David Mueller Outdoor Experience Award. Wade’s application caught the attention of the selection committee because it was “thoughtful and insightful,” said Yellowstone Club Executive Director Casey Schwartz, and because “we agree that Dave Mueller would have loved the opportunity to explore and fish this remote island.” Wade, who has grown up in Big Sky, says he applied for the funds to go to Lama Pass Fishing Resort because while most people would consider his hometown somewhat remote, he’d like to kick it up a notch. “You have to fly there, and then take a three-hour boat ride and then drive for a half-hour more,” Wade said. “You are experiencing a remote part of the world… that is really natural, waking up with birds singing in your ears.” Wade first heard of the experience from a classmate at Ophir, whose family owns the resort. His friend’s descrip-
The tourism conference hosted nearly 400 people from across the state, and from many different aspects of tourism in Montana, said Greer Schott, the resort’s public relations coordinator. “From the bigger tourism companies, to smaller mom and pop joints, the national parks, the office of tourism, and the governor,” she said. Schott attended seminars about “how to build your tourism brand and how to utilize stories to tell about your brand.” She also learned more about the state of Montana tourism, “how we’ve had a lot of growth in the last couple years, and how we have places to go.”
TEDx event coming to Big Sky
tion of learning how to deep sea fish and navigate open water was immediately compelling to Wade, who has grown up fishing the Gallatin just a stone’s throw from his canyon home. “I want to learn how to be safe in a boat and the ocean, and get an opportunity to learn navigation skills by map reading and a compass,” he wrote in his application. “I would also like to gain some independence and self-reliance by gathering wood and cleaning fish by myself.” There were many applicants for the memorial award this year, Schwartz said, and the choice wasn’t easy. “But Jackson’s communication skills and excellent references really set him apart.” The annual award, which is open to children from 12 to 18 and gives preference to local applicants, offers one scholarship annually of up to $5,000. Last year’s recipient was Griffin House, who used the funds to attend a National Outdoor Leadership School trip. Sam Byrne, a Yellowstone Club member, established and funded the award in honor of Dave Mueller, who died in 2010. The award is administered by the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation.
BIG SKY—Just weeks after a group put an event on in Bozeman, the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce said in mid-April it is attempting to bring the event to Big Sky. The Chamber, working with the Yellowstone Club, is organizing an independent TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) event in Big Sky early September, around the same time as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to speak at Montana State University. More details will be available in the coming weeks.
April 20, 2012 11
regional Roads to Old Faithful and Canyon open to cars
Yellowstone entrance fees waived April 21-29 yellowstone national park
Additionally, bears have emerged from hibernation and are on the hunt for food. The park service is advising hikers, skiers and snowshoers to stay in groups of three of more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray. Yellowstone regulations require visitors to stay 100 yards from black and grizzly bears at all times.
Roads into Yellowstone National Park from the north and west entrances reopened for the season to automobile travel on Friday, April 20. Visitors will be able to travel by car through the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, and West Entrance at West Yellowstone, to Norris, Madison, Canyon and Old Faithful.
This year, construction projects in the park will include ongoing bridge repair along the northeast road at the Lamar River Bridge, with possible 30-minute delays expected; new road repair between Tower-Roosevelt Junction and Chittenden Road; and new parking lot repair at Canyon Village, both of which will include nightly closures.
Park entrance fees will be waived April 21-29 as part of National Park Week. The weeklong annual celebration is designed to encourage people to visit one of America’s 397 national parks in order to reconnect with nature and their heritage. The park service warns visitors that spring in Yellowstone is unpredictable and often brings cold temperatures, high winds and snow. Even cleared sections of roads can be narrow and covered with a layer of snow, ice and debris. Temporary road closures are also possible.
The park’s East, South and Northeast entrances will open in May as road clearing operations progress. Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day at (307) 344-2117 or nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm.
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12 April 20, 2012
Big Sky Weekly
New interagency whitebark pine collaboration signed JACKSON, Wyo.—A group of federal land managers signed an interagency agreement on April 17 to help protect and restore whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone area. Through the agreement, the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee will coordinate whitebark inventory, monitoring and management, and explore new collaborative projects. A critical component of high elevation ecosystems in the Greater Yellowstone, whitebark pine is threatened by insects and diseases. Impacts from non-native white pine blister rust and native mountain pine beetle, combined with effects of altered temperature patterns on beetle population dynamics, have resulted in significant loss of whitebark pine. “We recognize the need to address this issue through interagency collaboration,” said Steve Kallin, Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee Chair. “Actions taken on any jurisdiction affect the
long-term status of this important species. It is important for all land managers to work together to promote the long-term viability and function of whitebark pine throughout the GYA.” In May 2011, the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the a new whitebark pine strategy for the area, which established management objectives, set priorities and described coordination efforts for the federal land management agencies in the region. The agreement documents interagency support of a seed orchard for whitebark pine propagation and continued support of a long-term monitoring program. It also includes the Bureau of Land Management. The committee was established in the 1960s among the National Parks and National Forests in the region; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined in 2000. The BLM manages nearly 1.6 million acres of land in the Greater Yellowstone.
Big Sky Weekly
Area groups receive grant to provide fresh vegetables to seniors this summer msu news service
BOZEMAN—The Hunger Innovation Grant, totaling nearly $200,000 will enable Montana State University, the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and the Human Resource Development Council to provide fresh vegetables and other human services this summer to seniors living in several rural Montana communities. A mobile farm stand will take fresh produce from MSU's Towne's Harvest Garden to seniors ages 50 and older living in rural communities in southwest Montana, according to Carmen Byker, a food and nutrition professor at MSU. When produce is not available, food will come from the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. The project, Cultivating Accessible, Affordable, Adequate, and Appropriate Nutrition for Seniors, or CAAAANS, is intended to help increase food security and the well-being of rural seniors, Byker said.
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The project will build on several existing programs of the HRDC, including the Homemaker Program, which provides in-home health checks; the Retired Senior Volunteer Program; and Galavan Bus, which will provide a redesigned bus for transporting the food and transportation for volunteers. Interested local community members, as well as businesses and organizations, are invited to serve on a planning council to help determine logistics of the mobile farm stand and explore ways to sustain the project beyond the life of the grant. The AARP Foundation, who awarded the grant, is one of 10 totaling $3.7 million the foundation awarded last fall. The AARP is assisting seniors with the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. To learn more, contact Lori Christenson of the Gallatin Valley Food Bank at email@example.com or Carmen Byker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Burning to begin near Maverick Mountain DILLON—Fire officials from the Dillon Ranger District have begun burning activities which may result in visible smoke through mid-May. Firefighters will conduct two burns in the Grasshopper Hazardous Fuels Project area. The fuels reduction project was approved in 2005 using stewardship authority and involves timber harvest, fuels reduction treatments adjacent to the wildland urban interface, understory thinning, and prescribed burning. The burning includes a 100-acre jackpot burn and a 66-acre understory burn. Travelers and residents of the area may see smoke from these burns and are cautioned to drive carefully.
Funding available for historic preservation projects in Gallatin County
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montana FWP accepts donation from elk group for wolf management in Montana HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has accepted $51,000 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the state’s wolf management efforts. The funding will be paid directly to Wildlife Services, the federal agency contracted by FWP to resolve wolf conflicts associated with livestock depredation. Wildlife Services also assists in monitoring wolf populations by placing radio collars in as many wolf packs as possible.
The money will be used for radio collaring wolves in packs that aren’t currently monitored, removing individual problem wolves as authorized by FWP, and improving sciencebased management of wolf populations overall, according to a press release from RMEF. Montana’s big-game hunters didn’t meet the state agency’s wolf harvest quotas last season.
State park summer campsite reservations now open Montana State Parks is reminding the public to book campsite reservations for the 2012 summer season online, starting now. Twenty of Montana's State Parks are available through the campsite reservation program and there are more than 500 sites in total to reserve, including several yurts, cabins and tipis. Start dates for reservations booked online or by phone are for the peak season, which starts Friday, May 25 of Memorial Day weekend. Each park reserves approximately 25 percent of its campsites outside of the reservation program, for traditional first-come, first served camping visits, which are available starting May 1. To make a reservation, visit stateparks.mt.gov or call (855) 922-6768.
Big Sky Weekly
Special draw hunting tags deadlines coming up Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' deadlines to apply for special license drawings is May 1 for bison, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat; and June 1 for the elk B, deer B and antelope license drawing. Apply online at fwp.mt.gov.
Montanans encouraged to register as organ, eye and tissue donors Governor’s Office of Community Service
HELENA—In Montana, 251 people are waiting for life saving organ transplants. Last year, 23 Montana organ donors saved 76 lives and 91 Montana tissue donors impacted the lives of more than 4,000 people. One organ, eye and tissue donor can save or enhance the lives of over 50 people. Most Montanans register as a donor when renewing their driver’s license or state ID though the state Motor Vehicle Division. The public can register anytime online through Donate Life Today at serve.mt.gov during April. Last year, 259 citizens registered or renewed their organ, eye and tissue donation wishes as part of the Donate Life Today month, said Jan Lombardi, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Service. Donate Life Today is the organ, eye and tissue donor registry for Montana and Washington and is a confidential database of donation wishes to be carried out at the time of death. donatelifetoday.com
April 20, 2012 15
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Big Sky Weekly
April 20, 2012 Volume 3 // Issue #7
life, land and culture
community health Women In Action community health survey shows mixed results BIG SKY—When a town like Big Sky has an influx of full time and part time residents, seasonal workers and visitors, the growing population’s health and community services must be supported, says Lisa Beczkiewicz, director of Women In Action, a nonprofit based in Big Sky. Women In Action was founded in 2005 by a group of Big Sky women dedicated to enriching lives of children and families by providing access to affordable health, family and educational services. This winter, the group implemented an opinion-based survey designed to gather data about the positive and negative health issues of the area and
where WIA can expand and improve services. “In the next month, I will be creating a detailed report to discuss what the results mean and how they will be used by Women In Action to explore possibilities for future efforts,” Beczkiewicz said. Public health professional Erin Bills, MPH, coordinated the report, which was funded by public and private contributions. The following info graphic contains some of the survey results. Visit wiabigsky.org for complete survey results and a downloadable pdf. Contact Beczkiewicz for more information at info@ wiabigsky.org. -Abbie Digel
survey demographics demographics Survey • The majority of survey participants were between the ages of 25-34 (24.6%) and 35-44 (24.2%) • 95.9% of survey participants were Caucasian • The majority of survey participants have health insurance for themselves, their spouse, and their children
sex Male 27.9
Some College 21.7
Survey results TOP 3
Community Health Concerns:
1. Alcohol & substance abuse 2. Access to healthcare 3. Unemployment
What makes a
HealthyCommunity? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Good jobs & a healthy economy Access to healthcare Affordable housing Good schools Parks & recreation
Desired Community Health Services:
1. Women’s health services 2. Alcohol abuse preventive services & counseling 3. Dental care 4. Pediatric care 5. Community recreation center
• Health services in Big Sky are primarily used for emergency care. • The majority of survey respondents are happy with the accessibility of medical care in Big Sky, but were unaware of mental health services provided in the community. Affordable healthcare remains a major issue for the majority of survey respondents. • Of survey respondents, the majority receive routine medical and dental care in Bozeman or elsewhere.
Community Services • Public education for Big Sky youth is considered to be accessible and of good quality by the majority of survey participants. • Access to infant and toddler care is considered inadequate by the majority of survey participants who responded to the question. This subpopulation also reported that infant and toddler care was cost prohibitive.
• Of those who responded, the majority did not know of recreational and skill building programs specific for youth and expressed that this was an area of need. • Big Sky is considered to be a safe place to live. • The majority of survey participants rely upon friends and neighbors in a crisis situation and are unaware of additional support systems.
Study: Groups like Montana's CHP help shape community health big sky weekly staff writer
ALEXANDRIA,Va. – The Institute for Alternative Futures has completed a new study that identifies how community health centers are reaching beyond clinical care to shape the health of their patients. Community Health Partners, Park and Gallatin Counties’ local CHC, was identified in the study as a leader in trying to intervene to change patients’ “social determinants of health.” “Until we address the root causes of poor health—social determinants—
we won’t be able to make significant strides in improving overall health of the patients and communities we serve,” said Lander Cooney, CEO of Community Health Partners. The IAF study comes after a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundationsponsored poll found that most physicians recognize the importance of the patient’s community and social conditions—also referred to as the social determinants of health—but are not confident in their capacity to address their patients’ social needs
and believe this impedes their ability to provide quality care. The efforts identified by the study address a range of factors, including youth development; family and social support; access to legal aid and healthy foods; adult education; job skills and employment; physical activity; community safety, wellbeing, and involvement; healthy, safe, and affordable housing; recreational spaces; and improved air and water quality in the community.
“The more the health care system can recognize and affect these factors, the better the overall community’s health will be,” Cooney said. Community Health Partners combines educational programming with health care, and provides resource support for patients. Its adult education program, Learning Partners in Livingston, was featured as an in-depth best practices case study in the report.
April 20, 2012 17
Big Sky Weekly
business Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport 2011-12 revenue comparison TOTAL REVENUE PASSENGERS January February March YTD
61,344 64,945 74,664 200,953
63,045 61,715 69,226 193,986
-2.7% 5.2% 7.9% 3.6%
BZN AIRLINE MARKET SHARE (YTD 2012)
8% 10% 40%
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Tax pressures may hit Montana's wind industry By Deb Courson Smith Big Sky Connection
HELENA—The wind power production tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year, and several Senators from both parties are pushing to get a vote as soon as possible. Montanan Gordon Brittan says timing is critical. He installed the first wind turbine ever in Montana and is helping energy companies with wind development. He credits the tax relief for the industry's success.
to 75,000 nationwide. The credit also benefits other renewable industries, and although Brittan says it has strong support, there are calls to let it expire. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley introduced legislation to extend the credit for two more years, and he's pushing this month to get it on the voting list. He says there is strong bi-partisan support, but getting it on the calendar is a challenge.
"Congressman Denny Rehberg told me the other day, he said, 'We just can't walk off a cliff.' And that's what we'd be doing if we ended the production tax credit from one day to the next."
"And I hope we can get it passed pretty soon, because I think in a month or two, you're going to start seeing some layoffs, because nobody is going to build for inventory. If we don't have the tax credit, we may not have a whole lot of turbines put up."
Brittan says wind is connected to several hundred jobs in Montana and up
The American Energy and Jobs Promotion Act is S. 2201.
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MSU chooses site for new College of Business building msu news service
BOZEMAN—Montana State University has selected a site on the northeast side of campus, just north of Wilson Hall, to construct its new $18-million College of Business building. The building is being funded by a $25 million gift from MSU alumnus Jake Jabs. A native of Lodge Grass and a 1952 graduate of MSU, Jabs is president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse in Denver, one of the top retail furniture companies in the U.S. and one of the largest privately held businesses in Colorado, with sales topping $330 million in 2008 and 1,400 employees. The 2013 Montana Legislature still needs to approve final construction; meaning ground could be broken in the spring of 2013 with comple-
tion in 2015. The building will be roughly 45,000 square feet, three stories tall and a minimum of LEED silver certified. Dick Anderson Construction, headquartered in Helena, Comma-Q Architecture of Bozeman and Hennebery Eddy Architects of Portland, Ore., have been selected as the project's design and construction team. The MSU College of Business has roughly 1,200 students, and offers undergraduate programs in accounting, finance, management, and marketing, as well as minors in accounting, business administration, entrepreneurship and small business management, international business and IT management. The college also offers a master's of professional accountancy degree.
Monica’s Salon to expand treatment offerings By abbie digel
big sky weekly editor
BIG SKY —At some point in our lives, we all begin to age. The skin around our eyes sags, and fine lines begin to appear. In Montana, where so many of us are active and spend time outdoors, it’s especially important to take good care of our skin, says Christy Skaggs, an esthetician in Big Sky. That’s why Skaggs this April partnered with Monica Eck, owner of Monica’s Salon in Big Sky.
she can review and adjust clients’ skin care plans, and help find the right products for their skin types. “We stop producing collagen at age 15, and around age 20 our skin starts to age. It’s important to learn how to take care of our skin,” Skaggs said.
Eck and Skaggs pose in the salon
The skin and spa addition to Monica’s Salon, Healthy Skin by Christy Skaggs, will be in the same location, on the top floor of the RJS Tower building, by the Big Sky Medical Clinic. Eck, who has owned and run her salon for two years, revamped the relaxation room in the salon to make space for the new treatments. They added a door and roof enclosing the back room, and hung art from Creighton Block Gallery, also located in the Town Center. In addition to the hair, nail and face waxing treatments Eck offers, Skaggs will provide facial and body waxing, tinting, facials, chemical peels and adon services like foot scrubs. She will also offer free consultations, where
Skaggs is excited about also offering event makeup, which she says is a perfect compliment to Eck’s event hair services. A 2009 graduate of Bozeman Healworks Institute, Skaggs began working as an esthetician in Big Sky shortly after she finished school. At this new location, Skaggs has lower overhead, can offer lower prices, and is going to make herself available “whenever clients need me.” She will be available for services six to seven days a week, even during the offseason. Monica’s Salon is the only location in the Meadow to get hair and skin treatments in the same spot, Eck says, and “we make a great team.”
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Ressler Motors BOZEMAN—Ressler Motors is the highest volume dealership in the state of Montana for new vehicles, says Cody Jerry, Ressler’s marketing director. Last year Ressler sold 2,576 vehicles, which was up from 2,378 the previous year.
A self-described ‘nerd’, Jerry himself is an internet marketing ace who’s been with Ressler a year and a half, and has been growing Ressler’s SEO and digital marketing. Ressler’s organic visitors—people visiting resslermotors.com from Google, Bing or Yahoo—has grown 180 percent since he started in his position.
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Big Sky Weekly
Now, he’s looking forward to summer, when the company is busiest. There is a buzz around the lot, and Ressler is ordering “lots of new vehicles so that our customers have a bunch to choose from,” Jerry says.
tisement which will appear in the 2009-2010 edition of the Big Sky Regional Telephone tewide Publishing - Montana under the heading(s) of: Dave Ressler started the business in 1999, in Mandan, N.D., with the same pricing structure as it uses today: “No negotiations, we give you your best price right up front,” Jerry says.
With 132 employees, it’s also one of the largest employers in the Gallatin Valley. That facet of the business is also growing—it added about 20 employees last year.
nformation correct? .......................................................................................... ❑ Yes ❑ No ber and address correct? ................................................................................. ❑ Yes ❑ No colors in my ad may vary due to differences in printer inks & paper. ... ❑ Yes Today it carries Chevy, Cadillac, a good place to work because ecessary corrections directly on theIt’s ad as neatly as possible. Toyota and Scion, and keeps about “we always try to promote people 500 cars on the lot at all times, Jerry says. Currently, the Chevy Cruze and Toyota Tundra are its biggest sellers. The dealership has been in its current 16-acre location, on Huffine Lane west of Bozeman, since 2008.
from within,” Jerry says. The parts manager, for example, was originally a parts clerk; the body shop manager started out doing body work; and the Chevy service manager started out detailing cars. “We have great managers, great people to work with.”-E.S.
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Big Sky Weekly
Saints bounty scandal pay for the entirety of next year. The Saints’ assistant head coach Joe Vitt will also serve a six game suspension. The team was also lost second round choices in the 2012 and 2013 drafts. Combined, these penalties are unprecedented and make the New England Patriots Spygate scandal from 2007 seem like a slap on the wrist. More consequences may follow. Players for the Saints have yet to receive direct punishment, and as the NFL continues to investigate this, the likelihood increases that some of the players involved will serve suspensions.
By Brandon Niles
Big Sky Weekly Sports Writer
Recently, the New Orleans Saints have been plagued by a scandal involving their former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. Williams has been accused of setting bounties on opposing players, essentially offering monetary rewards to his players in exchange for inflicting injuries on the other team.
Bounty systems have probably been a part of the NFL to some degree for decades. Football is a violent sport, and the potential for injuries has increased as players have become bigger, stronger and faster. However, what Williams and the Saints have done is beyond gamesmanship and competitive fire. Specifically targeting injured players or providing incentives for knocking players out of games, as Williams is accused of, is abhorrent. There’s no place in sports for this kind of mentality.
Williams and the Saints have since been punished to an unprecedented degree. On top of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines levied against the team, the NFL has also suspended Williams indefinitely. Williams wasn’t the only person to be suspended in the wake of this scandal. Head coach Sean Payton, who was lauded for bringing the Saints their first Super Bowl title two years ago, will be suspended without
The question arises as to where the line is between intense athlete and
sadistic headhunter. As kids grow up these players to hit harder and add in the game of football, they’re conmore and more danger to the sport sistently we love, are we inevitably taught to play with blurring the intensity; difference between sport to hit hard and and violence? During this play fast. time when At what point do Williams has become the full we take ownerrepresentation of the worst ship for in all of us, it’s altering the minds time to be introspective and of the remember that playplayer safety ers and might run coaches who are deeper than Saints' Head coach Sean Payton (CC) Wikimedia one man’s quest a part of this game? Perhaps it’s too much to to injure the competition. ask of these individuals to tow that line for so long without losing track Brandon Niles has done online freeof where the edge really is. lance writing about professional sports since 2007. His articles range from NFL news to team-specific commenI’m not justifying Williams’ actions, tary. A Communication Studies gradubut when I look around the league and I see players being called ruthless ate student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Niles is also an and dirty, I have to wonder if we’ve avid Miami Dolphins fan, which has created this problem. Bone-crunching led to his becoming an avid Scotch hits make the highlight reels and are the topic of water cooler talk every whisky fan over the past decade. Monday morning. As we encourage
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Email classifieds and/or advertising requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Working exclusively in Big Sky since 2003
Log on to facebook.com/explorebigsky Submit your name, a recent photo and let us know how many days you hit the slopes this year! Winner will be announced May 4 in the Big Sky Weekly and online at explorebigsky.com
Gallatin River Guides full day all-inclusive walk-wade for one or two anglers and $50 in GRG bucks! See contest details at facebook.com/explorebigsky
April 20, 2012 21
Rob Akey Greg Alexander Jim Barrett Diana Brady Lynn Cain Todd Connor
John DeMott Jerral Derr yberr y Flavia Eckholm Edd Enders Thomas English
Mark Gibson Don Grant Mimi Grant Ott Jones David Lemon
Asha MacDonald Mike Patterson Paula Pearl Jacqueline Rieder Hud Gar y Lynn Rober ts
Daniel San Souci Deb Schmit Laurie Stevens Dave Swanson Shirle Wempner
A RTIS T PROF ILE Jerral Derr yberr y grew up in small towns in Texas, Colorado and West Virginia. His formal education was in architecture, having earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from University of Texas at Austin. The training he received in architectural illustration techniques, casein, gauche and watercolor gave him the means to work his way through college and also were the first steps toward his future as a fine ar tist. In the 80’s through the late 90’s, he relocated to Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico, where he concentrated his effor ts on studying the oil painting techniques of the great New Mexico impressionist masters. It was during this period that he began painting primarily plein air subjects
Jerral Derr yberr y “The Deadwood Stage” Oil on Linen, 18” x 32”
EV ERY THURSDAY AT 4 : 3 0 P M
B IG S K Y TOWN C E N T E R
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shows and exhibitions.
p r ovi de d by
W I N E TA S T I N G S
and selling his paintings in galleries, juried
Spirits & Gifts
4 0 6- 9 9 3 - 9 4 0 0
C REI G H TO NBL O C KG A L L E RY. C O M
Ar twork also displayed at Outlaw Par tners and Lone Mountain Ranch Dining Room
Big Sky Weekly
Playing at Pipestone A Dirt Biker’s Shangri-La story and photo by Jimmy lewis
big sky weekly Contributor
This winter, I felt like I was living in Utah rather than Montana. Sure, the unusually mild weather had more than a little to do with this phenomenon. But my novel feelings were also evoked by equally novel experiences. I’ve recently discovered a place called Pipestone, a haven for dirt bikers 60 miles west of Bozeman. Technically referred to by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) as “The Pipestone Travel Management Area,” Pipestone is open year-round and boasts a far dryer and warmer climate than the Bozeman/Big Sky area. This means it’s possible, especially during a winter like the one we just experienced, to ski knee-deep powder at Big Sky on Saturday and ride bone-dry or slightly dampened single-track in a semi-arid montane environment on Sunday. Consequently, my KTM never had its fuel drained this past winter and my riding form saw improvement. In the spring, especially right about now, the riding opportunities at Pipestone are considered by many to be the best of the year. The air-temps rarely become uncomfortably hot, and the occasional rains pack the trails well and keep the dust down. Of course, one can ride Pipestone all
summer; however, by the time July and August arrive, the heat can be intense and the trails dusty. Meanwhile, at that time of year, there are myriad trails open to dirt biking throughout the alpine environments of the Bridger, Gallatin and Madison ranges. Spring is definitely the sweet spot. The Pipestone riding area is analogous to a ski-hill for dirt bikers. There are approximately 75 miles of smooth, maintained trails of varying difficulty scattered about a mountain environment on roughly 35,000 acres. There is even a handy trail-map provided by the BLM in the “Pipestone Staging Area,” a large parking area featuring loading ramps and BLM maintained outhouses located just north of I-90 off of exit 241. Unlike a ski resort, riders do not have to pay for a lift ticket and can ride any day of the year at Pipestone for the price of a Montana OHV permit/sticker. In the way of rules and regulations, make sure that your silencer possesses a spark arrestor and that your pipe does not exceed 96 decibels—ye soft pipes play on! The area is becoming more popular with mountain bikers, as it is often possible to employ a shuttle-system to experience as much downhilling as a biker can handle. There is also opportunity here for four-wheeling and riding ATVs. The real draw for dirt bikers is
Taking a break while riding at Pipestone, Montana's high desert country
that Pipestone harbors myriad singletrack not open to other OHVs (OffHighway-Vehicles).
camping with RVs in one of the three staging areas, or for packing in and tent camping.
Pipestone is a family-friendly place to ride. There is something here for every level of expertise. Parents with kids or spouses will find easily managed trails and scenic views. Experts will find single-track that will raise the puckerfactor to a heightened degree. There are technical rock climbs; timber-lined trails requiring tight maneuvering; long straightaways through sagebrush flats in which you may discover that your bike does, in fact, possess a fourth and even fifth gear; creek crossings and funky bridges; and long, winding drainages in which berm shots are the norm. It’s also a good place to train for the Montana XC dirt bike races, the first of which is April 28.
Why do they call it “Pipestone”? I encourage you to go find out for yourself. When you take a ride there, venture up to the “Ringing Rocks Staging Area,” dismount, and throw a few pebbles at the larger stones naturally piled up at the lookout. At that moment, the answer will become obvious. Then, make sure to take in the vistas of the Tobacco Root Mountains, the Elkhorns and the Highlands.
If you’re of a mind to camp and hang out for a couple of days, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for both dry-
For more information, check out these useful links: •
riderplanet-usa.com/atv/trails/ info/montana_13424/ride_ d722.htm
Gear reviews Camelbak 2012 Trinity By abbie digel
big sky weekly editor
Day packs can be a nuisance, especially if they don’t fit properly. I’ve had problems with ill-fitting packs weighing me down on long day hikes. Most of the time, I grab whatever is in my garage, but I’m realizing that my old purple Jansport from high school with my monogram emblazoned on the front in cursive just doesn’t cut it around here. I recently picked up Camelbak’s newest model for women, the 2012 Trinity, and found that the shape, size and color fits my lifestyle and moderate level hiking abilities. Since I got the pack mid-winter, I took it to skiing a couple times. It was too bulky for the chairlift and not meant
for carrying skis, but worked well for stashing extra layers, gloves and snacks. The Trinity comes with a three-liter hydration system, which is enough water for an entire day of exertion. The reservoir is kept in a snug position against the back of the pack in a separate zipped pocket. As a long-time fan of Camelbak’s biking and running packs, I found the newest reservoir model the easiest one to open and close; the cap didn’t get stuck, and it’s easier to hold under a faucet for filling and cleaning. I also love the mesh-side pockets for carrying sunscreen and energy bars, and the overlapping flap in the front to carry an extra layer or rain jacket. Find the Trinity at rei.com $115.00
Oboz Yellowstone II boots By taylor anderson
big sky weekly assistant editor
It’s like walking on a bed of pillows made of the silk that comes only from the golden silk worm in Southeast Asia, I thought as I slipped on a new pair of Yellowstone II midheight hiking boots from Oboz. As I trudged through the snow, ice and rock, performing my reporter duties, I couldn’t help but notice the rigid soles that made the kept the jagged rocks underfoot at bay. The boot’s high-friction, rubber outsoles grip both wet and dry surfaces like a vice.
Performance counts, and how your feet feel after you’re done matters. Top reviews online include one from a hiker on a 23-day trip in Nepal. He said he had just three hours in the boots before leaving, but that he returned after trekking over highaltitude glaciers and moraines with not a scratch, scar or blister. As if the boots couldn’t get higher praise, Oboz boots are made in, naturally, Bozeman. Schnees and REI in Bozeman, and Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky all carry Oboz. $150.00 obozfootwear.com
The boots are beefy, but weigh in at less than three pounds between the two of them, not that heavy for a durable hiking boot. B-DRY waterproofing puts them to the top of the list for late spring hikes.
April 20, 2012 23
turkey flocks inhabit private land, and without knowledge of their habits and landowner permission, drawing the tag is only a fraction of the battle. Do the homework, and you’ll find that bagging a turkey in this region is possible if you’re willing to put in the time and the legwork to get it done.
Spring turkey hunting
Provided one has access and has drawn the tag, the hunt itself may be the simplest piece of this hunting puzzle. While wary, wily and cunning, turkeys tend to be creatures of habit. Big toms choose their favorite roosts, feeding and breeding areas based on the maximum amount of return for the least amount of output. Find the birds and get a good setup.
Six gobblers stand in a southwest Montana field. Which one doesn't make it?
story and photo by Kurty Dehmer
big sky weekly contributor
against the Treasure State’s harsh climate, numerous predators and legions of experienced hunters.
Wild turkeys, not unlike the whiskey for which they provided the namesake, can bring an otherwise sane person to the heights of elation, the depths of depression, or the brink of madness. While not native to Montana, this wily fowl has proven its staying power
Judged the most likely turkey subspecies to survive in Montana, the Merriam’s Turkey was introduced in 1954 by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (then called Fish and Game). The first 13 birds were released near the
Judith Mountains in the central part of the state, and a subsequent release was conducted in the Long Pines area in southeast Montana. Other releases occurred until 1957, and since then there have been no birds introduced from outside the state. The Merriam’s can now be found and hunted in many regions around Montana. Montana’s spring turkey season lasts just over a month, usually running from April 14 – May 20. While the bulk of the turkey population resides mainly in the eastern and southeastern reaches of the state, good-sized flocks do exist in several areas in western and southwestern Montana, as well. Similar to mountain goat, moose and bighorn sheep hunts, there is a special draw for spring turkey tags in FWP Region 3, the game management area within approximately 100 miles of the Bozeman area. If so inclined, and provided one has a likely spot in which to bag a big gobbler, applicants should set their sites on Broadwater, Lewis and Clark, Gallatin, Madison, Park, Beaverhead, Jefferson and Silver Bow counties. It’s important to note that several of these tags are designated as “youth only,” which means the hunter has to between the ages of 12 and 15 and should have completed the mandatory hunters safety course. The drawing process is simple, and through the advent of modern technology putting in for a Region 3 turkey-tag is a breeze, provided one has access to a computer and the Internet. Log onto fwp.mt.gov, navigate to the special drawing section of that site and apply. By the time you read this, the drawing for the region three tags has already taken place. Plan ahead for next year. Access in this region is difficult because many (if not most) of these
24 April 20, 2012
Big Sky Weekly
Patience is paramount for wild turkey. Get up early, stay out late, learn their habits and wait for the right chance. Turkey hunting is similar to other types of hunting. When scouting get to the highest ground possible, and put in the time glassing. Likely feeding areas, roosts and breeding grounds should all provide good chances for a shot. Turkeys have eyesight similar to that of raptors like eagles and osprey. This means not only can they see in color, but they also have excellent depth perception. Camouflaging yourself and your stand is key to a successful hunt. Match your camo pattern to the foliage and terrain of your area, and keep a low and quiet profile. Using decoys is common practice, and it’s best to choose one that resembles your quarry. When calling and using a decoy, always exercise caution. If hunting on public land, you’re likely to have a lot of human company. If other hunters are in the area, make sure they know you are there. When calling, use yelps, clucks and challenge calls, and call about half as much as you might want to. Overcalling may alert the birds to your presence. It can take years of experience hunting turkeys and learning good calling technique, plus a lot of luck to get a gobbler in the freezer. If luck wasn’t on your side in this year's special draw, or you couldn’t find access, there’s still hope to salvage this year’s earliest hunting season. In eastern Montana turkeys thrive on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management land. Again, do the homework, and spend lots of time on preseason scouting. For more information on turkey hunting in Montana visit fwp. mt.gov, or nwtf.org. Good luck, long beards and long spurs.
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26 April 20, 2012
Big Sky Weekly
House of cards
Weird weather causes weird avalanches by scotty savage
big storm cycle just a few weeks ago—over 120 days after they formed.
big sky weekly avalanche expert
Most years, spring skiing and riding means a carefree day in the mountains enjoying tasty turns and soaking up rays. Picture yourself ripping the corn or climbing a perfect bowl with a dusting of new snow on a bomber crust—are you thinking about big, wall-to-wall avalanches that take out entire bowls or even cirques? In nine years out of 10, deadly avalanches like that are a thing of the past come April, right?
The snowpack around Cooke City is deeper and the facets have strengthened significantly, but the entire season’s snowpack is still sitting on top of this house of cards, the November facets, on many other slopes in southwest Montana. Any guesses on what happens when the “cards” get wet for the first time? These sugary facets lose strength and can produce wet avalanches like the activity at Bridger Bowl in late March.
Here’s the problem: Like drawing an inside straight to win a hand of high stakes poker, this is that rare spring when we still have to pay close attention to avalanche conditions.
The snowpacks on many slopes—especially those above treeline—haven’t gotten wet all the way to the ground yet this spring. Once snowmelt or rain thoroughly wets them, drainage channels form and large wet snow avalanches become extremely rare. This is why wet avalanche activity peters out in May most years. We’ll need to be cautious during extended warm spells while these drainage channels are forming.
Why? Repeat after me: Weird weather makes weird avalanches. This winter’s weather has been weird by just about any measure. We started out the season forming an especially nasty layer of sugary, faceted snow crystals near the ground in November. The dry early winter conditions helped the facets grow weaker, leading to several dry slab avalanche cycles when it finally started snowing. The snows picked up in February and March, producing more avalanche activity. And we were still seeing avalanches failing on the same pesky facets during the last
Unfortunately, snow and avalanches aren’t as simple as we’d like them to be. Legendary avalanche forecaster Ron Perla once said, “The only rule of thumb in avalanche forecasting is there are no rules of thumb.” That’s true, except that weird weather causes weird avalanches.
What can we do to stack the odds in our favor in this odd avalanche year? • Be a bit cautious. Maybe this isn’t the season to ski that peak or gnarly line that you’ve been salivating over for years. It’ll be there next year. • Pay attention to overnight temperatures. Many wet avalanches occur after consecutive days without freezing temperatures. NRCS Snotel sites are great sources for temperature information (wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Montana/montana. html). • As a longtime Big Sky ski patroller likes to say, “keep your head on a swivel.” When the sun is shining, pay attention to changing conditions. Snowballs rolling down steep slopes, sinking deep into the snowpack as you boot pack, and small slushy avalanches are signs that you should move to cooler slopes. • Big storms still deserve respect. They may activate those ugly facets at the bottom of the snowpack. Give the snowpack some time—think days rather than hours—to adjust to large dumps before playing on steeper, more exposed slopes. • If you have to get on the big exposed alpine slopes, you might wait for at least a few cold dreary days with below freezing temps and little or no additional snow. A few inches of snow on top of a rock hard crust will probably soften the surface without stressing the deeper faceted layers, stacking the odds of success in your favor.
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April 20, 2012 27
EVENTS big sky
Big Sky Weekly
Planning an event? Let us know! Email email@example.com and we’ll spread the word. Broadway in Bozeman Mamma Mia! Brick Breeden Field House April 21, 7 p.m.
EXPLOREBIGSKY Facebook Goggle Tan Contest submissions due April 26. Vinyasa-Flow Yoga The Art Barn Tuesdays 6:30 – 8 p.m. Thru April 30 Open Gym Basketball Ophir School Tuesdays 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Trout Bum Fly Swap Greater Yellowstone Flyfishers April 21, 8 a.m. Get off your glass recycling drive Gallatin County Fairgrounds April 21, 9 a.m. The Godfather screening The Ellen Theater April 21, 7 p.m.
Learn to Stretch Canvas, Oil and Paint Ophir School Art Room April 24
Yellowstone Ballet CompanySwan Lake Wilson Auditorium April 21-22
Group Guitar Jam Session Ophir School Thursdays 6:30 7:30 p.m. Ballroom Dancing Lessons Ophir School Wednesday Nights 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.,Thru June 6
Bozeman PRIESTESS Gallery Event The Vast Gallery / Bomb Snow HQ April 20, 6 p.m.
Preserving Ancient Paths: The Yellowstone Pronghorn Bozeman REI April 25, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Map and Compass Basics Bozeman REI April 26, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. MSU African Society Bozeman Public Library April 27, 5 p.m.
Grassroots fundraising workshop C’Mon Inn April 20 – 21
Montana Farm and Ranch Show Gallatin County Fairgrounds April 27 - 29
Fifth Annual Record Store Day Cactus Records April 21, 10 a.m.
Members only garage sale Bozeman REI April 28, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Montana Idol Giveaway Gallatin Valley Mall April 28, Noon Winter Farmers’ Market The Emerson April 28, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
West Entrance to Yellowstone Open to motorized travel April 20
Dick Dorworth Book Signing and Reading The Emerson Weaver Room May 2, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Doug Peacock: Readings, lecture and grizzly footage Bozeman REI May 4, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
west yellowstone Yellowstone Cycle Days April 1 – 20
Fourth Winter Chautauqua The Elling House April 21, 6:30 p.m. Poet Laureate, Sheryl Noethe The Elling House April 27, 6:30 p.m. Madison and Ruby Valley conservation districts banquet With live music by the Dirty Shame Elks Lodge April 21, 5:30 p.m. , music at 8 p.m.
A collection of Alpine Home Decor and Chalet Style Antiques
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three pane ski frame $359
28 April 20, 2012
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spotlight on the arts
Big Sky Weekly
You’re gorgeous! Now walk! By John Zirkle
warren milller performing arts center
Just as Mahler depends on instrumentalists to carry his gargantuan symphonies, and Chekhov depends on actors to deliver his satirical prose, fashion designers depend on runway models to present their avant-garde styles. But can we put models in the same category as actors and musicians? Must they spend countless hours rehearsing their walk? Their facial expressions? What really goes into putting clothes on and walking down a runway? You could write similar platitudes about musicians and actors: What really goes into grabbing a tuba and blowing air into it? What really goes into picking up a script and reading it out loud? With modeling, I thought it was all about having the right “look.” For somebody to become successful, does she or he need to be that talented? My college roommate, Reid Prebenda, is now one of the world’s most in-demand male super models. He usually jokes about it, saying that it requires absolutely no skill. Yet, clearly there is more to it than we might think. I asked him if he considered runway modeling to be a performance art. Here is his response: “This is a tricky one. It is a live presentation of art in the form of clothing and of how it looks on a live subject, fitted to the form of the model and complemented by his or her appearance and by the way he or she wears it in motion. “Many people can get away with doing this without a care in the world. Sometimes the most appealing looks on men are when the model is carefree. But in this case the look is altered and affected by his carelessness, so it is certainly a performance. Because runway shows only last 10-15 minutes, and each model is only on the runway for a minute or so, it can go wrong and still convey the beauty of the clothes. For this reason it can be discounted as a talent. “I believe several elements in modeling bear strong connections to performing. I often feel out the mood of the show and how the clothes look. Are they really elegant and conservative, or modern and deconstructionist, or in between? Are they more
Model Reid Prebenda Photo Courtesy of gq russia
masculine or feminine? With women there is more performance, in the sense that they exaggerate their walk. But a male model walking casually is just another kind of performance. And although I don't use an overtly different walk for each style, I am aware and feel it as I move. Because audience time is so limited, there is emphasis on existing in the moment. Otherwise, it will be gone. Hearing music and moving and conveying confidence can be tough when done all at once and without thinking. Usually, subtlety in the face can make the clothes more seductive, or stoic, or strong, or light. Some models do well doing absolutely nothing, but it would be foolish to say that there isn't an element of performance in this. It is also important to state that the clothes are not usually clothes for sale. Often designers will make a show out of extravagance that might not necessarily be on any sale rack. In this case, it is a piece of art.” To see more of Reid Prebenda, go to models.com/models/Reid-Prebenda. Spotlight on the Arts is a reflection on the world of performing arts in both historic and contemporary contexts. Each entry features an individual or group of performers that use captivating mediums to communicate with their audiences. The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center is scheduled to be completed by December of this year, and will feature many acts that challenge the way we see and think about performance.
Exit Gallery seeking art submissions By stacey ray
ASMSU Arts and Exhibits Director
BOZEMAN—The Exit Gallery is now accepting applications for exhibitions during the fall 2012 semester. If accepted, artists or groups of artists have the opportunity to show their work in a two to three week solo exhibition with paid advertising and a reception. This opportunity is open to artists working in any media, and applicants need not be MSU students or alumni. Applications are due by June 29. The Exit Gallery is a student organized and student funded art gallery on the campus of MSU in Bozeman. The gallery focuses on contemporary work by emerging artists or other artists whose work contemplates unique and progressive ideas. Funded by the Associated Students of Montana State University, the gallery is located in Strand Union Building room 212, at MSU in Bozeman. For more information or to request an application email firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 20, 2012 29
Big Sky Weekly
104 GOSHAWK TRAIL $1,765,000 • #182951 • Call Don
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• • • •
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• • • •
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Beautiful 1.0 +/- ac Spanish Peaks lot Community utilities system Unique opportunity Rolling Hills topogra
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2 bd, 2 ba, 1,207 +/- sf furnished condo corner unit, spacious kitchen 1 car attached garage close to Big Sky Town Center
• • • •
$189,500 • #180395 • Call Don
nice level building lot all season easy access great views of Porcupine Creek electricity and phone to lot
288 FIRELIGHT DRIVE • • • •
$153,500 • #182229 • Call Mark
3 bd, 3 ba, 2,139 +/- sf vaulted celings, wood stove located close to town center 1 car attached garage
303 CANDLELIGHT CONDO • • • •
$149,900 • #182553 • Call Stuart
3 bd, 3 ba 2139 +/- sf short sale Condo Unit rv parking available 1 car attached garage
ANTLER RIDGE LOTS
$105,000 • #156549/#156551 • Call George
• • • •
.46 +/- acres lots wonderful building sites, gorgeous views water & sewer (septic) metered purchase 1 lot or make an offer on both
1350 HILL CONDO • • • •
$63,000 • #179795 • Call Eric
1 bd, 1 ba, 440 +/- sf top ﬂoor unit overlooks lake great condition very nice upgrades, short sale
Stuart Koch, Sales Associate, 406.581.1225
30 April 20, 2012
OZssage Spa Therapeutic Massage & Spa
Photo courtesy of mike mannelin
By mike mannelin big sky weekly columnist
This morning’s conversations all seem to carry the same tone of exit strategies and summer plans. It’s like the coals in the stove are burning out, but we’re OK with it, because the air is warming anyway. The population of our workforce at the heli base is about half of what it was a week ago. Every day that goes by sees another goodbye, leaving a tighter gang of willful souls to navigate hopeful groups of people into life changing experiences in the mountains. We stay as long as we can, knowing that the relative monotony of 14-hour days with no time off is shattered when one of us is elected as the next dream navigator of the magic carpet everyone else calls an A-Star B2 helicopter. There’s the all-too-familiar fire drill that begins with a radio call from the dispatch room. “Mannelin, you’re going skiing, get ready.” The response time is somewhere under five minutes. I grab my guide pack and my skis, and put on my boots, helmet, and goggles. I turn my beacon on, pull out my notebook and pencil, and start forming my group. Another 15 minutes and the next radio call puts me back on the project I just left. “Mannelin, you got bumped, standby.” After three or four rounds, this process is capable of breeding insanity in the most stable of individuals. Eventually, everything clicks. I’m standing at the sign instructing us to “Wait Here,” the pilot gives me a nod, and I lead my excited crew single file out to the helicopter. A quarter turn of the door handle and it springs open. Skis and backpacks are neatly arranged
in the cargo basket. We lift off, commandeering this magical machine toward the peaks we’ve been staring at. The valley trees soon disappear, and the snow-covered faces fill the Plexiglas windows all around us. The bird delicately hovers above a landing spot as the pilot approaches with the precision of a surgeon.
Open during the off season, visit our website for off season specials & availability. Ph 406.995.7575
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We climb out onto the snow and crouch over our gear pile. After a look at the doors and the group, I give the pilot a thumbs up. The hurricane blast lasts a short few seconds as he flies away, leaving us in silence in what I’m sure is the most beautiful, serene place on the planet. We haven’t even skied yet, and already I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Each run one is better than the last. Smiles grow as we all feed off of each other’s growing cognizance of a better life. As the helicopter touches down back at the base, we climb out into what feels like a different planet. It’s as if we’ve been transported straight out of a dream. The air feels warm. The grass and mud on the ground remind us that we don’t have many days left. The gear gets put away and sunglasses are pulled back out. Remnants of winter are fading fast as the snow melts away. The smell of spring dominates each inhaled breath. The sun rises a little higher in the sky than the previous day. Every 24-hour period lends us an extra seven minutes of daylight. There is light at the end of this glorious tunnel: As closer friends, we put one more winter behind us, and each look forward to the rest of our lives that we are lucky to live. Exhale, Live… Mike Mannelin is a skier with roots in Minnesota, Montana, and Alaska. He gains his inspiration in life by spending time in the mountains with friends.
Family Wellness Month • Pediatrics • Chronic Conditions • Women’s Health • Pregnancy Care • Osteopathic Manipulation
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Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays
Noun: wild or rough terrain adjacent to a developed area Origin: shortened form of “back 40 acres”
Big Sky Weekly
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.
For the fox, it pays to be close to the earth and low on the food chain By Diane Tipton
Montana FWP Statewide Information Officer
Living close to the earth and low on the food chain seems to be working for the red fox in the west. Montana's fox population is thriving, according to Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Park's furbearer coordinator Brian Giddings. The animal has a long history of association with humans, as do Montana's other canine species the swift fox, coyote and wolf. The red fox has been viewed in a variety of ways—as a favorite of wildlife viewers, a pest to ranchers and farmers, and a highly appreciated furbearer. The fox has also been a prominent image in folklore and mythology. Some researchers also believe there may be mountain dwelling red fox populations in Montana. These foxes keep to the subalpine parklands and alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains, particularly in the Yellowstone area and Beartooth Plateau. The red fox that Montanans commonly see in agricultural and lowland areas is a lightweight canid, about 10-15 pounds, and about 39-43 inches in total length, according to the Montana Field Guide. A red fox looks larger than it is due to its thick fur and long full tail. These animals have elongated bodies, with narrow, fine-boned heads, long, slender canine teeth, and relatively short legs. Their distinctively shaped muzzle is notably narrower than the average dog’s. The tail of the red fox is nearly 70 percent as long as its body length some sources say. The red fox has an annual spring litter of kits. After a gestation of about two months, usually four to six kits with soft, dark brown fur are born blind, deaf and toothless. Their eyes open after about two weeks. Kits begin to leave their dens and experiment with solid food at about a month of age, though they continue to nurse for nearly two months.
32 April 20, 2012
Fox can survive in a wide range of habitats, though they are often seen in agricultural areas. They prefer a mix of forest and open country near water. For protection and cover they will use burrows on welldrained sites such as hillsides, mountain slopes, or ravines. Foxes will also use the abandoned burrows of other burrowing wildlife. Photo by richard smith / wildsmithphotography.com Red fox are reported to dig out excess soil from a burrow with their forepaws while also kicking away soil with their hind legs. The result is a trampled area of fresh soil where new born kits eat and play. The omnivorous red fox feeds on voles, mice, woodchucks, deer mice and the like. The old fox in the hen house story speaks to their appetite for eggs, chickens, domestic rabbits and song birds. Globally there are more than 40 fox species. Fossils suggest that the red fox initially colonized North America from Eurasia across the Bering land bridge about 300,000 to 130,000 years before today, later expanding southward into the USA 130,000 to 100,000 years ago. There are a lot of questions about the fox as a species, its origins, and genetic makeup. Research is underway to learn more. In the western U.S., researchers are beginning We service what we sell! to study the evolutionary history of the red fox through the use of Spa covers and custom lifts Spa sales to fit your budget genetic analysis. Lots of accessories for your spa Pool and spa care after the sale For more on the red fox, see the Special orders available Custom maintenance plans Montana Animal Field Guide on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov on the Fish & Wildlife page.
This is how Big Sky gets into hot water.
Nordic Hot Tub
(406) 995-4892 • NordicHotTub@aol.com 47520 Gallatin Rd. • Big Sky, MT 59716
Published on Apr 20, 2012