Exploring Life & Land in Southwest Montana
escape to b.c.
Changing the face of land conservation
Scot Schmidt comes home featured outlaw:
Life Lost on Lone Mountain: The search for Brad Gardner
Photo essay the crow fair explorebigsky.com
Sunset over the Gallatin Valley and the Spanish Peaks. Photo by Matt Wieland. mattwieland.wordpress.com
On the cover: Scot Schmidt skiing on the shoulder of Hardscrabble Peak in the Bridger Range in 1991. See story on page 54. Photo by Lonnie Ball
36 life lost on lone mountain
10 Southwest Montana
B.C. residents find harmony with Rossland, Nelson and Revelstoke
The story of Brad Gardner
Warren Miller Performing Arts Center
Find the right balance of salt, sugar and water
50 living history
18 Outbound Gallery
24 Brian Iguchi in the Backcountry
Nordic skiing in SW Montana
Allen Russellâ€™s stunning photos documenting the Crow Fair
54 you donâ€™t know schmidt
The father of extreme skiing comes home to Montana
74 patagonia sur
A for-profit group could change the face of land conservation
Musician Lukas Nelson is riding his own wave 4
13 leaving a legacy:
26 Powder Coated in Cooke 28 hunting lions 32 Fighting Infection
MSU Researchers hope nanoparticles can help fight a flu pandemic
34 The Family Farm
88 Gear Review 90 Road Trip Big Sheep Creek Byway
92 Music Peach Street Studios and the Bozeman music industry
97 Bozone hop season
The 2012 Farm Bill may change the future for Cok Dairy
100 Double Jeopardy
105 Ice Climbing in Hyalite Canyon
Bozeman nonprofits work together on international water education
60 a Place to be present Timber Creek Ranch
108 Artisan R.O. Brooks Custom Leather
Respect the code If I could go back in time, I would want to be a cowboy pushing cattle and helping settle the West. When I read about war, economic turmoil and political bickering, I feel an even greater respect for the lifestyle that prevails in Southwest Montana today. Here, people wave at each other, trailheads are uncrowded, and Miller High Life is one of the top-selling beers in bars. A few years ago, my father introduced me to the Code of the West. I now use these cowboy ethics as a baseline for my company and my life. The Outlaw Partners team takes pride in our work, and we find solace in following this code. A big thank you to the Outlaw team and our loyal advertisers for publishing this amazing 116-page publication!
The Code of the West 1. Live each day with courage 2. Take pride in your work 3. Always finish what you start 4. Do what has to be done 5. Be tough, but fair 6. When you make a promise, keep it 7. Ride for the brand 8. Talk less and say more 9. Remember that some things arenâ€™t for sale 10. Know where to draw the line
Eric Ladd, Publisher email@example.com Photo by daniel BUllock
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LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD bigskyfuture.com is a unique opportunity to make Big Sky your own. It takes just 15 minutes to take our online survey, but the beneďŹ ts could last for generations. explorebigsky.com
Mountain Outlaw is published by
Mountain WINTER 2012
2011 big sky
chamber of commerce
Business of the Year
PUBLISHER Eric Ladd
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Martins
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MANAGING EDITOR Emily Stifler
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EDITOR Abbie Digel
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EDITORIAL POLICY Outlaw Partners LLC is the sole owner of Mountain Outlaw magazine and the Big Sky Weekly. No part of this publication may be reprinted without written permission from the publisher. Mountain Outlaw magazine 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. For editorial queries or submissions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. DISTRIBUTION Distributed twice a year in towns across Southwest Montana, including Big Sky, Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Three Forks, Livingston and Ennis. We also distribute nationally through direct mail. Mountain Outlaw can also be found at explorebigsky.com. OUTLAW PARTNERS, MOUNTAIN OUTLAW & THE BIG SKY WEEKLY (406) 995-2055 PO Box 160250 75 Center Lane, Suite B Big Sky, MT 59716 explorebigsky.com email@example.com Copyright ÂŠ 2011 Outlaw Partners, LLC Unauthorized reproduction prohibited Photo by Eric Ross
VIDEOGRAPHER Brian Niles Graphic Designer/ videographer Chris Davis
Contributing Writers Tyler Allen, Eric Anderson, Brad Carpenter, Marcie Hahn- Knoff, Brian Iguchi, Joe Josephson, Jennifer Rebbetoy, Cotton Sarjahani, Vanessa Shaw, Yogesh Simpson, Katie Smith, Kyle Wisniewski, Brad Van Wert Contributing Photographers Megan Weeks Adams, Travis Andersen, Luke Armstrong, Daniel Bullock, Lonnie Ball, Kyle Christenson, Blaine Dunkley, Derek Frankowski, Kelly Gorham, Jeff Hawe, Chris Laursen, Francois Marseille, Anna Middleton, Sam Newbury, Ari Novak, Eric Ross, Allen Russell, Matt Sitton, Anne Skidmore, Richard Smith, Colton Stiffler, Gregg Treinish, Matt Wieland, Alex Verhave
Join the ranks â€“ submissions welcome
The Mountain Outlaw editorial team wants you to know we accept well-written articles or photos for consideration in our magazine. Submissions should match the Southwest Montana style and Mountain Outlaw brand, and are accepted throughout the year for our summer and winter editions. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit explorebigsky.com.
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from the editor
Our corner of the world wore the contented smiles of a Saturday night. It was a weekend right before this magazine went to press, and I’d already stayed up many late nights coordinating details and drafting emails, editing and writing. I left town early that morning, my mind muddled and my body limp from so much time at the computer.
Emily Stifler in Sunlight Creek, Wyoming. Photo by Kyle Christenson
I stood by the campfire, warming my hands against the cool fall air. Sparks flew into the dark. I looked around the circle at my friends’ faces, glowing in the firelight. They
Now, after a day spent climbing in one of my favorite spots in the Greater Yellowstone, I was a different kind of exhausted. The terrain here was rugged, its climbing demanding, and the atmosphere wild. Mountain goats, grizzly bears and golden eagles.
zine stories. They’re about people: a dairy farmer, a skier, a conservationist, a trapper, a businessman, a musician, a leathersmith. And they’re about being part of this place—its mountains, trails, byways, ranches, towns, history and culture. The work is woven into the place, and such a backdrop draws and creates independent minds. Our three publications—Mountain Outlaw, the Big Sky Weekly and explorebigsky.com—have been an effort to celebrate our corner of the world, to collaborate ideas, and to grow in a positive direction. Working on these stories has been an honor. We hope you enjoy reading them.
My head felt clear, my body tired. On Monday morning, back at my desk, I looked through the maga-
Best, Emily Stifler, Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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Brad Carpenter really likes to ski and spends most of his time doing so.
Yogesh Simpson is a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer living in Bozeman. He also sings lead vocals and plays rhythm guitar for the band Holler n’ Pine. yogeshsimpson.com
Marcie Hahn-Knoff originally packed up and headed out from the East Coast in pursuit of her education. She’s now spent almost two decades exploring the West on skis, climbing, hiking, mountain biking and playing in her whitewater kayak. Marcie handcrafts bombproof and creative collapsible hula-hoops. hooplahulahoops.com
Jennifer Rebbetoy has worked at Shambhala Music Festival, Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine and for Absinthe Films. She completed a bachelor’s degree at McMaster University in Ontario, then moved to Nelson, B.C. Despite being a horrible cook, she’s inspired by the youth movement in agriculture and slow food. She is always in awe of the mountains. Vanessa Shaw grew up in Kalispell, Montana and moved to Bozeman in 1999. When she’s not underneath a horse shoeing with her business Shaw’d Horses, she spends her time horseback riding, running in the hills and baking sourdough bread. shawdhorses.com Katie Smith lives and works in Big Sky, Montana. Nordic skiing has been her passion since she could walk, and she continues to pursue it throughout Montana.
Kyle Wisniewski was raised and educated in Pennsylvania. He loves the outdoors and Southwest Montana. Kyle owes most of what he knows to the tutelage of his accomplished outdoorsmen mentors. He’s hunted all over the U.S. and Africa.
Photo by Jeff Hawe
Allen Russell photographs what he knows best: Life in the American West. He headquarters out of his ranch west of Livingston but often wanders the back roads of the West. Russell shoots for editorial, corporate and advertising clients, and his art prints hang in private collections worldwide. His work is displayed in a gallery at Crazy Mountain Photography in Livingston. allenrussellphoto.com
Joe Josephson, aka JoJo, is a fourth generation Montanan who spent a decade living and climbing in the Canadian Rockies as the resident route poacher. Now based in Livingston, he works for National Parks Conservation Association and spends as much time as possible in the Beartooths, Hyalite Canyon and anywhere between.
Photo by anne skidmore
Eric Anderson is a sports medicine physician with Rockwood Clinic in Spokane, Washington. A competitive Category 1 cyclist and avid alpine and Nordic skier, he lives in Spokane with his wife and two daughters.
Photo by ari novak
Bryan Iguchi’s snowboarding career has spanned almost two decades, evolving from early park riding in southern California to backcountry freestyle snowboarding. Bryan currently works with Volcom, Electric, Bluebird wax and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He lives in Jackson,Wyoming with his wife Lily and son Mylo.
A farrier’s work
A difficult, dirty, wonderful job By Vanessa Shaw
photos by kelly gorham, msu news service
The sizzle is reminiscent of wind rustling through dry grasses, and the smoke that follows it carries the aroma of charred hoof. The horse doesn’t flinch as I measure the hot shoe against his foot. Sweat contours down my forehead and falls onto the hoof stand. The smell, the smoke, my power squat beneath a 1,000-pound animal, the stinging cuts on my hands and the bruises on my legs—these are all part of why I love horseshoeing. Farriery hasn’t changed much in the past century. The work—correctly trimming and balancing a horse’s foot and creating a custom shoe—is a blend of science and art. Today, the Gallatin Valley has approximately 30,000 horses. Horses’ hooves grow about 3/8-inch a month. Some horses require shoes, and all should have their hooves trimmed and balanced every eight weeks. As I work, I think about the trust a horse puts in me. Horses’ primary defense is flight, and yet they allow us to hold and cradle their feet while trimming, hot fitting and nailing on shoes. By maintaining the health of horses’ feet, I hope I can help pay back the trust and service horses have provided humanity. shawdhorses.com
MSU Farrier School Three times a year, a dozen people enter the Montana State University Farrier School. They emerge 11 weeks later ready to work shoeing horses. Each day, the class spends an hour in the classroom, and seven hours doing “on the job training,” says lead instructor Tom Wolfe. With only 12 students in each class, and a network of ranches in the area that need help, the students get plenty of hands-on experience. Fifteen percent of the students come from Montana, 75 from out of state, and the remaining 10 percent are foreign, Wolfe said. Graduates find jobs at working and guest ranches, or like Shaw, go into business for themselves, usually after an apprenticeship. Founded in 1970, the school is one of only two such programs in the country associated with a university. MSU’s Animal and Range Sciences Department sponsors the program, which receives no state funding and is supported entirely by student fees. E.S. animalrange.montana.edu/horseshoe.htm
If the shoe fits—not just an adage The process Prep the foot: Remove old shoes; clean the hoof with a pick and wire brush; trim the frog (a triangular, rubbery-like tissue on the bottom of the foot); pare out excess sole. Trimming: Trim the excess hoof wall with nippers and rasp it level. Once the bottom is trimmed, bring the foot forward onto a hoof stand and rasp the top of the hoof wall to remove any flare. Similar to a human fin10 Mountain
gernail, the hoof wall is a protective structure that has no feeling. Making a custom shoe: Heat a generic-shaped ‘keg shoe’ in a forge and shape it precisely on an anvil. While still hot, place it on the horse’s foot. This levels the foot surface and ensures wall to shoe contact. The smell is reminiscent of a branding. Check the shoe’s shape, make necessary changes, and then quench the shoe in water.
Nailing the shoe on: Hold the shoe to the hoof, and start two nails to get the shoe tacked on in the right place. Making sure the shoe is set straight, angle six to eight nails into the hoof wall, from the bottom. They must be set at the right angle, so they enter the white line (a ¼-inch wide structure that connects the hoof wall to the sole) and then curve out, exiting through the outside of the hoof wall, where they’re clinched.
RECOMMENDED READING Tough Trip through Paradise, 1878-1879 By Andrew Garcia, edited by Bennett Stein (non-fiction, Caxton Press, 1967) When he was 24, Andrew Garcia left his post at the Fort Ellis U.S. Army outpost outside of Bozeman and set off for Central Montana to become a trapper. The handsome and woolly Texan from Spanish America instead set up a trading post in the country between the Musselshell and Sweet Grass rivers.
the Musselshell, he learned to survive and thrive among the last of the free-roaming Native American tribes.
The year was 1878, a crux in American history: Garcia witnessed the final days of the great bison herds. Also in his year on
In the latter half, Garcia’s Nez Perce wife tells a heart-wrenching story of her experience in the 1877 war between the U.S. Army and her people. E.S.
Taken from Garcia’s journal, this intensely personal story is both adventurous and tragic. In period dialect and with self-deprecating humor, Tough Trip covers the gamut of blood, gore, sex and coming of age.
Featured event The Headwaters Spring Runoff Moonlight Basin, March 31, 2012 The Headwaters cirque is extreme. Its steep and beautiful 1,000-foot chutes are home to consistently kickass skiing. It’s also home to Moonlight’s annual Headwaters Spring Runoff, an amateur freeride competition that showcases this spectacular terrain. “It’s probably one of the gnarliest venues in the U.S., with serious consequence if you fall… very Euro-esque,” said pro-skier Jamie Pierre, who emceed last year and plans to return for this year’s seventh annual event. Open to all ages, there are divisions for men’s and women’s ski and snowboard, and juniors. Prizes will include $1,000 and plenty of swag. The comp, run by the resort’s hearty and hard-working ski patrol, is all Moonlight: no pretense, rowdy skiing and a chill vibe. From Stillwater Road, a green run that winds beneath the Headwaters, spectators can watch competitors huck cliffs, straight-line narrow alleys, and style it down the plumb line couloirs. moonlightbasin.com E.S.
“It’s probably one of the gnarliest venues in the U.S., with serious consequence if you fall… “
Jamie Pierre skiing the Headwaters at Moonlight Basin
PHOTO BY TRAVIS ANDERSEN
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Leaving a legacy:
Warren Miller performing arts center
By Abbie Digel It’s school picture day at Big Sky’s Ophir School. Teachers and students sit on stools in front of cobalt blue backdrops and smile for the camera. They’re in the “gymnecafeterium,” the old gym, now used for overflow classes and as a small cafeteria and kitchen. This space is set for a major renovation, and by 2013 will take on new life as the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. The renowned ski filmmaker has embodied the lifestyle that Ophir students embrace: dedication to hard work and outdoor activities. He’s made Big Sky his winter home for more than a decade. The vision for the new arts center grew alongside plans for Lone Peak High School in 2007, and support has been strong. The facility will be available for receptions, chorus and piano concerts and other performances, placing Big Sky among the ranks of resort towns with prominent arts cultures. With 302 seats, the space will be similar to Bozeman’s Ellen Theater, said Anne Marie Mistretta, the school district’s previous superintendent and secretary of Friends of Big Sky Education. FOBSE, a foundation that supports Ophir School district projects, is organizing the fundraising.
Donations and seat sponsorship pledges from the 2011 Strings Under the Big Sky annual fundraiser, which usually raises money for Ophir’s music programs, were dedicated solely to the new facility. That event, sponsored by FOBSE, included musical performances from Ophir students and the Muir String Quartet, as well as a teary-eyed speech from Mr. Miller himself. Miller expressed deep gratitude that the performing arts center would carry his name. He was thrilled when FOBSE asked if he would accept the honor. “We’re very pleased for the school and the community that this is going to be a reality,” Miller said. “This is our chance to honor him,” said Loren Bough, president of FOBSE. Miller and his wife Laurie also run the Warren Miller Freedom Foundation, a non-profit that educates students on principals of entrepreneurship. Lone Peak High School students have participated in the program. “Warren Miller’s lifetime of work wonderfully reflects the values of our community: the arts, education and skiing,” says Jill Bough, a member of Friends of Big Sky Education. Other key members of the fundraising team are Doug and Henrietta Gale, Marilyn Hill and Jolene Romney.
Construction of the center began in 2008, but was discontinued when funds came up short. Work should resume in summer 2012. “The clincher is that we’re already a quarter of the way finished,” Mistretta said. Repurposing the building will consist of carpentry work, acoustics and lighting. Prugh and Lenon Architects and Martel Construction, Bozemanbased companies, are in charge of design and building. There’s still plenty of work to do. The improvements to the school—the gym, weight room, science and technology labs—were finished as part of the original plan for the high school. The remains of initial construction for the performing arts center are in storage. Mistretta worked with Prugh and Lenon to hire Doug Brekke of Black Box Design as a consultant on sound and lighting systems, including baffled walls and pillowed ceilings for acoustics, and storage areas for instruments and sets. Offering Ophir students a well-rounded education remains the top priority, Mistretta says. “We want our kids to have it all.”
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An army of citizen scientists ASC puts outdoor athletes to work on conservation by emily stifler This past summer, 40 citizen scientists combed the western Centennial Mountains, searching for signs of grizzly bears. The group documented tracks and collected scat and fur. The Centennials, a range of 10,000foot peaks stretching between Island Park, Idaho and Dillon, Montana, are the largest east-west stretch of continental divide in the Northern Rockies. Grizzlies have rarely been documented in the western part of the range, which has seen recent proposals for natural resource development. Because of that, this study, conducted by the Bozeman-based Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, could be a landmark for the agencies that manage the area. ASC will send the data to a lab for DNA testing, and
then prepare a report for the Dillon Bureau of Land Management field office. Evidence of grizzlies in the Centennials would help the BLM make responsible land management decisions, said ASC founder, biologist Gregg Treinish. “[The Centennials are] a perfect highway for bears to move from the Greater Yellowstone into the Frank Church,” Treinish said. This, he says, is vital for the species’ Collecting grizzly bear data in August 2011 Photo courtesy of Gregg Treinish survival. For Treinish, who started the non-profit in January 2011, this project was an opportunity to learn about one of the most important wildlife corridors in the lower 48.
But that’s not all ASC does. Most of their projects match up outdoorsmen—from high-level adventure athletes to weekend warriors—with scientists.
As of October, ASC had over 200 people collecting data in places like Alaska, the Grand Canyon, Venezuela, Switzerland, Pakistan and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Climbers on Everest have collected plant samples for microbial biologists studying climate change, and trekkers in the Andes have gathered data on flora, fauna and archeology for the Pacific Biodiversity Institute. While citizen science sometimes gets a bad rap because of its high potential for error, labs independently verify all of ASC’s projects, removing that concern from the equation. “We’re simply the messengers,” Treinish said. For scientists, this saves time and money they’d otherwise have to spend collecting data. And as a result, he’s blowing up. Hundreds of scientists contact him monthly, looking for data collectors. The New York Times, and Outside, Science, Science News and Audubon magazines have all written about his group.
“People really believe in this concept,” said Treinish, who admits to staying up at night thinking of new ways for ASC to make a bigger impact. A new program, Expedition to the Classroom, will stream live media from remote places into high school science classes. The pilot project brings Antarctic adventurers Doug Stoup and Kris Erickson (a Livingstonbased photographer) into high school biology classes at Bozeman High School and in Ashville, N.C. The students will interact with the athletes through video conferencing, email, Facebook and photos, allowing them to learn about the scientific process as it happens. The goal is to have this program accessible nationwide in two years, virtually sending students to the Amazon or the Himalaya. The major challenge for this—as for all of ASC’s work— is cost. The organization is mostly grant-funded, but also works with individual donors. Students have put together their own fundraising campaigns for Expedition to the Classroom. Treinish encourages people to get involved. He’s got projects for everyone from day hikers looking for pika in Hyalite Canyon to professional climbers on Mount Everest.
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“If you’ve ever felt like you wanted do more with your time in the woods, this your opportunity.” adventureandscience.org
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Travis andersen “We had the rare opportunity to join the Bridger Ski Patrol for morning routes on Schlasman’s. This was Pete Lazar’s first turn.” travisandersenphotography.com
Richard smith Misty morning near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park wildsmithphotography.com
Anna Middleton Shadows across a young cowboy
Colton Stiffler Trent clears a V-Dub
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Good riding is a state of mind
By Bryan Iguchi
Bryan Iguchi throws an indy grab in Jackson, Wyoming’s backcountry
Sure, deep powder is hard to beat and ice is downright unpleasant, but my most memorable times riding are when I had the most fun. That’s what snowboarding is all about.
rather than downhill vertical mileage. Don’t get me wrong—I’ll always be on the tram early when we get a big dump. It’s just that I might go in early to spend time with my family.
A couple years ago I became overwhelmed with figuring out where the best snow was, feeling envy when other places were getting more snow, and getting upset if the snow wasn’t perfect. Maybe I’d just turn around, go home and wait for it to get good. Then I realized I was missing the point.
Skiing evolved out of the necessity for winter travel and still remains the most efficient way to cover ground in deep snow under your own power. Snowboarding, on the other hand, was created with the sole purpose of downhill recreation. Snowboarding has always been the bastard stepchild of skiing. That’s not a bad thing, but I think it’s the truth. To me snowboarding is equally an offspring of surfing, skateboarding and skiing.
It’s always good, as long as you make it good. For years, my mission was to get in as many runs as physically possible by all means necessary. Winter is short, so I maximized my season with endless tram laps and snowmobile access exploration. Now, my priorities are changing. I’ve been searching for new experiences, 24 Mountain
Over the years I’ve tested and collected a lot of boards and now use them for specific conditions or to suit my mood. Trying new things can make life more fun, and provide excitement and challenge. In the 15 years I’ve been riding, the biggest game changer was my split board.
Photo by Jeff Hawe
I live in the shadow of Teton National Park and love riding in the high peaks. In the past, my fear of hopelessly hiking in knee-deep powder for hours kept me away from mid-winter outings. But with a split board I can skin up a mountain just as our ancestors did, then transform the skis back into a board and ride. My early experiences split boarding consisted of fumbling in the cold, trying to put the board-binding puzzle together. Ski touring parties passed by, shaking their heads, and my frustration grew. Those earlier models also compromised my riding—the old boards felt awkward and heavy, and the bindings towered high off the board. I tried ascending with short skis but found it ineffective in deep snow, and once again endured more trouble and discouragement. A few seasons back I decided to give it another real go, and I’m glad I did. The new boards are lighter, the bindings
are lower, and the feeling is now the real deal. I can change from skis to a board in just a few minutes and ride down with confidence. It’s changed my whole perspective. I look forward to getting lost in a state of meditation this winter, daydreaming deep in the mountains. Walking uphill gives me a chance to examine the ever-changing snow conditions, enhancing my awareness of my surroundings and giving me a better chance to make good decisions on what line to ride.
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What it comes down to is sharing the experience and making the most of the day. There is a feeling of satisfaction that only riding brings, and riding the backcountry makes snowboarding even more fun. Bryan Iguchi is a professional snowboarder living in Jackson, Wyoming.
Bryan’s split board setup: Bryan rides a custom 159 split board with rocker and a Spark R&D binding system. He actually made his own Volcom split board at the Signal factory, so it’s one of a kind.
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“The setup is insane, and I love it.” © Kene Sperry
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Iguchi removing the skins from his split board
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Powder Coated in Cooke
Rumors, astroturf and skiing
story and photos By Marcie Hahn-Knoff
L-R: Index and Pilot peaks
he temperature plunged as we drove into the narrow canyon toward Cooke City. Ice sprouted from the cliff sides, lined by thick timber. Although it was early afternoon, the winter sun rarely shone here, and it darkened with every curve in the road. A white ice roadway stretched before us, drawing us into the mountain fold.
The relaxing energy of Yellowstone, its rolling river valleys and frostyfaced bison, was gone.
didn’t have a snowmobile, so the notion of going there just to ski seemed a bit ridiculous.
We rounded a corner and came into a patch of sun. Peaks cloaked in thick winter snow soared above us. Tiny crystals sparkled in the air, sunlight streaking through their fragile facets.
My interest was sparked once I took note of Cooke’s massive storm totals on the daily avalanche report. I finally broke down when a cold snap had the Bridgers, northern Gallatin and Madison ranges high and dry, and was lured to the hanging chad of Montana by the promise of deep powder.
We slipped into town and checked into a small hotel room with an astroturf carpet. Snowmobiles lined the streets. Sun shone brightly on the southern hillsides, belying the single digit temperatures that had already taken hold in the mountain shadows. I’d called Montana home for several years, but this was my first winter trip to Cooke. Rumors buzzed about the area’s incredible terrain and little competition for fresh tracks, but I kept thinking, ‘why travel for fresh turns when I had miles of personally uncharted terrain near my home in the Gallatin Valley?’ Also, Cooke was known as sled-neck central, and I 26 Mountain
My husband and I had befriended a fellow living in Cooke for the winter, surviving on boiled beans in a cabin with no indoor plumbing, just so he could ski every day. I figured either he was crazy or the skiing was that good. He’d offered to show us around and take us on a tour or two. Since we hadn’t made plans to meet Beaneater ‘til that evening, we decided to take a late afternoon tour. We slapped skins on skis on the front porch, then slid off the astroturf onto packed snow and headed up the hillside into the sun.
The views grew grander with each foot of elevation we gained. My heart sped as I looked around at the huge mountains rising above us, and at the high plateaus stretching into the distance. The terrain was limitless and massive. We glided back to town, the peaks glowing bronze in alpenglow. The temperature was below zero as we walked to meet Beaneater for dinner. Just a snowball toss from our hotel, the rustic watering hole was ablaze with colorful Christmas lights frozen into layers of snow. ‘Pizza and Beer’ proclaimed a blazing neon sign hanging inside a frost-etched window. We found Beaneater propped up at a back table, a classic mountain town local in Carhartts and flannel. Sitting down, we started talking business. His eyes lit up as he described the winter’s touring. Typically not much
I figured either he was crazy or the skiing was that good.
of a talker, Beaneater waxed on about the insane amount of fresh snow he’d skied. My husband leaned in, asking where Beaneater had been and about the conditions. The excitement, combined with the warmth of the inside air, quickly pushed Beaneater to remove his large hand knit woolen cap, exposing hair twisted by a combination of too much ski touring and winter static. With the boys chatting away, it was time for a beer, I thought. Heading to the bar for a pitcher, I did a double take of the framed platinum recording of Shakedown Street hanging from the wall, signed by the Grateful
conspired on a plan for the next day. Dawn broke earlier than I wished. Stumbling distance from the bar is not a good ingredient for an early start. I yanked on my warmest gear with only one thing on my mind. Breakfast. We wandered down the main drag, the air still well below zero. We walked into a snowmobile rental and repair shop/breakfast establishment, and the scent of fresh handmade pastries mixed with the humidity of the tiny room. A crowd of snowmobilers was also getting ready for a day in the hills, and a small television played the surf movie “Endless Summer”—a fitting paradox.
Christmas lights buried in snow outside of a Cooke City watering hole.
Dead. Upon further investigation, I found the jukebox had the best selection of music I’d seen in Montana. I shoved in a few dollars, made some selections and rambled back to the table where we
Fueled up, we skied down the road to meet up with Beaneater. Skins on, we ascended through thick timber, up a gradual path lined with quaint cabins and impressive views. High altitude clouds muted the early morning sun, and I was happy to be walking, staying warm with each step.
Without encountering another soul, we crept up the drainage and eventually moved to the base of a steeper pitch. A single skin track lay before us—a steep, no-nonsense affair etched through
ancient trees. This was the masterwork of Beaneater. We wound out of the timber into scattered glades and then open terrain. Lenticular clouds loomed to the west, hanging like arcs above the amphitheaters of spiny peaks. Atop our planned descent, I studied the line. Before us lay perfectly spaced ramps of snow fringed by gnarled alpine timber. De-skinning quickly, we watched as Beaneater dropped in, curls of powder forming a steady wake behind him. He dipped into the glades below, silent and steady. A shot of energy rose through me. I traversed over to the next shot and dove in. Silky smooth, with just the right amount of give, the snow cradled my skis. I devoured the slope, my tracks extending as my speed increased. I came to rest above the thickest timber and rejoined the group, already digging out skins for another trip to the top. Large snowflakes began falling with a hint of wind. Free refills. This moment, in this place—the feeling of flying through the crystalline matrix in the arms of a mountain shared with friends—was magical. As for the rumors about Cooke, they’d been proven true. I’d become a believer.
Proctecting your auto, business, home farm, health, life and employees Ty Moline Ph: 406 993 9242 or on the web at www.ins-agency.com 27 explorebigsky.com Mountain
story and photo By Kyle Wisniewski As I drifted off to sleep, I listened to the sound of the wind howling against the side of my cabin in Gallatin Canyon. I knew soon enough the alarm would sound and it would be time to head out into the forest to check our traps. I lay there, thinking about mountain lions.
in his voice matched mine. What happened next will be a hunting story in my family for generations to come. Our next two stops yielded coyotes, bobcats, pine marten and even an unlucky mule deer. It was already an unprecedented morning.
The next morning I rose at 3 a.m., drank my coffee, and loaded the wood stove for the day. I headed down my driveway, filled with anticipation. The fall air was blustery and cold, and I drove slowly to the first trailhead enjoying the warmth of my truck. I set off on our first trapline in the dark, walking through snow by the light of my headlamp.
Then it happened. Clear in the soft, white snow, I found my first mountain lion track. I sprinted a mile back to the truck, crossed the icy Gallatin River, and told my partner. He asked how big the track was.
Mountain lions are elusive and hunt at night, but with enough perseverance a dedicated outdoorsman will encounter the silent predator. At least that’s what my mentor and hunting partner said, and what I hoped. I’d never even seen a lion track, but was fascinated by the creatures.
We returned to where I saw the tracks and let the dogs loose. They disappeared into the forest, hot on the lion’s trail, and we followed them along the mountain face overlooking the highway. The walk took forever, but anticipation kept us pushing through the knee-deep
On that first line, I found nothing in the way of animal tracks, and nothing in our traps. As I drove to my second stop, I caught a lone coyote standing for a second in my headlights. I walked down the trail back to our first set of traps and found every trap holding a coyote. Overwhelmed, I collected my bounty and wandered back down the trail. My third stop also held great rewards in the way of coyotes, but again no lion tracks. It was now first light, so I made my daily call to my hunting partner. I told him about the coyotes, and then asked him to bring his lion hounds and meet me. The excitement 28 Mountain
snow. Dogs will typically track a lion until the annoyance of their pursuit forces it up a tree, so when we finally heard the dogs barking, we knew they’d treed it. Perched on a branch 30 feet up, the lion was magnificent. We snapped a photo, leashed the dogs and walked back out of the snowy mountainside. At the last stop on our daily checklist we found more lion tracks. Again we chased a feline and gave her a flattering photo shoot. It was 8 a.m. and was time to go to my day job. It’s been years since that morning, but it’s the kind of adventure that keeps me in pursuit of the rewards these mountains hold.
Aga Apple prepares a culture for her work with nanoparticles in the Harmsen Laboratory at MSU.
Fighting infection MSU researchers hope nanoparticles can help fight a flu pandemic
story and photos By Tyler Allen The 1918 flu pandemic, one of the greatest natural disasters in human history, killed between 50–100 million people. By the time it ran its course, 3–6 percent of the world’s population had died from this strain of influenza or from secondary infections. Today, after nearly a century of biomedical advances and vaccine development, a strain with similar virulence could still impact tens of millions of people. This is due to the instability of the influenza virus and its tendency to spread and evolve rapidly.
In the Molecular Biosciences Building on the campus of Montana State University-Bozeman, Allen Harmsen and researchers in the Harmsen Lab are investigating a new therapy that could fight a potential modern flu pandemic, using viral-like particles called protein cage nanoparticles. Produced from proteins of an Archaean microorganism that lives in deep sea vents, these protein capsules produce a temporary immune response in the lungs of mice, similar to that generated by an attacking virus.
Unlike an actual virus, these nanoparticles don’t create inflammation in the lung tissue, which compromises oxygen exchange with the blood and can be permanent. Investigators in the Harmsen Laboratory introduce protein cage nanoparticles to mice bred specifically for biomedical research, and then inoculate the test subjects with a pathogen. Using a Flow Cytometer—a powerful instrument capable of analyzing several thousand particles a second— the researchers map and analyze the
Committed to Research Because of MSU’s commitment to research, particularly in biomedical sciences, the university attracts competitive researchers and their correlating funding dollars. The university was awarded over $100 million in research funding last fiscal year. 32 Mountain
Built in 2003, the Molecular Biosciences Building houses a state-of-the-art facility where grants from organizations such as the National Institute of Health and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease help fuel biomedical research.
immune-response cells as they attack the invading pathogen. Harmsen has been researching this therapy for about five years. While nanoparticles are being investigated as a vaccine delivery platform elsewhere, his is the only lab looking into them as a broad spectrum vaccine. Harmsen got the idea while working with fellow MSU scientists Trevor Douglas and Mark Young on a project that used protein cage nanoparticles as a drugdelivery method. Effective influenza vaccines have been available for over 60 years, but the flu virus still kills 250,000–500,000 people worldwide annually and causes 3–5 million cases of severe illness. During the 2010-2011 flu season, 287 cases of influenza were reported in Montana, with 40 hospitalized. There have been three pandemic years in the last century. During each, tens of millions died from influenza. The pandemics are caused by a new strain of the virus spreading from animals to humans, or by an existing human virus that picks up new genes from an animal strain. Since vaccines only work against a particular strain, influenza’s ability to mutate rapidly makes it challenging for researchers to develop a vaccine before a new strain spreads and becomes pandemic. “A significant influenza outbreak like 1918 is very likely to occur again, and this could give researchers time [to develop a vaccine],” Harmsen said. The temporary immune response created by the nanoparticle therapy lasts up to five weeks in mice, Harmsen says. The hope is that eventual clinical trials will reveal a similar immune response in humans. Because this immune response is not virus-specific, the lungs can fight any pathogen introduced during this period. Since many deaths from influenza result from secondary infection as the body’s defenses are depleted, this could be an important weapon in the fight against flu mortality.
Using nanoparticles to fight MRSA Aga Apple received some bad news when she arrived in Bozeman to start her doctoral work at MSU. She couldn’t begin her Ph.D. program because the school she attended in Poland, Adam Mickiewicz University, didn’t require the same core classes as most American universities. While this only resulted in five weeks of additional coursework, Apple had to delay her program an entire year. In the meantime she fell in love with Southwest Montana. After completing her Ph.D. in autoimmunity at MSU, and then her post-doctoral work in ovarian cancer at Dartmouth, Apple returned to Bozeman for a second post-doc. Her research now looks at how protein cage nanoparticles could be used to fight off bacteria, especially MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA was first discovered in the United Kingdom in 1961 and is found worldwide. It can kill swiftly, and is especially troublesome in hospitals, where patients have open wounds or invasive devices. Because bacteria like MRSA reproduce and evolve quickly, they’re capable of developing resistance to the antibiotics used to fight them. Apple is looking for a cell-based approach to fight these dangerous bacteria, using nanoparticles rather than drugs. Since people who die from influenza are often killed by a secondary bacterial infection due to exhausted immune systems, this work is very closely linked with the Harmsen Lab’s flu research. Since MRSA is capable of killing its host within 24 hours of infection, the implications of nanoparticles as a defense against these drugresistant bacteria could be significant.
The Molecular Biosciences Building is home to a number of laboratories working on treatments and vaccines to infectious diseases, including Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Salmonella. Cuttingedge science is expanding here, and with it, Southwest Montana is growing as a player in global health. Tyler Allen writes from Bozeman.
Samples being prepared for analysis in the Harmsen Laboratory at MSU Bozeman
Cok credits his herd of Holstein dairy cows for getting the farm to where it’s at today. Photo by Blaine Dunkley
The family farm
The 2012 Farm Bill may change the future for Cok Dairy
By Cotton Sarjahani Dairy farming runs in Bill Cok’s family. His father helped start the Gallatin Valley Creamery Cooperative in the 1950s, and Cok and his brother partnered in a dairy farm together in the 1980s. After purchasing 120 acres outside of Churchill, Cok started a dairy herd of his own in 1992, and hasn’t looked back. Today, Cok Dairy is a thriving agricultural operation that includes eggs, dairy, beef, alfalfa, corn, barley, winter wheat and spring wheat. Cok and his
wife now own 600 acres in the Gallatin Valley and lease another 700 . Three of their four sons help with the family business. Just a few hundred yards from the Cok’s farmhouse, the dairy herd feeds in a pen, and the hens scratch at the ground for bugs. The Coks milk their herd twice daily, and the sanitized milking parlor is right near the cows’ feeding pen. Next door, the holding tanks have a 1,250-gallon capacity and are filled with milk every other day. Another 100 yards up the property are
cylindrical metal grain bins and rows of corn. In today’s efficiency driven economy, few farmers are willing or able to diversify themselves in this manner. However, co-habitation of crops and livestock is a method that many argue is essential for ecological and economic resilience in an agricultural setting. Surviving in a small operation requires diversification, Cok says, as well as the ability to roll with the punches and, when possible, move to new technology. Cok credits his Holstein dairy heifers for providing the farm’s foundation. Today, the family sells milk from a herd of 100 cows to the agricultural marketing cooperative, Darigold, Inc., a subsidiary of Northwest Dairy Association. An enormous smile stretches across Cok’s face as he talked about the farm’s production this year. “This was one of those once in a decade years… the type when you actually get caught up or finally get ahead,” he said.
Bill Cok savors the independence and autonomy that accompany his profession. Photo by Blaine Dunkley
Unlike many commercial dairies, the Coks raise their own feed. Lactating dairy heifers require an energy-dense diet to meet the production demands of a commercial operation, and many dairy
farmers are vulnerable to price fluctuation in the grain commodities because they source feed externally.
thus preventing a drop in market prices that would be necessary to move the excess supply.
and make a final decision in April. The federal budget deficit will no doubt shape the legislation.
When commodity feed costs increase, the cost of commodity milk* subsequently increases because most dairy farmers externally source their feed. In the Coks’ case, the value of their milk increases, and they remain insulated from feed cost fluctuations, barring fossil fuel costs associated with feed production.
The U.S. all-milk price in May 2008 was $18.30/hundredweight. A year later it was $11.60. Since 2009, the price has increased to its all-time high of $20.16. While this is good for dairy producers in 2011, the historic volatility of the market makes it difficult to rest easy. Many agricultural economists expect prices to dramatically decrease in the next one to three years.
Cok isn’t sure the new legislation will help dairy farmers. One proposed bill, he says, will remove the floor on the price of milk, and instead ask farmers to buy margin insurance that would cover losses if the price of milk drops.
Getting to the point of finally having their system dialed has taken nearly three decades with very few days off.
“I’m not really in favor of that,” he said. “It’s complicated because it depends on the price of feed and the amount of milk produced [nationwide]…I don’t see why they want to put it on the backs of the farmers.”
“I don’t have to listen to anybody telling me what to do.”
“The hardest part about being a dairy farmer is that you’re oncall 24-7. We’ve taken off maybe three or four times to go to weddings since 1983,” Cok said. “You really have to be around [the cows] every day to know and understand their needs, so it’s not easy to just find someone to take care of them if you want to take off.”
In addition to the demanding lifestyle, dairy farmers are also at the mercy of nature, the market, and state and federal policy. Federal dairy farming policy has a complex history that’s changed many times since the Agricultural Act of 1949 created a purchase program to maintain a floor for the price of milk. This price support system has not always been effective, and the past 30 years in particular have been a market rollercoaster for dairy farmers. The system is a market intervention program, in which the federal government purchases nonperishable dairy products like cheese, butter and nonfat dry milk from processors at set intervention prices. When market prices exceed intervention prices, the support program remains inactive. It’s activated when the supply exceeds demand at the intervention prices,
Regardless, Cok loves farming, and in particular, being his own boss. “I don’t have to listen to anybody telling me what to do,” he said.
The Farm Bill, the most powerful legislation governing federal farm and food policy, covers a range of programs and provisions, and undergoes review and renewal roughly every five years. The 2007 Farm Bill supported commodity crops, horticulture and livestock, conservation, nutrition, trade and food aid, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, energy and forestry. It hasn’t, however, solved the dairy industry’s volatility. The industry has, in fact, experienced upheaval since the bill’s enactment, according to recent policy analysis**. With the 2012 Farm Bill around the corner, dairy farmers and advocates must be informed in a manner that allows participation in the legislative process. Congress will begin looking in earnest at the new bill in January 2012,
Every day is swamped with work, but it’s ever changing, and is physically and intellectually stimulating. As each day unfolds, Cok assesses and prioritizes his actions based on 30 years of experience. He and his family coordinate on a daily basis, collaborating with nature to produce nourishment for thousands of fellow humans. Federal intervention has impacted dairy farmers and their families over the past six decades, and it hasn’t always been beneficial. Participating and staying informed of the legislative process may help create a more stable market for U.S. dairy producers. Cotton Sarjahani completed his Masters in Health and Human Development with an emphasis on Sustainable Food Systems from MSU-Bozeman in 2011.
For information about the 2012 Farm Bill: The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Farm Bill iatp.org/project/farm-bill-2012 The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s 2012 Farm Bill Archives sustainableagriculture.net/category/2012-farm-bill
* Cheese and dry milk (rather than fluid milk) set the cost for commodity milk ** Research conducted by the University of Wisconsin and the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri
Life lost on lone mountain Brad Gardner’s story
By Taylor Anderson
Photo by emily stifler
Bradley Gardner lost his life at age 24 while skiing by himself on Lone Mountain on March 9, 2011. His death has sparked efforts in the Big Sky community to prevent similar events from occurring again, and will leave its stamp deeply printed on the resorts and in the backcountry ski community. This is a story about Brad’s father Ed, his brother John, and his mother Mary. It’s for every friend who lost a dear brother in the snow-filled Montana winter of 2011.
LONE LAKE CIRQUE’ s 800- foot cliffs jut skyward on a hot July day, humbling the small group of people who have hiked to its base on the remote northwest side of Lone Mountain. The steep-walled basin amplifies the sound of tumbling rocks. Open snowfields are slowly melting as the sun progresses across the top of the northwest-facing cirque, and the sound of dripping water echoes quietly through the still, dry air. Ed Gardner sits near a glacial lake at the base of the cirque, staring at the mammoth area. Matt Sitton scrambles toward the crags above. “Rock!” Sitton yells from an icy chute. Ed doesn’t move. He just stares as the rock spins, gaining momentum down the steep slope, then bounces off the corner of a snowfield 100 feet above him. He watches straight-faced, binoculars at one hip, revolver at the other. When the rock slows to a stop 30 feet away, he raises his scopes again. It’s a Monday in late July. Ed and Sitton have hiked the three miles up to the cirque west of Big Sky and Moonlight Basin resorts a few times this week after spring had turned to summer and winter stubbornly let go its snowy grip on the mountain. Ed, an investment banker from Winter Haven, Florida, moved into his Big Sky condo full time when his son was reported missing on March 12. Ed last spoke with Brad on March 8, the afternoon his son launched off a 75-foot cliff on skis in the backcountry near Lone Mountain. The leap was captured on video, and Brad was ecstatic about the feat. “He was on top of the world that night,” Ed said. Although his voice shook as he talked about his son in a coffee shop in Bozeman in July, Ed portrayed an air of strength, often smiling and laughing. Sitton, a local photographer and Big Sky native, has hiked in the Madison Range since he was 11—two years after surgeons removed a baseball-sized tumor from the back of his brain. He’s acted as mountain guide for Ed, and the two have grown close in the months after Brad’s disappearance. Today, Sitton stands in hiking boots, 10,000 feet above sea level, on an eight-foot thick sheet of icy snow. He climbs another 1,000 feet above Ed to inspect what he thought was something yellow melting from the snow. “It could be nothing, but you’ve got to check out everything.” Sitton and Brad had been friends since Brad moved to the area full time two years earlier.
“Where are you buddy? Come on out,” Sitton pleads. The pair found ski poles in the cirque only days before. One was emerging from a remaining snowfield; the other, perched on a cliff 400 feet higher. The poles were the first raw clues in a search that began in March, almost without direction. Big Sky Ski Patrol passed through Lone Lake Cirque and Chippewa Ridge, as well as in-bounds areas the day Brad was reported missing. The initial search included two helicopters, a fixed-wing aircraft, dog and ski units, each searching for signs of Brad. In the first week after his disappearance, sustained high winds and heavy snowfall made the search extremely dangerous, and Big Sky Search and Rescue postponed it until conditions improved. In total, BSSR, a local volunteer group, put 300 man-days into looking for Brad. Teams covered 176 square miles, literally crossing and re-crossing paths before zeroing in on the cirque. By July, four months after the disappearance, the organized search teams had dwindled in size, and the attitude of the mission had long since shifted from rescue to recovery. Gallatin County released a statement declaring the search wouldn’t end without success, and deputies promised they wouldn’t give up until they found Brad. The Gardners kept close contact with search and rescue, and the groups continued their independent search. Later that week, Ed and Sitton discovered the ski poles. Ed Gardner contacted Ed Hake, founder and president of the BSSR, after finding them. “He was at my house in 30 minutes asking if I wanted them to go up that night to recover the poles,” Gardner said. The following day, the crew used a helicopter, supported by ground and dog units, to try and recover or photograph the cliffed pole. The crew got a high-resolution close-up of it, which only led to more confusion when the photo revealed the poles didn’t match. Rather than settle any doubt that Brad’s body was in the area, the discovery caused confusion, and search efforts hit another wall.
B R A D LIVED FOR and pursued a lifestyle that’s grown hugely popular in the past few decades: big mountain skiing and snowboarding. He idolized big-name skiers, watched and tried to emulate their styles. He wasn’t well known in the Big Sky skiing community, but among friends he was a step above, and cliff jumps like the one he did on March 8 in the Chippewa Ridge region of Lone Mountain were hallmarks of his talent.
They read magazines, watch movies, follow riders and fashion, emulate, repeat.
those leaving patrolled terrain. From atop Lone Peak, there are two routes to Chippewa.
After two years living full time in the area, the lifestyle had captured Brad. Regular cliff jumps and steep chute skiing were things he shared with friends and did alone. The desire to push his limits began to drive him.
“One’s the traditional route where you go across the snowline in the Wyoming Bowl. The second is to go above Wyoming Bowl on the [Lone Lake Cirque] ridge and come back the backside,” says Big Sky ski patrol director Bob Dixon.
“And for what? A video? A free pair of skis?” Ed asked. “I told him, ‘If you want skis, I’ll buy you a new pair of skis. What you’re doing is stupid,” Ed said from the Bozeman coffeehouse, the steam long since finished rising from his coffee.
This windblown ridge separates Wyoming Bowl from Lone Lake Cirque. Last winter, wind formed a massive overhanging cornice above the cirque about 700 feet below the summit, along the ridge. Beneath the cornice, cliffs drop 1,000 feet to the basin floor.
Ed had just dropped his wife Mary off at the Gallatin Valley airport that day. She split time between her job as a radiologist in Florida and visiting Big Sky to help search efforts off the hill.
BRAD WAS REPORTED missing on March 13, four days after telling friends he was going back to Chippewa Ridge. Five new inches of snow fell around Big Sky that morning, and winds were between 25-40 mph.
Brad skiing Rockville Bowl at Big Sky in 2010. Photo courtesy of Ed gardner
“I rode with him, and we rode hard,” his friend Dan Greene said. “He raged all the time.” The lifestyle is something shared by thousands of adults in lieu of school or in limbo between graduation and the dreaded ‘corporate life.’ It’s grown popular among skiers Brad’s age that move to mountain towns and pick up jobs that allow them to pay for rent, food, winter utilities and a ski pass. Many live on a seasonal basis. One winter is snowy, the next is cold and dry, and they surf the emotional waves of waiting for good conditions. Visits home become infrequent. Mornings are early and nights late in the search for long, epic days on the mountain or quick runs before work. 38 Mountain
Brad’s video from the March 8 Chippewa Ridge cliff jump showcased his skills in the adrenaline-driven world of big-mountain skiing.
“That cliff is halfway down Chippewa Ridge, and we were there filming all week,” Greene said. The area is highly trafficked in the winter months. Devilish, talus-filled cliffs in the summer make way for snow-filled chutes in the winter. What’s more, skiers can traverse easily back from the out of bounds terrain to the Dakota lift in the resort, adding to the popularity of the Chippewa Ridge. Following a trend among western ski areas, Big Sky and Moonlight resorts added backcountry gates in 2006, allowing skiers to access nearby backcountry. With warning signs and skull and crossbones, the gates warn
The mountains in the region had received significant snowfall that winter, and by March 9, the snowpack was 111 percent of average. Another 4–5 inches fell on March 11, and on March 12 winds at high elevations were recorded at 80 mph. Both natural and skier-triggered avalanches had been reported in the backcountry that day, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center’s daily advisory archives. The avalanche hazard rating was ‘Considerable’ on all windloaded slopes, which meant natural avalanches were possible, and human triggered avalanches were probable. Doug Chabot, Gallatin Avalanche Center director, issued the March 9 avalanche advisory. He cautioned that “cornices will be sensitive to breaking and wind slabs will be easily triggered.” Continued on p. 40
NEVER GO ALONE
GOING OUT OF BOUNDS?
Sharpen your skills, bring the proper safety gear and always bring a partner.
T H I N K R I S K , T H E N R E WA R D BSSAR.ORG // MTAVALANCHE.COM
Local search and rescue digs Brad out of the snow 136 days after he went missing.
He would’ve sidestepped up, passed the Moonlight Basin summit hut, then slipped down the ridge, Liberty Bowl and then Dakota Territory to his left, the void of Lone Lake Cirque to his right. He’d have taken the same route as usual, riding the knifeedge ridge 1,000 feet as it dropped and began to bend to the north. He would have ridden near the massive cornice, overhanging a fatal drop into the cirque. Just before the ridge bent, he would have planned to turn and ski south toward Chippewa.
Ed finds his son’s skis on the Cirque south slope of Lone Peak on the 134th day of searching. Up the hill are Dave Reaves and private search dogs. Photos by Matt Sitton
High alpine terrain like that surrounding Lone Peak was especially susceptible to cornice build-up and wind loading, so the caution related to almost any of the backcountry Brad could have accessed from the ski area. Brad wasn’t scanned at any lift on the resorts that day—lift-operators likely recognized him as a local and a season pass holder, and let him on without checking. There was no evidence that he was skiing in bounds. He was skiing alone, most likely on the last tram of the day. He had a backpack equipped with a shovel, avalanche beacon and candy bars. His jacket 40 Mountain
was equipped with RECCO mountain gear. He asked friends if they would come with him on a last run to Chippewa to look at the hole his body left in the snow from the jump the day before, but no one could go.
DAN GREENE RENTED his condo from Ed Gardner, and called Ed after Brad didn’t come home for three days. “His door was open and his dog was there.” Ed Gardner and family flew to Big Sky the day Greene phoned. Ed and Mary called Big Sky Ski Patrol, which in turn called the sheriff.
The snow was good, and at 2:30 p.m. Brad likely caught the last tram ride to the peak alone.
The family printed flyers announcing the search effort and describing Brad’s bright skiing outfit and the color of his boots and pants. “Orange boots, yellow pants,” Ed repeated. The family passed them out throughout town, and then headed to Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin.
Wind would have swayed the tramcar as it neared the top. Brad, holding his skis at his sides, would’ve walked off at the tram dock onto the gusty summit, tossed his skis to the rubber mat flooring and clipped in.
By March 13, a foot of snow had fallen near Big Sky, and another 28 inches fell between the 15th and 19th. This, combined with high winds, caused the teams to call off the initial search on March 19.
John, Brad’s 22-year-old brother, left Colby College in Maine during his senior year to help search. Coordinating with Hake from the BSSR, John scanned the mountain for signs of Brad. Taking to the mountain on skis with a small group of Brad’s friends, he bought lift tickets and covered both resorts, placing flyers, and probing and digging in the snow near Chippewa. Ed and Mary focused mainly around Big Sky and the Madison Valley to the west. Ed was granted access to the Jack Creek Preserve road west of Big Sky, and he and Mary traveled to Ennis early during the search to hang flyers. By the time the two got there, word had already spread about a missing person. “They heard there was a hiker missing,” Ed said. Madison Valley residents had formed a search party and gone into the mountains on a rescue mission based out of Ennis for what they presumed was a missing resident, an event that resonates in small Montana towns. “It says something about the people from Montana when a town reacts like that,” Ed said. Word around Big Sky Resort was also misinformed about the specifics surrounding the search, and initial reactions by the resort could have cost time in what was originally a rescue mission, Ed says. “Almost no one I talked to knew there was a missing skier on the mountain.”
Ed said everyone he talked to believed Brad was on a solo backcountry ski tour, not in lift-accessed backcountry areas. For weeks, Ed believed Brad might be in bounds, perhaps injured and buried in snow.
ming Bowl and the Dakota Territory, staying out of the cirque because of inherent danger from avalanches and falling rocks. The pair was granted access to the land surrounding Moonlight Basin, and since SAR teams had found nothing but false clues and animal tracks elsewhere, their hikes came to center on Lone Lake Cirque, on the northwest side of the mountain.
begins its westward crawl across the ridge above. The glacial moraine in the bottom of the basin has formed a massive pile of talus covering a hidden rock glacier. Rock fields emerge from beneath the remaining snow and sprawl toward the lake, pushed by the ice hidden beneath them.
Sam Byrne, owner of the Yellowstone Club, granted the Gardner searches (both informal and formal) access of land owned by the club, and Ed Hake, Throughout the cirque, snowfields sit, who also owns a snowmobile rental just starting to warm in the midday business on Highway 191 near Big Sky, helped lead snowmo“I was literally just sitting, sun. Beneath the boulder field, the tinny sound of draining water biles into the area. staring at that mountain, emerges as the snowmelt moves watching snow melt” through the rocks and into the “The YC and Moonlight were small, blue lake. very gracious and helpful,” Ed Gardner said. He said he didn’t appreciThe sun has just begun its westward The hike started at a gravel pit near the ate the treatment from Boyne, the parcrawl over the ridge; it’s never hidend of the Spur Road at Moonlight Baent company that owns Big Sky Resort. den by the ridge. The weather shows sin. There, the land crosses the boundthe first sign of life in light, sustained ary into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, breezes hush past for a moment, cooled from which point the two followed MONTHS AFTER STARTING the by the snow and high elevation, and mostly game trails for five miles and search, the ski season was over, but silence returns. thousands of vertical feet before passing Lone Mountain looked much the same a high mountain spring and reaching as it did throughout the winter. Spring Then, a horrible sound begins. the cirque. turned to summer, and cold weather Rocks begin falling. First faint and kept the mountain coated in snow for distant, only an echo is heard as months. they careen through chutes and off AT 11 A.M., the sun hasn’t warmed crags, gaining speed. They’re only John returned to school in June, and Ed the cirque at 10,000 feet. seen when they reach the moraine was the only family member left full snowfields. Just pebbles. time in Big Sky. Ed and Sitton reach the lake and sit. His efforts remained grounded as a late spring let a mammoth winter snowpack linger through much of July. His condo across Spur Road overlooks the peak, the view a scathing daily reminder. “I was literally just sitting, staring at that mountain, watching snow melt,” Ed said. After enough melted, Ed and Sitton began hiking on and around Lone Mountain, this time on a recovery mission of their own. Search and rescue and the sheriff’s department had covered nearly every inch of mountain near Chippewa, Wyo-
A toboggan and sleeping bag—caches from the resorts’ ski patrols—hang in a tree on the bank. The air is silent and windless. There are no clouds to cast shadows during the early morning, no birds overhead. The two are alone. Their faces lack any sense of urgency or hurry. Ed sits eating an apple and some jerky, looking up at the cliff tops thousands of feet above him. Sitton takes his shirt off and spreads out one of the sleeping bags, which lie wet and bunched up on the remaining snow. They have become accustomed to this search. They sit silently, 200 feet apart, and rest at the shores of the lake as the sun
Ed pulls out a small pair of binoculars and looks up. He points. “That’s where we found the pole.” That day, Ed and Sitton saw four things that appeared to be remnants of Brad. A glimmering rock looked like a watch. Something yellow looked like a piece of his clothing. Each potential clue only a phantom mirage and painful memory of Brad. The only physical evidence actually on the hill that day was the ski pole (which remains today wedged between two rocks on an 800-foot cliff), and Brad’s body, still frozen just feet below his father’s boots.
Gardner was found in Lone Lake Cirque on the northwest side of Lone Mountain. photo by matt sitton
BRAD’S BODY was discovered eight days later. Ed and Sitton noticed the edge of one of Brad’s skis melting out of the snow on July 21. A thin line the size of a marker shined in the sunlight. With it, a shovel handle and a candy bar. They called search and rescue and the Madison and Gallatin county sheriff’s departments. A meeting was assembled on Thursday, July 22, to plan the final mission into the area the following days. Crews from the original search parties charged the mountain with force matching the March search. Some hiked to the summit, others were dropped by helicopter. All were there to probe, shovel, scour and search the snow with RECCO radar signals. They found Brad, boot cracked and skis delaminated on July 23. He was buried in the colossal mountain cirque, likely having died from injuries after a fall when a cornice broke thousands of feet above, though investigators still aren’t certain of the details. His body was taken back to Florida for a funeral.
Sitting over a fresh cup of coffee at a hut in Big Sky three days after finding his son, Ed looked like a man incomplete. His voice displayed the echo of a father in void, and his pain hid behind a strong stare. He spoke frankly of the traumatic experience and displayed hope that from this tragedy, a flower will grow, and positive change will be made. Ed needs time to recharge and recover, though he says he’ll likely never be whole again. “I was talking to Brad one winter about his skiing,” Ed said. “He said to me, ‘Dad, if I die back there, you don’t have to come find me.’ And I said to him, ‘Well, I’m going to, Brad.’” Taylor Anderson is Assistant Editor of Mountain Outlaw magazine Matt Sitton, Big Sky native, owns a photo and video company in Big Sky To donate to Big Sky Search and Rescue visit BSSAR.org
Big Sky Search and Rescue launches backcountry awareness campaign In an effort to generate awareness for skiers and snowboarders heading into the backcountry in Southwest Montana, Big Sky Search and Rescue has announced a Think Risk, Then Reward campaign. The action comes at the end of a five-month search for the body of Brad Gardner, who died skiing out of bounds on Lone Mountain after leaving the ski resort in 42 Mountain
March 2011. The group received donations from Gardner’s family and friends to use in whatever way they needed. BSSR has allotted money to ad placements, radio public service announcements, posters and video, all to prevent similar events from happening. They want skiers to know they can leave in bounds areas if
they wish, but they must bring the necessary rescue equipment: a friend, an avalanche beacon, a shovel, a probe, and gear in case of emergency. “You have to remember that when you bring a shovel and beacon, that’s not to rescue yourself,” says professional skier and Big Sky resident Jamie Pierre. “That’s to dig out your buddy.”
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Bozeman non-profits work together on international water education By Emily Stifler Ali Johnson and her 15 high school classmates walked into an elementary school classroom in Guatemala, armed with glitter, illustrated books with games about clean water, and a song. It was the beginning of a spring 2011 semester that took the high school girls—a group from the Bozeman-based Traveling School—from Guatemala to El Salvador and Chiapas. First, they created a human knot. Everyone stood in a circle, put their hands in the middle, right over left, and joined hands across the group, purposely entangling themselves. Secretly, a couple of the girls started out with glitter on their hands. Without letting go, the group twisted and turned, laughing as they climbed over each other until the knot was untangled. Then everyone looked at their hands—glitter covered them all. The girls explained this was a metaphor for the importance of hand washing. They talked about the things you touch during the day, and about how germs are spread. This game, and all the hand washing material they taught, was provided by Project WET Foundation, a nonprofit also based in Bozeman. The Traveling School girls next taught a song about hand washing. The song describes how to wash properly, and lasts 20 seconds, the same amount of time you should spend washing your hands. “They got really into it,” Johnson said. “I’m pretty sure they took it home.” Then the Guatemalan kids taught the girls a song back. “It was really cool,” she said. 44 Mountain
This was the second collaboration between the Traveling School and Project WET, two Bozeman non-profits with international reach. The first was in Mozambique, the previous fall. It seems a natural partnership.
When the school decided to get more involved with water education, it made sense to work with Project WET. The foundation is dedicated to reaching children, parents, teachers and community members worldwide with water education.
The Traveling School offers fully accredited semesters for teenage girls in Africa, South America and Central America. Its coursework includes standard high school classes, experiential education, cultural immersion and outdoor adventure.
Project WET believes that education is a key component in addressing the issues that result in more than 3.5 million deaths worldwide every year from water related diseases. Washing hands with soap and water has been proven to reduce the instance of these diseases by 47 percent, said Morgan Perlson, Project WET’s international projects assistant.
History classes, for example, are tailored to the region where that semester is studying. And on a visit to the equator in Ecuador, the girls would learn about Incan culture and astronomy. “It’s hard to wrap your brain around because it really is pretty far outside of the box,” said Genifre Hartman, the school’s founder and director. The students come from all over the U.S. and internationally, many from public schools, with half to two-thirds on scholarship.
The foundation works toward its mission by publishing educational materials in several languages; providing training workshops on watersheds, water quality and water conservation; organizing community water events; and working to build an international network of educators, water resource professionals and scientists. It has host institutions in 50 U.S. states and 55 countries, and offers more than 75 publications. “[It’s] a classic Bozeman non-profit circle of everyone helping each other,” Hartman said of the partnership.
“I could never get [excited about] classes in high school,” Johnson said. But during the Central America semester, “school would come alive.” When they were reading Bridge of Courage, a collection of stories told by Guatemalan guerillas, the girls ended up meeting one of the guerillas in the book. Because the school visits the same places each year, it builds on past connections. “It’s a reciprocal relationship,” Hartman said. “The girls think they’re going to change the world, and they’re always amazed at how the world changes them.”
Students at a primary school in Uganda enjoy learning about disease transmission while playing a game from a Project WET activity booklet. Photo courtesy of Project WET
Every year, water related diseases cause
3.5 million deaths
Washing hands with soap and water has been proven to reduce the instance of these diseases by
47% Sarina Scott volunteering in school
Photo courtesy of the Traveling School
Project WET initially developed its colorful healthy habits books in 2007, designing them with help from African teachers and locals. Now published in five languages, the books have reached over 10 million students in 20 countries.
“The idea is to train the trainer, who trains others,” Perlson said. “We develop easy-to-teach, fun, hands-on activities, and empower students by helping them understand the relationship between water and health.” A video from Uganda shows a local teacher leading students in a call and response version of the hand washing song. Usually the song goes to the tune of Frère Jacques, but in this case the teacher made up his own version, and he’s smiling as he sings loudly. The kids, dressed in matching yellow school uniforms, clap as they sing. This is exactly the idea behind Project WET’s games—people learn better when they’re having fun, Perlson says. Continued on p. 48
water wisdom Many proverbs in African culture focus on water and health, according to Project WET. “A hippo can be made invisible in dark water.” - African proverb Meaning: Ignorance can lead to potential danger. It’s important to be informed and alert.
Sophie Barrett pumping water in Mozambique Photo courtesy of the Traveling School
“You think of water when the well is empty.” - Ethiopian proverb Meaning: You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.
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In fall of 2010, the Traveling School went to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, two of which were new countries for Project WET. “[The water education materials] provide a platform for our students to feel like they’re contributing,” said Leah Knickerbocker, the school’s logistical coordinator. “Before it was a challenge to decide what to teach and to come up with activities. Now they can go into a school feeling prepared and teach something they think is valuable.” For the African and Latin American students, the information means more when it’s coming from a peer, Perlson says. “In a lot of the schools teachers are a higher up authority figure, and I think it’s neat for them to have this idea of learning from other students.” It’s a different way of learning for the African kids, in particular, Perlson said. While students in the U.S. do a lot of hands on learning, that’s rare in Africa. “These girls can make an impact if one or two kids take what they learn home to their families,” Perlson added. “They have the chance to save lives,
even just going into one school teaching the hand washing lesson and playing a game of tag.” Following their semester, the Traveling School girls are given a weighty task. “We say, ‘Now you’ve seen this poverty, you know it exists, what are going to do about it?’” Hartman said. Each class must create an independent group project to help better the world. The spring 2010 group built theirs around the flooding they’d seen near Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in Peru. The girls talked to local women’s cooperatives that were devastated because their seeds had washed away. The Traveling School girls returned to the U.S. and raised over $1,500 for the women to buy seeds.
The hand washing song This song lasts 20 seconds, the appropriate length of time for hand washing. It’s often sung to the tune of Frère Jacques. Lather with soap Rub your palms together Now the backs Of your hands Interlace your fingers Cleaning in between them Now the thumbs Clean your nails
“That’s a powerful thing to give to a teenager, but they can handle it.”
School children showing clean hands
Photo Courtesy of the Traveling School
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C row f a i r By allen Russell
I find Indian reservations every bit as exotic and socially complex as places I’ve photographed halfway around the world. While finding similarities among Montana’s seven reservations, insightful travelers will also notice each has unique qualities and customs. The Crow Indian Reservation in south-central Montana is the largest in the state. In midAugust its people, the Apsáalooke Tribe (better known as the Crow), held the 93rd annual Crow Fair. Billed as “the teepee capital of the world,” more than 10,000 native people set up 1,700 teepees and 1,200 tents near the banks of the Little Big Horn River. The three-day event included daily parades, all-Indian rodeos, Indian horse racing and intertribal powwows.
This scene on the edge of the Crow Fair camp reminded me of historic photographs and paintings, with children playing in the river and Indian riders returning to their village. One of the things that attracts me to Indian culture is how much of their heritage is intact.
Each morning, the Apsáalooke formed a parade, winding through camp on horseback and riding atop flatbed trucks, bedecked with beadwork and traditional attire. While this kaleidoscope of colors was undeniably Indian, the procession wasn’t that different from other small town parades: Local dignitaries, politicians and myriad others showing what they’re proud of. In tune with the Crows’ strong horse culture, there were horses aplenty.
young bareback riders, seemingly glued to their mounts, staged horse races, roped each other, and had fun just being kids.
The afternoon rodeos showcased the skills of Indian cowboys and horsemen. The events were similar to most professional rodeos in the West, but like most of Indian life, rodeo is a family affair. The kids who were too young to compete made up their own affair behind the scenes;
Each day I made a point to wander through camp, observing and photographing the Crow lifestyle. The people were friendly and open, and I was welcomed into several family camps and invited to share meals.
The evening powwows, with a richness of ritual, color and motion, are the core of the Crow Fair every year. Powwow is a central part of culture for many Indians, and their pride in this custom is evident in the elaborate costumes and the energy of the dance.
Left: Fancy dancer. One of the more modern dances in the powwow, this is the most strenuous and athletic. To be good, a fancy dancer must train for stamina and agility. The dance is fast and features jumps and twirling, resulting in a swirl of magical colors. The flying feathers and ribbons represent the rainbow spirit’s bright colors, and keeping the feathers moving constantly throughout a song is part of the dance. Dancers also carry decorated coup sticks. These originated as small sticks carried into battle, and it was considered a great sign of bravery if a warrior touched his enemy with a coup stick (much more than killing the enemy).
living history Right: Maybe my favorite from this year’s fair, this image speaks to the contemporary Crow, the hope for their youth, and their connection to the horse. This image exemplifies my style of un-posed photography. When I first saw this girl, she was with a group of six kids behind the rodeo chutes. Twenty minutes later she walked past, leading this white horse. When she swung on bareback, her horsemanship skills and grace were evident—that’s when I captured this image.
Below: Young traditional dancers during Grand Entry
52 52 Mountain Mountain
Traditional dancer. This is the oldest form of dance in Indian culture, its movements telling of warrior actions, hunting, stalking game and battling enemies. Regalia is sewn by hand and worn with great pride.
YOU DON’t KNow
Schmidt The father of extreme skiing comes home to Montana
By Emily Stifler In a training run at the 1979 Northern Division Championships downhill race at Bridger Bowl, Scot Schmidt crashed high on the course, flew into the fences, and was knocked unconscious. Covered in bruises, he wasn’t sure if he’d compete the next day.
well as a handful of other races in the Northern Division that season. Every weekend during high school, he traveled from Montana City, his hometown south of Helena, to train and race with the Bridger Bowl Ski Team near Bozeman.
But he rallied, and then he won.
After the last race, Schmidt was helping clean up the course, hauling gates off the hill, and his coach pulled him aside.
Race officials thought something was wrong with the timing—there was no way this skinny 18-year-old had beat all the NCAA racers. But the next day Schmidt did it again. And the following day, he won the Giant Slalom in his class. It was the winter before Schmidt’s high school graduation, and he’d already won the Hancock Cup downhill at Red Lodge, as
Photo by Travis Andersen
“You’ve got a shot at this. You’ve got something here,” the coach told Schmidt. “If I were you, I’d look into a bigger and better program.” That’s when Scot Schmidt decided to be a skier. For life.
Skiing was a family sport for the Schimdts. They started at Belmont, the small hill north of Helena now called Great Divide. Scot remembers trying to ride the rope tow with his father, and sometimes falling off in the rutted track. The area was scattered with old mine tailings, which the four kids used as jumps. “Mine Dumps” was one of Scot’s favorite runs. They loved it, and took a week’s vacation every year to Big Sky, Bridger Bowl and other spots around the state. In high school, Schmidt worked summers at a local ski shop called Sports Montana. The shop also sold skateboards. He picked up skateboarding, which taught him to pump curves and use terrain to accelerate. “I used that in the Northern Division Championships,” he said. “It had a lot to do with my success racing.” At 18, following his coach’s advice, Schmidt moved to Squaw Valley, California. and joined the ski team. He raced well, but quit the team after three years because he couldn’t afford it. That same year, in 1983, filmmaker Gary Nate was in Squaw filming for Warren Miller. Locals told a skeptical Nate about Schmidt, so the two went out to the K-22, a notoriously craggy part of the ski area. Schmidt, sporting 220 cm downhill skis, peered over a cliff as Nate’s camera rolled. “It was sheer rock with a few patches of snow,” Nate recalled. “It looked impossible.” He thought Schmidt would hit the couloir to the side. Instead, Schmidt linked up the snow patches, arced into the avalanche debris beneath the face, and never even bobbled. Later that week, Nate filmed Schmidt jumping 100-footers higher on the mountain. Sparks flew as he launched big, his edges nicking rocks. Nate couldn’t believe his eyes. He’d seen the best in the world, but never an equal to Scot Schmidt. Schmidt, who’d never even seen a Warren Miller film, didn’t think much of it. “I was just doing what I did every day, free skiing Squaw,” he said. That footage ended up in Warren Miller’s “Ski Time” and launched Schmidt’s film career, which spanned the next two decades and included Hollywood productions like “True Lies” and “Aspen Extreme,” and over 40 ski films by masters like Miller and Greg Stump.
Schmidt tearing into the Third Virtue at Bridger Bowl, 1990. Photo by Lonnie Ball
A 1989 appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” alongside wild-man skier Glen Plake marked what Stump calls “the launch of extreme in America... From that moment on, it was a word in pop culture.” Watch the mid-‘90s ski films “Blizzard of Aahhh’s” (1988) or “P-tex, Lies and Duct Tape” (1994), and Schmidt’s skiing is elegant and efficient, punctuated with explosive power bursts. This career took Schmidt from the Rockies to the Alps, across Europe and Alaska, to New Zealand and Siberia. It earned him sponsorships from K2, Salomon, Stockli, and The North Face, where in the early ‘80s, he became the first-ever endorsed free skiing athlete. In his 28 years with The North Face, Schmidt has been an expedition athlete, a poster boy, and is now a mentor for younger skiers. He was instrumental in developing the brand Steep Tech, and some at TNF even credit him with inventing the color yellow.
Schmidt’s professional ski career also brought him back to Montana, where he skied for the camera at Big Sky and in the backcountry north of Bridger Bowl. At Big Sky, he starred in Warren Miller’s 1992 film, “The Scot Schmidt Story.” Schmidt said the days were beautiful but cold. It was 20-below zero, and he had to keep his face covered. Regardless, he says, it was an easy spot to work and conditions were just right. The pre-tram footage is memorable: Schmidt launches into chutes weightless, hip checking to dump speed, driving hard downhill with his knees—absolutely ripping. He returned many times that decade, skiing in Miller and Stump shoots in the Northern Bridgers. There, longtime local Lonnie Ball worked as the guide and safety coordinator, and admired Schmidt’s skiing: “Scot was a very good planner of his descents. It was fun to watch how he studied a slope, and if it was technical, how he skied it.” On one of these trips, Ball says, Schmidt showed what kind of person he was: Their helicopter was hovering near a north-facing couloir called The Great One, and the crew was about to unload. Ball knew the slope was safe, so figured he’d stay in the chopper out of the way of the filming. Schmidt looked right at Ball. “If you don’t ski it, I’m not going to,” he said.
“Scot is humble and sweet...He’s not affected at all by his fame. He’s still Scot Schmidt, a normal Montana guy.” -Filmmaker Greg Stump Schmidt and Gary Nate filming for Warren Miller in the northern Bridgers, 1990. Photo by Lonnie Ball
“I was there to guide and point the way, but he wanted me to be part of the whole thing,” Ball said. “To Scot, it wasn’t just making a movie. It was more, ‘we’re friends, and we’re out here together.’” Schmidt gets along with everybody, according to Stump. “Scot is humble and sweet...He’s not affected at all by his fame. He’s still Scot Schmidt, a normal Montana guy.” Continued on p.58
Legend of AAhhh’s
Ski filmmaker Greg Stump talks island fever, procrastination, and hot girls
Greg Stump left an indelible mark on the ski industry. His films are cult classics, and some, like “Blizzard of Aahhh’s,” “Groove Requiem” and “Ptex, Lies and Duct Tape,” are worth watching many times over. A 15-year-old in a 51-year-old body, Stump can pull off lewd and classy in the same sentence. His long-awaited new film, “Legend of Aahhh’s,” is a look into the history of the ski film history. Told in Stump’s unique, quirky and insightful manner, it’s the story behind the story, according to ski legend Scot Schmidt. “If you like Greg Stump movies you’ll love this one,” Schmidt says. E.S.
Q+A Where did you learn to ski? I grew up in Gorham, Maine and learned to ski on the old railroad bed behind our house. Dad got us wooden Penguin skis and we slid down the slight hill of maybe 15 feet. The next summer, I piled up old rail ties to increase the vertical. The local Kiwanis Club ran a rope tow in Gorham with 150 feet of vertical and lights, where we skied at night. Tell me about your career in the ski industry.
since “Fistful of Moguls” in ‘99. It got too dangerous.
way to make a bluebird sunny day is to party hard the night before.
[When] I was with Craig Kelly and Scot Schmidt in Russia, we just escaped getting killed by avalanches two or three times. Then we had another close call at Island Lake Lodge in Canada. I heard Scot and Craig over the radio, scared. I’m not a church-going person, but at that point I made a pact with God, Allah and the Goddess. I said, ‘If you get these two guys off this ledge safely, I quit.’ And that was it.
Where do you live?
What’s up with your new film, “Legend of Aahhh’s?” It’s a historical look at the ski film industry from the ‘30s to the present, with a big emphasis on “Blizzard of Aahhh’s” and “License to Thrill”— kind of like “Dog Town and Z Boys” or “Riding Giants,” but for skiing. Originally I was going to call it “Snow White Trash” and make it more autobiographical. It’s still a thinly disguised memoir. It’s pretty weird making a movie about yourself. Is it a ski movie? There’s skiing in it, but it’s not ski porn. I think it’s intelligent and whimsical. It’s sexy. Funny when it’s supposed to be funny, sad when it’s supposed to be sad. I sold it to a distributor in Hollywood that does boutique edgy rock and roll type movies and have had clients like the Grateful Dead and Rush.
I was national freestyle champion in ‘78, and North American champ in ’79. Then I started skiing for Dick Barrymore. [Skiing] for him in “Vagabond Skiers” in 1979, I saw filmmaking could be a one-person show… that was it. I had the bug.
What was it like shooting with Schmidt in Chamonix?
I started making ski movies in 1983, but I haven’t made a feature film
We were running hot during “Blizzard of Aahhh’s.” The guaranteed
In Victor, Idaho. I lived in Whistler in the ‘90s then moved to Maui in 2000. I moved my studio there and went 13 months with no shoes. I commuted to Hollywood to direct crazy stuff like Super Bowl commercials. Eventually I got island fever, so I drove around the west looking for a place I could afford. It was either a 400 square foot apartment in Aspen for $400,000, or eight acres with Teton views and a crazy studio. What are you working on now? Procrastination. I’m working on a presentation on an infomercial I’m making with a scientist from the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail. It’s about Opedix Compression Tights, pants that look like long underwear but have built-in bio-mechanical wraps to simulate muscles in the leg and keep the knees aligned. They reduce quad fatigue by 40 percent. And of course [producing music videos] with Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. Do you consider yourself an artist? I didn’t until I was about 35. Then I went, ‘what the f*** am I?’ I said, ‘just relax, you’re an artist.’ I’m definitely on my game as far as editing. That’s my passion—working post-production. I love live [music] performance movies. I’m a decent writer, a pretty good narrator, and I can hold a camera.
Continued on p. 58
Do you still ski? I haven’t been skiing much. Working on the film the last three years was pretty heavy duty. And I hurt my knee about three years ago. I had Dr. Steadman do an ACL graft on my left knee last April. So perhaps this year… Besides, I lived in Whistler for a decade, and I could walk to the lift. Whistler is like the French Alps. No offense to Targhee or Jackson, but they’re kind of boring compared to Whistler. I can see Targhee from my house but it’s still 45 minutes away. I’d rather read a book or go cross-country skiing than drive to go skiing. Have you skied in Montana? I skied [and filmed] in the Bridgers in 1990, when we snow-catted in with Lonnie Ball. I’ve never skied Big Sky, but enjoyed the Yellowstone Club. Montana had a lot of nice people. I had a blast in Big Sky. What’s that bar called… the Blank Stare? When are you going to show “Legend” in Big Sky? [I’m working with this] major theatrical distribution company now, and it’s in their hands. It’s looking like a Christmas release. I’m sure they’ll do Big Sky, and if they don’t I’ll come up there myself. How’s your love life? I’m dating a drop-dead gorgeous 30-year-old. The cutest girl I’ve ever met. I’ve gone out with some beautiful women, and this one takes the cake. I met her in Hawaii, and we were friends for years. She doesn’t ski and doesn’t want kids. It’s fantastic. What’s with Baron Von Stumpy—is that a nickname? I’m self-anointed royalty. Shouldn’t everybody be? Maybe not… nobility would get so crowded.
Same style, same color. Schmidt at the Yellowstone Club. Photo by Travis Andersen
The living ski legend now splits his time between Santa Cruz, California, and Big Sky. This summer, Schmidt spent his 50th birthday in Montana, and he’ll be back when the lifts start turning in mid-December. It’s Schmidt’s ninth season working at the Yellowstone Club, and his third year living there all winter. In the past, he chased bookings all over the Rockies, and he’s now glad to be in one place all winter. “I’ve always loved Montana, and I’m glad to have an opportunity to ski full time here,” he said about working at the club. For this upcoming winter, he’s anticipating skiing 120-plus days. His work includes guiding guests, members and prospects, and “sniffing out the soft stuff.” “I had no idea what the [Yellowstone] Club was about before my first visits,” he said. He found interesting and diverse people and great skiing—a combination that keeps him coming back. Schmidt skis out the pearly gates and heads over to the big stuff next door at Big Sky and Moonlight whenever conditions allow. “To be able to ride the tram and ski down into Moonlight Basin… It’s Euro-style descents up there. You’re skiing big couloirs and faces; there’s a pretty good pucker factor.” Being in Montana, Schmidt sees his family more, especially his mother and older brother who still live and ski near Helena. He’s also able to get his three kids (two girls ages 20 and 17, and an 11-year-old son), out several times a season for some turns.
Full circle for a man who says he learned how to live through skiing. “Really, it’s been my life. I made a conscious choice at a young age that’s what I wanted to do, and I’m fortunate to still be doing it and loving it.” Stump’s 1994 film, “P-Tex, Lies & Duct Tape” featuring Scot Schmidt
Emily Stifler wore blue Steep Tech pants from 1996-2004.
R ar e
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O p p o r t u n i t y
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at Yellowstone Club
For more information on this property visit www.Chalet4.com chalet4.com | View Video Online
F E AT U R E S Incredible, Direct Ski-in/Ski-out Access 6,000+ Livable Square Feet 5 Bedrooms Turnkey Property with Base Area Location Steps from Warren Miller Lodge
TO BIG SKY TO MOONLIGHT BASIN
A place to be present
Timber Creek Ranch
The ranch hands say they know the land better than they know themselves. Theyâ€™ve laid the fencing and planted the trees, and have seen the children come of age here, teaching them the lessons of good, honest work.
THERE’S ALWAYS CONTINUITY AND STABILITY AT THE RANCH. OUR FAMILY LEARNED TO APPRECIATE OUR TIME TOGETHER HERE, AND ESPECIALLY EACH OTHER.
Meg and Charlie have lived and worked on Timber Creek Ranch for six years. They had a hand in raising the owners’ children, including the youngest, Finn. The owners, a family hailing from the east coast, come to the ranch about three times a year to escape the city and to enjoy the long summer days and cozy winter evenings, and, most of all, to be together. The stunning 557-acre property sits on the banks of the South Fork of the Shoshone River in the foothills of Wyoming’s Absaroka Mountains. Named for nearby Timber Creek, which flows past the main house and stables, the secluded spot blends into the valley’s vast beauty. The sense of place on Timber Creek Ranch provides those who are lucky enough to be there a setting in which to prosper, be grounded and be present.
It’s a quiet life on Timber Creek Ranch, which is a 30-minute drive from the classic western town of Cody, Wyoming, and about an hour from Yellowstone National Park. Buck, a local Cody legend, homesteaded the ranch in the early 1900s, and the property has been 62 Mountain
passed down through generations of families ever since. This was Annie, John, and their four childrens’ last summer on Timber Creek Ranch. When the aspen leaves began to change to sunlityellow and the mornings provided an abrupt chill, Finn’s three older siblings and father headed East. Finn stayed one week longer with his mother, Annie, working on the last of his rock collection and riding his horse, Sabre. Sometimes, as they loped along, Finn remembered the glory of winning blue ribbons with Sabre at that summer’s Park County Fair.
Finn often spoke of pack trips with Charlie up to Carter Mountain – a dominant peak boasting the largest mass in the Greater Yellowstone. He recalled mornings tracking animals on the riverbank, finding pronghorn, elk and smaller critters’ tracks, and ATV rides, splashing through mud puddles, laughing with his brothers and sister, and of course, fly fishing. Meant to be a year-round residence, lovers of winter activity thrive at Timber Creek. World-renowned ice climbing is just 20 minutes up the South Fork, and the delightful Sleeping Giant Ski Area is an hour away. Enjoyed by Finn’s family as a nature preserve, the property is also a hunter’s paradise, abundant with wildlife. The ranch has a classic Western landscape, with a variety of geologic features carved into its history. The family spent many days in town, exploring the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, and visiting the library and the town pool.
Sometimes, they’d stay for the nightly rodeo, which draws stars of the Western sport, especially pro bull riders, from around the world.
Annie lingered for a moment in front of the main house’s large bay window, looking out toward the river. “Seasons change with the passage of time”, she said. “We grow and learn along with them, but there’s always continuity and stability at the ranch. Our family learned to appreciate our time together here, and especially each other,” she reflected. Part of the family’s daily ritual is the seven-minute ATV ride to the mailbox. “The kids love it,” Annie said. It’s also a great three and a half mile run. The solitude, as well as the days unencumbered from pre-planned obligations, is why Annie, whose father passed the land down to her, decided to make Timber Creek Ranch her family’s escape. Annie and Finn had started the day at sunrise. They slipped into rubber boots and tromped through frozen grass to the barn. Charlie and Meg had arrived in the pre-dawn to begin the day’s work.
Charlie did an early survey of the property checking fences and irrigation pipe while Meg had brought the horses in from their night grazing in the pastures. As Annie and Finn helped with feeding, dust glowed in the morning light. The four met in the main house for a breakfast of black coffee and oatmeal, laughing as the sun rose in the sky. It was only 8 a.m. when they donned fishing vests, hopped on their ATVs and rode down to the river to spend the morning fishing. Wading in the cool water, Finn squealed as a fish hooked into his line. He reeled in and claimed his prize: a 16-inch rainbow trout. As the crisp, fall air warmed, they all enjoyed lunch at the ranch’s picnic area. Annie had packed vegetables from the garden behind the house, as well as hot dogs and iced tea. They sat in the shade of big cottonwoods, and the horses grazed in the surrounding pasture. Charlie kept the grass here freshly mown all summer and had recently lined the picnic area with a new fence. Annie played a tune on her harmonica, and a light breeze whisked the tree branches. While Finn roasted a hot dog over the campfire, they all excitedly planned the afternoon trail ride.
After lunch, while Charlie and Meg loaded the packs with supplies and saddled horses, Finn practiced barrel racing in the arena. Annie watched with admiration. Ready to go, they all set off up Timber Creek on horseback for the remainder of the afternoon. After an hour, they stopped atop a ridge at the edge of the property. Charlie had strategically set a picnic
table there, and they snacked on more garden fare.
from his hunting adventures around the world.
“Seeing for miles and miles makes me feel expansive inside,” Annie remarked.
Afterward, Finn headed to the craft room to stamp the ranch’s brand on a belt. The room, attached to the stable, is a favorite among kids and guests who love marking their belongings as souvenirs.
Indeed, the 360-degree views looked over rolling pastureland, classic Wyoming prairie and mountains. The ranch’s cattle grazed far below, framed by low brown hills and blue sky. They meandered back down to the banks of the Shoshone, riding through a drainage lined with sagebrush as high as their boots. As they returned to the stables, the horses that had been left behind nickered and snorted, anxious to hear about the afternoon adventures. Meg and Charlie took the saddles off the horses, brushed the sweat marks off, and picked the dirt from their feet. For dinner, Annie prepared a bison roast stew for all to share, and they gathered around the dining room table for their last evening meal of the season. Animal mounts hung above their heads—Annie’s father’s prizes
They spent the evening around the poker table, playing seven-card stud. The sounds of crickets, owls and coyotes floated in through the window.
“The intentions are good here,” Annie said as she stocked her fishing vest for another morning on the river. A scattering of rocks and minerals sat behind her on a shelf—artifacts from the many years her children spent exploring the land. Among them were heart shaped-rocks Annie picked up herself.
“It’s meaningful,” she said. “Love abounds here. Heart shapes are everywhere on the ranch. All you have to do is look.”
fun. Annie and John enjoyed raising their children within the peace and privacy of the ranch. With the long driveway off the South Fork Road, the property is set apart from road noise, but close enough to take a bike to town.
The principles on Timber Creek Ranch are like a human’s relationship with a horse: Where you look is where you’re headed. Patience is important, as is a respect for the people, land and animals—understanding and caring for them, as well as being firm, consistent and confident.
“You can have it all at Timber Creek Ranch,” Annie said, “yet if you want even more, you can head up to Yellowstone National Park. We see the same wildlife here at the ranch, but without the crowd. This is where I prefer to be.”
“It’s a metaphor for life, the effort, and the energy that happens here.” But time on the Ranch is also about learning life’s lessons while having
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Mammoth Hot Springs
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Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Gibbon River
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For more information, including fly fishing and horseback riding videos from Timber Creek Ranch, please visit tcr-cody.com.
You can experience the West using Cody as a springboard, she added.
Timber Creek Ranch is a resting place and a retreat: a place to be present in the solitude of the moment, and to create meaningful memories with family. -Abbie Digel
Fountain Paint Pots
Great Fountain Geyser
xim pro Ap
Fir eh ole
Buffalo Lake Patrol Cabin
ate Ca lde ra
timber creek ranch
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ARTIST PROFILE Daniel San Souci was born in San Francisco and grew up across the bay in Berkeley, California. In 1978 Doubleday Publishers offered him a contract to do the ar t for a book titled “The Legend of Scarface: A Blackfeet Indian Tale.” This first book did well and won awards, including the “New York Times Best Illustrated Book.” This star ted a thir ty year career in book illustration. His work is in many private collections, including Arnold Schwar tzenegger and Maria Shriver, all-time winningest Jockey Russell Baze, and renowned horse trainer Jerr y Hollendorfer. Daniel San Souci “Mustang Flats” 30” x 40”
BIG SKY TOWN CENTER 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM TUESDAY THRU SATURDAY BY APPOINTMENT SUNDAY AND MONDAY
C R E I G H TO N B L O C K G A L L E RY. C O M
Red Mountain from the air photo by Derek Frankowski
Striking white gold
in the West
British Columbia residents find harmony with Rossland, Nelson and Revelstoke By Jennifer Rebbetoy
Shredding the deep powder and snowy peaks of the Monashee and Selkirk mountains is winter bliss. These two ranges complete half of the subranges that make up the Columbia Mountains, a ski and snowboard destination beautiful enough to make any shredder’s cheeks hurt and eyes glaze over. Locals say the mountains in Western Canada resemble the Alps. The first to find solace here were the Sinixt and Ktunaxa First Nations peoples. These indigenous tribes lived between the valleys, mountainsides and rivers. Moving from one location to another with changing seasons, they connected to the energetic flow that operates in these mountains. By the mid-1800s, mining for silver, gold and iron ore enticed European settlers deep into British 66 Mountain
Columbia. The late 1880s was a dark time of scheming, double crossing and murder; these crooks stampeded in the direction of new stakes, hoping to get rich quick. Today, adventurous residents of Rossland, Nelson and Revelstoke, British Columbia feel a similar urgency to reach the tops of the mountains, but now in a more amicable manner. However, it’s still a race: Making the first turns in fresh Kootenay powder is white gold. Each town has its own character. Rossland has a vibrancy of youth. In Nelson, healthy competition is guaranteed. Revelstoke is known for its experimental edge. The West Kootenays have been Canada’s best-kept secret for over 30 years. Now is the time to share and shred the western Canadian gnar.
cool options in British columbia Cat skiing
Baldface Lodge – A backcountry lodge with snow cat skiing and boarding, insanely good powder and certified guides baldface.net
Ice Creek Lodge – A remote and spectacular backcountry ski touring hut accessed by helicopter. Certified guides available. icecreeklodge.com
Red Mountain Resort – One of B.C.’s legendary resorts, known for its kickass terrain and loads of powder redmountainresort.com
Helicopter skiing and snowboarding
Eagle Pass Heli – Epic helicopter skiing on some of the wildest terrain on earth with certified guides eaglepassheliskiing.com
Skiing in this corner of Canada originated in Rossland, a town of 3,500 in the heart of the Monashee Mountains. During the 1890s, Rossland was a booming mining town. Along with a thirst for wealth, Norwegian immigrants brought their knowledge of skiing to this area. In 1897, Olaus Jeldness organized the first ski race on Red Mountain. Rudimentary ski technology meant the winner relied on a combination of skill, strength and luck. The races had two rules:
Shralping pow at Red Mountain
Over the decades, Rosslandâ€™s interest in skiing waxed and waned, declining especially during the World Wars. In the new millennium however, skiing and snowboarding have surged in popularity.
1. Go straight down no matter what.
short ski back downtown, and possibly to your doorstep. In winter, the snowplows help build jumps downtown. The winter carnival hosts a rail park competition in the middle of main street. (Police rarely bother the youth for sending it in town.) Snowboard shop parties rage harder than the bars. Volunteers built a chairlift with old mining tram equipment and on-site timber in 1947. It was the first in Western Canada.
2. The first person to ski through the finish line was the winner. The races subverted tension between neighbors in the Ski Jumping, 1903 small community during a competitive gold rush. Greedy, pick-swinging mining up the mountain in one season was balanced by wide-eyed schusses down the mountain in another season, both ambitious and desperate.
Photo by Francois Marseille
Photo courtesy of rosslandmuseum.ca
Perhaps the ultimate ski town, modern-day Rossland was built by skiers, for skiers. Red Mountain Resort, the local ski hill, is a fourminute drive from downtown and a
Today, the resort is known for its high altitude and steep tree runs. Home to pro skiers Dane Tudor and Mike Hopkins, Red has been a longtime tour stop for big mountain ski competitions held on nearby Mt. Roberts. Secret runs and backcountry touring keep the kids thrashing hard and everyone on their toes. Continued on p. 70
rider: nate bosshard
photo by ryan flett
Baldface Lodge and Ice Creek Lodge nelson
Nelson, a town of 10,000, sits at the edge of Kootenay Lake, nestled in the Selkirk Mountains.
and ride; their run is only as good as the distance they hike. It’s a different kind of riding, because it’s totally self-directed.
Mineral extraction in Nelson began in 1882, when Robert Sproule made the first stake in the area. His infamous quarrels with Thomas Hammill set the tone for disputes over future mining claims.
The first recorded ski meet in Nelson was in 1921. By 1934, a ski lodge in the north end of town offered a rope tow driven by the rear axle of a Model T Ford. During the winter of 1956-1957, Silver King Ski Hill opened near the old Silver King Mine and soon acquired two homemade t-bars.
Toad Mountain, north from downtown, was a battlefield during those early mining days. Placer mining was common and drew many to claim their own “poor man’s mine.” Placer mines required no startup capital— just the pick in your hand, light on your head, and clothes on your back. The gold, silver and iron ore extracted were as good as cash, and a placer miner was his own boss. The essentials of placer mining resonate with the ski scene in Nelson today. Access to backcountry touring near town is easy, making it a popular past time. Riders there experience a freedom that resorts cannot offer. They invest only in what they wear
An eager anticipation to get up the hill and strong sense of community has never left Nelson. This town is dedicated to ski culture. A short walk from downtown, skiers hitchhike to nearby Whitewater Resort, the local ski hill known for deep powder, epic tree runs, expansive terrain and backcountry access. As a community, Nelson has an inspiring atmosphere, with a bubbling creativity that directly transfers to winter sports. With the advent of GoPro and affordable video tech-
An eager anticipation to get up the hill and strong sense of community has never left Nelson. This town is dedicated to ski culture.
Photos courtesy of baldface lodge
Photo by Daniel Bullock
nology, many are documenting their backcountry experiences. Similarly inspired, the snowboard film production company Absinthe Films included striking footage from the Kootenays in “Twel2ve,” its newest release. The forthcoming independent film “Rest in Powder” shows local skiers and snowboarders shredding their favorite zones Skiers and snowboarders in Nelson tend to ride well into their 60s, 70s and 80s. They often get first chair on powder days, because they weren’t out doing shooters and dancing on the bar the night before. In the mid 20th century, the town grew as a hub for businesses, government offices and culture. The 80s saw a boom in the forestry industry. Now orchards, organic farms and tourism keep it afloat. In winter, tourists come from across the world to visit the remote lodges and huts unique to Canada.
Jeff and Paula Pensiero chose Nelson as the base for their cat-skiing operation, Baldface Lodge, because of its consistent snowfall and killer terrain. With a 32,000-acre tenure, Baldface is one of the world’s largest cat operations.
Guests, too, return year after year, addicted to the soft Kootenay snow and warm hospitality. This summer, the Pensieros remodeled the beautiful timber-framed main lodge, improving guest accommodations for the 2011/12 season.
In its 12 years, the lodge has been a place for guests to discover what Jeff calls “the infinite wisdom of the backcountry.”
Nearby, Ice Creek Lodge offers guests another way of experiencing Kootenay bliss, through backcountry touring. Set up against the spectacular Valhalla Provincial Park at 6,100 feet, Ice Creek is 60 km from Nelson.
Six days is the longest Baldface went without a fresh snowfall last winter, says Mark Marhuis, who’s been guiding there for almost 10 years. The area receives over 500 inches of snowfall annually. Marhuis isn’t the only employee who’s been at Baldface since the beginning. The staff there are tight-knit. They’re simultaneously welcoming and professional, and known for winding it up with guests in the evening.
While best access to Ice Creek is via helicopter, guests are on their own two feet once they arrive. The area’s diverse terrain starts right outside the front door. Most unique, perhaps, is the opportunity to shred through the towering granite walls of the Devils Range.
revelstoke Photo courtesy of Eagle Pass Heliskiing
Eagle Pass Heliskiing
A 19th century Canadian Pacific Railway feeder line built in the late 1800s was the first link between Nelson and Revelstoke. Thousands of Chinese immigrant workers labored on the line, and the last spike was driven in 1885, in Revelstoke. The town sits between the Monashee and Selkirk mountain ranges, and now has a population of about 7,200. During the 1920s, Swiss climbers found a piece of home on nearby Roger’s Pass. For jumping competitions in 1939, local ski clubs built what would now be considered Olympic size jumps that lasted for decades. A quiet town, with the main access involving a 49 km ferry ride, Revelstoke’s geographic isolation earned it the nickname Revelstuck. More recently, it’s also been called Revelbloke, for the number of men who live there. This recreational mecca tempts men— and women—from all over the world to uproot and move here, a pull comparable to the gold rush. The difference is that now people take away unforgettable memories, rather than physical chunks of the mountain. Many are drawn to the expansive backcountry terrain nearby, and now to the growing Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which opened in 2007 and has grown to 500,000 acres. Set against massive relief and in an often harsh climate, Revelstoke has had 72 Mountain
a progressive ski culture since being host to those early jumping competitions. Thanks to knowledge cultivated by Swiss mountaineers in mid-20th century, the area is now a center for avalanche training and safety.
makeover in 2010, creating an exciting skiing and snowboarding experience.
In 2010, Revelstoke local Greg Hill toured two million human powered vertical feet in one calendar year, setting a record that will be hard to beat. Today, the most progressive of snow travel like split boards, noboards and snow-
“I learned snowboarders like to be guided by snowboarders,” said Newsome, who was the first ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) assistant guide to execute his exam all on a split board.
Fifty percent of the ownership are now snowboarders, something new in the industry.
Eagle Pass guides, all of whom are certified through either the ACMG or the Canadian Ski Guide Association, represent a new generation of ski and snowboard guides with big mountain backgrounds, Newsome says.
Revelstoke Ski Club, 1920s
Courtesy of City Museum in Revelstoke
mobile expeditions aren’t uncommon. Kids growing up in Revy often have to go backcountry skiing with their parents. It’s one of those things families do together, like camping on summer vacation. Nearby, at Eagle Pass Heli Resort, longtime local Scott Newsome recently turned an existing gem into a newfound treasure. Newsome, together with Matt Pinto, Michael Wood and Craig Borgland bought the heli-ski resort a
“We understand the type of terrain and specific natural features that the new generation [of skiers and snowboarders] would expect of their heli experience.” Eagle Pass is a great example of the positive growth happening in B.C. mountain towns like Rossland, Nelson and Revelstoke. Their transformation over the last century has been nearly supernatural—from mining towns based on greed and extraction, to international ski and snowboard destinations with rich mountain cultures. And with Kootenay white gold every bit as valuable as gold and silver, locals now wend through the mountains in search of the world’s finest powder snow.
270,000 ACRES incredible terrain and variety
AMAZING LODGING three exceptional properties
SMALL GROUPS create the ultimate experience intimate, exclusive, flexible
L U X U R Y H E L I S K I & S PA VA C AT I O N S I N T H E HEART OF BRITISH COLUMBIA WILDERNESS
Portrait of a traditional dancer by Allen Russell
Mountain w w w. E a g l e P a s s H e l i s k i i n g . c o m explorebigsky.com 1 8 7 7 W AY D E E P
Patagonia Warren Adams is an ideas man and a self-described nature lover. The 45-year-old Harvard MBA created the first-ever social networking site, PlanetAll, in 1996. It sold to Amazon.com two years later, and he stayed with Amazon for two years as a director of product development. Then in 2000, Adams and his wife Megan—also a Harvard MBA—spent a year traveling the world. They visited Alaska, the Galapagos, the Himalaya, India, New Zealand and Patagonia. “Patagonia stood out among all those beautiful places for both of us, for its grandeur, the gaucho culture and the biodiversity,” Adams said. The sweeping panoramas and unspoiled ecosystems of southern Chile captured them. 74 Mountain
Over three months, they backpacked, visited national parks, stayed at the high-end eco-tourism lodge, Explora, and took a boat to Antarctica. Although land was cheap, and they loved the idea of having a permanent connection to Patagonia, it wasn’t that simple, Adams says. “It takes time to find the right property, to fully understand the complex issues around title rights and man-made risks such as mining and hydroelectric dams… and then from a distance to manage a property for either construction or protection. It was daunting.” They returned home to Martha’s Vineyard, built a house and started a family. Adams spent six years as an angel investor, commuting between Martha’s Vineyard, New York and Boston.
Photo by alex verhave
For-profit group may change the face of land conservation
But he couldn’t get Patagonia out of his head. “I knew that such an amazing and beautiful place needed protection from inevitable development. But also, I thought it needed a sustainable economic engine.” In 2006, he decided to do something about it. His goal: bring together Chileans and foreigners to pool capital, conserve Patagonian landscapes, and make a profit through sustainable development. Adams founded Patagonia Sur a year later, with American Steve Reifenberg, and Chileans Felipe Valdés Arrieta and Arístides Benavente Aninat as partners. The business model, Adams says, “starts with the assumption that we’re going to protect the land. Then it
By Emily Stifler
asks, ‘what environmentally-friendly things can we do with it to create competitive returns for investors?” Patagonia Sur now owns 60,000 acres on six remote properties across Chilean Patagonia, and plans to grow to 100,000 acres. The company has raised two-thirds of a $30 million investment goal, 30 percent of which came from Chile. It also operates a thriving eco-tourism business through a membership club. Out of the 100 memberships, 53 have been sold. They’ve already planted thousands of native trees on deforested landscapes and then generated income by selling carbon offsets. Several universities and corporations have signed major carbon offset contracts.
Photo by alex verhave
Photo by alex verhave
A new framework for conservation Warren Adams with his daughter overlooking a Patagonia Sur property
Adams’s vision could add an entirely new financing engine to conservation worldwide.
Photo by Megan Weeks Adams
“Conservation is not an add-on or auxiliary focus of the business. It is what drives Patagonia Sur,” said Brian Ladd, Director of Business Development. To make a return for investors, the company has several business sub-models: ecologically-appropriate limited development, a membership-based eco-tourism club, real estate brokerage, eco-consulting services, carbon sequestration and selling carbon offsets, and ecologically-friendly aquaculture, agriculture and forestry. “Patagonia Sur is proving that conservation is profitable,” Ladd said.
“Conservation is not an add-on or auxiliary focus of the business. It is what drives Patagonia Sur”
Photo by chris laursen
It’s what sets them apart from the handful of other foreign investors and nonprofits that have also bought and protected large tracts of land in Chilean Patagonia, including Ted Turner, Goldman-Sachs, the Benetton Group, British financier Joseph Lewis, and Conservación Patagonica. By working with other major landowners to expand the new concept, Adams thinks it could impact the entire region and add traction to conservation efforts. Patagonia Sur has built positive relationships with federal and regional governments, as well as with local municipalities and schools. The majority of the team is Chilean, and the sustainable land uses on the properties generate new employment opportunities for local communities. These communities also benefit from The Patagonia Sur Foundation, which sponsors English language and conservation education programs in the towns near its properties, and supports various micro-enterprises such as a weavers’ cooperative and organic vegetable farmers.
Conservation easements In January 2011, Patagonia Sur brought on a new partner, Henry Tepper, as the company’s Chief Conservation Officer. Tepper spent the last two decades working in private land conservation in the U.S., mostly for nonprofits like The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. He’s implementing Patagonia Sur’s ambitious plans to permanently protect the company’s land holdings, while pursuing profitable sustainable land uses, a conservation framework called Productive Protected Lands. In Chile, Tepper says, there’s growing interest among landowners, nonprofit organizations and government agencies in voluntary strategies and tools for conserving private land. “In some ways, the climate for conservation in Chile [is similar] to the conditions in the U.S. 40 years ago,” he said. That’s when the private land conservation, or “land trust” movement was launched, making it easier for private landowners to protect their properties. Conservation easements are one of the most powerful tools for private land conservation in the U.S. and Canada, and Patagonia Sur and its partners are working hard to adapt easements to Chilean law.
with private sector leadership in Chile, he and Patagonia Sur are supporting conservation easement legislation currently being considered in the Chilean Congress called the Derecho Real de Conservacion—literally, ‘a real conservation law’. Using existing Chilean law, it’s already possible to create a form of conservation easement. Called servidumbres ecológicas, these agreements are modeled closely on their U.S. counterparts, but carefully adapted to conform to existing Chilean law. “We’re moving simultaneously to protect our land with the servidumbre ecológica agreement, and we’re supporting the passage of the Derecho Real de Conservacion, which will make using conservation easements even easier,” Tepper said. Patagonia Sur is moving to place servidumbres ecológicas on their properties, starting with the 8,000-acre Valle California. The agreement will ensure its permanent conservation, while accommodating a variety of income producing sustainable land uses, including a limited number of private residences.
In the U.S., conservation easements are voluntary agreements that allow a landowner to protect property by donating development rights to a qualified nonprofit or government agency. They’re popular because they enable the landowner to maintain ownership, they’re tax deductable, and they allow a range of sustainable land uses. They’ve resulted in tens of millions of protected acres. The creation of a Chilean conservation easement would be a breakthrough for protecting land, Tepper says. Working Photo by chris laursen
77 Mountain Photo by megan weeks adams
Return on investment
To evaluate each property, Patagonia Sur uses a sustainable land use matrix, which means looking at an ecosystem with an eye for input costs and for sustainable uses that would generate income. “If we’re going to spend $3 million to acquire an ecosystem, we want to know we’re making a competitive rate of return for our investors before we buy it,” Adams said.
Why it matters now
of capital for the initial fund
Adams and his family spend between three and six months a year in Chile, and they love the safe, calm nature of Patagonia.
already in hand
He compares it to the American West. “If you like Montana and Colorado, you’ll love Patagonia. Imagine those places 200 years ago.”
trees last year plan to plant
Plus, the country has significant amounts of privately owned land and the highest standard of living in Latin America. Its expanding economy has a big surplus and no debts.
trees in 2012
of the Sold family memberships
So conservation is possible. And it matters right now.
Selling a limited number of properties ranging from
“Development is happening. Roads are going in, industries are growing,” Adams said. “If we don’t get ahead of that and protect these ecosystems, they’ll quickly be fragmented.” That, he says, would be forever irreversible, in terms
$300,000 to $3 million
Now Patagonia Sur has to make sure they execute and deliver. Adams is optimistic: “The beauty of this model is if we can do it right in Patagonia with the first $30 million, we can attract vast sums of capitol to expand this business model in Chile and elsewhere in the world.” Investors should initially make around 9 percent annually from ecotourism, carbon credits, and limited real estate sales. Once the other sub-businesses are up and running, that return could double.
“Development is happening. Roads are going in, industries are growing, if we don’t get ahead of that and protect these ecosystems, they’ll quickly be fragmented.” of building a coordinated approach to development. And Chile is listening. Its economy is built on timber, mining, agriculture and fisheries. Exports are key to grow those industries. But if it Chile wants to export to the U.S. and the European Union with stricter sustainability regulations, it will have to keep up. This is a turning point for Chile, Tepper says, and other Latin American countries are watching.
Carbon offset program Patagonia Sur is working with several universities and corporations including Colgate, Harvard Business School and Land Rover, selling carbon offsets. “As a conservation person, it’s really exciting,” Tepper said about the program. “Patagonia 78 Mountain
was largely burnt to the ground by settlers 100 years ago [to create pastures for farming], and much of it is still a deforested landscape. We’re creating landscape scale reforestation and new Patagonian forest, then selling the offsets into the voluntary carbon market.”
Selling the offsets in voluntary market space means companies, universities and individuals are purchasing them because they think it’s the right thing to do, or it’s good for their business—not because they’re required.
Photo by alex verhave
Valle California The company is showcasing its new Productive Protected Lands (conservation and sustainable land management) framework at Valle California, an 8,000acre property in the Palena region of southern Chile. There, mountains rise above a broad valley, and the El Tigre River flows freely, fed by alpine lakes. The property and its surrounding mountains are home to diverse flora and fauna including the endangered huemul deer, puma, Magellanic woodpeckers, and the largest flying bird on earth, the Andean condor. The 122,000-acre Lago Palena National Reserve is nearby. This spectacular, pristine and accessible landscape represents a key moment for Patagonia Sur. In 2012, they’ll begin selling properties on 7 percent of Valle California, limiting development to 25 houses. This will allow private residences and eco-tourism facilities and amenities, and owners will have use of the surrounding permanently protected Conservation Area. The property currently has six luxury yurts as
eco-tourism accommodations, fine dining, and guided horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing and whitewater rafting. All of Valle California’s 8,000 acres are governed by a servidumbre ecólogica legal agreement, which requires permanent conservation and sustainable land uses throughout. To ensure objectivity, permanency and transparency, this agreement will be managed by one of Chile’s first independent, nonprofit land trust organizations.
How you can get involved Adams believes there is inherent value in undisturbed places. He hopes his company and their properties will engage and inspire others in that same sentiment, and ultimately they’ll become part of it as an investor, a member or a landowner. Patagonia Sur has realized the dream of maintaining a connection to the wild country in southern Chile through land ownership. And visitors are welcome. “The invitation is open,” Adams says. patagoniasur.com Photo by alex verhave
alternative Buenos Aires Argentina chile
Chileans are gaining an understanding of the importance of conservation, Adams says. The government owns 80 percent of the land in Chilean Patagonia, and federal agencies have recently looked to Patagonia Sur to help with land planning and sustainable, productive use.
Los Leones Valley Jeinimeni Tortel patagonia
The company has also consulted other conservation groups and private landowners, and is part of a bipartisan effort to make private land conservation more achievable through federal law.
Patagonia sur properties
“Like any start-up, it has ups and downs and roller coasters,” Adams says, “but most days I wake up and say, ‘this is incredible.’” Adams is passionate about his work, and is proud to involve his family in conservation. He likes working with people from Chile and around the world to create something new. The final test will be their economic success. Adams says he expects 2012 to be the first year of significant revenue with strong growth thereafter. He draws an analogy to starting online social networking in 1996. “Everyone looked at me like, ‘What? You’re going to get everyone in the world to be part of a database and be in touch and share info?’ And we did it. This is similar in that [we’re] proving there’s a viable concept that will then hopefully become commonplace.” When Adams left a meeting one afternoon last year in Santiago, Chile, his 7-year-old daughter was waiting for him in his office. She handed him a drawing of the city. It showed cars, smog, the sun and someone planting a tree. Looking out the office window, she’d counted all the cars that went by that hour, and guessed how many trees they should plant to offset the carbon dioxide they were releasing. “The sun had a tear falling from one eye where the city was, and a smile where the tree was being planted,” Adams recalls. Then she asked how much money it would cost to plant those trees, and how much of that she would keep.
“That showed me the importance of teaching conservation to kids and also the business side in its most bare form,” Adams said. “It is OK to make money by protecting this beautiful place.”
For more information about visiting or investing in Patagonia Sur, please contact Brian Ladd at email@example.com.
Photo by alex verhave
CHINESE MEDICAL PRACTICE Acupuncture • Herbal Medicine
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By Eric Anderson, M.D.
Last summer, while I was visiting a friend in Colorado, I had a conversation with his mother Cheryl that changed the way she looked at sports nutrition. A very active recreational athlete in her 50s, Cheryl struggles with excessive thirst and fatigue, despite regular consumption of water and calories during activity. She also gets muscle cramps on hot days while riding her bike. When Cheryl showed me a basket in her pantry containing electrolyte tablets, carbohydrate and protein bars, powders and gels, I realized her sports nutrition issues weren’t related to a lack of sports nutrition products. Rather, they were due to a relative imbalance of salt, sugar and water during endurance activities greater than an hour. Before going for a hike that day, Cheryl and I talked details and designed a new plan for her sports nutrition. For carbohydrate replacement during workouts, Cheryl prefers using energy bars instead of sports drinks or gels. Using the product’s nutrition label, we calculated how much she would have to consume to ingest the necessary amount of carbohydrates (30–60 mg) per hour. For electrolyte replacement, she likes to add tablets to her two-liter hydration backpack. I recommended she use three tablets, equating to about 1000 mg of sodium, and drink at least .5 liters per hour. She also had some additional sodium in her carbohydrate source. 82 Mountain
[ The Math ] Specifically, the product Cheryl uses has about 30 grams of carbohydrate per serving and there are two servings per package, according to the nutrition label. Dr. Anderson recommended she consume about one package per hour, since it would be her only carbohydrate source during her workout. Alternatively, she could have chosen to use a sports drink, such as Gatorade, which has 14 grams of carbohydrate per eight ounces. If she were consuming 16 ounces per hour of Gatorade, she only would have to consume half of a package of her product per hour to maximize her carbohydrate intake.
When doing an endurance activity greater than an hour, consider the basic concepts of salt, sugar and water to optimize performance and minimize the risk of dehydration or hyponatremia Photo by Betsy Weber (CC)
[ Exercise physiology basics ] Exercise requires metabolic energy and produces heat as a byproduct. This increases a body’s surface and core temperatures and must be dissipated to prevent adverse effects on exercise performance and health. Sweat evaporation is the primary mode of heat loss during vigorous activity, especially in hot weather. Sweat rates vary between different people, even under the same environmental and exercise conditions: An individual’s body weight, genetic predisposition, heat acclimatization state and metabolic efficiency all affect his or her tendency to sweat. Sweat rates also vary between sports, from .37 liters per hour for swimming up to 2.6 liters per hour for tennis players. For cyclists and runners, average sweat loss is about .8 and 1 liter per hour, respectively. These values can double in a hot environment. Sweat contains both water and electrolytes. The electrolyte components of sweat include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium, with sodium and chloride in higher concentrations than the others. Sodium chloride, or salt, is partially reabsorbed by sweat glands; however, the body’s capacity to reabsorb salt doesn’t increase as the sweat rate increases. Dehydration is caused when sweat, water and electrolytes are not replaced during exercise.
On our 10-mile hike, we climbed to 10,000 feet, and the temps reached the high 80s. Cheryl reported results already: She had improved energy, decreased thirst, and no problems with cramping compared to previous endurance activities during the summer. When doing an endurance activity greater than an hour, consider the basic concepts of salt, sugar and water to optimize performance and minimize the risk of dehydration or hyponatremia (see sidebar). Be fastidious about reading the nutrition labels of all of your sports nutrition products to determine if they will fit into your overall sports nutrition/hydration plan. Also, estimating your sweat losses by taking pre- and post-exercise body weights for each endurance activity in different climates will help you gain an understating of your physiology and personalize a fluid replacement plan. Since fluid losses vary tremendously between individuals, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends each person should approximate his or her fluid replacement requirements by comparing post-exercise weights to pre-exercise weights and estimating fluid losses during the activity. Use nude weight to avoid determining the sweat weight trapped in clothing. Dr. Eric Anderson works in sports medicine at the Rockwood Clinic in Spokane, Washington.
[ SALT ] Sodium is involved in a variety of metabolic processes in the human body. The human body is not capable of losing salt without also losing water. Because of this, sodium is the main electrolyte responsible for maintaining the body’s fluid balance. Sodium loss during exercise is highly variable, ranging from 460–1840 mg/liter of sweat hourly. Athletes in certain sports can sustain sweat losses of more than two liters per hour, which causes them to lose over 1000 mg of sodium. The resulting dehydration can lead to impaired exercise performance, increased risk of heat illness such as heat stroke, and increased susceptibility to cramping. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that during sustained activities lasting more than an hour, individuals should consume 500–700 mg of sodium for every liter of fluid. These numbers vary, but generally, the more sustained the exercise and the hotter the environment, the more salt you need to intake. If you’re prone to cramping, more sodium will help.
When I compete in a cycling road race lasting longer than three hours on a hot day, my goal is to consume around 1000 mg of salt per hour. To do this, I combine a sports drink like Gatorade endurance, which has 170 mg of sodium per eight ounces (680 mg per 32 ounces) with a gel containing carbohydrates and electrolytes, such as power gel or GU. I usually use power gels since they contain about 200 mg of sodium per package. If I consume 32 ounces of fluid and one gel each hour, I’ll therefore be consuming about 880 mg of salt per hour. A less common but more serious problem is exerciseassociated hyponatremia (low blood plasma concentration of sodium). This is mostly seen in recreational marathon runners who consume copious amounts of low sodium fluids during sustained exercise. When a person’s fluid consumption far exceeds his or her sweat loss, the result is a low plasma sodium concentration that can increase the risk for brain swelling, seizures, coma and death.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that during sustained activities lasting more than an hour, individuals should consume 500–700 mg of sodium for every liter of fluid.
[ Sugar ] During exercise, the body’s main source of fuel is a stored form of glucose (sugar) found in skeletal muscle and the liver, called glycogen. The human body has enough glycogen to sustain exercise at a moderate intensity for about two hours. Research has shown that consuming rapidly absorbable carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose and maltodextrins significantly improves performance during exercise lasting longer than 45 minutes. Most glucose comes in the form of carbohydrates. Consumed with fluids, carbs improve performance to a greater degree than consumed alone. However, the human body has a capacity limit for absorbing carbohydrates during sustained exercise, and excessive intake can lead to gastrointestinal issues like stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea. Consuming 30–60 grams of a rapidly absorbable carbohydrate during each hour of exercise should optimize performance and minimize the potential for gastrointestinal side effects. And because the form of the carbohydrate (solid or liquid) doesn’t affect exercise performance, an athlete can have the same benefit from consuming a gel pack and water as from a sports drink.
Reference: Sawka, Michael N., et al. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand on Exercise and Fluid Replacement. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 39:377-390, 2007. 84 Mountain
[ Water ]
Water accounts for 45–75 percent of a human’s total body mass. A 150-pound person has about 42 liters of total body water (TBW), which equals about 92 pounds of body weight. Dehydration of greater than 2 percent of TBW will lead to decreased aerobic exercise performance and cognitive and mental performance in temperate and hot environments. This would equate to water loss of about .8 liters in a 150-pound person.
150 lbs.-145 lbs. = 5 lbs. of weight loss during exercise
1 liter of water=
5 lbs. / 2.2 lbs. per liter = 2.3 liters of water during exercise This calculation shows approximate sweat losses during exercise, but doesn’t take into account respiratory water losses and carbon exchange. Post-exercise weight:
For fluid replacement during prolonged endurance activities, the average athlete should drink .4–.8 liters per hour, with higher rates for warmer environments and lower rates for cooler environments.
BODY AND SOUL
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ge a r e h t l l skis are a
ana t n o M t s e w h t iing in Sou
Southwest Montana is a nordic skier’s heaven. Winters start in November and stretch well through May, and snow conditions are consistent and perfect. The region draws Olympic-level athletes, quiet souls seeking solitude in snow-covered woods, and everyone between. Cross-country skiing is a relaxing break from the busier downhill ski areas and a great way to relieve stress from a hectic workday. The sport is growing quickly, with people seeking ways to recreate and stay in shape during the winter. Yellowstone country’s backcountry trails allow intrepid wanderers to lay their own tracks and forget the troubles of the world. The miles of professionally groomed trails draw runners and bikers with the aerobic challenge of skate skiing. Kids are drawn to the buzz too, pulling tricks on nordic terrain parks. Whether you’re a first timer or an expert looking for new terrain, here are a few of Southwest Montana’s best spots to travel on skinny skis:
1 Lone Mountain Ranch Lone Mountain Ranch is in the heart of Big Sky country. It boasts one of the most extensive trail systems, and 2,200 vertical feet of skiing. Advanced skiers will love the uphill challenges that end with beautiful views, and beginners can test their skills on the golf course loops. LMR also grooms more than 15 kilometers of dog-friendly trails for those who like to strike out with their canine companions. Location: Big Sky Kilometers of trails: 100 Grooming: skate and classic Trail to try: Summit Loop (difficult) Information: LMR Nordic Center (406) 995-4734
By Katie Sm
Homestake Pass Chief Josesph Pass
Cliff and Wade 6
1 Lone Mountain Ranch
2 Rendezvous Ski Trails The West Yellowstone Rendezvous trails are a favorite for high altitude training, and for their beautiful rolling terrain minutes from Yellowstone National Park. The trails are on Forest Service land and have some of the most fun and exciting ski races such as the Spam Cup and the Equinox Ski Challenge. Location: West Yellowstone Kilometers of trails: over 35 Grooming: skate and classic Trail to try: DejaView (easy) Information: Freeheel and Wheel (406) 646-7744
3 Mill Creek Ski Trails Paradise Valley earned its name for a good reason. Surrounded by the towering Absaroka Mountains, and situated beneath Arrow Peak, the Mill Creek trails weave in and out of dense woodland and open meadows. Perfect for those seeking a wilderness adventure and beautiful views. Location: Livingston Kilometers of trails: about 16 Grooming: snowmobile/backcountry Trail to try: Snowbank Ski Trail (moderate) Information: Timber Trails (406) 222-9550
4 Hyalite Canyon Hyalite Canyon, 20 minutes south of Bozeman, has some of the best groomed wilderness skiing in the area. Narrow trails wind along old logging roads and hiking trails, through thick forests, and around Hyalite Lake. A few trails access forest service cabins, making for a unique backcountry getaway. Location: Bozeman Kilometers of trails: 30 Grooming: skate and classic (some are narrow and better suited to classic), backcountry Trail to try: West Shore Loop (moderate) Information: Bangtail Bikes and XC skis (406) 587-4905
5 Homestake Pass Fifteen minutes east of Butte, Homestake Lodge is home to some of the most interesting ski terrain in Montana. Large rock outcroppings, beaver ponds and aspen groves provide beautiful scenery along gently rolling trails. Make a weekend out of it by staying in the two-room bunkhouse with other nordic adventurers. Location: Homestake Pass Kilometers of Trail: 35 Grooming: skate and classic/touring Trail to try: Huff and Puff (difficult) Information: Homestake Lodge (406) 585-8052
6 Cliff and Wade Lakes A designated wildlife viewing area, the groomed ski trails at Cliff and Wade lakes are home to river otters, swans, moose and elk. These trails glide past two beautiful lakes and through old growth fir forests, then out to the Wade Lake Cabins; a perfect winter getaway. Location: Cameron Kilometers of trails: 35 Grooming: classic/touring Trail to try: Wade Lake Trail (Easy) Information: Wade Lake Cabins (406) 682-7560
7 Chief Joseph Pass Ski Trails Chief Joseph Pass is home one of the area’s most pristine nordic areas. With eight loops ranging from easy to difficult and a cozy warming hut for lunch or breaks, these trails are an escape from the daily hustle and bustle. The Bitterroot Cross Country Ski Club maintains and grooms the entire system through volunteers and donations. They also offer free lessons for anyone interested in learning the sport. Location: Wisdom Kilometers of trails: 24.6 Grooming: classic Trail to try: Gold Medal Loop (moderate) Information: Bitterroot Cross Country Ski Club, firstname.lastname@example.org
Equinox Ski Challenge
March 21, 2012
Sam Newbury was headed back from Moab’s 24-hour mountain bike race in 2006 when he had an idea: Nordic skiers might also love the physical challenge and camaraderie of a 24-hour race. From this musing, the Equinox Ski Challenge was born. Now six years later, the ski race is held annually on the spring equinox and has become a season capstone for people of all ages and abilities. Hosted at the Rendezvous Trails in West Yellowstone, the event promotes community and camaraderie through costume contests, a potluck dinner, and fundraising for the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation and the Manaia Youth Programs. The number of participants has grown each year, and race categories include kids races (ages three to six); three, six and 12-hour events; as well as the uber-challenge—the 24-hour race. This year, Equinox may also add categories for running, snowshoeing and snow-biking.
Photo courtesy of sam newbury
In the main endurance event, teams or individuals try to ski as many loops as possible in 24 hours, a race that attracts endurance athletes and skiers looking for a personal challenge. Novice and intermediate skiers are welcome in the other divisions, and the afternoon and evening festivities give racers and supporters a chance to hang out and cheer each other on.
“It’s exciting seeing people having fun and pushing themselves,” Newbury said.
1. Jetlite Working long days leaves little daylight for biking or skiing local trails. The solution comes with the A-51 Series from JetLite, a powerful LED system that throws out 700 lumens (standard headlamps give out anywhere between 35-80 lumens) to guide you through the night.
The overall system may seem bulky at first, said creative director Mike Martins, “But as soon as you strap it onto you handlebars or helmet, the A-51 becomes a seamless extension.”
A great gift for the biker in your life, Jetlite also offers various mounting systems, so runners, skiers and hikers can enjoy night adventures. The JetLite A-51 Series is lightweight, customizable and puts out plenty of beam for the fastest riders of the night. jetlites.com $199
In the ‘70s the world had Birkenstocks. In ‘00s we got Sanuks. This U.S. based company has an eco-approach and over 50 styles of easy-going footwear. Sanuks are foot friendly and bring an element of style missing from dated footwear choices. With a variety of colors and patterns to choose from, Sanuks are equally equipped for cozy nights in the lodge or trips to town.
“After all,” he said, “who doesn’t love camo sandals? sanuk.com $60 - $68
The battery life of the 7.4v Lithium Ion 4500 has plenty of juice to last for your entire three-hour ride. Martins’s tip: Squeeze every ounce of power from the battery by setting it on low for uphill and high for downhill.
“The mask dried quickly and left my skin hydrated,” he said. “It gave me the moisture my skin craved.” We wish we’d gotten a photo of that. Products made of seawater components are rejuvenating for the human body. Ask for a treatment using Phytomer products at OZssage in Big Sky, or take Phytomer home and create an ocean experience to balance out mountain living. ozssage.com $30 - $50
Rossi’s combination of X-IUM World Cup boot and NIS binding system (plated instead of screwed) make X-IUM WCS ski the lightest setup on the market.
Living in the mountains inevitably causes dry skin. Keep winter skin in check with Phytomer, OZssage Spa’s new collection, imported from France.
Editor Taylor Anderson, who recently moved to Big Sky from Illinois, gave the Hydracontinue Relaxing Moisturing Mask a try.
The gals at Freeheel and Wheel in West Yellowstone rave about Rossignol’s X-IUM World Cup Series skate setup.
“A lot of lightweight skis lack stability, but not the X-IUM series,” said Freeheel and Wheel’s Melissa Alder. Both Alder and Kelli Sanders use the Rossi X-IUM setup.
3. Phytomer spa collection
Phytomer is based on the principal that life began in seawater. The first to bring the virtues of the sea to modern skin care, Phytomer products are made of 100 percent freeze-dried seaweeds and seawater. The line includes all facets of skincare for both men and women.
4. Rossignol x-ium, World Cup Series 1 and 2
Our publisher Eric Ladd got his hands on a pair of Vagabond Mossy Oak and hasn’t taken them off since.
From fat skis to seaweed face masks, the Mountain Outlaw editorial staff gathered some items to help you get through Montana’s long winter. -Abbie Digel
“Anything that can feel like less effort makes you more efficient, carve better and feel more stable, especially at high speeds,” Sanders said. Although the X-IUM line isn’t new this year, Rossi updated the materials, sidecut, weight and flex. Alder says any beginner, intermediate or advanced skier can try it. “It just flies up the trails.” They recommend trying on boots first, then fitting the binding and finally matching the ski. freeheelandwheel.com $660
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5. Armada jj, vjj
For the 2012 season, at skiers’ request, Armada built new sizes of its popular JJ model: the longer AK JJ (195 cm) and a smaller JJ (175, 165 cm). They also added the women’s-specific VJJ.
“The variety of sizes opens this technology up for kids and women,” said Andrew Schreiner, co-owner of Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky. “This is going to be the ski.” The women’s VJJ is similar to the Rossignol S7, but lighter. Don’t be deterred by the naughty name—these sticks are perfect for gals looking to rip big terrain. Put any of these on a beginner, and they’d have a blast in powder, Schreiner says. With laminated construction under foot, both the VJJ and JJ are capped at the tip and tail. Many laminated fat skis tend to knick at the tips and tales, but with the cap construction on these babies, that won’t happen. Plus, the early rise and partial reverse sidecut make them easy to throw around quickly. “Armada made a real beefy, nice wood ski,” Schreiner says. grizzlyoutfitters.com JJ, VJJ $674.99, AK JJ $699.99
The Odin split board is bombproof: perfect for Big Sky’s rocky terrain and surrounding backcountry. Venture’s newest split board model was designed in collaboration with Johan Olofsson, a big mountain rider who was one of the first to take freestyle skills into the backcountry. “With p-tex sidewalls and Voile hardware, this board is it,” said Ryan Morse of Big Sky’s Gallatin Alpine Sports.
Olofsson, who has a Guinness World Record for the 35-second 3,000-foot descent he pulled off in the 1996 film “TB5,” has changed the way people think about big mountain riding, says Lisa Brannan, one of the founders of Venture Snowboards. Brannan is excited to have Olofsson on board because his riding style shows through in his design work. The Odin’s offset stance and tapered bindings work together to keep the board’s nose out of snow and floating in powder. Also, its narrow tail helps it cut wide arching carves. “I’m always looking into projects that will progress snowboarding,” Olofsson said. gallatinalpinesports.com $585
Big Sheep Creek Byway
by will casella
Photo by will casella
Dillon The town of Dillon sits at the crossroads of state Highway 41 and Interstate 15, on the banks of the Beaverhead River, in Beaverhead County. Named after the unique rock formation on the Jefferson River that the Shoshone described as being shaped as a beaver’s head, Beaverhead County is the largest in Montana. Roughly the size of Connecticut, with a population just shy of 10,000, this area is resplendent with vistas truly encompassing the term Big Sky. Massive tracts of public land make it an adventurer’s paradise—especially for those seeking to forgo congestion and traffic lights. Only a stone’s throw from the infamous Big Hole River, Dillon is a trout angler’s dream. Year-round, the Big Hole and the Beaverhead rivers yield some of the largest trout landed in Montana. (Rumor has it, the Beaverhead is top of the list for number of trout over five pounds.) Stop by a local fly shop for current information. La Fiesta Mexicana is Dillon’s most unique dining experience. Locals love the taco bus, and the place often has a line out the door at lunch, so don’t arrive right at noon. Owner Alejandro Pelayo’s brothers have similar establishments in West Yellowstone, Island Park and Ashton, Idaho. Forgot your rain jacket? Stop into the Patagonia outlet on Idaho Street. Thirsty? The Moose Bar at 6 North Montana Street is the place to meet with folks from all walks of life.
Photo by emily stifler
Photo by will casella
Dell From Dillon, head south on I-15 about 40 miles, toward the town of Dell. This will take you along the Beaverhead River (there are plenty of fishing access sites if you’re hankering to catch a lunker), through the stunning Clark Canyon, and by the oddly desolate Clark Canyon Reservoir, which is a duck hunter’s delight. Dell is a friendly little town with a service station and a classic old general store. Also on Main Street is a small sportsman’s lodge, the Stockyard Inn, and Yesterday’s Café, a great little spot where you need a cowboy hat and boots to fit in. If you forgot to fill up on gas in Dillon, fill up here.
“Roughly the size of Connecticut, with a population just shy of 10,000, this area is resplendent with vistas truly encompassing the term Big Sky.”
From Dell, head southwest on the Big Sheep Creek National Backcountry Byway, a two-lane gravel road that winds through some of the most dramatic and stunning country in Montana. Thousand-foot scree slopes and rocky crags tumble to the creek basin, revealing a more beautiful scene with each turn in the road. You may pass an occasional rancher’s pickup heading to Dillon to get supplies, but more likely you’ll see bighorn sheep, deer and elk. Although the area is just over 6,000 feet, it sees relatively little precipitation in the valleys, keeping most roads open year round. Winter wildlife viewing can be fantastic, as the
animals come out of the mountains seeking food and a more hospitable climate. The topography changes continuously, as canyons open into broad meadows, and bottlenecks become even narrower canyons. If you’re equipped with four-wheel drive and feeling adventurous, there are many high mountain lakes and trails to explore. But be extremely careful and conservative in wet conditions, because the roads here have high clay content, so any moisture makes it seem as if you’re driving on ice. There is some private land along the river and a few large ranches, however this area is mostly Bureau of Land Management land surrounded by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Countless opportunities for hiking, hunting, horseback riding and fishing exist here. Those along for the scenery through the car window won’t be disappointed either. About eight miles from the interstate is a campground with outdoor facilities called Deadwood. There are also many other spots to pitch camp on public land. The roads seem to go on forever. You could spend a day exploring the main roads, or weeks getting into the backcountry—just make sure to bring your DeLorme Gazetteer, topo maps and your adventurous spirit.
Will Casella’s company, the Bozeman-based Phasmid Rentals, provides outfitted rental vehicles and itinerary planning for travelers seeking off the beaten path adventures. phasmidrentals.com
At Maverick Mountain locals reign supreme, but everyone is welcome. With nearly 2,000 vertical feet of excellent killer terrain and one podunk chairlift, the snow stays soft all day long. The views of the Pioneer Mountains are heartbreakingly beautiful, and events like the Community Downhill and the Bartenter’s Cup can’t be found anywhere else this side of heaven. Don’t miss powder Thursdays (Mav is closed Mon-Wed), Elkhorn Hot Springs, and après at the Grasshopper Inn. skimaverick.com E.S.
n i t s Move over, AU
By Yogesh Simpson
I was standing outside Peach Street Studios on a warm night last summer when one of the studio’s founders, Cornell “Doc” Wiley, casually dropped a bomb on me. Bozeman is on the crest of a musical wave, a renaissance of sorts, like a budding Austin, Texas, Doc said. It seemed a tall claim. I wanted to know more. “I’ve worked in Los Angeles making records, I’ve worked in Nashville and New York, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Doc said. “When I say it’s world class, and when I think it’s a renaissance, I mean it.” It was my first visit to one of Bozeman’s newest venues, a converted cold storage warehouse at 627 E. Peach St. On the bill that evening was the Portland Cello Project, a quintet comprising only cellos. The front room brimmed with a sold-out crowd of 50, arranged on rows of church 92 Mountain
pews and folding chairs. There was no stage and no sound gear, just exposed brick, corrugated metal and cellos. It was a quiet, intimate listening room unlike anything I’d seen in Bozeman. Maybe it was Doc’s contagious enthusiasm, but the venue and event felt fresh. Maybe something great is taking root here. When it’s not a performance space, Peach Street is home to three independent recording studios. Since first hearing about it, I wondered how a small town could support such a venture. At the set break I introduced myself to Doc and a couple of the other studio partners outside on the stoop. That’s when they started talking renaissance.
We have the art, we have the support, we have the venues, we have the promoters. We have all the ingredients to make the recipe successful, so when it comes out of the oven it tastes good.
Doc is a large and affable man with a resume that includes a Grammy for mixing and engineering. During his 30 years in the business, he’s worked with a long list of big-name musicians, including U2, Prince and David Lee Roth. Doc and his partners at Peach Street Studios are optimistic about the potential for Bozeman to be a regional, if not national hub for people in all aspects of the music business. “It feels like Athens, Georgia in the ‘80s,” Doc said. He recounted a tale from a spring night earlier that year when he went out on the town to hear some music, starting at a Salvation Army event and ending at the Filling Station:
Peach Street Studio Crew L-R: Luke Flansburg, Jeremiah Slovarp, Dodge Kramer, Jackie Wickens, Jason Wickens, Jesse Barney and Doc Wiley Courtesy of Peach Street Studios
“I saw nine bands in one night, and none of them sucked! And I walked to all of those venues.” Perhaps the inordinate amount of talent in this little town is due to the area’s natural beauty. “Creative people are attracted to beauty,” says Jesse Barney, owner of Resonance Studios. “They’re attracted to wonderful things to do outside, and [being] able to go kayaking or rock climbing or snowboarding.” “It’s inspiring, and it’s part of the fuel for doing our art,” Barney said.
There is strong support for artists and musicians in Southwest Montana, according to Jeremiah Slovarp, who runs Jereco Studios out of Peach Street with Luke Flansburg. “In talking about the industry as a whole here, you can’t discount the infrastructure,” Slovarp said. “You need to take into account the support network for the artists in the film and music industry. There are a lot of film companies in this town, and they are doing very well.”
Slovarp pointed out that Bozeman is also home to Weber mandolins, Gibson guitars, and HeadRoom headphones, as well as guys like Bill Payne of Little Feet, legendary songwriter Kostas, and Rolling Stone photographer and guitar pickup maker Larry DiMarzio. “What we have here are the ingredients,” Slovarp said. “We have the art, we have the support, we have the venues, we have the promoters. We have all the ingredients to make the recipe successful, so when it comes out of the oven it tastes good.”
It’s not just the Peach Street partners who are upbeat about Bozeman’s musical ingredients. I’ve since brought up this conversation with others in the business, and most agree with Slovarp on all counts except the venues. One glaring niche, in particular, needs to be filled, says Lucia Stewart, a music promoter, producer and KGLT DJ. “We need a multifaceted venue with a capacity of 1,200 to 1,800 people that could handle a sit-down, classical performance or a fantastically decorated fundraiser or dance party,” Stewart said. “We’re poised here to support a venue like that, and to exponentially grow the cultural hub we already have.” Compared to towns of similar population and size, Bozeman has a disproportionately small number of venues, said Tyler Miller, guitarist with the band Tumbledown House. It’s especially unfortunate, he said, given the enormous talent here.
Blue roan control room
PHoto courtesy of Peach Street Studios
Plus, Bozeman venue owners and crowds are more supportive here than in other parts of the country, Miller says.
But a small city also has advantages. It’s fairly easy to get paying gigs here, unlike bigger cities.
From the concrete stoop on Peach Street it seems like a long way to the glittery music meccas like Austin. But with so much talent, infrastructure and motivation in Bozeman and Southwest Montana, maybe we’re closer than I thought.
“In places like L.A. it’s ‘pay to play’. It’s event driven,” Doc said, meaning bands pay to rent a venue and then have to sell tickets to make their money back.
Yogesh Simpson is a writer, photographer, graphic designer and musician living in Bozeman.
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www.consulting-forester s.com 96 Mountain
At the Bozone story and photos by Abbie digel It’s sunrise, and friends of Bozeman Brewing Company have gathered in the garage adjacent to the small brewery. Every September during the hop harvest, bushels of the vibrant green plant with succulent cones fill wheelbarrows and beds of pickups here. Some hops are from the brewery’s own gardens, and others are from home gardens and Montana State University. The eclectic group is sitting in a circle pulling sticky stems from heaping piles on the floor, plucking plump green
brewed with fresh hops, some of the team drove to the Yakima Valley in Washington state in search of the freshest cones, piled them in a truck, then turned around and came home. Once harvested, the wet hops must be used in the brew immediately, so the crew drove fast, hitting a deer on the way back, delaying the amount of time before they could begin brewing. They only had enough hops to brew about eight barrels that first year, but their customers’ response warranted growth.
“We want community members to get to know the beer they drink.” hop cones, and separating them by variety. These beer fanatics, hop growers and Bozone regulars will likely be there all day. Chairs scrape against the cement floor, and laughter rises from the group. As the sun rises higher in the sky, the number of pickers grows. “It’s a social experiment,” said Todd Scott, owner of the brewery. “We want community members to get to know the beer they drink.” The Bozone’s Hopfest has been going on for the last five years. The first year Bozone
Hops help create a beer’s full and distinct flavor. The moment at which the hops go into brewing process is part of the brewer’s craft: Adding hops in the early stages contribute to a beer’s bitterness, adding them later in the fermentation process contributes more flavor and aroma. Every ingredient in beer adds to its uniqueness and hops are part of that puzzle. Most breweries use dried and packaged hop pellets that resemble rabbit food, crumble when touched, and are stored for a year or more. “It’s like buying dried basil
at the store, but instead we are using the fresh basil from the garden,” said Bill Hyland, brewmaster at Bozone. Sierra Nevada, a popular California craft brewer, pioneered fresh hop brews starting in the late ‘90s with its Harvest series. Since then, fresh hop brews have been popping up at craft breweries around the country, with Bozone following the trend. There are benefits to growing hops, Hyland says. People plant them as decoration or for privacy, since they climb like vines up a trellis or fencing. Bozone Brewery uses hops from Montana, Oregon, Germany, England and occasionally Argentina, but still sources most from the Yakima Valley, which Hyland says is a “good growing area with a longer growing season.” “Growing hops is lowmaintenance: Plant the rhizome, attach it to a string, and watch it climb,” Hyland said. The resilient, tenacious plants need only water and sunlight. It takes
two to three years for buds to develop on the hop vine, and this sticky, flower is the object of a brewer’s desire.
It’s tradition The process of brewing beer is similar to making wine: The ingredients come from the ground, and the environment surrounding them affects their taste and smell. Bozone’s 2011 brew is called Terrior (pronounced “tare-wah”), a name derived from the French word for ‘land.’ In the wine world, terrior refers to the quality and origin of the grapes, and the same goes for hops. For Hyland, it also refers to the beer’s local components: The ingredients are 90 percent Montanagrown. “Ages ago, that was the only kind of brewing people did. Ingredients came from your own farm, right outside your door,” Hyland said. “In Europe it’s still that way, but that’s not the case in America, where giant companies control everything.” Mountain
bract bracteoles lupulin gland
Containing resins and essential oils
“It’s ridiculous to dump all this stuff into the kettle,” he says, referring to the amount of time and effort brewing this kind of beer involves. But it’s clear he’s having fun. “Conventional wisdom says to use high alpha [bitter] acid content hops first, because that’s the trend in American beer right now,” Hyland said. “The cascade hops will go in last because of their excellent aroma. That’s the bulk of the brew.” Hop pickers at the Bozone in September 2011
Hops in Montana Hop harvest in Montana lasts only a few weeks in September. That’s a small window for brewers, and it’s made the industry grow slowly. But with so many craft breweries here (Montana has 27) interest in hop cultivation is growing, Hyland says. Since 2007, MSU plant sciences professor Tom Blake has grown hops on 30 acres of MSU’s gardens. In spite of the short growing season, the plant grows well in the Gallatin Valley, he says. Blake and his team grow 10 varieties, mostly for demonstration. In an effort to expand its local hop sources—and its loyal community— Bozone has given out hop rhizomes to friends, hoping they’ll grow a crop from that section of the plant’s root. Community members have contributed more bounty each year. 98 Mountain
The Bozone team would also like to see commercial hops grown in Montana. A third-acre crop would cost about $2,000 to set up with the necessary poles, trellises, tractors and labor, Blake said. There’s a market, Hyland says: “More brewers, both home and retail, are starting to have small hop productions.”
The brew Brewing with hops is a labor of love, Hyland says. Because Terrior is only brewed once a year, Hyland pays special attention to the process. That afternoon, Hyland created the recipe, while the pickers socialized and sipped on Bozone beer.
Any brewing process involves adding different varieties of hops at different times during the fermentation and boiling process, in order to conjure a desired mesh of flavors. Every variety has a unique taste, smell and texture, so a perfectly timed recipe is key to a great tasting beer, Hyland says. When the brewing day is done, Hyland climbs into the kettles to clean out the remaining hop residue. Usually pelletized hops are added to a brew, which settle to the bottom of the kettle and are easily separated. This is a more effective process, because the pellets don’t leave behind a mess. But Terrior is worth it. The beer is an IPA with a lighter, fresher flavor. “It’s a taste experience.” While Abbie Digel appreciates fresh hops from the Bozone, her favorite beer is Coors Light.
Community Hops Missed Bozone’s Terrior brew this year? Check again around fall harvest and into November. Chances are, more breweries will offer a fresh hop ale each year, and recipes will become more refined as brewers practice with hop varietals.
I K S S É APR RTERS HEADQUA
Although this is Bozone’s fifth year experimenting with fresh hops, this was the first year they identified most of the hop varieties they harvested: Cascade, Fuggles, Mt. Hood, Centennial, Chinook, Nugget and Zeus. Here’s the breakdown on taste:
Cascade: Cascade is an aromatic, selectively bred variety that originated as the first commercial hop. It was bred in 1956 but not released for cultivation until 1972. Popular in the U.S., the Cascade has a moderate bitterness and a fragrant, flowery aroma. It’s often used in West Coast ales that have a citrus-floral hop character. Fuggle: Fuggle is an aromatic variety that was selected in England as a chance seedling in 1861. It’s also marketed as Styrian (Savinja) Golding in the Slovenian Republic. In the U.S. it’s grown in Oregon and Washington state. Mt. Hood: Bred in the U.S. in 1983, Mt. Hood is the half-sister to Ultra, Liberty and Crystal hops. It’s an aromatic variety derived from Hallertau, Germany, with a refined, spicy aroma and clean bittering. A good choice for lagers, some describe Mt. Hood as “pungent.” Centennial: Centennial was bred in 1974 but not released until 1990. A new hop on the market, it’s sometimes described as a “super Cascade,” but not nearly as citrusy. Its bitterness is quite clean and has floral notes depending on the boil time. Columbus: This high alpha variety has a pungent aroma and clean bittering. Excellent for bitter ales and American IPA styles, and can be dramatic when dry hopped. It’s almost identical to the Zeus variety. Chinook: Chinook is a bittering variety with aroma characteristics.It is a high alpha acid hop with a wonderful herbal, almost smoky character when used as an aromatic during the last few minutes of the boil. Excellent for hopping American-style Pale Ales, especially those brewed in higher gravities. Nugget: Nugget, bred in 1970, is a great bittering hop with a heavy herbal aroma. Information from beeradvocate.com
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Earthquake-induced avalanches By Brad Carpenter
The sound of mice scurrying in the walls woke me. For a moment, I wondered what they were doing. Then the walls started moving. As the employee housing building shook, my bed began to sway and bounce. I grabbed the sides and held on. Was it time to run for the door? Get in the closet? Then just as suddenly, things settled back to normal. The magnitude 7.1 earthquake that shook the Canterbury region of New Zealand on Sept. 4, 2010, was the start of more than six terrifying months of seismic activity on the country’s South Island. The cycle peaked on Feb. 22, 2011, when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake claimed 181 lives and caused billions in damage to the Christchurch area, creating a ghost town of the downtown business district in a city of over 360,000 people. The aftershocks still continue to this day, with a magnitude 4.9 recorded in late August 2011.
Earthquake-induced avalanche as seen from Porters ski area Photo by Luke Armstrong
The epicenter of the Sept. 4 tremor was near the Southern Alps, just 45 km from Porters Ski Area, in the Craigieburn Mountains. I’ve worked for four seasons on the ski patrol at Porters, and I’m now the assistant snow safety director there. While the quake caused very little damage to Porters infrastructure and no in-bounds avalanches, it caused an extensive earthquake-induced avalanche event in the surrounding mountains.
Earthquake-triggered avalanche events are rare, so I was excited to have witnessed one. Only a couple dozen have ever been fully recorded, and the physics of these occurrences have seen little study. The aftermath of this particular cycle brought up several questions.
With signs that the September earthquake had indeed disturbed our in-bounds pack, I really started to wonder if we could actually forecast for earthquake-induced avalanche events.
During winter in the Northern hemisphere, I’m the snow safety director at Moonlight Basin. At Porters Ski Area, avalanche control work from Southwest Montana is also a highly active seisseveral weeks prior had mitigated weak layers mic area, so the earthquake-induced avalanche in the snowpack that otherwise could have been concept began to enter my thoughts often. While unstable; it made we cannot sense that no forecast for in-bounds slides seismological had occurred. activity, could Just outside the we, in theory, boundaries, howpredict how a ever, we saw mulseismic event tiple avalanches would affect that had run our snowpack? thousands of feet This kind of from ridgeline avalanche to valley floor. forecasting Nearby ski areas is an entirely reported similar different observations. game than This was one of what most the largest natural avalanche avalanche cycles practitioners ever recorded in are used to, so New Zealand. Mcnulty’s Saddle, Craigeburne Range in the Southern Alps of New Zealand I kept looking for answers. Photo by Luke Armstrong As aftershocks continued to hit the region in the following few weeks, In a stroke of luck, two of the best, and only, management at Porters began to ask an obvious, but scientific papers on earthquake-induced avachallenging question of the snow safety departlanches were published in 2010. In one, a group ment: Could we forecast for an earthquake-induced of Russian and Japanese scientists created a avalanche event, if we were to start seeing a more series of mini snowpack models in a cold lab avalanche-prone snowpack? We weren’t sure, and I and then simulated an earthquake. As simple began to look around for any history of such an event. as this sounds, it had never been done before. There didn’t seem to be anything. The goal was to better understand how the Earth’s vibrations affect snow and avalanches. Luckily, most of the aftershocks were minor, and The scientists determined that a magnitude 4 or another earthquak-induced avalanche cycle never 5 is necessary to cause avalanches, and it tends occurred. But in October, as the snowpack melted, to affect an area within 20 to 40 miles of the we found it had been affected in a very big way. seismic epicenter. Spiderwebs of long, deep, disconcerting cracks traversed most of the big faces in the backcountry, and They also found that smaller earthquakes (as even some of our in-bounds terrain. low as magnitude 1.9) can cause avalanches, and that even when the snow doesn’t avalanche, These cracks were unlike anything I’d ever seen, and the layers of the snowpack almost always fracwere evidence that the earthquake had affected our ture into pieces and break apart—as evidenced snowpack by essentially shattering it into pieces. It during melt-out in New Zealand. Furthermore, hadn’t caused any deeper layers in our snowpack to they determined this type of avalanche can be avalanche, because within our deeper, older snowtriggered up to several dozen miles from an pack there were no significant weak layers for snow earthquake’s epicenter. to slide upon.
Earthquakes in Montana
Many of Southwest Montana’s beautiful mountain ranges were formed by hundreds of thousands of years of shifting faults and concurrent earthquakes. Today, hundreds of small tremors are recorded annually in Montana. Most of these earthquakes are too small for humans to detect, but are monitored by seismographs. In the 20th century several major tremors have hit this part of Montana. In 1925, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in the Gallatin Valley caused extensive damage to unreinforced masonry buildings in Manhattan, Logan, Three Forks and Lombard. Ten years later, a series of severe earthquakes struck the Helena area causing four deaths and millions in property damage. The magnitude 7.5 that occurred in 1959 north of West Yellowstone was the largest earthquake recorded in Montana history and the most well-known. The subsequent landslide killed 22 people and dammed the upper Madison River, creating Quake Lake. Although the potential for earthquake-triggered avalanches in Southwest Montana is significant, some key variables would need to align. First, seismic activity would have to occur between November and May, when snow is present in the mountains. And second, it would have to happen close enough to avalanche terrain to affect a weak layer in the snowpack.
Hebgen Lake, Montana
Photo by Emily stifler
Seismically speaking, areas closer to Yellowstone National Park and south of Bozeman might see more earthquake activity than those further afield. Popular backcountry ski touring areas like Bacon Rind, Hebgen Lake, the Lionshead region, and Cooke City could be more in the firing line of earthquake-induced avalanches. To truly predict avalanches caused by earthquakes, we would need to be able to predict actual earthquakes, which so far has proved impossible for scientists. While we cannot predict seismic activity, we’ve seen that a significant earthquake-induced avalanche cycle like the one in Canterbury, New Zealand, can be planned for, and is another factor that could be considered in the avalanche prediction equation. Does this mean that a seismometer is the next piece of forecasting equipment for traveling or working in avalanche terrain? Not likely, but knowing earthquake-induced avalanches are possible in Southwest Montana will only improve our knowledge and preparation for them.
Formula for an avalanche Understanding avalanches and snowpack is crucial to understanding an earthquake-induced avalanche event. For an avalanche to occur, there must be certain layers within the snow:
SLAB weak layer Bed surface
A slab—this a settled and cohesive layer of snow sitting above the weak layer A weak layer on top of the bed surface— usually either weak, poorly bonded, sugary snow; or feathery surface hoar crystals, which are similar to dew, but in the winter. these are snow crystals formed by the accretion of water vapor to the surface of the snowpack and usually form with cool temperatures, clear skies, and very light winds A sliding layer, or bed surface—tends to be
For the snow to slide downhill in an avalanche, there must be a trigger. In some circumstances, the weight of a single skier can trigger an avalanche. Other times, large explosives are necessary to affect the weak layers in a snowpack. The majority of avalanches that occur at ski areas are triggered on purpose, either by explosives or by ski cuts, in which the weight of a ski patroller is used to promote failure of a slab or new snow. 102
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Ice climbing in
Genesis II and Zach Attack By Joe Josephson
The shield of smoky gray ice poured out of the forest above us. It was 1997, and though I’d only climbed in Hyalite Canyon once before, I’d been invited from my adopted home in Canmore, Alberta to teach a beginner ice climbing clinic at the inaugural Barrel Ice Climbing Festival. I stood with my group, looking up at the 150-foot ice flow. Called Genesis II, or G2 for short, the popular moderate poured over an inconsistent outcrop of conglomerate volcanic kitty litter disguised as a rock band, and landed in a pile of snow at our feet. Classic Hyalite. Pat Callis, a 30-something chemistry professor at MSU, and Bozeman teenager Brian Leo, first climbed G2 on Halloween Day of 1971 when the art of climbing frozen waterfalls was in its infancy. In those days, ice climbing was often described as a sport for lunatics. Approaches were long, and equipment was akin to implements found at a saloon—dull ice picks and ice screws that looked like corkscrews for protection. Often with homemade equipment, early climbers bludgeoned their hands and feet against brittle, windswept sheets of ice. Since the road to Hyalite wasn’t plowed, they cross-country skied many miles in. These hardy souls kept at it, exploring deeper into the woods and mysterious corners of the valley. They found dozens of ice flows that were frozen from November to April. By the late ‘70s climbers had established more than three-dozen routes in Hyalite’s three drainages.
Andrew Larson on the first pitch of Zach Attack Photo by Emily Stifler
As gear evolved, ice climbing’s popularity grew. By the early ‘80s Hyalite was a backyard playground and training ground for some of North America’s best climbers, including the late Alex Lowe. Today, the canyon has more than 225 climbs in three square miles, with climbs of every difficulty. By 1997, as I stood below G2 with my class, ice climbing had evolved into a mainstream sport. Ice festivals were popping up across the northern latitudes, and the first-ever Bozeman ice fest hosted a cast of legends, new and old. On Friday night I gave a rousing slideshow, inspired to be headlining the festival alongside Barry Blanchard, the greatest Canadian climber of a generation, and Bozeman alpinist Jack Tackle. Beginner clinics like the class at G2 are my favorite, because folks get to experience the shockingly steep learning curve of climbing frozen water. As the sun dove toward the ridgeline, and I was strapped into a belay barking commands, Kelly Cordes and Pete Tapley strolled by.
Kelly, a Missoula-based hard man, was an old friend, so I asked what he and Pete, a local Hyalite ice fiend, had been up to. They pointed up at the snow-covered cobbles and chocolate-colored ice staining the 500-foot rock band directly above G2. “It wasn’t too bad,” Kelly said, his reticent smile the kind only seen on a climber not wanting to give away the secret of a great first ascent. Four days later, after I’d headed back to Canada and Kelly returned to grad school at UM, Pete and Dan Gambino, another local boy, went back and climbed the upper two ice pitches of Kelly and Pete’s route, creating Zach Attack (575’, 5.9, WI 5).
The 15th Annual Arc’teryx Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival draws climbers from across the country to Hyalite Canyon’s consistent, quality ice. The 2011 festival (Dec. 7-11, 2011) celebrates the history of modern ice climbing in North America. bozemanicefest.com
After the hour-plus slog to the base, far above the gentle flow of G2, I started leading the first pitch. I was intimated at first, but was loaded with a full rack of ice screws, camming units, nuts, pitons and even perhaps the kitchen sink. Following intermittent cracks past rock horns draped with clear, inviting ice, I moved upward placing solid protection at my leisure. A route-finding challenge halfway up the first pitch slowed my progress, but I skirted to the right, finding protection by pounding a piton into the rock, then moved upward by pushing with my palms as often as pulling with my fingertips or using my ice tools. Pat quickly dispatched the much shorter second pitch, then we raced up the snow gully to the remaining two pitches of steep ice. Even the last pitch, an unprotected veneer over an overhanging wall of moss that would normally give me serious pause, wasn’t enough to stop us from reaching the top of the route.
View from the base of Zach Attack
Yet, any thought of success was supplanted by a brewing storm and dusky skies, harkening a prudent retreat. Descending in the growing darkness, we saw the direct variation I’d avoided: Clean hand cracks split a wall of perfect andesite rock, perhaps the best I’ve seen in Hyalite. Photo by Emily Stifler
When I moved to Bozeman a year later, Zach Attack was the talk of the town among climbers. With challenging mixed climbing on excellent rock (a rarity in Hyalite) and steep ice pitches, it was one of the canyon’s longest routes. Finally, in 2007, I teamed up with Pat Callis (then in his 70s) to have a go at it. Pat had looked at the line 35 years earlier, but thought he’d wait for the ice to form to the ground. In the decades since, mixed climbing has taken command of the sport, and now any rock band with a phlegmy dribble of ice at the lip can be considered a route.
We arrived at the parking lot exhausted and satisfied. Large heavy snowflakes were visible in the glow of our headlamps. Sharing the rope with the humble and talented Pat Callis, combined with outrageous climbing and a decade of waiting for it, has made Zack Attack my favorite in Hyalite. Joe Josephson grew up in Big Timber, Montana. Author of Waterfall Ice: Climbs in the Canadian Rockies and Winter Dance: Select Climbs in Southern Montana and Northern Wyoming, he organizes the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival.
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the hustle and bustle of the Gallatin Valley and take in the sights and smells of true craftsmanship.
The shop is quiet, and that’s just how Brooks likes it. In the early 2000s, when he did his work on Main Street in Bozeman, Brooks found the constant foot traffic distracting. After a stint on Madison Avenue in Belgrade (not New York) he found even that location had him paying too much mind to the front of the house and not enough to his craft. Now Brooks has found a place on the edge of town where he feels comfortable. If you want to find him, you will. He’ll be there waiting with a warm welcome. Growing up on his family’s farm outside of Manhattan, this Montana native has been sculpting rawhide as long as he can remember. What started as necessary upkeep for repairs around the farm soon grew into a passion.
R . O . B ro o k s C u s to m L e at h e r story and photos By Brad Van Wert
Somewhere in the West, a cowboy is tending to his herd. Maybe he’s perched atop the Gravelly Range, or he’s riding fences outside of Cutbank. Even further west there’s a woman of high society planning her latest gala; she might be in Seattle, or sitting on the dock of the bay down in San Francisco. In between, a young buck is waiting for his eight seconds of fame, as a mean ole’ bull named Kickstart is led into the gate. 108
Although these characters seem worlds apart, they share something in common. They’re all wearing a custom piece of leather crafted by R.O. Brooks. For the past 15 years Rob Brooks has made his living crafting everything leather, from custom saddles to belts, and to hear him tell it, there’s no end in sight. Located where Jackrabbit Lane in Belgrade finds its northern end, R.O. Brooks Custom Leather is a place where you can step away from
While riding rodeo bulls as a young man, Brooks took a deeper interest in the artistry of custom leathersmithing, and before long he befriended the craftsman Ellis Barnes. Working in a time before the Internet and social networking, Barnes was not only a leathersmith but also a good salesman. Instead of relying on Google to let the world find him, Barnes bought the nicest Cadillac he could find, tore out the back seat, loaded it with his goods and took them to the people. Barnes’s dedication inspired Brooks to make a career out of leather, and he’s stayed true to form. While the Internet has allowed leathersmiths to share tools and ideas, the techniques have remained largely unchanged. When R.O. Brooks sells a custom piece of leather, you can rest assured it’s one of a kind. Rob Brooks loves what he does. When it comes to building saddles, Brooks
knows each rider requires a different design and shape to accommodate his or her style. Because of this, each Brooks saddle takes at least 80 hours to shape, cut, carve and sew. Instead of using technology like lasers and computers to accelerate production, Brooks values elbow grease, old-fashioned work and quality. But being an honest man, he cracks a smile and admits to a closet-full of discarded equipment. When asked about his plans to grow his business in the future, Brooks quickly
introduces his son, who as a third grader is already deep into apprenticeship. Staying small and concentrating on the craft are crucial to Brooks’s success. By focusing on individuals and their needs, he’s allowed the space to create unique pieces that stand the test of time. conglo.ws/ROBrooks Brad Van Wert is a self proclaimed writer/ filmmaker who likes to eat a lot; therefore, he has a career in renewable energy so he doesn’t starve.
When R.O. Brooks sells a custom piece of leather, you can rest assured it’s one of a kind.
The August sun is hot but threatened by dark squall clouds over the Teton Valley. It’s 2 p.m. and Lukas Nelson, son of country legend Willie Nelson, woke early for an interview, five hours before the start of a free show in tiny downtown Victor, Idaho. Nelson, 22, mixes straight face and yawns while sitting on a leather wraparound couch in his father’s old touring bus. His arms are folded, legs crossed at the ankles. His broad smile hides sleep. Long brown hair frames his face.
Lukas Nelson r i d i n g h i s o w n wav e B y T ay l o r A n d e r s o n
With sleep still in their eyes, his band, Promise of the Real, huddles around a vegetable platter. They’ve taken a three-day break during a nation-sprawling summer tour to hang out at filmmaker Greg Stump’s Teton Valley home for parties and photo shoots. Heir to an undeniable talent, the younger Nelson says he’s not looking to mimic his father, nor is he deflecting his past. “Give credit where credit is due, you know,” he says. The added recognition from his famous name isn’t anything Lukas keeps hidden. His Texas drawl flows like molasses in a high-pitched nasal voice reminiscent of his father’s. He speaks in short, soft-spoken sentences and often keeps his eyes lowered, as if deep in thought. Lukas grew up traveling in Willie’s old tour cruiser. He met outlaw musicians, some past their prime, others still playing the game. He traveled across the country from city to city as his dad rode a prolonged peak of notoriety, and he grew. Those outlaws helped raise him along the way. “It was all I’ve ever known,” Lukas says.
110 Mountain photo by taylor anderson
Lukas is one of two sons from Willie’s fourth wife (out of seven total offspring). He started playing guitar as a birthday present for his dad when Willie turned 67 and Lukas was 11.
“Ahhhhhhhooooooowwww… Ahhh Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhooooooooohhhhhhh,” he wailed into the microphone. The audience echoed the noises, and the energy in downtown Victor became palpable.
Now, years later, Lukas is reliving the town hopping, late nights and fast songwriting during his early career, barreling into the modern professional music business.
Each musician in the group added his own influence to the mix, creating a full-bodied rock sound, revolving around Lukas’s guitar licks and vocal wails.The sound was surreal.
“I’m just headin’ down the road,” he says.
Driving guitar licks peaked and dwindled, fading away to emphasize a drum, bass and percussion jam, or a quiet vocal solo leading back into an entire group jam.
Willie didn’t waste time jumping into the music industry photo by Austin Caddis Trayser when he was around the same age as Lukas. His liftoff came on slow, and was propelled by Perhaps because they’ve chosen to a knack for quality songwriting. He take an alternate route down the road, had early downfalls, and later, after they are teetering between mainproving himself talented, his public stream fame and a cult following. For statements and viewpoints would now, the boys ride their own wave, garner much attention. and the rest will follow. In “All the Pretty Horses,” Lukas sings of his ride on a trail that his father left him. But while his path is similar to Willie’s, Lukas’s has been a bit more of a meandering road to stardom. He seems to have high expectations for a kid that spent a year as a Venice Beach boardwalk street performer after leaving school at Loyola Marymount. But behind his aspirations there is only truth. Promise of the Real has yet to sign with a record label despite releasing a defining EP, two studio albums, and possessing a growing fan base that has attracted nationally known filmmakers like Stump. Lukas says he’d rather keep the music ‘real’, the way he and the band like it, and not conform to the orders of a record label. Lukas knows he’s good, and that’s all that matters.
Promise of the Real that night in Victor included Chilean percussionist Tato Melgar, Anthony LoGerfo on drums, Corey McCormick on bass, and band brother and manager Red. They captivated the whole crowd and sent them into grooves, despite it being likely the first time most in attendance had heard the set. The intimate venue in the downtown park reverberated with whoops and whistles as new fans were turned on to the unique sounds. Many times during the show, the band faded out into a slow bass jam with LoGerfo holding slow and steady and Melgar on shaker. In the middle of the first set, Lukas cut out almost entirely on guitar and transferred into a series of maniacal screams.
The crowd followed down each crazed path the band took them. Stump hosted the band in his Driggs, Idaho studio down the road from Victor. He was present at the show, flanked by numerous camera-shouldered videographers. He put GoPros on guitar and bass, and set up a static camera behind LoGerfo and Melgar to capture the on-stage act. Stump is trying to push a promo video to a major documentary filmmaker, and has traveled with the band to film. Halfway through the show the squall on the horizon neared, and threats of rain turned to fizzling drizzles. Lukas whipped off his sweaty shirt, tossed it aside and finished half naked. He ended one of the band’s 10 songs that night with the lyric: “Ohhhh, let me smoke my pipe!” (This was ironic because he’d quit drinking and smoking pot a few days prior. “I got to thinkin’, I could either be sort of high all the time, or I could try and do something great.”) The band drew that song out with two more false endings, and the Victor crowd screamed for more. “All right! If this party hasn’t started, it has now,” Lukas shouted.
Lukas isn’t quick to analyze his music— or his life—but he’s clearly been surrounded by love, and his music often includes exults to his family, or to past loves. He exudes an outright passion that fuels his quick and meaningful songwriting. “All those songs are truthful,” he says, “but I like to keep all that personal stuff private.”
Coverage on the band (and there is plenty of it, mostly from newspapers) tends to rotate around his father’s name, and a sense of surprise that Lukas would follow Willie’s path. The road over Teton Pass was crowded that Thursday night, mostly with Jackson residents and visitors heading to the free show.
He doesn’t want to stir the pot too much, but as his career volts skyward that’s become harder. The more people start paying attention to his talent, he says, the easier it becomes to start unnecessary and uncivil debates. “I’ve noticed that I really have to watch what I say,” he says. “If I’m going to take a stand against racism or [something Lukas Nelson and the Promise of Real Press photo else], then I want to make it official and have an organization, a Teton Valley News had played up the place. Have a set of motions in action gig as a chance to watch Willie Nelson’s rather than just go making a blind kid, and printed an assumption that statement and having people tell their Willie in the Flesh would come south opinions and getting into this whole after a show the day before in Billings, philosophical or political discussion Montana to open the show on stage that just doesn’t have to happen.” next to his son. The headline read: “Greatness in his Genes.” He’s played on stage with Willie, Waylon Jennings and Bob Dylan. He’s apAfter the concert, hanging out with peared on the “Dave Letterman Show,” friends in Willie’s old bus, Lukas read at the 2011 Farm Aid concert, and the the story and jokingly accepted his fate: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. He appeared “I thought these jeans made me look on the “Today Show” in March 2011 good,” he said of his denim. beside his father for Amy Robach’s special segment titled “Like Father Like Murmurs throughout a pub before the Son.” (“I actually had lipstick on my show were filled with talk of Willie lip during that whole interview. It was Nelson and his (nameless) kid. “I guess great.”) he’s kind of the rock and roll, bluesy type music or somethin’,” and “I hear Lukas is heading in the right direction – Willie’s coming from Montana tonight, assuming he wants the recognition. that’s why I’m goin’.” Other musicians admire his talent and fledgling notoriety. As do the media. 112
Assumptions like those pit father and fledgling kin against each other in high
expectation. The same happened with Bob Dylan and his son, Jake. Being pit against Willie Nelson, king of Outlaw Country, seems an unfair battle. In addition to his voice, Lukas’s face and overall appearance resemble Willie’s. His songwriting skills are on par with his father’s. Musically, the likeness stops at the sound of Lukas’s screaming Fender Stratocaster, and Lukas proves why he has a different following. In the back of his bus (dubbed Honeysuckle Rose) before the Victor show, Lukas closed his eyes as he played a three-verse song he wrote late the night before. His fingers fluttered along the neck of the guitar with birdlike speed and soft agility before ending with an original flicker lick that faded out of his hollowed guitar. This is a style Lukas has made his own from a combination of influences, namely the Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Derek Trucks. “Ladies and gentlemen, lightning has struck the generator,” Lukas joked as the Victor crowd cried encore. After the Victor show, the band finished its summer tour with stops in Ohio, Colorado and California. The four then migrated back to California and recorded their second studio album, “mixed at analog sound to create a warm, organic sound.” Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real have the framework for something big, so long as lighting doesn’t strike the generator.
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With award-winning editorial content, design and photography, Mountain Outlaw magazine has been described as “Powder Magazine meets Rolling...
Published on Dec 1, 2011
With award-winning editorial content, design and photography, Mountain Outlaw magazine has been described as “Powder Magazine meets Rolling...