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Big Sky

Exploring life and land from the heart of the Yellowstone Region

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 Volume 4 // Issue #4


Two days of action: PBR returns to Big Sky

Sequestration likely to affect Yellowstone

Bozeman Audi Big Sky Showroom now open

Performing Arts Center nearly complete dr. dunn explains obamacare OZssage's Serenity Suite

Back 40: Gallatin Snow Rangers Big Sky's locally owned and published newspaper

Publisher of the big sky weekly



ON THE COVER: Caroline Cawthon, manager of Bozeman Audi’s new Big Sky showroom, poses with Sophie the Portuguese water hound. Photo by Mike Martins

2011 big sky chamber of commerce

Business of the Year Feb. 8-21, 2013 Volume 4, Issue no. 3 PUBLISHER Eric Ladd

editorial MANAGING EDITOR Emily Stifler EDITOR Joseph T. O'Connor staff writer/distribution director Tyler Allen

Hear ye, hear ye! Check out the Town Crier every Monday on, and you’ll find there’s a lot going on in Big Sky – dining, news, concerts, yoga, shout-outs to cool local businesses, and of course, powder skiing and riding.

Editorial assistant Maria Wyllie

Big Sky continuing to gain energy


With new snow and clear skies, Moonlight Basin and Big Sky Resort both reported strong skier numbers over President’s Day weekend.

the Town Center on Feb. 14, according to Columbine Culberg, Director of Community and Environmental Affairs for Bozeman Audi.


“It was fantastic,” said Moonlight President Greg Pack. “Saturday was a picture-perfect bluebird day. On Sunday, we got seven-plus inches of new snow. It was our second busiest day ever.”

Sales were also up at neighboring Grizzly Outfitters. “President’s Weekend was awesome, and [the] holidays have been phenomenal,” said co-owner Andrew Schreiner.

videographer/photographer Chris Davis

Both resorts are outpacing last year, in terms of total skier numbers.

However, Schreiner said, the typical busy times have been even busier this winter than last, while the inbetween periods have been average or down a little. His solution: “We need to get the ma and pa skiers back to Big Sky and not forget about them.”

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Martins VIDEO director Brian Niles

SALES and operations

Big Sky Resort’s lodging reservations project in March will be big, as well, said public relations manager Chad Jones.

COO & SENIOR EDITOR Megan Paulson Operations director Katie Morrison

Other local businesses are also reporting good winter seasons.


With snow in the forecast and many upcoming events, there are opportunities for everyone to join the action. – Big Sky Weekly Editors

Jamie Balke, Tyler Busby, Buscrat, Jake Campos, Mike Coil, Maren Dunn, Dale Gullett, Sean Forbes, Bob Foster, Gabrielle Gassar, Niles Jeran, Philip Kedrowski, Adam Norlander, Kipp Proctor, Alex Reynes, Will Shoutis, Amy R. Sisk, Deborah Courson Smith

Featured on the cover, the Bozeman Audi Big Sky Showroom has sold a number of cars since moving into

Editorial Policy

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

Letter to the Editor Parameters

Big Sky Weekly concentrated regional distribution

The Weekly accepts letters to the editor to give readers a platform to express their views and share ways they would like to effect change. These should not be Thank You notes. Letters should be 250 words or less, respectful, ethical, state accurate facts and figures, and proofread for grammar and content. We reserve the right to edit letters. Include: first and last name, address, phone number and title. Submit to:

ADVERTISING DEADLINE For next issue, March 8 March 1, 2013 CORRECTIONS The Big Sky Weekly runs corrections to errors we’ve printed. Please report them to

Est. 35,000 readers/edition

OUTLAW PARTNERS & THE BIG SKY WEEKLY P.O. Box 160250, Big Sky, MT 59716 (406) 995-2055

© 2013 The Big Sky Weekly Unauthorized reproduction prohibited

Table of Contents Community...4 Local News...9 Regional..12 Montana...14 Health...17 Business...22 Engineer's Corner...24 Outlaw News...26 Classifieds...27 Sports...28 Environment...31

Events..33 Gallery...35 Entertainment...43 Fun...44 Buscrat's Fables...45 Wanderer at Rest...47 Back 40...48 Outdoors...49 Youth...50 Word from the Resorts...52


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4 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Big Sky Weekly

WMPAC garners support from state, Grammy-nominated band Set to be completed by March 1 By JOSEPH T. O'CONNOR

On March 29, the Big Sky Community Theater, a new community troupe, will hold its inaugural performance, Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

big sky weekly editor

BIG SKY – The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center is expected to be complete by the end of February, thanks to recent efforts to push the process along. On Feb. 11, Montana’s Office of Tourism announced plans to give WMPAC a $25,000 e-marketing grant to enhance its online presence. The arts center was among nine programs statewide chosen to receive a portion of $150,000, awarded through MTOT’s Tourism E-Marketing Technology Grant Program. Later that same day, Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Special Consensus played a WMPAC fundraiser at Big Sky Resort’s Big Grass Festival. The show raised approximately $2,000 and will help finish work on the 280-seat theater.

The arts center, which adjoins Ophir and Lone Peak High School, will have multiple functions, operating as an assembly area for students during the day and as a community entertainment venue in the evenings. “This can only be positive for the Big Sky economy,” Zirkle said. WMPAC's artistic director John Zirkle raises excitement over the completion of the facility. Photo courtesy of WMPAC

Special Consensus, nominated the previous night for Bluegrass Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in LA, took the Talus Room stage at the Big Sky Big Grass Festival. “We left LA at 6 a.m. and got into Bozeman around 11:30 [a.m.],” said David Thomas, the band’s bassist from Nashville, Tenn. Proceeds from the show went toward finishing the elevator, carpeting and painting, according to Lone Peak School District Superintendent Jerry House.

Morningstar Fundraising Campaign

“I have no doubt the [WMPAC] will be done in February,” said House,

working closely with construction company Martel to monitor the project. John Zirkle, artistic director for WMPAC who moved from Knoxville, Tenn. in 2009, missed the Special Consensus show to attend the town hall meeting that same night, but was thrilled for the news of the MTOT grant. “Almost every dollar [raised so far] has gone to brick and mortar,” Zirkle said. “This [e-marketing grant] enables us to reach out to people beyond the community. To be recognized at the state level is huge.” The center plans to use the grant money to develop high-definition promotional video material, and to develop its website, as well as to foster community relationships. “We can [now] work with companies in the region to develop a brand and a specified marketing campaign,” he said,

For more information on the Big Sky Community Theater, call Katie Alvin at (406) 581-3470. For information about “Big Sky’s Got Talent,” contact Barbara Rowley at

adding that WMPAC will be ready on March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day, for the center’s first show, a fundraiser for Big Sky Broadway called “Big Sky’s Got Talent.” Special Consensus was nominated at the 2013 Grammy Awards for Bluegrass Album of the Year on Feb. 10 at the Staples Center in LA. At 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, they plugged in at a smaller venue – center court in the Lone Peak High School gymnasium – and put together an impromptu yet rousing performance for Ophir students and faculty.

Special Consensus playing at Ophir school on Feb. 11

The band, who fell short of the award at the Grammy’s, packed the gym, encouraging fans to clap along and quizzing students on bluegrass music and instrument history. “This is from Italy,” announced lead singer and mandolin player Rick

Faris, holding up his instrument. “It was originally strung with spaghetti.” Special Consensus made an hour and a half pit stop at the school en route to their WMPAC fundraiser at Big Sky Resort’s Talus Room later that evening.

All Saints collecting supplies for countries in crises BIG SKY – During the season of Lent, All Saints in Big Sky is collecting items for personal care kits to benefit families that have fled their homes due to violence, as in Syria, or natural disaster, as in Haiti. These refugees are often unable to afford basic hygiene supplies.

March 3 – toothbrushes (adult size, in original packaging)

Lutheran World Relief has asked All Saints to join the Baskets of Promise appeal since their warehouses have been depleted by the many crises around the world in the last year.  

March 24 – collection continues of any items above.

Every Sunday during Lent, All Saints will collect a specific item.  Here is the schedule: Feb. 17 – bars of soap (4-5 ounces, any brand, in original wrapping)

March 10 – combs March 17 – nail clippers (metal, attached file optional)

Personal care kit assembly will take place in the lower level of the chapel on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 26, during Holy Week. Monetary donations are also accepted. This money will be used to buy items necessary to complete the kits or to pay for the postage to ship kits to the LWR warehouse in Minneapolis. 

Feb. 24 – bath towels (lightweight, maximum 52 by 27 inches, dark color recommended)

Morningstar Learning Center has already raised $29,484 since Dec. 1, in a yearlong capital campaign that aims to match $100,000 in donated funds contingent on it reaching that goal.

Corrections In the February 8 Weekly we incorrectly reported the Resort Area Tax Board released the entire balance of the Arts Council of Big Sky’s headliner fund. On Wednesday, Feb. 6 the board released $27,000 of the remaining $57,000, leaving about $30,000 in the headliner account for future programming.


Big Sky Weekly

Terrific kids of Big Sky School District


Students honored for persistence in January BIG SKY – Big Sky School District honored four students for their persistence this January as part of its Student of the Month/Terrific Kids of the Month program. Teachers choose two ‘terrific kids’ from kindergarten through fifth

grades, and two ‘students of the month’ in middle and high school, recognizing them based on a different theme every month. An announcement is made over the intercom, and the students are called into the office to be congratulated.

K-2 Terrific Kid of the Month: Grady Towle

3-5 Terrific Kid of the Month: Riley Becker

Grady Towle has been chosen for the Persistence Award in kindergarten.
As an individual or in a group, Grady goes above and beyond the call of duty to help his classmates, teachers, or anyone who is around him. He is kind, caring and fair. When Grady is given a task he makes sure it is done completely and correctly. Grady is a hard worker, and he does not give up. Grady really likes the City Center in our classroom. He is really into the vehicles that are part of that center, and wants to drive a semi truck. Congratulations, Grady!

Riley Becker is always working hard, turning in all homework (even when she is away at ski school, she calls and completes all missing assignments). She is always paying attention and shows respect to both her peers and her teachers.

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 5

In addition, the K-5 honorees are rewarded with a burger from the Corral and the middle and high school students chosen get pizza from Blue Moon Bakery. Read the teachers’ praises for those honored below.

Ophir Middle School Student of the Month: Brady Hobby

Lone Peak High School Student of the Month: Gabby Michel

At any moment in time, you can bet that Brady is at his desk working. He takes whatever task is assigned, academic or athletic, and chips away till he has accomplished it. Always with a ready smile, Brady is determined and quietly persistent, a model for other students to follow.

Gabby exhibits the characteristic of persistence every day and in many ways. In the classroom, Gabby is a great student who perseveres to accomplish even the most challenging tasks. On the court, she is a team player who brings her best to each game. Gabby is consistently a kind, hard working, and honest person who is a pleasure to be around.

Big Sky Ski Patrol: proficient and professional On Feb. 5, I crashed on the steeps below the big rock on Buffalo Jump at Big Sky Resort while leading my Master the Mountain group. I felt a tug on my left leg and discovered I couldn’t put any weight on it. Rhonda Karl phoned patrol and within a few minutes Nick Armitage was there with a toboggan. He assessed the situation, secured the toboggan with his and my skis staked into the snow, and radioed dispatch that he would not need additional help. 

 After splinting my leg, Armitage leveled the toboggan in the snow, smoothed out the blankets and gently helped me in. We descended the moguls to the base of the Buffalo Jump, where another patroller on a snowmobile towed us across the flats to the next drop on Crazy Horse. Armitage skied the toboggan to the base area, where the snowmobile was waiting to take us to the medical clinic. 

 I tore about 90 percent of my quadriceps tendon, and Dr. Peter Kelleher of Alpine Orthopedic reattached it surgically. My ski season is over, and my recovery should take about six months.  I was impressed by Armitage’s expertise and professionalism. We are privileged to have such a dedicated emergency response team in the Big Sky Ski Patrol. 

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6 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Big Sky Weekly

Profile: Professor Paul

LPHS teacher blends nature, classroom

By JOSEPH T. O'CONNOR big sky weekly editor

BIG SKY – A beaker labeled “pure snow” sits in the sink on the long wall of Paul Swenson’s classroom at Lone Peak High School. At the front of the room, under the periodic table and a cast of a grizzly paw print, the dry erase board reads Molarity = . Beneath is scrawled, “Come up with a procedure.” Swenson, 49, a math and science teacher at LPHS, instills in his students the importance of procedure; and not just as it relates to the world of chemistry. He says interdisciplinary education is key to understanding ideas. “Our philosophy [at LPHS] is you don’t just do science in chemistry class; you don’t just write in English class; you don’t just do math in geometry class,” says Swenson, who helped design the high school curriculum before the doors opened in 2009. “There are overarching themes, and we want students to understand five or six points of view for any [one subject].” Swenson grew up in the Gallatin Valley with teaching in his blood – his father was the head of the physics department at Montana State Uni-

versity for 20 years. His grandfather was principal of Hawthorn Elementary School in Bozeman. But no one knew Swenson would follow suit in academia. He’s an avid outdoorsman, something also instilled in him at a young age while spending summers at a cabin across from the Almart Lodge, now the Cinnamon Lodge, learning lessons only the outdoors can teach. “The day after school Professor Paul and wife Lori hang out with their kids, Solae, Skye and Soren. Courtesy of Paul Swenson would get out [for summer], my mother would take my two MSU in 1998 and now spends winters physics and geophysics. That fall he sisters and me up here,” said Swenson, with Janet in Tuscon, Ariz. Paul’s was received his acceptance notice from who now has three children of his Croaking Toad. Stanford University, where he would own. “By the fourth or fifth grade, I’d earn a master’s in geophysics. He pack a lunch and say, ‘See you tonight, “He’d go to a nearby pond and bring hadn’t expected to get in. Mom.’” these [toads] back and play with them Swenson’s parents, Robert and Janet, nurtured this outdoor interest. “We gave each of the kids Indian names,” said Robert, who retired from

all day,” said the elder Swenson. “Then he’d take them back in the evening.” In 1986, Swenson graduated from MSU with bachelor’s degrees in

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“My favorite professor at MSU told me to apply,” Swenson said. “I knew if I didn't get in I’d get to be a bum for Continued on next page

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Big Sky Weekly

a while, so when I was accepted, I was like, ‘damn.’” Swenson moved to California’s Bay Area, earning his Master of Science in 1988, but he knew the city wasn't for him. He returned to Montana and earned a teaching certificate from MSU after learning Big Sky was planning a high school. “I’d rather spend my time fishing and hiking than going to concerts and riding the train,” he said. When he’s not spending time outdoors with his family, Swenson indulges in what his father calls his “secret life” – music and art. He plays mandolin in the Fish Camp Band, a two-piece ensemble with friend John Gospodarek, of West Yellowstone, and they also play in the West-based Kennedy and the Assassins. As an avid painter, Swenson uses nature as his muse. Teaching has been a natural fit. In 2011 Swenson won the Boyne Excellence in Achievement award for his work with students outside the LPHS classroom. Together with University of Montana geography professor Rick

Graetz, Swenson is connecting LPHS and UM students, encouraging to submit work for publication in university magazines. Graetz says LPHS is successful in part because of the efforts of “Professor Paul” – his nickname for Swenson – and that he could teach at any college in the country. “He’s passionate about science and believes [in] the same stuff I do,” said Graetz, who lives in Big Sky part-time. “I couldn’t possibly do without people like Paul in the field. The kids and the school are lucky to have a guy of his caliber in the school system.” The two are also collaborating on a weeklong student expedition to Glacier National Park in spring, where kids will study the ecology, geology and geography in northern Montana and how the area relates to the Yellowstone region. Swenson feels this format will help his students develop a procedure they’ll be able to use throughout their lives. “When they’re on top of Lone Peak, I want them to know about what they’re looking at – not just white triangles called mountains.”

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 7

School board addresses growing student enrollment By JOSEPH T. O'CONNOR big sky weekly editor

BIG SKY – Talks at the Big Sky School Board’s meeting on Feb. 12 covered a lot of ground, including the creation of a new administrative position at the school and a proposed bond to accommodate the growing student population. Meeting reports and board comments continually pointed back to this increase in the student body. In this vein, the board approved a proposal to bring on an assistant principal to help spread the workload and to eventually succeed Big Sky School District Superintendent Jerry House. House researched similar-sized schools and found most have two school administrators for every 200 students. At Ophir, there’s one for 252. Also at the meeting, House had his contract extended for two years, a proposal that passed unanimously. “He makes us look good, and makes processes easier,” said School Board Chairman Loren Bough who, along with Vice-chair Laura Michels, is up for re-election on May 7. “We are

fortunate to have Jerry for two more years.” Since 2000, the district’s enrollment has expanded from about 100 students to 252 this year. “We’re the fastest growing school district in the state,” Bough said. Bough said the classrooms are crowded and the student-to-teacher ratio is poor. One current plan includes moving computers out of a 1,000-square-foot room to make it a classroom, and the computer lab into a 400-square-foot space. But this is merely a shotgun reaction to one example of a larger issue, and the board is looking for a longerterm solution. A Facilities Planning Committee, who is researching the plausibility of a new building for younger students, met on Feb. 21, after Weekly press time, to discuss options. Bough expects the committee to make a recommendation to the school board in March. “We have a math teacher [instructing] in the film/TV production lab,” said House, echoing Bough’s comments. “People don’t understand that we don’t have just 100 kids anymore.”

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Big Sky Weekly

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Big Sky Weekly

local news

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 9

Group proposes critical access hospital for Big Sky By emily stifler

big sky weekly managing editor

BIG SKY – This may be the only ski resort community of its caliber in the country without access to a nearby 24-hour health care facility. A group of local health care professionals hopes to change that. “When we did our community health survey [in 2011], a big concern was access to healthcare,” said Women in Action Executive Director Lisa Beczkiewicz. “It’s something the community has said we need.” Together with former hospital administrator Jack Eakman, WIA, a local health and human services nonprofit, is leading the charge to conduct an independent feasibility study that would determine if Big Sky could support a CAH. Eakman, a Board Certified HealthCare Executive, started looking into the project in 2010. Working as a consultant for the Big Sky Fire Department, he recognized how much of a toll the ambulance runs to Bozeman were taking on the department’s resources. Initially the group thought an expanded urgent care or a 24-7 emergency room might make sense, but after Eakman did some research, he found “we were close to having the full-time, year round population necessary to support a critical access hospital.” He also found “we were the only destination ski resort community in the country that does not have at least a CAH.” Designed to bring 24-hour medical service to rural communities 40 miles from the nearest hospital, critical access hospitals are reimbursed through Medicare and Medicaid. Depending on need and funding, a range of services can be provided, with up to 25 beds, swing beds for longer-term care, and rehabilitative, inpatient and mental health services. There are 46 such facilities in Montana, including in Red Lodge and Ennis, Columbus and Whitefish. Community need “From a fire department point of view it would make our lives a lot easier,” said Big Sky Fire Chief Bill Farhat of a CAH. The department is responsible for transporting emergency victims via ambulance to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital – a trip that takes 3 ½ hours – and has been stretched thin in recent years, unable to meet basic

legal requirements to respond to fires or multiple medical calls. Farhat hopes to add five firefighters in the next couple years, something he says the department will need regardless. “In the long term, our needs are better served by having a hospital here, rather than growing the fire department [further] to have it shuttling people back and forth to Bozeman. [We’d be] gaining ground, rather than using Band-Aids.” Big Sky’s three practicing physicians have also voiced support for the idea. “I sent one patient to [Deaconess] last week that we could have taken care of with a critical access hospital easily,” said Dr. Maren Dunn, owner of Gallatin Family Medical. Dunn previously worked in Cascade, Idaho, home to 920 permanent residents and Tamarack ski area. With Boise’s hospital 70 miles away by river canyon, Cascade’s CAH was a backbone of the community, Dunn said. “There’s plenty of illness here,” she said of Big Sky. “It would support our older residents and allow people who really want to stick around to do so without being a burden on family members or community.” A CAH would add aspects of care that are difficult to provide now, said Dr. Jesse Coil, a physician with the Medical Clinic of Big Sky. “Ambulance transport is a huge reason in my mind – to not have to take every patient to Bozeman that goes in an ambulance.” Both said having access to a CT scanner and lab services would be a major benefit, allowing assessment of head and spinal injuries and blood work. Dr. Jeff Daniels owns the Medical Clinic of Big Sky and has been serving Big Sky for 19 years. While he agrees a CAH would benefit the community, he’s not sure it would be affordable. “I have a very busy practice, but most of those people don’t need a critical access hospital,” Daniels said. “Economically, I don’t think we’re that busy.” In the big picture, however, Farhat says such a facility could be an economic boon to the town. “We could provide better customer service for tourism. If someone were injured during skiing, the resorts better serve them by staying here

rather than going over an hour away for help. It helps the community be more attractive for investment and visiting, and it provides jobs. It’s the keystone to the future of a growing and thriving community.”

Prudent planning is imperative, Eakman said, to ensure the facility is the appropriate size, should it prove to be feasible.

Feasibility study

Both Billings Clinic and Bozeman Deaconess – which operates a pharmacy in Big Sky and owns land in the Town Center – presented at the Feb. 11 resort tax town hall meeting. “My preference would be to keep this discussion in Big Sky,” Eakman wrote in an email. “The agenda we hold is to explore, plan, develop and institute a higher level of healthcare access and convenience to Big Sky. It will round out our services, better invite visitors to our area, and become a magnet for other ventures that align with healthcare.”

Eakman and Women in Action, through a WIA subcommittee, will apply for $120,000 in Big Sky Resort Tax money to fund an independent feasibility study for the project. WIA has estimated the feasibility study will cost $145,000. A six-stage program, it would “precisely answer what this community can afford and support,” Beczkiewicz said in an email. Components would include a community philanthropic assessment, a strategic program and sizing plan, long term financial forecasting, site recommendations, medical staff operations, and potential partnership assessments and recommendations. “It will be an action document,” Beczkiewicz said, “complete in its findings and sufficiently prescriptive, that the community can proceed with the best options available …” 

Health care providers

An independent facility unaffiliated with another hospital, he said, “would not allow for strategic mistakes of even the smallest kind.” In the town hall meeting, resort tax board member Mike Scholz told the audience of approximately 130 that “the board does not make a decision regarding hospitals. All of the functions that happen with the community start with you. We’re just here with funding … We think it’s good that we have these conversations so everyone understand the possibilities.”

10 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013

local news

Big Sky Weekly

Big Sky talks big ideas

20 resort tax applicants discuss future plans at town hall meeting By emily stifler

big sky weekly managing editor

BIG SKY – The Montana Room at Buck’s T-4 was packed with movers and shakers from the Big Sky community on Feb. 11 for the second of two town hall meetings hosted by the Big Sky Resort Tax Board. “We have a community here of really decentralized government,” said resort tax board member Mike Scholz in his

which shows cash flow requirements for each over the next three years, as well as future projects.

rodeos and concerts. “That’s the kind of thing we’re trying to flush out through this process,” he said.

It gave “a clear sense of where the community will be in the next four years,” said RTB chairman Les Loble. “It also shows that certain organizations’ responsibilities and desires overlap,” he said, using the Big Sky Community Corp. and the Big Sky Skating and Hockey Association as examples.

Another organization envisioning longterm changes was the Big Sky Transportation District, represented by Ennion Williams. “The goal is to eliminate the empty bus syndrome,” Williams said, noting the group wants to gear the system to bet-

Senate Bill 209 A bill currently before the 2013 state legislature would grant the Big Sky Resort Tax Area District bonding authority. This would allow the Big Sky community to fund a large, long-term project. Some of the ideas being discussed currently are a recreational center/concert venue and a more advanced health care facility. Senate Bill 209, sponsored by Sen. Ron Arthun, R-Wilsall, passed the Senate 41-9 and has been sent to the House, where it will be heard in March. If the bill passes, the amount pledged annually to repay bonds cannot exceed 25 percent of the average of the previous five years’ resort tax collections.

people in 2012; the new facility hopes to help the 400 others it hasn’t reached. “Food banks are here to ensure food security, not only addressing issues of hunger and knowing where the next meal is going to come from, but to lead people on a path out of poverty,” Trzinski said.

The Feb. 11 Town Hall meeting at Buck's T-4 Photo by Joseph t. O'Connor

introductory speech. He pointed to the 20 organizations present that night, most of which are applying for resort tax funding this year. “We really work through all of these organizations in trying to give a collective vision by having these meetings… The resort tax board appropriates money to help you out… We don't decide what happens in this community, we just help fund it.” A leader from each organization gave a five-minute presentation on the group’s mission and upcoming projects, with opportunity for comment from the public and the resort tax board. The RTB also mentioned an organizational survey collected from applicants,

Both are looking at building major recreational centers – an aquatic center and an indoor skating arena/concert facility – and Loble suggested there might be room for collaboration. “From a community-wide perspective, most major ski resorts – the ones that compete with Big Sky – have ice facilities,” said Gary Hermann, representing the BSSHA. “[These are] permanent, enclosed facilities that they use for many things.” BSSHA is looking for private funding, Hermann noted. A multipurpose facility like this “sounds like a game changer for Big Sky,” commented RTB member Jamey Kabisch. He conjured up a fairgroundstype setting with an ice skating facility and bleachers to accommodate summer

ter suit tourists. Ideas include a “chuck wagon bus,” to serve restaurants and other businesses by offering door-todoor service, and extending Skyline’s night bus service to 2 a.m. to reduce drunk driving. The group is also looking at other revenue streams. The Big Sky Food Bank, founded in fall 2012, is a new player this year among resort tax applicants. The organization is part of the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, which operates under the nonprofit Human Resources Development Council. Director Tim Trzinski cited census data that showed a third of Big Sky’s approximately 2,100 residents live below the poverty level. He did the math: The Gallatin Valley Food Bank served 300

He pointed to housing and energy assistance as areas where the HRDC has expertise, and noted a recently established partnership with the local Women in Action, which established a new drug and alcohol counseling service for Big Sky. “We’re here to listen, to learn about the community and what’s needed. [We want to be] a strong and crucial partner to the success of Big Sky and Gallatin County,” Trzinski said. In closing, Loble said the evening’s presentations gave “a sense of the breadth and depth of commitment of so many people in the Big Sky to the community and what makes it a wonderful place to live.” Resort tax applications are due April 3. Following that, the board will hold a question and answer session with applicants on May 8 at 11 a.m., location TBA. The final appropriations will occur on June 12.

Lori Swenson is Ophir’s new Parent Liaison BIG SKY – After several months of searching, the Big Sky School District has found its parent liaison.

Swenson, an occupational therapist with experience working in multiple school systems.

Resident Lori Swenson will fill the newly created position, designed to help parents and teachers communicate, problem-solve and work as partners in children’s success.

She will facilitate Love and Logic parenting classes, provide parents with information about community resources, help them navigating the school system, and support families based on their individual needs.

“Our goal is to develop a partnership between school and home to empower everyone involved to develop strong and successful children,” said

Long-term program goals are to increase family stability, student success and graduation rates.

A partnership between two local nonprofits, Women In Action and Thrive, created the program; it was designed as a companion program to the CAP mentoring program, also new this year, which uses a preventative empowerment model of working with parents, schools and the community. Swenson and her family have lived in Big Sky for four years.

20 years serving the Big Sky market.

local news

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 11

Visit Big Sky elects inaugural board BIG SKY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Board of Directors

BIG SKY – During its third organization meeting on Feb. 7, Visit Big Sky, the newly formed destination-marketing arm for the community of Big Sky, elected a group of 13 to serve as its inaugural board members. The board will oversee finances, policies and practices, strategic planning and advertising for both winter and summer.

Bob Foster; General Manager, Lone Mountain Ranch

VBS was born out of a necessity to streamline efforts for community summer and winter advertising programs. “The process has been seamless,” said Catherine Gilb, chair-elect for the organization. “We had our first meeting in November and at that time everyone made a commitment to work together with the understanding that beginnings are most important. We are off to a great start.” The board of directors was elected to a one-year term. Each made a commitment to help with organizational matters, near-term marketing plans and recommendations for seating a final board, with staggered terms in 2014. VBS advisory committees, also newly appointed, will execute projects initiated by the board to help drive marketing and strategic planning. VBS is encouraging community members to join the committees. Interested parties can send a letter of interest to

Executive Committee Chairman: Catherine Gilb, Director of Marketing Big Sky Luxury Rentals, Shuttle to Big Sky and Taxi, Yellowstone Luxury Tours, Alpine Property Management Vice-Chairman: Ennion Williams, General Manager, Big Sky Vacation Rentals Treasurer: John Richardson, General Manager, 320 Guest Ranch

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Lyndsey Owens; Marketing Manager, Big Sky Resort Brandon Bang; Director of Sales and Marketing, Big Sky Resort Katie Morrison; Operations Director, Outlaw Partners Jeremy Fatarous; General Manager, The Lodge at Big Sky

Advisory Committees Partnership Committee Chairman: Brandon Bang, Director of Sales and Marketing, Big Sky Resort Consumer Advertising Implementation Committee Chairman: Lyndsey Owens, Marketing Manager, Big Sky Resort Marketing Plan Committee Chairman: Catherine Gilb, Big Sky Luxury Rentals, Shuttle to Big Sky and Taxi, Yellowstone Luxury Tours, Alpine Property Management Website Development and Maintenance Chairman: Karen Lum, Moonlight Basin Interim Procedural and By-Laws Committee Chairman: John Richardson, 320 Guest Ranch

Secretary: Ryan Hamilton, Project Manager, Big Sky Town Center

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History Annex Open House

Craig Smit, Broker 406.581.5751

Kevin Butler, Broker 406.570.3890 Contact us for a Big Sky Market update. Scott Carpenter, portraying Old Man Crail, debating a fine detail of local history with Hannah Johansen and Don Woods at the recent History Annex Open House. The History Annex is located in Big Sky's Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Photo by Gabrielle Gassar

12 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Big Sky Weekly

Sequestration: Budget cuts would affect YNP

Repercussions would be felt by surrounding communities, regions and states from Yellowstone Country, Big Sky and West Yellowstone have developed a consortium of tourism partnerships in surrounding communities.

By maria wyllie

big sky weekly editorial assistant

Projected National Park Service budget cuts have left Yellowstone and surrounding gateway communities unsure of what to expect for summer 2013.

The group is asking various organizations, businesses and individuals to inform their congressmen of the potential impacts on the visitor experience and on revenue for Montana and surrounding states. It has also formed a communications network so accurate information can be released to the public.

Tied to sequestration – the automatic 5 percent decrease in U.S. government defense and domestic spending scheduled for March 1 – the NPS cuts mean Yellowstone would lose $1.75 million in annual funding. However, repercussions extend far beyond the park boundaries.

Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Director Kitty Clemens emphasized just how important this is.

Yellowstone officials have been instructed not to speak with media since an internal NPS memo from Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis leaked on Jan. 25, asking NPS officials to develop a plan detailing how the cuts will impact visitor services and surrounding gateway communities. Media inquiries have been directed to NPS Chief Spokesman Jeffrey Olson, in Washington, who released the following statement: “Local communities and businesses that rely on recreation to support their livelihoods would face a loss of income from reduced visitation to national parks. Some 280 million people visit national parks each year, and their spending alone supports 247,000 jobs and a $31 billion economic impact, mostly in local economies.” Congress and President Obama initially agreed to the sequestration law in 2011 hoping the threat of cuts would bring about a compromise to lower the deficit. But since Washington has failed to reach an agreement, many elected officials and concerned organizations believe the March 1 deadline for $85 billion in immediate cuts will not be averted. Although Yellowstone hasn’t released information regarding how it would deal with the possible budget cuts, a sequestration for national parks would in general mean reduced hours, shorter seasons, a reduction of staff and the possible closing of recreational areas, according to Olson. Additionally, sequestration would take place at a difficult time – right as parks are gearing up to open for the summer season. “Changes to open and/or closing dates, plowing schedules, etc. will have a direct and immediate eco-

“We’re holding our breath that we don’t have to deal with an acrossthe-board sequestration, but if we do, we will be unified in our message saying we’re still open for business,” Clemens said.

Old Faithful Geyser in winter

"Some 280 million people visit national parks each year, and their spending alone supports 247,000 jobs and a $31 billion economic impact, mostly in local economies.” nomic impact on our communities, the state and the region, as well as the customer experience,” wrote Donna Rowland, Director of the Cooke City Chamber of Commerce, in an email. Danny Bierschwale, Board President of the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce, echoed this sentiment saying Gardiner, the only yearround gateway community, heavily relies upon tourism generated by those traveling in and out of Yellowstone. But the reach is much broader, says Jan Stoddard, Director of Marketing for the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce and President of the regional tourism nonprofit Yellowstone Country.

billion in the state. According to the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, this directly supports $2.54 billion of economic activity and an additional $1.52 billion of indirect impact. “We want visibility attached to the importance of what happens when you have dramatic cuts of $1.75 million in nine months in the park,” Stoddard said. Although communities can’t do much to prepare until the decision is made March 1, representatives

Crisis management is not new territory for the tourism industry, she said, noting similar waiting processes when dealing with forest fires, evacuations and other natural disasters. “We have a 30-day window to wrap our arms around what senior management decides to do once sequestration is announced, so we can react accordingly.” One national group, the Coalition of NPS Retirees, has been particularly outspoken against sequestration’s impact on national parks. Sequestration would “devastate the national parks of America, hurt local economies and create job loss,” said Joan Anzelmo, the coalition’s official spokesperson. “It will change the experience Americans have come to expect from national parks.” Yellowstone hasn’t released information on what it intends to do with the cuts.

The following 10 national parks are potentially facing some of the most severe annual cuts: Yellowstone National Park – $1.75 million

“Yellowstone is the primary draw for first time visitors coming to Montana, so the budget cuts don’t just impact West Yellowstone,” she said, pointing to Bozeman and Billings, which are major transportation hubs for Yellowstone travelers.

National Mall and Memorial Park (Washington, D.C.) – $1.6 million

In 2012, non-resident visitors to Montana spent an estimated $3.19

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia) – $622,000

Yosemite National Park (California) – $1.43 million Gateway National Recreation Area (New York) – $1.25 million Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – $1.06 million Independence National Historic Park (Pennsylvania) – $1.18 million Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee) – $944,000 Everglades National Park (Florida) – $841,000 Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota) – $201,000


Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 13

MSU receives $3.1 million for scholarships University named one of “100 Best College Buys”


Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 13

pick your pearls.

msu news service

BOZEMAN – The Montana State University Alumni Foundation has received $3.1 million from the estate of Warren and Phyllis Howe of San Francisco to support student scholarships. The announcement coincided with the 120th anniversary of MSU's founding on Feb. 16.   In 1996, the Howes, both MSU alumni established the Warren and Phyllis Howe Scholarship at MSU to support students pursuing degrees in agriculture, engineering, nursing, and family and consumer sciences. Warren died in 2006 at the age of 101 and Phyllis died in 2012 at 98.       MSU this year also set a new spring enrollment record, with 13,700 students enrolled for the spring semester – nearly 400 more than the previous record in 2012. The school has set new spring records enrollment the last five years.   The university was also recently named to “America’s 100 Best College Buys,” a list recognizing select colleges and universities for quality and affordability. Approximately 1,500 schools were analyzed in the study, which used academic performance data from the freshman class, as well as the cost of education for out-of-state students. MSU was the only school in Montana to be included on the list.

Montana Office of Tourism seeks feedback for new strategic plan HELENA – The Montana Office of Tourism has drafted its first version of the 2013-2017 Montana Tourism and Recreation Strategic Plan and is asking tourism stakeholders to help refine and polish it into something that can lead to continued success for the state’s tourism industry. The new plan will build on the foundation of the previous one, which provided direction for much of the work that Montana’s tourism and recreation partners have accomplished over the last decade. The MTOT survey asks stakeholders to weigh in with concerns about the plan’s listed goals, strategies or strategic actions, whether there is anything missing from the plan, and if anything is unclear or confusing. An online survey comment form has been created to manage and collect comments, which must be submitted by Feb. 28. Both the draft and survey can be found at the Weekly’s daily news site, The survey comment form asks viewers to address one comment at a time and to provide rationale for each in the subsequent comment box. The form will collect up to 25 individual comments. In the final document, all citations will be placed in a bibliography. However, for now citations have been included in the text so reviewers who want more background information can easily request the document. For more information, visit the Montana Strategic Plan homepage at

Local anthropologist honored

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HELENA – The Governor's Humanities Awards, held in Helena on Feb. 21, honored several Montana historians. Among them was Livingston anthropologist, Dr. Larry Lahren. In his book, Homeland, Lahren details his excavations of Indian occupation sites in Paradise Valley. B I G S K Y, M T | P A C I F I C P A L I S A D E S , C A Dr. Lahren's advice assisted local authors Mistretta and Jeff Strickler with the first chapter "Early Contacts" in their recently published book, Images of America: Big Sky. The Governor's Humanities Award was established in 1995 by Gov. Marc Racicot to honor achievement in humanities scholarship and service.

Private appointments and trunk shows available.

14 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Big Sky Weekly

2013 Montana legislative roundup Weeks five and six By amy r. sisk

restrict the use of drones. They worry the devices could fly over a person’s property, recording data or taking photographs without the property owner’s knowledge.

university of montana community news service

HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock’s bill to construct new buildings and make renovations at college campuses and other public facilities passed its first test during the fifth week of the Montana legislative session.

Another drone-related measure, Senate Bill 150, passed the Senate during week five. That bill would prevent information collected by drones from being used in court proceedings. It would also prohibit governments in Montana from using drones armed with weapons.

House Bill 14, also known as the Jobs and Opportunities by Building Schools bill, made it out of an appropriations subcommittee with a 4-2 vote. It next moved to the House Appropriations Committee, and then must pass the full House and Senate with a two-thirds vote in each chamber before the governor can sign it into law. Bullock estimates the building projects would create 2,500 jobs. The state would fund the new facilities with nearly $100 million in state bonds, and the institutions would need to raise $56.5 million in private money. A similar bonding measure failed to pass the 2011 Legislature. In another appropriations subcommittee, legislators and higher education officials discussed a new idea to make some school funding dependent on student performance. Under the plan, the university system would develop standards over the next year to measure student achievement. The university system would decide how to allocate $7.5 million among its institutions in 2015. During the session, lawmakers have floated several ideas to combat the so-called “dark money” responsible for many of the attack ads during the 2012 election. During week six, the governor stepped up to the plate. In a press conference, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and Sen. Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, unveiled their bipartisan plan to shed light on anonymous campaign contributions. The Transparency, Reporting and Accountability in Elections and Campaigns (TRACE) Act would require any political organization that mentions a candidate’s name to disclose its donors, including federally recognized nonprofits. The TRACE Act would prohibit corporations and unions from donating directly to candidates. Those that sponsor so-called independent ads calling for a candidate’s defeat would have to report the names of board members and shareholders owning more than 10 percent of the company’s stock. Donors who give more than $2,000 in two years to groups that make political expenditures would be subject to disclosure.

Campaign finance House Bill 254, sponsored by Rep. Rob Cook, would require campaign materials like television ads and fliers contain a disclaimer when funded by anonymous sources.

(From left) Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel, confers with Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, during a hearing on a gun rights bill last week.

The bill would increase the amount individuals can donate, allowing candidates for governor to accept up to $2,000 from a political committee or individual. Candidates for statewide races could accept up to $1,000, and others up to $500. The measure also would remove limits on money a legislative candidate can accept from political committees. Peterson said the bill would guarantee a more open government. “The beauty of this bill is that it treats everyone alike,” he said. In a prepared response, Senate President Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, said he looks forward to discussing the proposal, but stressed that Montanans elected legislators to focus on solutions that will make it easier to find jobs. Here’s a look at other highlights from the session’s fifth and sixth weeks:

Business equipment tax Small business leaders support Bullock’s plan to eliminate the property tax on businesses with less than $100,000 in equipment. Rep. Mary McNally, D-Billings, brought the governor’s proposal to the House Taxation Committee last week. House Bill 332 would exempt more than 10,000 small businesses from the tax. Currently, only businesses with less than $20,000 in equipment don’t pay the tax. Businesses above that amount pay a 2 percent tax on the value of their equipment. “These are dollars I would like to put toward expanding my wholesale business or paying my seniors who are starting college next fall at UM or

MSU,” said Anna Doran, who owns Big Dipper Ice Cream in Helena and supports the bill. Although no one spoke against it, several proponents and legislators expressed concern that the bill provides no relief for businesses above the $100,000 threshold. That means that a business with $101,000 in equipment would pay tax on the entire value of its equipment, not merely on the $1,000 exceeding the threshold. A competing proposal, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Tutvedt, R-Kalispell, passed the Senate last week. Senate Bill 96 would reduce the tax rate to 1.5 percent for companies with less than $10 million in equipment and continue to exempt businesses with less than $20,000. Companies with equipment valued at more than $10 million would pay a 3 percent rate.

Drones The debate surrounding the nonmilitary use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, has reached the Montana Legislature where lawmakers are seeking to restrict their potential use by individuals or governments. The Senate Judiciary Committee last week endorsed Senate Bill 196, sponsored by Sen. Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive. The bill would prohibit individuals from using drones to collect information on their neighbors, and law enforcement could not use the devices without a search warrant. Government agencies could still use them to monitor public lands and international borders. During a hearing, Rosendale and supporters from the American Civil Liberties Union and Montana County Attorneys Association cited an individual’s right to privacy as reason to

“I think the voter has the right to know that these groups are out there, that they prey on voters, and that we should do something about it,” he said during a hearing in front of the House State Administration Committee. He also presented another measure, House Bill 255, which would require political action committees to submit a summary of expenditures to donors upon request. Guns in schools Under a proposal before the House Judiciary Committee during week five, students would be able to keep firearms locked in their cars on school property. Rep. Jerry O’Neil, R-Columbia Falls, said House Bill 384 would put state law in compliance with the federal Gun Free School Act, which creates an exemption for school districts to decide whether to expel students who bring guns to school on a caseby-case basis. “It also allows a student in rural Montana to take a gun in the trunk of their car and maybe do some hunting on the way to school or hunt on the way back home,” he said. Opponents from the Montana School Boards Association and MEA-MFT teachers union argued that guns have no place in school. They said it’s unlikely any school board would support the measure, adding that students facing disciplinary action for bringing a weapon to campus already have the right to a hearing.

Physician-assisted Suicide A Missoula lawmaker is renewing an effort to ensure the legality of physicianassisted suicide. Sen. Dick Barrett, a Democrat, is sponsoring Senate Bill 220 to clarify Montana’s end-of-life law following a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling.

Big Sky Weekly

Proponents said the court’s decision did not legalize physician-assisted suicide; rather, it stated physician-assisted suicide was already legal. SB 220 would guide doctors so they don’t have to make sense of the lengthy court ruling, they said. The measure would allow doctors to prescribe end-of-life treatment to terminally ill patients, but it would not require that they do so. “Just as we respect the autonomy and privacy of patients to make their own decisions based on their own values and beliefs, we must respect providers in the same way and not require them to do anything against their conscience,” Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Proponents said it could lead to elder abuse and deprive patients of long lives if their prognoses were incorrect. A similar measure failed to pass the 2011 Montana Legislature. Washington and Oregon are the only other states to allow physician-assisted suicide. Voters approved both laws through ballot measures.

Death Penalty Lawmakers heard powerful stories on both sides of the death penalty debate during a hearing on House Bill 370, a renewed effort to abolish the practice. A man from Detroit told the House Judiciary Committee he had been wrongly accused of murder in 1974 and was nine days away from the gas chamber when the real murderer experienced an epiphany and confessed to the crime. He now advocates abolishing the death penalty. On the other side, Rep. Tom Berry, R-Roundup, told the committee about the torture and murder of his 17-yearold son. He said the threat of the death penalty helped prosecutors obtain a guilty plea from their son’s murderer, thus preventing a lengthy and emotionally draining trial.

Medical Marijuana An effort to clarify Montana’s contentious 2011 medical marijuana law was blocked during week six when the House Human Services Committee tabled four bills. A district judge has placed an injunction on several parts of the 2011 law, effectively preventing several provisions from taking effect until the court makes an official ruling. Those provisions – addressed by House Bills 340, 341, 342 and 343 – would remove the requirement for a review of physicians who write more than 25 medical marijuana prescriptions, allow for compensation of medical marijuana providers, remove limits on the number of patients a provider can serve, and eliminate recordkeeping requirements and unannounced inspections. The bills’ sponsor, Rep. Kelly McCarthy, D-Billings, wanted to wipe those

provisions from the current law. He and others argued the changes would save time and money in court proceedings and legal fees. Opponents said the 2011 law, upheld by voters in November, is keeping the industry under control in Montana and stressed the court should make final decisions on the provisions.

Abortion Right to life advocates want the Legislature to take parental notification before a minor has an abortion one step further. Voters approved parental notification in November, with 71 percent voting in favor. Now House Bill 391, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Bennett, R-Libby, would require a parent to give permission for a child under 18 to have an abortion. Proponents told the House Judiciary Committee the bill would empower parents to protect their children by encouraging conversations about a pregnant daughter’s options. They argued teens often don’t pass along important medical information to doctors because they don’t know their medical histories. They also said parents can help identify medical complications resulting from an abortion. Opponents said the measure violates an individual’s right to privacy and could lead to more teens engaging in unsafe abortions away from a medical clinic. They also said most teens – upward of 90 percent – who have an abortion discuss it with their parents.

Medicaid Expansion A Butte Democrat wants Montana to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, which would serve an estimated 70,000 uninsured Montanans. At a press conference during week six, Rep. Pat Noonan said House Bill 458 could lead to 5,000 new health care jobs in its first year.


Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 15

Montana exports continue record highs office of the governor

HELENA – Montana's international commodity exports remained steady for 2012, maintaining the record of $1.6 billion set in 2011. The 2012 figure is a 13 percent increase over the state's last record set in 2008. Mineral fuel exports, namely coal and petroleum, were strong export commodities. This category increased 6 percent over 2011 figures and fetched a total of $397 million in export sales.

Mineral fuel exports, namely coal and petroleum, were strong export commodities. This category increased 6 percent over 2011 figures and fetched a total of $397 million in export sales.

Other exports with strong increases over 2011 included milling products such as malt barley, which expanded 351 percent, mostly exported to Canada. Pharmaceutical products, vegetables and live animal exports also had substantial gains.

Canada remained the state's top export destination and the largest importer of light oils and petroleum products, followed by China and the Republic of Korea, the largest importer of Montana coal. Belgium moved up from ninth to fourth place with an increase of 159 percent over 2011, largely due to its interest in Montana pharmaceutical commodities. Final analysis is not complete for the state's 2012 bulk wheat exports but overall, it remains Montana's leading export, followed by coal and oil, inorganic chemicals, industrial machinery, vehicles/parts, Portland cement, talc, and pharmaceutical products.

Bring the greater Yellowstone to Your doorstep

“If we refuse this opportunity, some other state is going to expand their health coverage for their citizens on the backs of Montana taxpayers and on the backs of our local hospitals,” he said. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, each state must choose whether to accept federal money to expand the low-income health care program. The federal government would pick up the tab for the first three years; then states would gradually increase their contributions until they pay 10 percent in 2020. Noonan thinks some Republicans will back the measure. So far, Republican governors in six states have supported Medicaid expansion.

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Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 17

Section 2:

business, health and environment

Volume 4 // Issue No. 3

OZssage: Serenity now Treatments in the Serenity Suite range from an array of massages and foot scrubs to an infrared sauna and the latest in facial skincare Photos by Tyler Busby

By JOSEPH T. O'CONNOR big sky weekly editor

BIG SKY – Jacquie Rager moved from Sydney, Australia to Big Sky in December 1999, but she’s remained true to her roots. She still has her Aussie accent and humor, and has integrated themes from her mother country into OZssage Therapeutic Massage and Day Spa, which she opened in 2003. In February 2009, OZssage moved into the Big Sky Health and Fitness building in the Meadow Village. An Australian gum tree photo printed on canvas hangs in the foyer; dried grasses and Aboriginal musical instruments adorn the Australia room, and a kangaroo on skis brands the spa. “Before I moved to Big Sky, I taught skiing in Australia, Austria and Canada,” says the accomplished masseuse, acupuncturist and wellness guru. “That’s how I got into massage.” The spa, originally comprised of a steam room and four unique treatment rooms, has been successful, Rager says – she now has 10 employees and treats an average of 70 clients during a busy week. A recent addition to the establishment has boosted business again.

“[The idea is to] physically and mentally put a robe on,” she said. “It’s a total escape.” Treatments in the Serenity Suite range from an array of massages and foot scrubs to an infrared sauna and the latest in facial skincare, the Australian-made Intraceuticals. Rager’s new Intraceuticals machine infuses moisture, antioxidants and vitamins into the skin – the treatment has been made popular by models and celebs, notably Madonna and Justin Timberlake. Erica Jennings, owner of Sisson Designs in Big Sky, was gifted a complete spa treatment from her husband on Valentine’s Day. The surprise present sold her on Intraceuticals. “The facial treatment was the best part [of a] wonderfully relaxing evening,” Jennings said. “I had no idea [the gift] was coming.” Intraceuticals moistens skin ravaged by southwest Montana’s dry, windy weather. Not using it would be like running a car without oil, Rager says. “It’s awesome in Big Sky,” she said, praising the treatment’s instant moisturizing effects. “When you’re taking a trip, you first hit the petrol station and fill up on petrol and oil. People [tend to] do the opposite with their

On Dec. 24, OZssage finished construction on the new 1,200-squarefoot Serenity Suite, a JapaneseThe Barefoot Spa includes therapeutic foot treatments based on Eastern techniques. inspired open room located just bodies.” off the foyer. The next day, Christmas, the addition saw 15 massages. One of the massage treatments offered in the Serenity Suite, teashi is a blend of Eastern masOpen the door and a rock walkway leads into a hardsage techniques that includes Thai and shiatsu. wood floor space complete with a Zen sand garden, Clients receive this treatment on queen-sized soothing Asian melodies in the background. Here, massage tables handmade by local builder Shawn you’ll trade your street clothes for a traditional wrap Gale. A masseuse hangs by bars above the tables – and slippers. It’s a metaphor for exiting the outside also built by Gale – and performs this ancient art world, Rager says.

A patron receives a Teashi massage, a blend of Eastern massage techniques that includes Thai and shiatsu.

with her feet. The wide tables allow the artist to manipulate clients to reach affected muscles. Rager designed the private and soundproof Serenity Suite as a place for a personalized spa experience that accommodates couples, wedding parties, large ski groups or families. OZssage offers regular yoga classes, which started again Feb. 20 after a brief hiatus, as well as in-home massage options. “We’ll tailor to a person’s needs,” said Rager, who likes the idea of customizing her clients’ experience. “People present what they want, and I’ll make slight adjustments to fit their time [and] budget.” Patrons can even bring in wine or Champagne, or enjoy complimentary tea and water as they meander through their spa day. For more information visit or call (406) 995-7575.

18 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Big Sky Weekly

Ask Dr. Dunn Affordable Care Act By maren dunn

big sky weekly health writer

Is it true that preventive services like wellness exams, vaccines and birth control are now covered by my insurance plan? – Nancy, Big Sky The Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” has caused quite a stir in the health insurance marketplace. While it is a complex piece of legislation, many parts of the law have already gone into effect, producing multiple benefits for consumers. Since 2011, preventive care for insured patients has been free. Deductibles and co-pays don’t apply to yearly wellness exams, most vaccines, or screening for things such as high cholesterol, diabetes and sexually transmitted infections. Cancer screenings through colonoscopies, mammograms and pap smears are also covered. As of August 2012, ACA requires new or renewed insurance plans to cover the cost of birth control and sterilization procedures. For women, this includes oral contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices, among others. Breast-feeding support and supplies and routine pregnancy blood testing are covered at no additional cost. This means you will not be charged a co-pay at the pharmacy or in the office. Insured people are also covered at no cost for screening and counseling services relating to alcohol abuse, depression, weight loss and domestic violence. Screening and treatment for tobacco use also falls into the preventive services category.

The ACA mandates accountability from insurance companies in order to protect you, the consumer. One example is the 80/20 rule: 80 cents of each premium dollar must be spent on your healthcare or improvements to care. If insurance companies fail to meet this standard, they must provide rebates to their customers. Over $1 billion has already been distributed back to consumers. Additionally, if an insurance company wants to raise its premium rates by 10 percent or more, it must publically justify the increase while exposing this information. All 50 states have been given the power to review and block rate hikes. If you’ve been denied insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions, you’ve encountered a frustration that’s receiving attention. Under the ACA, state and federal insurance plans have been developed called Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans. To qualify for a PCIP, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant, have been uninsured for at least six months, and either have a pre-existing condition or been denied coverage because of health problems. Furthermore, the law states that children cannot be denied private insurance coverage due to preexisting conditions. And if you’re 26 years old or younger, you can stay on your parents’ insurance plan. So far, this measure alone has allowed more than 3 million young adults to retain health insurance. In the past, many people suffered financial consequences from hitting their insurance limits, or had their coverage dropped mid-illness. In response, the

ACA outlawed lifetime cost limits. As of January 2014, yearly coverage limits will also be banned. Moreover, insurance companies cannot take away your coverage when you get sick. The ACA also made many other changes to the healthcare industry. To find out more, visit or call your insurance company. Be sure you and your family are taking full advantage of all benefits available to you. To contact the state of Montana’s PCIP program, call (800) 447-7828 x2128 or visit

Maren Dunn, D.O., is owner of Gallatin Family Medicine, a medical clinic in the Big Sky Meadow Village. Gallatin Family Medical offers reduced cost and free mammogram screening. Have a question? Email her at Southwest Montana’s News · Business · Video · Media Network

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Gallatin Heart Rescue celebrates one-year milestone

Health insurance via co-op for Montana

5,000 people trained in Adult Hands-Only CPR

By deborah courson smith

bozeman deaconess hospital

BOZEMAN – When a 23-year-old woman suffered a heart attack last December, her survival depended on a Bozeman policeman. Fortunately, he had recently been trained in Adult Hands-Only CPR, which helped save her life. The officer had trained with the Gallatin Heart Rescue Project, which reached its goal of training 5,000 citizens from all walks of life in the life-saving procedure in its first year.   “The critical first step to increasing survival is recognizing cardiac arrest and reacting appropriately,” said Kevin Lauer, co-founder of Gallatin Heart Rescue. “Nationwide, only about 35 percent of cardiac arrest victims receive any CPR prior to the arrival of a 911 responder. We wanted to change that, and increase a person’s chances of survival, since a cardiac arrest victim is twice as likely to live when bystanders give CPR.” Adult Hands-Only CPR can be taught in 30 minutes and does not require mouth-to-mouth breathing.

As an EMT with American Medical Response, Lauer knows the situation firsthand. That’s why he worked with hospital staff, Absaroka Emergency Physicians and Gallatin County Law Enforcement and fire agencies to initiate the project. The program has expanded to communities across Montana and 11 other states, with more requests for training every day. Now, Gallatin Heart Rescue is expanding its lifesaving efforts through the purchase of five AEDs (automatic electronic defibrillators) that was donated to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s and Bozeman Police departments during a public event at Bozeman Deaconess on Valentine’s Day.   “Eventually, we want to see an AED in every vehicle in the county,” Lauer said. “And we will continue to offer Hands-Only training until everyone knows how to make the initial response to a heart attack.”

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big sky connection

MISSOULA – Co-ops have been a long agricultural tradition in Montana to help farmers and ranchers boost their buying power and profits. Now that model is being applied to health insurance for all residents. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected the Montana Health CO-OP to build a nonprofit, member-owned insurance cooperative.

Big Sky Weekly

ance exchange, MHC will coordinate with that offering, since MHC plans would also be offered on the federal health insurance exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. The Farmers Union is a partner in promoting the CO-OP. Enrollment is to begin in October, with coverage becoming effective next January. Because it's part of the federal exchange, premiums are based on a sliding-fee scale, and even people who work part-time are eligible.

Chris Christiaens, legislative and project specialist at the Montana Farmers Union, said that not only will premiums be affordable for everyone, but there are incentives to keep costs down.

"So, if someone is in those lower-income levels – let's say $16,000-$17,000-a-year income range – their premiums would be $55 a month," Christiaens said.

"The physicians, the hospitals and those of us who are covered under this kind of a plan will all work together to make sure that there are patronage refunds at the end of each year," he said.

MHC held informational meetings in Missoula and Kalispell on Feb. 19, and is planning additional meetings in April in Bozeman, Butte, Havre, Glasgow, Miles City, Billings, Lewistown and Great Falls. Dates and times will be announced later.

About 200,000 Montanans do not have health insurance. Christiaens said that if the Montana Legislature decides to set up a state health insur-

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22 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013

Big Sky Weekly

Big Sky Fitness Fusion offers new climbing facility Fitness classes offer fun competition story and photos By emily stifler

“It’s a great opportunity to get fit and be social, get mama out of the house,” said Beczkiewicz. “[Jolene] is a motivated and talented instructor who knows how to encourage and push you in a kind manner.”

big sky weekly managing editor

BIG SKY – Big Sky is near some of southwest Montana’s best rock climbing – Gallatin Canyon has three major areas and more than 30 developed cliffs, and the Spanish Peaks are home to a handful of classic alpine routes. Now, area climbers have a place to train in winter at a newly expanded facility in Geyser Whitewater. Through her business Big Sky Fitness Fusion, seven-year local Jolene Budeski-Callahan, together with her husband Kevin, built a 15-by-20-foot bouldering wall this fall to complement Geyser’s existing 30-foot climbing wall. Budeski-Callahan previously taught fitness and gymnastics classes in the Meadow Village next to Big Sky Health and Fitness. When she lost that space this summer, it was a blessing in disguise, she said, because it allowed her to find Geyser and add climbing classes to her repertoire. The Callahans started teaching kids climbing classes in November and opened the facility to the public sev-

Marilyn Hill, 80, used the spin classes to train for the 109 mile ride on the Mickelson Trail in South Dakota a couple years ago, and now attends Pilates twice a week. Pilates helps keep “all parts of me moving,” Hill says. “[It’s] invigorating but relaxing at the same time, and I feel so much more alive and ready for the day when it is finished.”

Three girls from West Yellowstone practicing their climbing knots

eral days a week starting in February. The steepness on the bouldering wall is adjustable, so it accommodates all abilities, Budeski-Callahan said. The fixed wall has three ropes, including a lead setup, and room for nine routes. The Callahans also plan to offer clinics for women, families and lead climbing. Originally from Great Falls, BudeskiCallahan was a competitive gymnast

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in her youth; she has since become certified to teach Pilates, spin classes and gymnastics. Her business motto with Big Sky Fitness Fusion is “helping you stay fit and healthy,” and a slew of other class offerings do just that. Pilates, ski conditioning, spin, kids’ gymnastics, over-60 fitness classes, and ‘total body challenge’ are all focused on camaraderie. “You can push yourself harder with fun competition,” Budeski-Callahan says. Her other emphasis is core strength. “The core is the main stabilizer of the whole body,” she says. “If the core is not strong, the whole body won’t be strong. I use that concept in every single class – how to engage the core – [even when] teaching kids gymnastics and rock climbing.” Big Sky resident and parent Lisa Beczkiewicz attends Callahan-Budeski’s classes regularly. She loves the early morning spin classes, and also the Fit Moms classes, which provide childcare on-site.

“Don't get the idea it's a seniors' class,” Hill said. “There are several [people] much less than half my age … We work at our own pace and everyone is challenged … Jolene moves seamlessly and energetically from one corestrengthening exercise to the other, wasting no time while quietly telling us exactly what to do, including when to breathe.” Now with 40 regulars at her spin classes, 50 to 60 kids participating in gymnastics and rock climbing, as well as 30 other clients for Pilates, personal training and conditioning, BudeskiCallahan is busy enough that she can imagine a major expansion. Plus, she says, she’ll be losing the space at Geyser come summer, and there’s no existing building in Big Sky that would fit her needs. “My goal is to have a climbing wall where we can have eight top ropes, four areas for lead climbing and a bouldering cave. Upstairs I’d have a big open space for adult fitness, spin, pilates [and] senior fitness. I’d like to do summer rock climbing camps for kids.” She wants to build her own facility, she says. “That’s the major scheme.”

Open sessions at Geyser Whitewater’s rock climbing and bouldering walls starts Feb. 23 and will be Mondays and Tuesdays (6-9 p.m.) and Sundays (4:30-8:30 p.m.) into May.

Prescheduled and same-day appointments available

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Open weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Maren Dunn D.O. Board Certified in Family Medicine 18 Meadow Village Drive, Big Sky, MT (across from the post office) Phone: 406-995-3111 | After hours: 406-599-5848

Jolene Budeski-Callahan leads a Pilates class through side-plank, a corestrengthening excercise.


Feb. 8-21, 2013 23

Weigh in on public transportation The Big Sky Transportation District, which administers the Skyline bus system, has created a community survey to get public input on Skyline’s transit services, including how to fund the service. The survey is available online at and will be open until Feb. 28.

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Graphs courtesy of the Big Sky Transportation District



24 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013

engineer's corner

Big Sky Weekly

Residential construction inspections By philip kedrowski redleaf consulting

Throughout most of the U.S., building construction inspections are performed by either a city, county or state inspection bureau. This is so ubiquitous that it’s often assumed these inspections are performed on all construction projects everywhere. That’s why it’s no surprise that people moving to Big Sky, purchasing property and building homes, wouldn’t know these inspections aren’t performed here. Yep, that’s right, nobody is doing building construction inspections in Big Sky. Here’s why: Montana has adopted the International Building/Residential Code (IBC/IRC), which requires inspections during construction; however, many counties including Gallatin and Madison haven’t become a state certified building inspection jurisdiction. Therefore the ‘Authority Having Jurisdiction’ is the State Building Codes Bureau; however, the Montana Codes Annotated exempts the State Building Codes Bureau from issuing residential construction building permits (MCA 50-60-102 1.(a)). This means no construction permit is required for residential structures in Big Sky. Top: Forms and steel reinforcement prior to pouring concrete foundation Bottom: Structural framing prior to covering with siding and drywall Photos courtesy of Redleaf Consulting

Since no permit is required in Big Sky, residential construction inspections

aren’t performed by any government building department. However, buildings must still be constructed according to the IBC/IRC. Since inspections aren’t performed, it’s a good idea for land owners building a home in Big Sky to hire an engineer to perform construction observations as defined in IBC Section 1702. At a minimum, these observations should occur at the following construction milestones:  1. Completion of site excavation 2. Completion of foundation reinforcement prior to pouring of concrete 3. Completion of steel erection if applicable to project 4. Completion of rough framing 5. Completion of project And remember that while construction permits aren’t required, electrical and plumbing permits are.

Philip Kedrowski, PE, LEED-AP, is owner/ engineer of Redleaf Consulting, PLLC. Redleaf is the only engineering company based in Big Sky.

Phone Discounts Available To CenturyLink Customers The Montana Public Service Commission designated CenturyLink as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier within its service area for universal service purposes. CenturyLink’s basic local service rates for residential voice lines are $14.73 per month and business services are $30.00 per month. Specic rates will be provided upon request.

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CenturyLink participates in a government benet program (Lifeline) to make residential telephone service more affordable to eligible low-income individuals and families. Eligible customers are those that meet eligibility standards as dened by the FCC and state commissions. Residents who live on federally recognized Tribal Lands may qualify for additional Tribal benets if they participate in certain additional federal eligibility programs. The Lifeline discount is available for only one telephone per household, which can be either a wireline or wireless telephone. A household is dened for the purposes of the Lifeline program as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses. Lifeline service is not transferable, and only eligible consumers may enroll in the program. Consumers who willfully make false statements in order to obtain Lifeline telephone service can be punished by ne or imprisonment and can be barred from the program. Lifeline eligible subscribers may also qualify for reliable home high-speed Internet service up to 1.5Mbps for $9.95* per month for the rst 12 months of service. Further details are available at If you live in a CenturyLink service area, please call 1-800-244-1111 or visit with questions or to request an application for the Lifeline program. *CenturyLink Internet Basics Program – Residential customers only who qualify based on meeting income level or program participation eligibility requirements, and requires remaining eligible for the entire offer period. First bill will include charges for the \rst full month of service billed in advance, prorated charges for service from the date of installation to bill date, and one-time charges and fees described above. Qualifying customers may keep this program for a maximum of 60 months after service activation provided customer still qualies during that time. Listed High-Speed Internet rate of $9.95/mo. applies for rst 12 months of service (after which the rate reverts to $14.95/mo. for the next 48 months of service), and requires a 12-month term agreement. Customer must either lease a modem/router from CenturyLink for an additional monthly charge or independently purchase a modem/router, and a one-time High-Speed Internet activation fee applies. A one-time professional installation charge (if selected by customer) and a one-time shipping and handling fee applies to customer’s modem/ router. General – Services not available everywhere. CenturyLink may change or cancel services or substitute similar services at its sole discretion without notice. Offer, plans, and stated rates are subject to change and may vary by service area. Deposit may be required. Additional restrictions apply. Terms and Conditions – All products and services listed are governed by tariffs, terms of service, or terms and conditions posted at Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges – Applicable taxes, fees, and surcharges include a carrier Universal Service charge, carrier cost recovery surcharges, state and local fees that vary by area and certain in-state surcharges. Cost recovery fees are not taxes or government-required charges for use. Taxes, fees, and surcharges apply based on standard monthly, not promotional, rates.


Feb. 8-21, 2013 25

Bozeman Deaconess announces new president and CEO BOZEMAN – Bozeman Deaconess Health Services announced in midFebruary Kevin Pitzer will be its new president and chief executive officer. The BDHS Board of Trustees selected Pizter after a nationwide search.

Pizer called the opportunities and challenges facing the country’s healthcare systems “exciting and daunting,” adding that the BDHS board and leadership “have been strategic and visionary in their past and current initiatives.”

“Throughout the interview process, Kevin displayed a keen knowledge of the health care industry, and importantly, a firm grasp of and firsthand experience with the coordinated, collaborative care models that will be driving the future of health care delivery,” said BDHS board chairman Terry Cunningham.

His experience working jointly with physicians will benefit BDHS, according to Rob Blake, MD, Chief of BDHS Medical Staff. “Kevin has a great history of working collaboratively with physicians,” Blake said.

Pitzer has more than 25 years of senior healthcare leadership experience. Most recently, he was a Senior Vice President of Essentia Health and Chief Administrative Officer of the Essentia Health-West Region, which serves eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. In that role, Pitzer was responsible for all operations of Essentia HealthWest Region’s integrated health system of 250 employed physicians and providers, 3,400 employees, five hospitals and 34 clinics.

Pitzer succeeds Gordon Davidson, BDHS Interim CEO and Chief Financial Officer. Davidson has been with BDHS for 30 years, and will retain his position as CFO. Bozeman Deaconess Health Services is a nonprofit organization responsible for the operations of Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, Bozeman Deaconess Health Group, Hillcrest Senior Living and Highland Park Medical Campus and is governed by a community board of trustees. Pitzer starts in his new position on or before April 15.

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26 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013

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Big Sky Weekly

Image resolution 101 By kelsey dzintars

big sky weekly senior graphic designer

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a critique in Jeffrey Conger’s senior graphic design class at MSU for their first thesis review of the semester. Returning to my alma mater prompted me to reflect on how much I learned in my four years there. With the exponential learning curve, the fundamentals of design can be quickly taken for granted by the time you’re a senior developing your own app, production company or fully-responsive website – just a few of the projects these highlytalented students are tackling. One of these valuable pieces of knowledge that’s easy to take for granted is the understanding of image resolution. At Outlaw Partners, this is a topic we discuss daily with clients and contributors, whether we’re building a website or gathering images for the Weekly or Mountain Outlaw magazine. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity in this column to shed a few pixels of information on the topic. Note: Many graphic designers are known for bad industry terminology puns. Digital images are comprised of a grid of tiny units of picture information called

pixels. Resolution determines how many pixels are packed together in a given space (think of it as pixel density). Low-resolution images have fewer pixels in a given space, which make them appear blocky or blurry when printed. Resolution is measured in pixels-perinch (ppi) on screen, and dots-per-inch (dpi) when printed. 72 ppi is the common low-resolution measurement for images for use on screen or web, and a 300 dpi resolution will produce the best-quality printed image. There are basic methods available to determine resolution of an image without an image-editing program. For a Mac, you can open the image with the pre-installed Preview program, then type command + I to open the inspector window, which holds all the image information. For a PC, simply right-click on the image file and select “Properties,” then click on the “Details” tab in the image properties window.

For an extended explanation of image resolution and/or to achieve the best image for your application, contact or (406) 995-2055.

The top image is high resolution at 300 dpi, which will allow the image to print sharply. The bottom image is low resolution at 72 dpi, which can look crisp on screen but appears blurry when printed. PHOTOS FROM 2012 BIG SKY PBR, BY JAKE CAMPOS



Big Sky Weekly

help wanted Big Sky Food Bank, operated by HRDC, is currently accepting applications for their Warehouse/Services Coordinator. Position is part-time Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. $13/ hour DOE. For additional information about the position, or to apply please visit TTY 1-800253-4091 EOE/AA Help Wanted in Big Sky - Roofers, Carpenters, Apprentices, Laborers Good pay & benefits in a fun work environment for the right team members. Seasonal or year round employment available. Request application or submit resume to

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Big Sky Weekly

The greatness of King James James is just entering his prime and the league has never quite seen a player like him. He has the size of Karl Malone, the star presence of Michael Jordan, the floor vision and basketball IQ of Magic Johnson, and is arguably the most athletic player to step on an NBA court. Additionally, James just won his first championship, and his team is the clear favorite to repeat this year and for several seasons to come. Michael Jordan – often regarded as the greatest player of all time – didn’t win his first title until he was of similar age, and finished with six championships by the end of his career.

By Brandon Niles

Big sky weekly sports columnist

No player in the NBA has been more celebrated, or maligned, than Lebron James since he entered the league in 2003. He had early success with the Cleveland Cavaliers, practically willing the team to the NBA Finals before getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007. However, after James left the Cavs as a free agent in 2010, he became arguably the most hated player in basketball. After he failed to win a title in his first year with the Miami Heat, critics wondered if he could ever win it all. All that criticism has faded as of late. Many Cleveland fans still feel jilted by James’ departure, and fans of other contending teams feel threatened by the dominance of James and the Heat. But James’ victory last season, coupled with his otherworldly play, has erased

LeBron James playing against the Golden State Warriors in January. (CC)

doubts about his ability and catapulted him into discussions of where he stands on the list of greatest basketball players in NBA history. These discussions seem premature, since James is only 28 years old. However, he’s already playing in his tenth season and boasts a celebrated career. He’s won one title, three MVP awards (and a Finals MVP), has been voted to the All-Star game nine times, and has six All-NBA first-team selections.

Is Lebron James the greatest of all time? It’s probably too early to say. However, I think he’s headed in that direction. In the midst of one of the most amazing runs of any career, James is continuing to redefine what it means to be a basketball player. His combination of athletic dominance and skill is something that hasn’t been seen before in the game. It’s amazing that in an age when most NBA players are tremendously athletic, James has still found a way to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Like Jordan in his prime, James deserves to be in the MVP discus-

sion nearly every season, and it’ll be a tremendous surprise if he doesn’t win his fourth MVP this year. Also like Jordan, James is hitting his prime at 28, and there seems to be very little that can stop him from winning multiple titles in the near future. As long as James keeps winning and playing the way he is for the next few years, he’ll eclipse anyone who’s ever played the game. He’s simply that unique of a player. For those clinging to their favorite superstars in NBA history, the question will inevitably become: How many titles does James need in order to be the greatest player of all time? With the way he’s playing, it may not matter.

Brandon Niles has done online freelance writing about the NFL since 2007. His articles range from NFL news to teamspecific commentary. With a Masters in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Niles is also an avid Miami Dolphins fan, which has led to his becoming an avid Scotch whisky fan over the past decade.

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Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 29

Lady Cats end skid Set to play UM March 2 story and photo by mike coil

big sky weekly contributor

BOZEMAN – The MSU Lady Bobcats on Feb. 16 ended a six-game losing streak by outlasting the Weber State Wildcats (0-15, 0-24) by a

score of 69-65. Although the Cats (9-7, 15-10) enjoyed a first place ranking in the Big Sky Conference during the early season, they hadn’t won a game since Jan. 24. As of press time, they were ranked sixth in the conference. The game was close until several minutes into the second half when the Lady Cats opened a 62-44 lead. Weber stormed back, and with just over three minutes to play they cut the lead to just two points. MSU Seniors Latisha Adams and Rachel Semansky steadied the team by scoring the last five points of the game, and Semansky had a late breakaway layup to seal the win. Payton Ferris goes for a drive in traffic.

Semansky’s teammates pounded the ball inside to her, and she repeatedly scored from the low post, leading the Cats with a season high 28 points and 11 rebounds. The inside

game appears to have returned for the Cats, as they scored 42 of their 69 points from the paint.

break until March 2 when they host first place archrival University of Montana (13-3, 19-6) at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.

With four games remaining in the regular season, the Lady Cats have a

Rachel Carter shoots a jump shot from the wing

By maria wyllie

big sky weekly editorial assistant

BIG SKY – Although the LPHS boys and girls basketball teams didn’t make it as far as they hoped in this year’s district tournament, they fought hard and have improved greatly over the course of the season. Both teams are expecting to have their strongest seasons yet next winter. The boys’ team won its first tournament game against Sheridan. Although Sheridan was up by six at halftime, the Big Horns remained calm and buckled down on defense, allowing only 10 points in the second half. “I think our experiences over the season helped us have the poise to win that game,” Coach Al Malinowski said. After the win against Sheridan, they were eliminated from the tournament after suffering two district losses against No. 2 seed Ennis and No. 3 seed Shields Valley. Although the Big Horns were competitive, they were unable to play at the same level for all four quarters. Sophomores Justin McKiillop and Trevor House led both games in scoring.

The boys’ team will lose seniors Tucker Shea, Haven Morris and Grayson Bell, but Malinowski says the program has a bright future. “We will continue to set high expectations and intend to exceed the accomplishments of this season. While we don't project to have any seniors on the roster next year, we will rely on the significant playing experience of our rising juniors to provide leadership.” The girls’ team, which primarily played JV games this winter, lost to Ennis’ varsity team at the tournament. Missing player Kaya Braun who was out due to illness, the team went in with nine players. They fought hard and played strong defense, but their youth and size proved to their disadvantage. Girls’ coach Adam Olson also expects good things for next year. The team will play an entirely varsity schedule, with four juniors and five freshmen. Exchange student Johanna Fischer is the only player not returning. “It was a great season,” Olson said. “We saw major improvements throughout, and we hope the girls will work through the summer and start next year ready to go."

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Big Sky Weekly


Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 31

Wolverines are getting attention By deborah courson smith big sky connection

BOZEMAN – The wheels are in motion to list the wolverine as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. There are fewer than 300 of the big weasels left in the lower 48 states, mostly in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington. Kylie Paul, Rockies and Plains representative at Defenders of Wildlife, explained that a listing won't bring big changes to human activities or land use: no effects on skiing, snowmobiling, timber harvests or infrastructure projects. She expressed hope that the listing will bring more attention to wolverines and the threats they face. "A lot of people don't know what a wolverine is because there are so few of them, and because they're in such mountainous terrain," she noted. "Bringing the wolverine into the light will be really important, because climate change is their primary threat." Paul said wolverines need deep snowpack that lasts into mid-spring for denning, digging snow caves up to 15 feet deep before producing young. With the listing, she said, trapping of wolverines would cease in the contiguous states, something that is currently allowed on a limited basis in Montana. Paul said scientists predict that wolverines in the lower 48 are likely to lose up to two-thirds

A wolverine in Snoqualmie Pass (wikimedia)

of their snow-covered habitat by the end of this century, because of climate change. "It's tough to battle climate change itself, but steps can be taken to help bolster their population, so that in the longer term they will have a better chance to sustain into the warming future," she said.

One strategy to help the wolverines would be helping them reclaim habitats, such as a reintroduction in Colorado, if that state agrees to it. She added that the wolverine is a member of the weasel family, and not related to wolves, which is sometimes a source of confusion. Public comments will be accepted on the proposal before it becomes final later this year. The complete proposal is at 

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Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 33

Section 3:

life, land and culture

Volume 4 // Issue No. 3

PBR returning to Big Sky with double the excitement Event is now two nights "Last year the event sold out in five days and we had a wait list for tickets in excess of 1,500 people. We hope that by expanding we’ll be able to accommodate more fans.” “Our organization has been able to move forward with staffing and projects due to the funding we received at last year’s PBR event,” said BSCC Director Jessie Wiese. “[We are] thrilled to be part of such a wonderful community event in Big Sky.” This year’s Calcutta revenue will benefit the BSCC and the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

The 2012 Big Sky PBR Photos by jake campos big sky weekly staff writer

BIG SKY – The Professional Bull Riders’ organizing committee recently announced details for a muchanticipated 2013 event to be held in the Big Sky Town Center on July 31 and Aug. 1. Headlining this year’s announcement is the event’s expansion to two evenings.

Sky Chamber of Commerce Event of the Year and the Big Sky Weekly’s Event of the Year, as voted by readers. “Big Sky [PBR] is such an amazing event,” said Beau Hill, Montana PBR rider and winner of the 2011 Big Sky competition. “When you combine the best bulls with the best cowboys and have a crowd like we get here, it makes for an awesome venue. The scenery and hospitality is second to none. Now we get to enjoy it for two days!”

“We plan on bucking bulls and doing a full show for two nights,” said Eric Ladd, event co-organizer. “Last year the event sold out in five days and we had a wait list for tickets in excess Bull riders lining up before last year's event The 2012 event of 1,500 people. raised more than We hope that by expanding we’ll be able to accom$25,000 for local charities and had an estimated gross modate more fans.” financial impact in excess of $750,000 for the region. A portion of the Calcutta fundraiser proceeds went to This will be the PBR’s third annual rodeo in Big benefit the Big Sky Community Corp. Sky, with past events being awarded the 2012 Big

With a vendor village, a mutton bustin’ competition (think small children riding sheep), the Calcutta, live music and two hours of action packed bull riding, Big Sky’s PBR draws fans from around the region and across the country. “Last year we met families from Florida and Connecticut, who flew in for this event and ended up planning extended stays in the region to fish, raft and visit Yellowstone Park,” Ladd said. “We will be offering lodging packages through our partners so families can stay in Big Sky for a few days, enjoy the area and attend both shows.” The 2013 PBR has some new surprises to be announced as the event draws closer, including talented music acts and a new format for the Calcutta, Ladd said. Tickets will go on sale June 10 at 9 a.m., online and at select ticket outlets. Event details, including ticket sales and lodging packages can be found at

PBR organizers are encouraging potential event sponsors to act quickly. Sponsorships include participation in a marketing and PR blitz that will reach nearly one million people in the next seven months. In addition, sponsorship includes VIP tickets. For more information call Katie Morrison with Outlaw Partners at (406) 995-2055.

Left: Two young competitors in last year's Mutton Bustin' competition. Right: Crowds swarm around the vendor village before the bullriding event




34 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


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Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 35

New exhibit at Gallatin River Gallery


BIG SKY – A solo exhibition of new paintings by Bozeman gallery artist Diana Tremaine, entitled “Impulsion,” is hanging in the Gallatin River Gallery through April 13. The series captures the essence of horses in motion, according to gallery owner Julie Gustafson. “The large oil on canvas pieces evoke the spirit of a horse’s desire to run,” Gustafson wrote in a press release. “Working in a bolder approach with more deliberate palette work, Tremaine captures that unbridled power that a horse possesses. Her balance of fine rendering and looseness of paint give the paintings a provocative edge.” Located in the Big Sky Town Center, the gallery also features sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and photography. “We passed in a dream"

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Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 37

Chamberlin Rail Jam brings unique festival experience By maria wyllie

6-10 p.m. Artists include DJ Bl3ND, Chris Webby, Black Mask, Z-Trip, Shwayze and Jon H. An after party featuring Eliot Lipp will be held at Whiskey Jack’s on Saturday night.

big sky weekly editorial assistant

BIG SKY – The sixth annual Chamberlin Rail Jam is returning to Big Sky Resort March 1-2. A two-day festival combining a skier/snowboarder rail jam competition with live hip-hop, electronic and reggae music, the event offers an unconventional yet authentic experience for competitors and festival goers.

Competitors come mainly from the Big Sky area, but some travel from as far as Utah, Canada and the East Coast, Chamberlin said.

course of the weekend this year. Secret Sale and Early Bird tickets are already sold out. Drawing a large crowd, the event gives great exposure to the sport of park riding, Chamberlin said, as well as helping develop a fan base for competing skiers and riders. Visit for event details.

The last rail jam nearly sold-out, and Chamberlin expects at least 5,000 people will attend over the

Chamberlin Productions founder Tate Chamberlin, who graduated with a B.A. in Graphic Design from Montana State University in 2007, used his senior thesis project to present the idea of combining music and culture to create a new kind of festival experience. “What makes this festival unique is the authenticity of the ski and park culture,” said Chamberlin. “One thing we add is production value, bringing in larger entertainment and creating a larger festival atmosphere along with it.” Although the Big Sky Resort terrain crew has been involved in building the rails since the event’s inception in 2007, last year was the first year the resort hosted the festival. In prior years, it was held in Bozeman at Kountz Arena and Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Now held in Big Sky and Missoula, the event now has more energy, Chamberlin said, drawing from “Big Sky’s winter sports culture” and Missoula’s “urban grit.” The fully-lit rail jam will take place from 4-7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights with music performances on an outdoor stage from

Atmosphere performing at the 2012 Chamberlin Rail Jam Photo courtesy of CHAMBERLIN PRODUCTIONS

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Creighton Block

Partial List of Artists Represented

Rob Akey Greg Alexander Jim Barrett Susan Blackwood Diana Brady Dot Brandt Lynn Cain Todd Connor

Tom Dean John DeMott Jerral Derr yberr y Flavia Eckholm Edd Enders Thomas English Howard Friedland

R. Tom Gilleon Don Grant Mimi Grant Frank Hagel Ott Jones Harr y Koyama Dick Lauritzen

David Lemon Asha MacDonald Mike Patterson Paula Pearl Jacqueline Rieder Hud Gar y Lynn Rober ts Daniel San Souci

Deb Schmit Kevin Red Star Laurie Stevens Ezra Tucker Jack Waller Shirle Wempner Greg Woodard


W I N E TA S T I N G S E V E RY T H U R S DAY AT 4 : 3 0 P M

provid ed by

R. Tom Gilleon “Mother Moon” Acr ylic on Canvas 50 x 50



Spirits & Gifts

Ar twork also displayed at Outlaw Par tners and Lone Mountain Ranch Dining Room



Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 39

Planning an event? Let us know! Email, and we’ll spread the word. Friday, Feb. 22

monday, feb. 25

big sky

big sky

Cure for the Common Choppers, 9 p.m.

Special Olympics MT Big Sky Area Winter Games Moonlight Basin, 9 a.m.

The Dirty Shame Scissorbills Saloon, 9:30 p.m. Bozeman Big Sky Indoor Track & Field Championships Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, 4:30 p.m. Ultraviolet Hippopotamus & Archers Mob Filling Station, 9 p.m. livingston & paradise valley Kurt Prond w/ Lincoln Wilmoth Pine Creek Café, 7 p.m. west yellowstone 10 ft. Tall & 80 Proof Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon

Saturday, Feb. 23 big sky Eric Wink Choppers, 5 p.m. Pinky & the Floyd Whiskey Jack’s, 9:30 p.m. Bozeman Corgis In The Snow Play Day West Paw Dog Park, 1 p.m. Big Mardi Gras Gala Fundraiser MSU, 7 p.m. Pharoah & Slave Party featuring Sugarpill Main Street Arts & Entertainment Complex, 8 p.m. Livingston & paradise valley Chili Fest Chomp & Stomp Gardiner Community Center, 6 p.m.

Leo Rondeau Choppers, 9 p.m. west yellowstone WYSEF Moonlight Ski Rendezvous Ski Trails, 6 p.m.

Jeremy Morton Choppers, 5-7 p.m.

Bottom of the Barrel Broken Spoke, 10 p.m.

The Riot Act Whiskey Jack’s, 9:30 p.m.


DJ Tiny & DJ Rampage Broken Spoke, 10 p.m. Bozeman Pinhead Classic Bridger Bowl, 8:30 a.m.

big sky

Running OM Winter Workshop: Yoga, Chi Running & Cooking Class Mountain Yoga, 9 a.m.

The Way of Water w/ Peter Manka Santosha, 7 p.m.

The Chipper Experience Ellen Theatre, 8 p.m.


Cure for Common & Kitchen Dwellers Emerson Cultural Center, 9 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, feb. 27

Hayes Carll Jazz Peach Street Studios, 8 p.m.

The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank Filling Station, 9 p.m.

Youth Lagoon, Numbers & Wandering Wild Filling Station, 9 p.m.

livingston & paradise valley

livingston & paradise valley Writers Night w/ Peter Bowen Pine Creek Café, 7 p.m.

THURSDAY, feb. 28 big sky The Driftwood Grinners Choppers, 9 p.m. Bad Neighbor Broken Spoke, 10 p.m. Bozeman Fleetwood Nicks & Heart Alive Emerson Cultural Center, 7:30 p.m. Livingston & paradise valley Bluegrass Jam w/ host Lisa Barrett Pine Creek Café, 7 p.m.



34th annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race Rendezvous Ski Trails, 9:15 a.m.


Pub Trivia at Whiskey Jack’s, 9:30 p.m.

west yellowstone

Volleyball open gym at LPHS gym, 7-9 p.m. (Feb 27- June 1.)

WYSEF Youth Ski Festival Between Rendezvous Trailhead & Povah Center, 9 a.m.

DJ Dance Party at the Black Bear, 10 p.m.



Thursdays: •

Sushi at the Summit, 6 p.m.

Fridays: •

Live music featuring local musicians at Ousel & Spur Pizza Co., 9-11 p.m.

Fish Taco Fridays at Buck’s T -4

Saturdays: •

Search and Rescue Dog Demonstration, 2 p.m. at Moonlight Basin (Dec. 15 – April 13)

Après Ski Music at the Headwaters Grille at Moonlight, 3-5 p.m. (Feb. 2 – April 13)

big sky

Prime Rib at Buck’s T -4

Natalie’s Estate Winery Dinner The Corral, 6:30 p.m.


wednesday, MARCH 6


The Drunken Hearts Filling Station, 9 p.m.

Wild West Wednesday Country Dance Montana Movement Arts Center, 8 p.m.

Livingston & paradise valley

livingston & paradise valley

The Mainstreet Show Livingston Arts & Cultural Center, 8 p.m.

Kenny Wait & the Black Rose Band Murray Bar, 9 p.m.


Montana Night at Jack Creek Grille, 6 p.m. (Feb. 20-April 10)

Rainforest Adventure Museum of the Rockies, 9 a.m.

85th Annual Academy Awards Emerson Crawford Theater, 5 p.m.

Guided Snowshoe Hike at Moonlight, 10 a.m. (Dec. 18 – April 9)

Jawbone Railroad Whiskey Jack’s, 9:30 p.m.

Turtle Island Quartet Ellen Theatre, 3 p.m.



Sunday Funday – Gallatin Wildlife Association Bozeman Brewing Co., 2 p.m.

Pre-school open gym at LPHS gym, 8:45-9:45 a.m. (Feb. 17 – April 15)

Running OM Winter Workshop: Yoga, Chi Running and Cooking Class Location TBD, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Intermediate Yoga Practice Santosha, 5:30-7:30 p.m.



A Roadside History West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center, 7 p.m.

The Vagina Monologues MSU Procrastinator Theatre, 5:30 p.m.


west yellowstone

Improv on the Verge Equinox Theatre, 7 p.m.

BSAC Dinner Concert Series: Jack Gladstone & David Griffith Talus Room in the Summit Hotel, 5:30 p.m.

NORRIS HOT SPRINGS Music starts at 7 p.m. every Fri., Sat., Sun.

Yoga Nidra Meditation at Santosha, 8-9 p.m.

Chamberlin Rail Jam Big Sky Resort, 4 p.m.

Winter Crazy Days Downtown, 12 p.m. (thru Sun.)

Strangeways Murray Bar, 9 p.m.

west yellowstone

big sky

Beginner’s Luck Blue Slipper Theatre, 8 p.m.

The Cold Hard Cash Show Murray Bar, 9 p.m.

big sky


livingston & paradise valley

Preschool Story Time, Big Sky Community Library, 10:30 a.m.

Driftwood Grinners Pine Creek Cafe, 7 p.m.

sunday, Feb. 24

This Must Be The Band Zebra, 10 p.m.

Country Swing & Two-Step classes Montana Movement Arts Center, 7 p.m.

Cure for the Common Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon, 8 p.m.

Emancipator w/ Little People & Odesza MSU, 7 p.m.

thursday, MARCH 7

big sky

big sky

Chamberlin Rail Jam Big Sky Resort, 4 p.m.

MagicGrass Choppers, 9 p.m.

Tai Chi Workshop with Gary Herman, 2-4 p.m. at Santosha (Feb. 17 – March 10)


Après ski tunes at Whiskey Jack’s and the Carabiner

320 Guest Sleigh Rides (nightly)

Sleigh Ride Dinners at Lone Mountain Ranch, 6-10 p.m. (Dec. 9 - March 30)

Diana Tremaine, “Impulsion” exhibit at Gallatin River Gallery

“Ski with a Local” Mountain Tours at Moonlight, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

40 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Big Sky Weekly

Rallying for the trails

Annual hog roast raises money for Cooke’s snowmobile trails By emily stifler

big sky weekly managing editor

COOKE CITY – On a typical Friday afternoon in Cooke City, snowmobilers return from the trails, some with skiers and snowboarders in tow. Others are rolling in from Livingston or Bozeman, or as far

away as Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Michigan. As dusk falls, folks roll into the Miner’s Saloon for dinner, rounds of pool and live music. On March 8, they’ll be dancing to Cooke’s local band, the Bannock Trailers, to kick off the 17th annual Cooke City Hog Roast.

The event, which rolls over to Saturday night’s dinner and live auction at the Antlers Lodge, began as a fundraiser for Search and Rescue, the Fire Department and EMS; now, all proceeds go to help cover costs of grooming the area’s 68 miles of snowmobile trails. “Everybody’s there for the one cause, and that’s to raise money for Cooke City,” said festival organizer Matt Asplund. “All the money stays in Cooke City, it doesn’t go anywhere else.” Asplund, a contractor, moved to Cooke 13 years ago. When the event first started, he and his twin brother drove every year from Minnesota for it. In fact, for several years they even brought the pig out with them. With around 160 attendees, the live auction raises $12,000-14,000 for trail grooming and upkeep of the club’s machine. The rest of its $35,000 annual budget comes from the state; however, Cooke does not have state-owned groomers like West Yellowstone, Asplund pointed out. Everybody benefits from snowmobile tourism, Asplund said, noting that skiers and snowboarders also use the trails, and it supports the town’s business through the winter.

Snowmobiling down Cooke City Main Street Photo by Emily Stifler

Santosha offers intermediate two-hour yoga classes

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Santosha Wellness Center is offering an intermediate yoga practice every first and third Friday from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. for people who want to take their yoga to the next level. Instructors Callie Stolz or Jill Jackson will lead this class utilizing the Anusara Universal Principles of Santosha Wellness Center owner Callie Stolz strikes a pose in the studio. Photo by Emily Stifler Alignment. Check Santosha’s website Tai Chi Workshop with Gary or Facebook page for details. Hermann: This series will be held Sundays Feb. 17, 24 and March 3, Other upcoming events at Santosha 10, from 2-4 p.m. Hermann, a martial include: arts practitioner and teacher who studied Tai Chi under a grandmaster Yoga Nidra Meditation: Every in Yang-style Tai Chi, will teach the Monday with Hannah Johansen, 8-9 Republic of China 24 Section Roup.m. tine (as seen in the parks in Beijing) and basic Chi Kung. Often referred Awareness Wednesdays: Every secto as a moving meditation, Tai Chi ond and fourth Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. has significant positive effects on the body and mind, according to SantoPeter Manka will present “The Way sha. Beginners are welcome. If you’ve of Water” on Feb. 27, sharing how missed the first class, contact Santohydration works in our bodies and sha at (406) 993-2510 about a makehow to make it even better. up session prior to Feb. 24.



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Big Sky Weekly


Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 43

Jack Gladstone performing at Arts Council dinner concert arts council of big sky

BIG SKY – Native American songwriter and poet Jack Gladstone will play in Big Sky on Sunday, Feb. 24, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist David Griffith. This is the final concert of the 10th annual Peggy Dicken Schwer Memorial Fund Concert Series, presented by The Arts Council of Big Sky. Gladstone is a Native “PoetSinger” and lecturer from the Blackfeet Indian Nation of Montana. Regarded as a cultural bridge builder, he delivers programs nationally on American Indian mythology and history. Growing up among the rich, oral tradition of the American West, Gladstone blends legend, history and metaphor into song. A clear picture of America’s past is presented through his songs and epic ballads of historical events and biographical profiles. A former college instructor, Gladstone has been featured on both the Travel Channel and in USA Today magazine, and he holds a Human Rights Award for Outstanding Community Service from Montana State University. He was also a key tribal voice providing alternate perspectives of the Lewis and Clark expedition during the recent bicentennial commemoration, and in 2004, Gladstone narrated the Telly award winning Lewis and Clark film Confluence of Time and Courage.

Jack Gladstone and Dave Griffith Photo courtesy of Arts Council of Big Sky

In a career spanning three decades, Gladstone has produced 15 critically acclaimed albums. In 2010 he released Native Anthropology, a landmark recording achievement co-produced with Griffith and Phil Aaberg. The concert will be held at the Talus Room in the Summit at Big Sky Resort. The evening begins

with social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the concert at 8 p.m. Reservations must be made in advance by calling the ACBS office at (406) 995-2742. Visit for a complete schedule of upcoming events. The nonprofit Arts Council of Big Sky was founded in 1989.


Winter means

44 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


powder days, snowflakes on the tongue,

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Find out what tunes we’re bumping! In “Powder Playlist,” Big Sky Weekly staff and guests suggest a soundtrack for a day on the mountain, and guests have a chance to share what they listen to when they shred. Keep in mind, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings while skiing, and listening to music too loudly can be dangerous.

Guest picks By dan tompkins

Driving seven hours from Boise State to Big Sky, skier Dan Tompkins ditched his friends to find untouched powder. A playlist of hip-hop songs helped keep him in the zone as he relentlessly searched for pockets of fresh snow all day long. “These songs let me forget about all the people around me, so I can just focus on shredding,” Tompkins said. • 406-995-2290 Pat Straub; Montana licensed outfitter #7878


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1. “If 6 Was 9,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience

2. “Dysfunctional (feat. Krizz Kaliko and Big Scoob),” Tech N9ne Collabos

3. “Stubborn Love,” The Lumineers

3. “Show Out (feat. Young Jeezy & Big Sean),” Juicy J

5. “Break Build Burn,” Lotus

4. “There He Go,” School Boy Q

7. “Rack City,” Tyga 8. “All Gold Everything,” Trinidad James 9. “Remember the Name (feat. Styles of Beyond),” Fort Minor 10. “Mo Money Mo Problems,” The Notorious B.I.G., Mase & Puff Daddy

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Having a good playlist over Presidents Day Weekend was key. My music helped me remain patient as I worked the singles line to maximize skiing. The songs listed below are upbeat enough to get me going down the hill, yet mellow enough to keep me relaxed.

2. “Little Black Submarines,” The Black Keys

6. “Neva End,” Future

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1. “Echo,” Bad Meets Evil

5. “Riot,” 2 Chainz


Staff picks orOpenStoc www.Vect

4. “Hold You Now,” Protoje 6. “State of the Art,” Gotye 7. “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” Cream 8. “Feelin’ Alright,” Joe Cocker 9. “Last Kind Word Blues,” Dex Romweber Duo 10. “Green River,” Creedence Clearwater Revival

buscrat's fables

Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 45

The Squirrel and the Mink The village animals were building a new town center, and Squirrel and Mink offered to help.

“Dr. Owl was notified by Crow several hours ago and has already gone to help Eagle. We depended on you to get word to the others to bring more wood. Now our production has come to a halt and we won’t get the town center framed before the snow comes.”

“We need someone who can figure out how many logs we’ll need,” Porcupine, the supervisor, told the crowd. Mink and Squirrel both volunteered. Squirrel was given the job, since he was smarter than Mink.

Just then Dr. Owl came flying in with Eagle wrapped in a sack hanging from his beak. Concerned, Squirrel ran over and asked how Eagle was. “We had to amputate his wing,” said Dr. Owl. “If we’d have known about it about an hour earlier we could have probably saved it.”

While he was counting up how many logs they’d need, Beaver said, “We need somebody fast to run to the top of the mountain and tell the other workers we need at least four more loads of wood before the snow comes in this evening.” “I will,” Squirrel said. “I’m very fast and can get there with the message quickly.” So Beaver sent Squirrel to be the messenger. Mink finished figuring out how many logs would be required to build the town center. Then he started helping on the building. While squirrel was running up the mountain he saw two other squirrels racing up and down an oak tree gathering acorns, seeing who could gather the most. He wanted to show them how much faster he could do it, so he asked if he could join the race. Soon he was gathering more acorns than either of them. While he was atop the tree he met an eagle with a broken wing. Eagle asked Squirrel if he’d run back to the next village and get Dr. Owl.

As evening came it was time for the town to vote for their mayor. Mink and Squirrel both decided to run for mayor. Squirrel was very compassionate and could see that Eagle needed help. So he quit the game with the other two squirrels, decided the message to get more wood could wait, and ran back toward town. Soon Squirrel began to tire. He stopped by a stream for a drink of water and took a short nap. Finally he woke up, remembered Eagle and ran back to town. Beaver saw him running into town. “Did you notify the workers to bring in more wood?” he asked. “Not yet, because I saw Eagle with a broken wing and came back to notify Dr. Owl.”

“Vote for me,” Squirrel said. “I am smarter than Mink, faster than Mink and truly care about my fellow creatures of the woods.” “I may not be as fast or as smart as squirrel, and I don’t question his sincere desire to help others,” Mink said, “but you can always depend on me.” The town unanimously voted for their new mayor, Mink.

Buscrat’s Fables are simple stories that each a moral. Buscrat welcomes you to visit for more fables and welcomes your comments, suggestions and requests.




Live Music Schedule Friday, Feb. 22 Saturday, Feb. 23 Monday, Feb. 25 Thursday, Feb. 28 Sat. March 2 Thurs. March 7 Sat. March 9 Wed. March 13

Cure for the Common - 9p.m. Eric Wink - 5-7 p.m. Leo Rondeau - 9 p.m. The Driftwood Grinners - 9 p.m. Jeremy Morton - 5-7 p.m. Magic Grass - 9 p.m. Kent Johnson - 5-7 p.m. Willie Waldman Project Death Row Reunion ($10 Cover) - 9 p.m.



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wanderer at rest

Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 47

Update: Angry and winded – whereupon we take this show on the trail/sidewalk By Jamie Balke

big sky weekly columnist

In a previous column I described my recent reentry into the running world. I’m now distressed to report that my friend and I are still training for the Saint Patrick’s Day Run to the Pub. It’s week five and although I’m less winded, there’s still some anger when I get on the treadmill. Until last Sunday, my relatively slow pace and buckets of sweat have only been on display at the gym. Then we took the show outdoors. It’s been a long while since I last ran outside, and in my experience this activity has rarely involved snow. As a profoundly uncoordinated person, a mix of snow, As a profoundly ice and running is cause for uncoordinated concern.

person, a mix of snow, ice and running is cause for concern.

It was a beautiful day for a run, and after picking up my friend, we headed to the Bozeman Public Library parking lot. The plan was to run down Pete’s Hill to Kagy, and then return on the Gallagator Trail. In the interest of maintaining my dignity, we walked to the top of the hill to begin the run, or in my case, the jog. Luckily, the snow was packed

down on the trail; however, I forgot about the slight uphill as one travels southbound – I have not yet pushed the incline button on the treadmill. The mountain views from Pete’s Hill are wonderful, but with my eyes glued to the ground for fear of falling, I wasn’t able to appreciate them. On the descent toward Kagy we encountered icy secWeekly columnnist Jamie Balke trying on her new sweatband tions peppered with Photo courtesy of Jamie Balke frozen dog urine. I fell new development in the training process – until once – yuck! – and my far more coordinated friend this week I ran on the treadmill until I hit the left the hill unscathed. minimum training goal, and then collapsed. The sidewalk along Kagy was blissfully ice-free, and I was able to pick up the pace. Unconcerned about falling, I finally started enjoying the experience. The air was crisp and the sun was shining as we ran down a tree-lined path through a beautiful park and neighborhoods. Arriving back at the car, we felt good. In fact, I could have kept running, which was definitely a

Does this mean I am ready for a 10K? Definitely not. However, this run did help decrease my level of terror.

Jamie Balke moved to Bozeman in the fall of 2009. She could do without all of this running nonsense.

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48 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013

Big Sky Weekly

For the Big Sky Weekly, the Back 40 is a resource: a place where we can delve into subjects and ask experts to share their knowledge. Topics include regional history, profiles of local artists and musicians, snow and avalanche education, how-to pieces for traditional or outdoor skills, and science. Noun: wild or rough terrain adjacent to a developed area Origin: shortened form of “back 40 acres”

Gallatin Snow Rangers By sean forbes

big sky weekly contributor

BOZEMAN – Only from behind a desk do most winter enthusiasts get to dream of a work routine that includes snowmobiling and skiing. At best they get a view of the mountains. But then most people are not U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers in the Gallatin National Forest, and most don’t need to ride into the backcountry to get to the office. “We could be on skis one day, pulling a groomer one day, or riding mountain sleds in steep avalanche terrain up near the wilderness boundaries,” said Will Shoutis, a Bozeman-based Snow Ranger and West Zone Trails Supervisor. Essentially, they’re similar to the wilderness rangers that patrol the trails during summer. The winter crew was put together in response to the growing popularity of winter recreation. With the popularity of snowmobiling in the Gallatin – Shoutis says it’s “probably the biggest snowmobiling forest in the region” – the Forest Service needed a presence in the field. Initially, in 2003, it was a response to the increase in snowmobile use, Shoutis said. “That’s because the technology for snowmobiles had sort of exploded … All the snowmobiles were getting bigger and faster and going places where nobody had gone before.”

Andy Huntsberger on wilderness boundary patrol in McAtee Basin PHOTO BY WILL SHOUTIS

A decade later, snowmobile use and boundary patrol are still the rangers’ focus, but more than a few other duties have accumulated along the way. The state grooms an extensive system of snowmobile and Nordic ski trails in the area, including 30 miles of classic and skate track in Hyalite Canyon, and the Big Sky Snowmobile Trail, which runs from Little Bear to Buffalo Horn. The rangers are responsible for maintaining the trails, using pole saws and chainsaws when they know heavy maintenance of a ski or snowmobile trail is needed. This past summer, in his capacity as trail crew supervisor, Shoutis oversaw the installation of a bridge for snowmobiles over Swan Creek, which will eventually allow for more expansive grooming to Moose Creek. The Snow Rangers also gather data for the Avalanche Center when and where they can and maintain cabins like Yellow Mule and the Garnet Mountain lookout, while lending advice on where to ride or how to travel in avalanche terrain. “The education component is huge. If we can stop in the parking lot and talk to snowmobilers ahead of time … about wilderness [to] show them where the boundaries are, that’s our primary objective,” Shoutis said. “We’d much rather avoid a ticket situation … It’s better for everybody if they just know where those places are and how to avoid them.”

Top: Dale Gullett takes advantage of a teachable moment with recent avalanche debris in Upper Teepee Basin. PHOTO BY ADAM NORLANDER Bottom: Snow rangers engage riders with “parking lot education” before heading out into the field. PHOTO BY DALE GULLETT

Failing to heed the orange signs marking a wilderness boundary – terrain closed to motorized and mechanized use – prompts a $500 fine.

The education component is huge. If we can stop in the parking lot and talk to snowmobilers ahead of time … about wilderness [to] show them where the boundaries are, that’s our primary objective” “It’s an area that’s set aside to be very different,” Shoutis said. Shoutis acknowledges there will always be “some inevitable enforcement.” However, he says, education and information are still the most effective way to help winter travelers understand and appreciate the distinction. “As far as the education stuff, we do try to outreach to different groups,” says Shoutis’s work partner Adam Norlander. They had an informational booth at the Gallatin Fairgrounds’ Wild West Winterfest and plan to have one at MSU’s Catapalooza. “We try to have booths at these community events where we can just kind of talk about basic rules … and where to hike and where to go ski,” Norlander said. “Anything we can do to help.” Which might mean the teaching and English degrees Shoutis holds could turn out to be helpful after all. “There’s not a lot of monotony in what we do,” Shoutis said.

The Gallatin Snow Rangers have teams based out of Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Cooke City and Livingston. Contributor Sean Forbes is a freelance writer based in Bozeman, where chasing stories only occasionally gets in the way of playing in the mountains.


Big Sky Weekly

Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 49

Section 4:

life, land and culture

Volume 4 // Issue No. 3

President's Day Weekend

photos By maria wyllie and tyler allen

Fueling up on burritos while taking in the views from the burrito shack by Swift Current

Locals Goose and Shuggy enjoying some après beers outside Hummers

Lift operator Danny Koningisor scans tickets. Big Sky Resort had around 5,000 skiers and riders on both Saturday and Sunday.

Weekly editor Joe O'Connor hiking the Headwaters

Big Sky patrollers Julie and Charlie take it easy as they catch some rays on this sunny, bluebird day.

Demos and drinks at Madison Lodge

Stoked to be in Big Sky and skiing with friends in a group lesson

50 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Big Sky Weekly

Camp Big Sky expands Year-round programming for teens begins BIG SKY – With an increasing number of high schoolers in town and a corresponding need for healthy year-round recreation for teens and tweens, Camp Big Sky is expanding its programming. On two Fridays in Feburary, Big Sky Resort made its tubing park available exclusively for Ophir School middle schoolers for one session and for Lone Peak High Students the next. This is the first of many such events, says Camp Big Sky Director Katie Coleman. "Working with our student council leaders, we are identifying the kinds of activities our local kids would like to do on their weekend nights," Coleman said. "We hope to have ice skating nights, movie events, yoga and climbing as we get this program up and running." With underwriting from the Kym, Blake and George Rapier Foundation for administrative costs, Camp Big Sky will work with local businesses to provide healthy, safe and inexpensive recreation opportunities. Camp Big Sky can help cover costs for the businesses, and kids will pay minimally, as well. “We want kids to pay a small amount so they are invested in what they do," Coleman said. 

Tubing with Camp Big Sky at Big Sky Resort

just don't always know how to make those things happen on their own,” Coleman said. “We don't have a mall like the city, but we have so very much more.”

Founded in 2005, Camp Big Sky is a division of the Big Sky Community Corp. Have an idea for a teen event? Contact Katie Coleman at camp@

"Our kids grow up in a vacation destination, so they have a good idea of how to have fun, they


Dave Mueller Outdoor Experience Scholarship 2013 Student applications due by March 11         

LIVINGSTON • $2,100,000 640 +/- acres (4 parcels), spectacular elk, deer and antelope hunting, borders USFS land, Yellowstone River access, minutes to town

More Fine Ranch & Recreational Offerings: ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROAD • BELGRADE • $4,300,000 719 +/- acres, 3,622 +/- sf home, primitive cabin, borders USFS land, Mill Creek runs through, water rights, productive hay ground ROCK CREEK SECTION • GARDINER • $2,700,000 640 +/- acres, log cabin, meadows, creeks, springs, trees, borders USFS land for 3.5 +/- miles, excellent recreational property T BAR Z ROAD • WHITEHALL • $1,450,000 237 +/- acres, 6,048 +/- sf home was lodge for the historic T Bar Z Ski Area, Locati designed addition, trees, alpine meadow

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BIG SKY – Dave Mueller, known to friends as “Big Bald Dave,” loved to ski, fly fish and enjoy the Montana outdoors. This year, local students can again apply for the annual scholarship in Mueller’s name, awarded to a youth pursuing outdoor-based adventure. For the third year, the memorial fund administered by the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation will honor Mueller’s memory by offering local Big Sky students, ages 12-18, a scholarship of up to $5,000 to enjoy the same outdoor pursuits. In the fund’s inaugural year, sophomore Griffin House attended a NOLS course in Yellowstone National Park. Last year, seventh grader Jackson Wade journeyed to a remote fishing camp in Canada where he learned to fly fish in the open sea. "Originally we planned to have him gone for two weeks, but he loved it so much that he stayed for a total of five and a half,” said Jackson’s

mother Denise Wade. “During that time away from home he developed a self-reliance and confidence wiser than his 12 years. He also realized how wonderful Big Sky and Montana are.” Applicants must be current students in the Big Sky School District, with clear plans for using the grant money during summer 2013. The scholarship is not based on need. “We look for candidates who have both a demonstrated passion for the outdoors and a plan for how to expand their experiences,” said YCCF Executive Director Casey Schwartz. “Dave [Mueller] took every opportunity to be engaged and exploring outdoors. That’s the kind of interest we want to help along.” The deadline for applications is March 11. Final decisions will be rendered by March 22. Applications are available online at

Big Sky Weekly


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Down Payment Security Deposit First Month’s Payment Due at Signing


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Lease details: $261 per month lease for 42 months with $2,500 total* due at signing. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Payment based on MSRP of $23,132. 10,000 miles per year, residual amount $12,821. *Total amount due at signing includes 1st payment, documentation, and acquisition fees, on approved credit. See Dealer for details. Offer ends February 28, 2013.

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Montana Import Group is a Proud Partner of Gallatin Valley Land Trust Lease details: $283 per month lease for 42 months with $2,500 total* due at signing. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Payment based on MSRP of $23,650. 10,000 miles per year, residual amount $12,771. *Total amount due at signing includes 1st payment, documentation, and acquisition fees, on approved credit. See Dealer for details. Offer ends February 28, 2013.





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52 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013

word from the resorts

Moonlight Basin by niles jeran

mlb snow reporter

Mama winter is back, and she will be sticking around for some time. After a drawn out mid-winter thaw, the snow has been dumping and the skiing has been at an all-time high. The forecast looks unreal, with storm after storm lined up and a few bluebird days in between to crank up the visibility and the mountain vibe. Moonlight is known for great conditions this time of year, and we’re looking forward to a busy spring filled with some of the year’s best skiing and awesome events. We’re

Big Sky Weekly

Big Sky Resort hosting the Special Olympics of Montana’s fourth annual Big Sky Area Winter Games on Feb. 25. If you’ve forgotten what “stoke” looks like, then this is the day to come have your mind blown. Over 60 competitors will be charging down the hill in ski and snowboard races. Let’s get a huge crowd there to cheer them on. Moonlight Basin is gearing up for the Freeride World Qualifier competition March 14-18 and getting pumped about a few local skiers who will be competing. The athletes are bringing it this year, and we can’t wait to see what all the competitors have in store.

by kipp proctor

bsr media relations and community manager

Big Sky has found its consistent storm cycle once again. Over the last few weeks regular storms have deposited tons of fresh snow almost daily. Whether you’re cruising the long groomed runs of Thunder Wolf and Swift Current, or tackling the steeps of Lone Mountain, there are plenty of good turns to be made. A new smartphone app will help you track your turns. Available to download

for free on the Apple and Android markets at, it tracks your skiing stats throughout the day, including elevation, total vertical feet, maximum speed and miles of terrain covered. In addition, the GPS enabled app allows you to find your friends on the mountain and see where your are on the trail map. The new app also allows you to look up upcoming resort events such as the Chamberlin Rail Jam (see story on page 37 for more information.)

Rendezvous Ski Trails

34th annual Rendezvous Race is March 2 WEST YELLOWSTONE – Look for the Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am or the Lorax along the Nordic ski trails at the 34th annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race on March 2. Held at the Rendezvous Nordic Ski Trails, the race is part of the American Ski Marathon Series. It offers six different race divisions offered for skiers of all ages. They include a 50k freestyle race, 25k classic or freestyle

events, a 10k, and 5k and 2k races geared for kids. To support racers in the 25 and 50k divisions, costumed Dr. Seussthemed volunteers will staff feed stations along the trails. Medals and cash prizes will be given out at an awards ceremony on Saturday night. For more information or to sign up, visit

A competitor at the 2012 Chamberlin Rail Jam Photo by Alex Reynes

This is how Big Sky gets into hot water.

Nordic Hot Tub We service what we sell!

Spa sales to fit your budget Pool and spa care after the sale Custom maintenance plans

Spa covers and custom lifts Lots of accessories for your spa Special orders available (406) 995-4892 • 47520 Gallatin Rd. • Big Sky, MT 59716


Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 53

Put on a few extra pounds this season? Picnic lunch spread at Lone Mountain Ranch Photo courtesy of LMR

Lone Mountain Ranch By Bob Foster

lmr general manager

Tip of the Week: An excellent and challenging way to start your Nordic or downhill day is to ski without poles on your first run. You will feel your balance and get on your skis more aggressively. It emphasizes good body position and core stability, the foundation for proper technique and skill building. Then come show off those skills you’ve been practicing at the 11th annual Gallatin Glissade, a freestyle Nordic race on March 9 at Lone Mountain Ranch. Sponsored by LMR and Gallatin Alpine Sports, there will be a 20k for adults, a 10k for kids 17 and under, and a 1k for kids 6 and under.

Call LMR or GAS for more information. On Sunday, March 10, we ’re offering the perfect combination of skiing and food at the fourth annual Glide and Gorge. Cross-country ski or snowshoe the ranch trails, stopping along the way for gourmet appetizers, entrees from the grill and a plethora of house made desserts, as well as wine and local beer. Reservations required.

Join us at Big Sky’s only full-service workout facility Open 5 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. 7 days a week

Can’t get enough? every Friday we roll out our gourmet lunch trail buffet from 12-1 p.m. at the ranch pavilion. With all–you-can-eat LMR chili, BBQ chicken, hamburgers, grilled veggies, drinks and desserts, this is a great way to mix up your Friday afternoon lunch plans and spend some time outside.

Day, week and year-long memberships available visit for details 32 Market Place, Meadow Village, Big Sky (406) 995-4522

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54 Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013


Ski resort expansion is back in the West

Big Sky, Moonlight earn A’s on the ski area environmental scorecard ski are citizens' coalition

Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin and Bridger Bowl all earned A’s this year on the 2012/13 Ski Area Environmental Scorecard, as did Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. Compiled by the Sierra Nevada Alliance on behalf of the Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition, the scorecard evaluates environmental practices based on 35 criteria including a ski area’s preservation of sensitive lands within the resort areas, actions related to water conservation and quality, and commitment to green programs such as recycling and alternative energy. The 11th annual scorecard finds that 32 percent of ski resorts throughout the western U.S. are expanding into new terrain – something that gives area lower grades for environmental performance. Park City Resort in Utah ranked highest on the list, and Grand Targhee, Wyo., was No. 10. In

Regions Rockies California & Nevada Washington & Oregon Overall

Montana, Red Lodge, Whitefish Mountain and Montana Snowbowl scored B’s. Nearly a third of all western ski resorts surveyed (27 out of 84) expanded their buildings, ski runs or associated facilities. This is a 300 percent increase in the number of resorts expanding compared to last year when only six resorts expanded their footprints. Most expansions were on public lands – something that impacts wildlife habitat and water resources, according to the Sierra Nevada Alliance. While the Ski Area Scorecard grades resorts on a variety of criteria, significant intrusion into new territory generally leads to a lower score, while expansion onto existing disturbed areas does not. “We hope people will visit the Ski Area Scorecard website and vote with their skis, choosing an

Resorts Expanded 17 6 4 27

“A” from this year’s list,” said Anna Olsen of the Sierra Nevada Alliance. For the last 11 years, the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition has surveyed ski resorts on their environmental practices, and also issued Freedom of Information Act requests to the Forest Service, independently researching issues such as land use and water resources to come up with total scores and grades. This year, for the first time, the Sierra Nevada Alliance coordinated the effort. “We hope the scorecard reminds the ski resorts that people are watching and people care about their environmental record,” said Josh Pollock, Senior Program Advisor for Rocky Mountain Wild. “If it gets them to think twice about what they can do on climate change, for example, then we’ve done our job.” The scorecard can be found at

Total Number of Resorts 52 20 12 84

Percentage Expanded 33% 30% 33% 32%

8476 Huffine Lane • Bozeman, MT 59718

of Bozeman (866) 533-2165

1.9% APR financing for 60 months on All TCUV Camrys (including Hybrids), Corollas (excludes Matrix), Prius, RAV4 Models. $17.48 cost per $1,000 borrowed, through Toyota Financial Services with approved credit. Tier I+ and I only. Offer may vary by region. Other restrictions may apply. For ID and MT state dealerships, a documentary service fee in an amount up to $350 may be added to vehicle price. For Washington state dealerships, a negotiable documentary service fee in an amount up to $150 may be added to vehicle price through June 30, 2014. For Oregon state dealerships, a negotiable documentary service fee in an amount up to $100 may be added to vehicle price. Oregon state dealerships not using an electronic vehicle registration system may only apply fees up to $75 to vehicle price. Does not include taxes, license, title, processing fees, insurance and dealer charges. See your local Toyota Certified Used dealer for details. Offer ends 4/1/2013. Comprehensive Warranty - whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii). Powertrain Warranty - whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle’s model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles. Roadside Assistance - from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details. NWT021813 Bozeman Covered 10x7.6_4C.indd 1

2/18/13 3:18 PM

Big Sky Weekly


Feb. 22 - March 7, 2013 55

The best office in the world Yellowstone National Park by snow coach story and photos By jamie balke

big sky weekly contributor

It was dark and early when Rob Patterson of Yellowstone Tour Guides departed Bozeman for the Summit Hotel in Big Sky. There, he picked up the four others, who were just as excited as my brother and me to experience a snow coach tour in Yellowstone. Hailing from North Carolina and New York, these lovely people were cheerful partners in the adventure. After getting the group settled in the van, Patterson began the drive to West Yellowstone. Snow fell gently, and elk congregated not far from the road. A native Montanan and avid hunter with a wide-ranging knowledge of the area, Patterson scanned the passing landscape for signs of wildlife. He’s been with Yellowstone Tour Guides since 2007, and believes he has the “best office in the world.” Driving down 191, as darkness softened into morning light, it was difficult to argue. The view was partially obstructed by frost on the inside of the windows, which one resourceful group member cleared off with her credit card just in time – across the river a female moose and her calf grazed. After a pause for questions and photos, the journey continued past willows dusted with snow in meadows where we spotted an otter.

Rob Patterson with the snowcoach from Yellowstone Tour Guides

YTG, which opened its doors in July 2001, offers a variety of snow coach tours. This particular journey is known as the Old Faithful Winter Adventure.

In a tree across the Madison River, Patterson pointed out two bald eagles. Positioning the lens of his cell phone camera against the eye of a pair of binoculars, he photographed the birds.

In West Yellowstone, Patterson traded the van for a snow coach.

The group climbed into the coach, and after a stop at the Chamber of Commerce for entrance permits, cruised into Yellowstone.

The coach motored along, small chunks of snow tossed up by its treads, flying by the windows.

“Your chariot awaits,” he proclaimed, explaining the imposing green vehicle perched on track treads called Mattracks is owned by Loomis Enterprises, which has a business relationship with Yellowstone Tour Guides.

“Welcome to the mother park!” Patterson said as the coach made tracks past frost-covered pine trees shimmering in the sun, steam from geothermal features rising against a backdrop of mountains.

The drive to Old Faithful yielded views of wildlife large and small, herds of elk and bison near the Madison River providing photo opportunities. Patterson even spotted a small American Dipper camouflaged in the river.

Our coach played leapfrog with a handful of other coaches and snowmobiles, but I kept in mind that we were surrounded by roughly 2.2 million acres of land in Yellowstone National Park. Patterson explained that according to recent National Park Service statistics, of the park’s 2.5 million annual visitors, only 50,000 come in the winter. After a walk at Black Sand Basin, Patterson led the group to a quick lunch at the Geyser Grill, followed by an Old Faithful eruption and a trip through the visitor’s center. One member of the group broke off to work on his ambitious goal of jogging in every state The return route included a walk at Fountain Paint Pots, where Patterson and other guides were excited to see changes in some features and unusual activity – the eruption of Fountain Geyser was surprisingly long, and Clepsydra Geyser was much louder than usual, according to Patterson. While driving back along the Madison River, Patterson’s prediction of seeing coyotes in this particular area was fulfilled when three came into view. Shortly before exiting the park after a day filled with wildlife, geothermal activity, and remarkable scenery, he spotted another bald eagle. A fitting conclusion to a wonderful day, it felt as though the eagle was seeing us off.

Weekly columnist Jamie Balke can’t wait to return to Yellowstone. Winter is a great time for viewing wildlife in Yellowstone.




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