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TED TURNER In his own words

The Art of

Outlaw filmmakers: Montana’s Smith Bros.

WINTER 2017


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TED TURNER: IN HIS OWN WORDS

by Joseph T. O’Connor From daring yacht races to becoming one of America’s most outspoken and successful media moguls, Ted Turner has been called intense, a genius and “Captain Outrageous.” Joseph T. O’Connor interviews Turner “In His Own Words,” about conservation, nukes and the future of bison.

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THE ART OF HAPPINESS

While much of news rehashes oppositional rhetoric, broken promises and a growing distrust, Mountain Outlaw wanted to tell a different story: the other side. Searching for “The Art of Happiness,” we asked photographers and writers to document the happiest people on Earth. Here are their secrets.


It was one of those mornings at Bridger Bowl when it’sSECTION: dark in the line for SUBthe quad. Halfway up Bridger Lift the sun peaked out above the clouds revealing this sea-like landscape in the canyon below. PHOTO BY STEVEN FULLERTON

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2067: THE CLOCK STRUCK THIRTEEN

By Todd Wilkinson Driverless cars whisk passengers through Montana where fishing is limited, glaciers are gone, and natural snowfall is finite. In a vision of dystopia 50 years from now, ski industry leaders tell how we can prevent catastrophe. Todd Wilkinson finds hope in “2067: The Clock Struck Thirteen.”

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THE SILVER ELEMENT

By Brigid Mander You’ve heard of Colorado’s Silverton Mountain, where lifts number one and big-mountain lines rule. Welcome to their version of big-mountain AK. Silverton Mountain Guides are debunking a ski area myth: On its own, skiing doesn’t make money. Brigid Mander digs up “The Silver Element.”

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DEPARTMENTS TRAILHEAD 22 Visit: Togwotee Pass, where you can soak in hot springs, dogsled, ski and, oh yeah, braaap! 23 Recommendations: Dodge grizzly bears with awardwinning author Pete Fromm, and live the boom-and-bust cycle in the acclaimed new film Makoshika. 24 Causes: Farm-to-school options are filling the void for Gallatin Valley students, and how high-fives are saving lives in the world of adventure sports 26 Events: Fire and Ice in Idaho, Lewiston’s Winter Fair, ski joring in Whitefish, and Butte’s wild and fabulous Finnish festival

NOW

30 Ted Turner: In his own words 36 Reports: On science, leaders, outdoors, and business

GALLERY

46 Finding the art of happiness

LAND

58 2067: The clock struck thirteen 68 The fight over the country’s first national monument 70 A Formation: The Rocky Mountains

CULTURE

74 Recipes: Après ski delights 78 History: The wickedest city in America 83 Humor: It’s tax time! What you can (and can’t) write off

GEAR

88 Dyed in the wool: Our softest and warmest guide yet

ADVENTURE 102 How Silverton, AK’s heli op is better than yours 112 The basics of sledding (tools, tricks and trails of the trade) TALES

114 Medicine wheel: A teepee inspiration 117 How to drop a monster cornice (sans skis)

OUTLAWS

122 The Smith brothers have taken Montana and the film industry by storm. In their new David Quammen adaptation, the twins tell that, while the story is king, authenticity crowns the ruler.

Few places, if any, are home to as high a concentration of elk as the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. As one of the great wildlife watching areas in the United States, the National Elk Refuge was established in 1912 as a managed winter range area with a supplemental feeding program. During especially harsh winters, as many as 11,000 elk gather on this 24,700-acre refuge to benefit from grain pellets which provide crucial nutritional supplements to their otherwise sparse diet of frozen winter grasses. PHOTO BY THOMAS D. MANGELSEN / MANGELSEN.COM


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Owned and published in Big Sky, Montana. PUBLISHER Eric Ladd EDITORIAL EDITOR / EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MEDIA Joseph T. O’Connor SENIOR EDITOR / DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR Tyler Allen ASSOCIATE EDITOR Amanda Eggert CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Kelsey Dzintars SENIOR DESIGNER Taylor-Ann Smith GRAPHIC DESIGNER Carie Birkmeier VIDEO DIRECTOR Wes Overvold

SALES AND OPERATIONS CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Megan Paulson EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING E.J. Daws EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Alexis Deaton MEDIA AND EVENTS DIRECTOR Ersin Ozer MARKETING COORDINATOR Amy Delgrande DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR Doug Hare

SENIOR VIDEO EDITOR Ryan Weaver CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Stephen Camelio, Katie Lee, Derek Lennon, Brigid Mander, Michael J. Ober, Ednor Therriault, Todd Wilkinson, Emily Stifler Wolfe, Jessianne Wright

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Dan Armstrong, Sarah Bork, Nick Brown, Elena Cizmaric, Michael Coles, Seth Dahl, TJ David, Bradley Davis, Ryan Flett, Steven Fullerton, Cynthia Gillund, Audrey Hall, Jessica Jane Hart, Stanislav Honzik, Erin Jackson, Didrik Johnck, Erik Kalacis, Max Lowe, Nick Lukkonen, Mike Lum, Thomas D. Mangelsen, Jess McGlothlin, Roger Moenks, Sasha Motivala, Ollie Nieuwland-Zlotnicki, Stuart Ramson, David Smith, Kene Sperry, Dylan Stevens, Jeremy Swanson, J.R. Switchgrass, Jessianne Wright

outlaw team gets to work...

Subscribe now at mtoutlaw.com/subscriptions.

Mountain Outlaw magazine is distributed to subscribers in all 50 states, including contracted placement in resorts across the West, and core distribution in the Northern Rockies including Big Sky and Bozeman, Montana, as well as Jackson, Wyoming, and the four corners of Yellowstone National Park. To advertise, contact E.J. Daws at ej@outlaw.partners or Ersin Ozer at ersin@outlaw.partners. OUTLAW PARTNERS & Mountain Outlaw P.O. Box 160250, Big Sky, MT 59716 (406) 995-2055 • media@outlaw.partners © 2017 Mountain Outlaw Unauthorized reproduction prohibited On the cover: In the year 2067, Earth may be a radically different planet due to the extreme effects of climate change. Read Todd Wilkinson’s portrayal of our winters in 50 years, if don’t we change our collective vision (p. 58). PHOTO BY DYLAN STEVENS

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C O N T E N T B Y L O C AT I O N WHITEFISH p. 27

M O N TA N A

TAFT p. 78

RICHEY p. 23

LEWISTON p. 26

BUTTE p. 26

BOZEMAN p. 8, 24, 32, 60. 75, 126

LIVINGSTON p. 62, 125, 129

BIG SKY p. 31, 40, 60, 76, 114

DEVIL’S TOWER P. 68

IDAHO TOGWOTEE PASS p. 22 LAVA HOT SPRINGS p. 27

JACKSON p. 10, 39, 40, 60, 70

WYOMING

SEWARD, AK p. 102 RED MOUNTAIN RESORT, B.C. p. 42 SILVERTON MOUNTAIN SKI AREA, CO p. 102

F E AT U R E D C O N T R I B U T O R S

THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE REGION & BEYOND

JESSIANNE WRIGHT is a freelance writer and Bozeman native who recently succumbed to kinderschema—she got a hound dog puppy last summer—and wrote the Report on the Science Behind Cuteness (p. 36). Her work has appeared in publications including the Explore Big Sky newspaper, Montana Parent Magazine, and Montana State University’s News Service.

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A former editor at In Style magazine, STEPHEN CAMELIO (“As Real As It Gets,” p. 122) is a copywriter and freelance writer whose work has appeared in Men’s Journal, ESPN The Magazine, Field & Stream and Fly Rod & Reel. An aspiring screenwriter, he’s currently working with a Montana producer to bring his own script, Mending the Line, to the big screen.

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JESS MCGLOTHLIN is happiest on the road in strange, far-off corners of the world. Her mission is simple: tell stories. While on assignment as a freelance photographer and writer in the past year, she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba and eat all manner of unidentifiable food. She’s based in Bozeman, Montana. (Tea Rai: p. 46)


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FROM THE EDITOR

Journalists face a conundrum these days. We’ve always faced it, but in today’s news cycle it seems particularly troublesome: How do we find a balance between covering the news—those important, hard-hitting, often “negative” stories that require in-depth analysis to elicit change—and recognizing the positive stories of triumph and joy that equally deserve coverage? I try to keep my social-media-lyzing in check, not an easy task in this field or during this technological time in which we live. Why? It’s daunting. The constant tweets from Twitter, dings from Facebook, pings from Google Messenger, likes, chats, comments. It makes your head spin. And then there’s the ever-present, everrevolving news feed—what’s trending at any given second: Brad and Angelina, Toblerone, Deflategate, Trump, the Kardashians—these stories are immediately replaced with new ones. While the shelf life of today’s news stories is troubling, what concerns me more is the content—I constantly hear from folks that it comes across as so negative. And here’s where we bump the wall. Journalists cover the news, and that news isn’t always good. In fact, it’s often terrible. Now, I wouldn’t suggest we (journalists) stop doing our jobs— if “negative” news wasn’t reported then regimes, autocrats, corrupt organizations and others in seats of power and influence would go completely unchecked. Journalism is the Fourth Estate, critical to a functioning democracy, and designed purposefully to hold accountable those who would seek to abuse the public trust. And journalism comes with responsibility, not only for the writer, but also the reader. In our cover story (“2067: The Clock Struck Thirteen” on p. 58), Todd Wilkinson takes us 50 years into the future where climate change has wreaked havoc and the snowline is nearer to summits than base areas. It’s a bleak image. And it has to be. If we don’t change, it will become this way. Some, however, are making substantial efforts. On page 30, you’ll read Mountain Outlaw’s exclusive interview with billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner. A man with ample patience for the Earth and its inhabitants, but one who does not suffer fools, Turner is extending a hand—and no shortage of big ideas—

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to make the world a better place. Look around: Other heroes pervade, and understanding that heroism comes in many forms is part of our humanity. In this issue, we also want to share with you a story rarely covered; a piece profound in its simplicity. Interviewing subjects for “The Art of Happiness” (p. 46), is an experience that moved me beyond words. Themes resounded: candor, smiles, family and community; an acceptance that people are all different, but that none is more important than another. Some emphasized simplicity; others the deep satisfaction of giving back. So, what if we slow down? If we take our collective thumbs off the emoji button and recognize the emotions we’re actually feeling? We must understand, as readers, as journalists, as citizens of the world, that news—even bad news—is necessary. But I urge my colleagues in the storytelling business to remember that good news happens daily as well. It can come in simple forms: a kind act, a shared smile, a family meal. These too deserve coverage. Upon launching CNN, Ted Turner declared that his flagship network would cover the news even as the world itself was ending. But he also told Mountain Outlaw, “I choose to be an optimist when it comes to human potential.” In our time, the world is in another new place. The distractions are innumerable. But as we look ahead, we must also look around. As Turner said, we have the potential.

Joseph T. O’Connor joe@outlaw.partners

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TRAILHEAD

VISIT TOGWOTEE PAS S , WYO MIN G Like remote, rustic and deep, deep powder? Togwotee Pass is calling. With more than 600 inches of snow annually and 600 miles of trails ranging from groomed and cruisy to technical and treacherous, Togwotee Pass is a bucket-list destination for snowmobilers. It’s also located on the doorstep of Grand Teton National Park and an hour’s drive from both Jackson, Wyoming, and the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The Red Fox Saloon

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Togwotee Mountain Lodge has 34 guest rooms and 54 log cabins serviced by friendly staff that will help you sort out rentals (if needed) and a guided or unguided snowmobile itinerary. Book one of the west-facing cabins—they boast awesome views of the Tetons— and keep an eye out for foxes.

Set aside a day for a soak in Granite Hot Springs, which sits just shy of 7,000 feet in the Gros Ventre Mountains two hours south of the lodge. Early settlers dug the toasty hot pool, which was improved by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935. Access the hot springs via the groomed trail by snowmobile, dogsled or cross-country skis—the road is closed to vehicles during the winter.

The Red Fox Saloon, located on the ground floor of the lodge, serves up tasty pub fare (think: bison burger on a pretzel roll with whiskey BBQ sauce and fried onions) and local microbrews. Check out the Grizzly Grill if pan-seared Idaho trout or Wyoming ribeye is more your style. - Taylor-Ann Smith

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R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S REEL:

RE AD:

Living in the rugged borderland of Montana and North Dakota isn’t easy—one resident of Richey, Montana, recalls a 40-day stretch when the thermometer failed to crest minus 20—but many of those who’ve endured it have grown to love it, and like any place you love, it’s hard to see it change. This 50-minute documentary by a film crew native to Billings, Montana, examines a story of change wrought by boom-and-bust cycles of the badlands along the MontanaNorth Dakota border. (“Mako shika” means “bad land” in the Lakota language.) Accompanied by spare and stunning cinematography and a deft soundtrack sourced from Montana musicians, Makoshika documents the latest oil boom as it unfolds in a series of personal narratives: The sole member of Richey’s graduating class of 2008 watches the quiet, rooted character of his agricultural community change; a member of the Assiniboine tribe recounts how previous oil drilling poisoned Poplar, Montana’s water; a well-traveled Sydney, Montana, native returns to his homeland, drawn by Bakken shale-generated opportunity. “We’re in a frame of history that [people] will talk about later,” he says. Makoshika examines this critical time in the region’s history, and skillfully captures it. – Amanda Eggert

Award-winning novelist Pete Fromm’s latest book is more than just a memoir about spending a month alone in Montana’s remote Bob Marshall Wilderness walking 10 miles a day in dense grizzly country to care for grayling fish eggs. It’s both a tale of backcountry adventure and a calm reflection on a life lived deliberately. In many ways, it is a sequel to Fromm’s Indian Creek Chronicles, his memoir about tending to salmon eggs during a long winter in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness as a 19-year-old hellbent on becoming a mountain man.  But in this most recent book, Fromm isn’t a boy confronting loneliness and ruminating about the prospects of a life well-lived. He is a now a man in his mid-40s living in solitude, reminiscing about his love of the wilds, missing his wife and two sons, coming to grips with his own mortality. Whether crashing through swamps, saving lives on Lake Mead, startling bears, or merely describing his morning routines, Fromm’s effortless prose, his refined powers of observation and vivid descriptions of the natural world carry the book along like the Rio Grande after a rainstorm. The savory moments develop when his own exploration of self-sufficiency and simplicity culminate in moments of self-discovery: the creative writing professor, the father, the husband laying what few regrets he has to rest. The longtime Great Falls resident’s return to babysitting fish eggs has produced a work brimming with humor, wisdom and grace. – Doug Hare

Makoshika

The Names of the Stars

Logan Verschoot on a ranch outside of Richey, Montana, one of the communities highlighted in feature-length documentary Makoshika. PHOTO BY JESSICA JANE HART

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CAUSES Seed to Snack summer campers tour a local farm. PHOTO BY ERIN JACKSON

GA L L ATIN VALLEY FARM TO SCHOO L Gallatin Valley Farm to School is so committed to cultivating healthy kids, vibrant farms and strong communities that every October a staffer dons an orange squash costume for the cause. It’s an appropriate choice: the costume comes out during Farm to School month in October, right around the time local farmers are harvesting squash. During the Farm to School “Feastival”—part of the month’s celebrations—attendees check out a local farm and snack on fresh food prepared on site. Families are invited to partake in activities like apple cider pressing, pumpkin picking, and kidfriendly food preparation demos. The Bozeman-based organization has increased local produce on school menus by connecting Gallatin County cafeterias with Montana-grown beef, grains, vegetables and legumes since 2007. But that’s only half the battle. The nonprofit’s staffers also familiarize kids, primarily k-5, with nutritious options that might be new to them. “It’s one thing to get it on the menu, and

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it’s another thing to entice kids to try it,” said Sam Blomquist, Executive Director of the Bozeman-based nonprofit. Gallatin Valley Farm to School helps kids become invested in healthy options with a “Harvest of the Month” program where staffers speak to kids about a Montana-grown food item, kale for instance, and demonstrate how to make snacks and meals out of it. The organization also leads “Seed to Snack” summer camps where kids cultivate vegetable gardens at their schools. And the message is expanding: In 2015, more than 3,000 students participated in the organization’s programs, a tenfold increase from the prior year. “Rethinking food education is pretty common throughout many different parts of the country, but it’s pretty great to live in a place where ag still exists in our community,” Blomquist said. “We have these burgeoning urban communities, but we still drive by cows on the way to school and we still know what a wheat farm looks like.” -A.E.


TRAILHEAD: CAUSES

HIGH F IV ES FOUN DAT IO N The mountain can be a dangerous place. Just ask Roy Tuscany. Late in the 2006 ski season, Tuscany was training on a massive step-up jump at Mammoth Mountain in California. He hit the lip at full speed, soaring 130 feet in the air and over everything, including the landing. Tuscany sustained a burst fracture in his lower back at T-12, temporarily paralyzing him from the belly button down. After 56 days of intense treatment and physical therapy, he walked out of the hospital with some assistance. Thanks to a flood of family and community support and $85,000 from a fund set up by California’s Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Tuscany was back on the slopes two years later with a pair of adaptive ski poles. “The fund allowed me to focus on the recovery,” said Tuscany, now 35. “At the end of it I thought, ‘I can’t ever truly show the gratitude for everyone.’ I wanted to pay it forward.” In January of 2009, Tuscany took his next big leap, launching the High Fives Foundation in Truckee, California, on Lake Tahoe’s north shore. The nonprofit bills itself as the “safety net for the mountain action sports community,” and offers assistance to those suffering lifealtering injuries including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage and amputation. High Fives has so far aided 125 athletes from 26 states. The organization works with 226 specialized healthcare providers around the country ranging from neurosurgeons and rehab experts to acupuncture, massage and physical therapy specialists. And through the High Fives Empowerment Fund, board-approved grant money helps injured athletes contend with oft-overwhelming healthcare expenses, insurance, living expenditures and adaptive winter gear.

Above: High Five Athlete and photographer Jason Abraham sustained a life-altering injury in 2015, but that doesn’t hold him back. Here, Abro paraglides over the Reno-Tahoe area. PHOTO COURTESY OF GENERIKAL DESIGN

Left: High Fives Founder Roy Tuscany gives a high five to High Five Athlete Tony Schmiesing after he became the only adaptive athlete to ever take on the 22-foot walls of the X Games superpipe. PHOTO COURTESY OF TONY SCHMIESING/GOPRO

In 2010, Tuscany and the High Fives team recognized injury prevention as a key element for adventure athletes. Professional skier JT Holmes is an ambassador for the foundation’s B.A.S.I.C.S. program (Being Aware Safe In Critical Situations) to promote smart decision-making in the mountains. “My experience made me understand that [the outdoor industry] is an inclusive community,” Tuscany said. “Everybody wants to work together.” – Joseph T. O’Connor Visit highfivesfoundation.org to donate and to watch “Quadrilyzed,” the award-winning short film on skier/photographer Jason Abraham, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down after an accident at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in 2015.

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EVENTS

MO NTANA WINT E R FA I R

Lewiston, MT / January 26-29 Going strong for 72 years and billed as a “cure for cabin fever,” the Montana Winter Fair celebrates all things agriculture. A fiddle contest showcases state talent young and old, and prizes for the cinnamon roll bake-off, homebrew contest and Dutch oven cook-off are hotly contested. This year, the event features a workshop for attendees looking to improve their horsemanship and cattle-control skills. Don’t miss a visit with the Ice Queen, a legendary maiden who emerges from her ice-cave home to reign over the Winter Fair and sprinkle shimmering crystals and blessings across the land. – A.E. Kiddos dig the stick horse rodeo at the Montana Winter Fair. Adults are all about the fiddle contest, home-cooked fare and horsemanship workshops. PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE JENNI PHOTOGRAPHY

ST. UR HO ’S DAY Butte, MT / March 16

Butte’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration is a legendary bacchanal for those of Irish descent, but for 60 years Butte’s Finnish community has had their own version: St. Urho’s Day. According to legend, St. Urho used a pitchfork to drive the grasshoppers out of Finland to save the grape crops. The assigned date of March 16 is an elbow to the ribs of the Irish, but it’s all in good fun. After an afternoon of Finnish music at Cinz Bar and a few shots of Marskin ryyppy (a schnapps-like liquor), the Saint and Princess (who must be at least half-Finnish) are crowned. They are presented robes and a pitchfork complete with a large stuffed grasshopper impaled on its tines. Kippis! – Ednor Therriault

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All hail! Charlie Davies and Janna Marjamaa pose after being crowned Saint and Princess Urho at the Eastside Athletic Club (it’s a bar) at Butte’s St. Urho’s Day Festival on March 16, 2016. PHOTO BY NICK LUKKONEN


TRAILHEAD: EVENTS

FIRE & ICE WINTERFEST Lava Hot Springs, Idaho / Feb. 3-5

Recognized as one of the zaniest winter festivals in the world, the Fire and Ice Winterfest takes place over the first full weekend in February in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, a town of 406 souls best known for its natural spring-fed hot pools. One of the “coolest” events at the Winterfest is the Polar Float Parade where the thick-skinned float down the freezing Portneuf River in their craziest costumes for a chance to win prizes and bragging rights. Be sure to also partake in the rubber penguin race, Subzero Superhero Endurance Swim, and a fun run between the town’s hot springs. – T.A.S.

FRIDAY: • Wine tasting at the Riverside Inn • Bingo and comedy night at the Lava Community Center SATURDAY: • Subzero Superhero Endurance Swim • Children’s water carnival • Polar Float Parade • Chili tasting SUNDAY: • American Legion breakfast • Rubber penguin race • Running of the bulls Costumes are encouraged for the Polar Float Parade down the chilly Portneuf River, a signature Fire and Ice Winterfest event. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT IDAHO

W HI TE FIS H S K I JORING CHAMP IO NSHIP Whitefish, Montana / January 28-29

Combining skiing and horseback riding—two of Montana’s favorite activities—ski joring is a classic winter sport that has garnered worldwide interest. For 14 years, competitors have entered the Whitefish World Ski Joring Championship in hopes of taking home a winning title and a hefty cash prize. One hundred teams will compete in four classes as 5,000plus spectators watch horses, riders and skiers take on jumps and hairpin turns to showcase their skills and speed on the snow. A portion of event proceeds are donated to the Human Therapy on Horseback nonprofit. Don’t forget your gloves and spurs! – T.A.S.

Giddy up! The pool of competitors vying for a piece of the action—and a sizable cash prize—at the Whitefish Ski Joring Championship is growing. PHOTO BY CYNTHIA GILLUND

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REPORTS / p. 36

N OW

TED TURNER I N H IS OW N WO R D S / The Mountain Outlaw interview BY JOSEPH T. O’CONNOR

To many, Ted Turner, the adopted Montanan dwelling in our own backyard, is a bit of a mystery, a man who has led two lives. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native cut his teeth on business ventures of near-epic proportions. He founded the CNN and TBS television networks, owned the World Series-winning Atlanta Braves, and for a time headed the World Championship Wrestling company. A fiercely competitive media mogul with a tongue capable of setting the room ablaze, Turner earned a reputation for being as tenacious as his 61-foot racing yacht of the same name that won the infamous Fastnet Race in 1979.

But in the late ‘70s another side of Turner began to emerge. A mentor to Turner, one Jacques Cousteau, helped impart in him a notion of altruism. Indeed, Turner saw Cousteau the explorer and conservationist as a leader of men. “The Captain should rightfully be considered the [environmental] movement’s father,” he once said. In 1977, Turner read a report commissioned by President Jimmy Carter outlining the dire straights the world was facing. Without comprehensive change, the report noted, these problems could spin out of control. “It drove home the point to me, for the first time in my life, that, as a business person, the decisions I make can either contribute to making problems for the Earth worse, or they can help advance a solution,” Turner told writer Todd Wilkinson in the 2013 book Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet. These days, the entrepreneur-turned-mogul-turnedphilanthropist is worth $2.2 billion. He still wears his moustache reminiscent of Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind, and puts his time and a famously restless energy into searching for solutions to the biggest issues facing the world today. Turner has founded five foundations, including the Turner Endangered Species Fund, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

In 1997, he pledged $1 billion to the United Nations, which, in turn, launched the United Nations Foundation dedicated to tackling worldwide concerns, among them global poverty, climate change, women’s empowerment and energy access. The event, in fact, was a challenge to other wealthy individuals to give more, and it resonated with the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as Warren Buffett. Turner, who turned 78 in November, is the secondlargest private landowner in America, and has put much of it in conservation easements, ensuring its natural existence in perpetuity. He owns 15 ranches in the western U.S., of which four are in Montana. The 113,600-acre Flying D between Bozeman and Big Sky is managed for wildlife and bison. Turner is dedicated to the West, its land and its native animals, owning the world’s largest private bison herd. But he’s also loyal to bettering the world at large. The one-time “Mouth of the South” (don’t call him that) has made an impact on sustainability and environmentalism considered among the most impressive in modern history. He’s been called a provocateur, a capitalist, a crusader. One thing you can call him: humanitarian. Turner granted Mountain Outlaw an exclusive interview in November. Here are his words. >> M T O U T L AW. C O M / MOUNTAIN

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NOW: TED TURNER

Turner at the Flying D Ranch south of Bozeman, Montana, in 2013 PHOTO BY ELENA CIZMARIC

MOUNTAIN OUTLAW: You bought your flagship Montana ranch, the Flying D, in 1989 and from there grew your landholdings in the U.S. and Argentina to more than 2 million acres, and expanded your bison herd to more than 51,000. Few people imagined this could be done. How do you feel about it looking back? TED TURNER: I’m proud of what we have accomplished; it’s been a real team effort. In the beginning, I was on a steep learning curve because we set out to do something that had never been done before: bring back bison on a massive scale. In order to do that, we needed a lot of land. Fortunately, I had the economic resources to acquire properties that could accommodate an expanding herd. Now, here we are decades later and the bison is our national mammal.

M.O.: You were excited when a wolf pack began denning at the Flying D, and it now sounds like a sow grizzly and her cubs are living fairly close to your house. Are you equally as excited about having bears living not far from your backdoor? T.T.:

I hired Mike Phillips, who previously led the effort in the mid-‘90s to restore wolves to Yellowstone Park, to oversee the daily operations of the Turner Endangered Species Fund. He told me that if we provided habitat on the Flying D, the wolves of Yellowstone would eventually find their way to the ranch. When wolves established a pack, I was overjoyed. I think we may have been one of the first, if not the first, ranch in the West to lay out a welcome mat for wolves! I have

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literally howled to wolves off the back deck of my house with my family and friends. I also hoped the Flying D could provide a home for grizzlies. In the past several months, we received reports that a sow with cubs had taken up residence in the ranch interior. I was pretty excited. Wolves and grizzlies have reputations that are far worse than the reality, but if you give them room to roam, we can live with them peacefully. I’m proud to say that my home in Montana is also their home. M.O.: When you arrived in Montana, development was really starting to take off and the easement you placed on the Flying D was one of the largest of its kind. Had the ranch not been protected and instead sold as a real estate play, it would look very different today, and you left a lot of money on the table by embracing conservation. What motivated you? T.T.: Respect for nature and the environment. In so many parts of the country, wildlife is getting crowded out by people and development. When I first laid eyes on the Flying D, it didn’t take me long to realize how special it is; and I knew that if it wasn’t protected, it would turn into a giant suburb of Bozeman, just as other parts of the Gallatin Valley have. I view land ownership this way: What’s important is not only what you take away from the land, but also what you do to make sure these lands endure over time.


WHAT’S IMPORTANT IS NOT ONLY WHAT YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE LAND, BUT ALSO WHAT YOU DO TO MAKE SURE THESE LANDS ENDURE OVER TIME. M.O.: In Wilkinson’s book, you make the analogy that the world is currently in the seventh inning and the home team is down by a couple of runs; that now is the time to rally. What keeps you up at night?

Degraded environments cause people and countries to become desperate, and when you’re desperate, you don’t always behave rationally.

T.T.:

M.O.: In your forward to Wilkinson’s book, you write that one “…can be a tree hugger and still have [one’s] name appear in Forbes.” In your opinion, why do people tend to compartmentalize these concepts into two separate schools of thought?

Potential nuclear dangers are my top concern. The U.S. and Russia still have large nuclear arsenals pointing at each other, and we must also consider what North Korea is capable of. Human or computer error could trigger an event that leads to an exchange of nuclear weapons, and it would be catastrophic. [Former U.S. Senator] Sam Nunn and I founded the Nuclear Threat Initiative 15 years ago to address these issues, and NTI is doing some outstanding work. After nukes, I would say climate change, addressing human poverty and population growth, and loss of biodiversity rank right up there. Many of these issues are so interrelated, and I should note they all have environmental components.

T.T.: It’s a myth that in order to make money, you have to trash the environment or that if you protect the environment, it’s going to cost our nation in lost economic productivity. That mentality should have faded long ago, and truthfully, when it comes to the current state of our environment, we can’t afford to think that way anymore.

M.O.: What’s a good day for Ted Turner like in the Wild West? T.T.:

When I’m in Montana, I’m usually

up before dawn to exercise. After breakfast, I might fish or take a drive around the ranch to see the wildlife. When I’m out in nature doing the things I love, it energizes me and allows me to think more clearly. I don’t own a cell phone, so I don’t have to remind myself to unplug when I’m on the ranch, but I encourage my family and friends to do so when they visit. Otherwise, they can’t fully unwind and appreciate what Montana has to offer. M.O.: One of your more recent entrepreneurial endeavors is Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX), which launched in 2015, and allows visitors to explore and stay overnight on some of your properties. How did the idea for ecotourism evolve and what kind of a reception has it had? T.T.: The response has already been phenomenal. The idea started at my largest property, Vermejo Park Ranch (585,000 acres) in northern New Mexico, which functioned as a guest ranch before I bought it in 1996. People had been going to Vermejo to hunt and fish for years, and at one time, the National Park Service even considered turning it into a national park, so the public interest was already in place on that property. At Vermejo, we just expanded upon our ecotour offerings and added an ultra-luxury accommodation option by opening my home, Casa Grande, to guests this past year. But for both the Ladder Ranch and Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa in southern New Mexico, we had to start from scratch when it came to renovating existing structures, creating a menu of tour offerings and building a team of dedicated associates who believe in the TTX vision. >> After the United Nations received a $1 billion pledge from Turner in 1997, it created the United Nations Foundation. Here, Turner addresses a UNF board retreat in Norway, 2011. PHOTO BY STUART RAMSON

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I’ve made substantial investments in conservation on my landholdings, and TTX is a way for guests to witness the effects of this and enjoy the lands, while knowing the money they’ve spent is going back into our environmental protection projects. Over time, we’ll probably expand to some of my other properties, but for now we’re focused on making sure we do it right. M.O.: Your Ted’s Montana Grill in Bozeman is among four dozen such restaurants, based in part on the idea of serving bison on the menu. I’ve heard that the Bozeman Ted’s is one of the most popular. Why do you think that is? T.T.: Well for one, the food is delicious! If you haven’t eaten there yet, you must stop by and have a bison cheeseburger on me. Ted’s is in downtown Bozeman, and for many folks, it has become a local favorite. No matter which city and state, all of our 46 restaurants pride themselves on supporting their local communities.

Turner and his children, L-R: Beau, Teddy, Jennie, Laura and Rhett.

M.O.: Between your days spent sailing and as an angler and a conservationist, water has been a resounding theme in your life. Considering the droughts in California and the role climate change has on rising sea levels, talk about the importance of preserving earth’s most valuable resource. T.T.:

This is a good question. My kids and I think a lot about climate change and how their kids are going to deal with the consequences, especially if we continue to do so little to address it. I’m trying hard to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. On my properties, we’re doing what we can to keep our forests and grasslands healthy so they will absorb carbon. We’ve also expanded our investments in solar power so that we can generate enough clean energy to provide electricity for thousands of homes. I choose to be an optimist when it comes to human potential.

M.O.: You won the America’s Cup as a sailor, Emmys and Oscar nominations for TV programming and films you greenlit, and you won a World Series when you owned the Atlanta Braves. Of all the things you’ve done, what gives you the most satisfaction? T.T.: First and foremost, my children and grandchildren give me the most satisfaction any person could ever hope for. They bring me so much joy, and I’m grateful that they’re all doing their part to make this world a better place for generations to come. I’m also proud of the efforts my colleagues and I made to win those trophies because they are noteworthy accomplishments. But I’m proudest of what we’ve done to protect and preserve our lands and species on them, as well as my foundations’ efforts to improve the lives of people around the world.

M.O.: You talk about the impacts that great Americans including Henry David Thoreau, Orson Welles and Andrew Carnegie have had on your life. How have these influences affected your dedication to philanthropy? T.T.: When TBS started to become really profitable, I attended a seminar on philanthropy in Washington, D.C., where I learned how forming a family foundation can bring parents and their children together. At that time, I was working long hours building my company, which unfortunately took me away from my children more than I would have liked. So, the Turner Foundation was and is a great vehicle to contribute to my community and other organizations, while also spending quality time with my family. Each year, I set aside a certain amount of money to give away and meet with all five of my children to decide how to invest it in ways that will have the most positive impact. What’s even better is now my grandchildren are involved too! Family foundations don’t require a ton of money, and when you do this, you not only teach your children economic literacy, but most importantly, the rewards that come with giving money away to make a positive difference in the world.

M.O.: Any regrets?

I CHOOSE TO BE AN OPTIMIST WHEN IT COMES TO HUMAN POTENTIAL.

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T.T: I have a few regrets—who doesn’t? But dwelling on them doesn’t get you anywhere. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, the way to address them is by vowing to do better the next time. I firmly believe that if every one of us did more good things than bad things every day, the world would be a much better place.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TURNER FOUNDATION

NOW: TED TURNER


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NOW: REPORTS

Kinderschema Puppies, kittens, babies and bears: The science behind cuteness STORY AND PHOTO BY JESSIANNE WRIGHT

B

IG, ROUND EYES GAZE UP AT YOU.

The pup has those soft folds of extra skin around the base of his tender, floppy ears and his nose is short on his compact, oval face. It looks like he wears snowshoes—his oversized feet can surely carry him across any stretch of snow—but they give awkward thuds as he wobbles across the floor. Puppies steal the show at most any event. They give us that eyebrow-raising, lower-lip quivering, unbearable desire to simply sit and watch, or even give the little guy a hug. As humans, we find these juvenile canines impossibly cute. But why? Turns out this question emerged in the academic realm years ago. Since the 1940s, scientists and researchers have studied the traits humans identify as adorable. This set of physical features—coined baby schema or kinderschema by Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz—includes a round face and big forward-facing eyes, chubby cheeks and floppy limbs. This same criteria applies to pudgy human babies we can’t take our eyes off. The actual science behind cuteness is rooted in evolutionary biology. According to Lorenz’s theory, these traits motivate us to care for and protect anything that exhibits those “cute” characteristics. As a species whose offspring are incredibly vulnerable, it makes sense we have evolved to be particularly sensitive to any indication of youthfulness and need. Humans don’t even distinguish between species, scientists say. Montana State University history grad Oliver Manning studied bears and the evolutionary

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psychology of cuteness for his 2015 undergraduate capstone project. A large part of his research consisted of reading journals of early travelers to the Yellowstone area. “[The early accounts] revealed how people could view cuteness in something that could kill them,” Manning said, adding that travelers found the bears human-like, and some trapped cubs to take back East. Manning suspects our attraction to pets is closely related to our early relationship with wolves. “They were deadly animals but we still saw something cute in them and we fostered that through domestication,” he said. Timothy LeCain, an associate professor of history at MSU, added to Manning’s theory, referring to environmental historian Edmund Russell’s 2011 volume, Evolutionary History. In this book, Russell explains that genes controlling tame behavior The pet industry in the U.S, also control the is projected to surpass development ‘ of other adult traits. According to the historian, hundreds of years of unconscious selection for docile animals has led to increased juvenile—or cute—characteristics in our pets. “You’re breeding these animals so in some sense they don’t grow-up … it’s breeding for extended adolescence,” LeCain said. Our attraction to all things cute helps explain why, in the U.S. alone, the pet industry surpassed $60 billion last year and why, according to the pet market research group Packaged Facts, the industry will surpass $90 billion by 2019. Annual sales within the U.S. have more than doubled in the past 15 years, despite the economic downturn of the late 2000s. Next time you see that puppy in the window that makes you gush, just remember: kinderschema is the science behind cuteness. And you’d better grab that pup before the drooling masses do.

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NOW: REPORTS

King of Rec In an effort to bridge the divide, one outdoorsman brings the wild into politics BY AMANDA EGGERT

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L

UIS BENITEZ HAS ALWAYS TAKEN THE LONG VIEW. He summited Everest when he was 28 years old, a goal he’d set two decades earlier. But these days, the international mountain guide takes a 30,000-foot view from his desk in Denver: from here he envisions how the outdoor industry can save the world. Benitez landed in this seat in 2015 when Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper appointed him the state’s first director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation. Since then, Benitez has hiked, boated, fished and skied with constituents across the state to learn what they need to make Colorado an international symbol of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. In addition to growing the West’s outdoor recreation economy, Benitez focuses on conservation and stewardship, education and workforce training. He’s also helped states like Montana and Wyoming with their fledgling efforts to launch similar offices since he believes a robust outdoor rec industry benefits the entire Intermountain West. (Credit where credit’s due: Utah established the nation’s first Office of Outdoor Recreation in 2013.)


Left: Luis Benitez at Everest Base Camp in 2003, the year he made his first of six successful summits.

ASTOUNDING FINISHES

PHOTO BY DIDRIK JOHNCK

The onetime Outward Bound leader embraces a shared best-practice philosophy, but Hickenlooper is quick to point out Colorado won’t let him go anytime soon. “You other 10 states getting ready to do offices of outdoor recreation: Keep your paws off Benitez!” Hickenlooper said last October during his address at SHIFT, the annual outdoor recreation and conservation conference in Jackson, Wyoming. Outdoor recreation is a $646 billion industry, according to SHIFT Director Christian Beckwith, and the country’s third largest recipient of consumer spending. In Colorado alone, the outdoor industry generates $34 billion in consumer spending along with 313,000 jobs and nearly $5 billion in tax revenue. Put another way: The outdoor industry is a force. “For the first time, we’re being seen as a constituency that politicians actually need to court and go after,” Benitez said. But guiding the path lacing through recreation and conservation isn’t for the faint-hearted. Between 2010 and 2015, Colorado was the third fastest-growing state in the U.S. That kind of growth creates friction when it comes to access-versus-conservation. Benitez said emerging technologies like battery-powered, pedal-assisted e-bikes and motorized longboards should be part of the conversation. “If we don’t help define that [conservation] ethic for the next generation, they’re not going to know why these places are important,” he said. “I’m not saying throw the doors open to everything, but we have to stop being so resistant to change.” Benitez still makes time for alpine excursions—he says he’s happiest in frigid environs above 10,000 feet where cell phones don’t work—just less frequently than years past. He scampers around Colorado’s fourteeners when he can and tries to guide one international big-mountain trip a year for nonprofits and foundations he supports to stay sharp. Apart from that, Benitez uses a high-powered headlamp to cram as much adventuring into the edges of the workday as possible. Some weeks he can only fit in a 4-mile run, but he’s OK spending his time on policy. “This is the expedition now,” he said.

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NOW: REPORTS SECTION: SUBHEAD

Taking on Titans Two resorts seek alternate tracks to forge skiing’s future BY TYLER ALLEN

T

HERE IS AN OLD SLOGAN IN BUSINESS: “INNOVATE OR DIE.”

The mantra applies to few enterprises more poignantly than the ski industry. Faced with a warming climate bringing shorter winters, and declining revenue endangering smaller ski areas, investment is critical for the sport’s future. But what’s the best strategy? In November, real estate investment trust EPR Properties based in Kansas City, Missouri—of all places—purchased 15 North American ski resorts including Northstar California and Colorado’s Crested Butte. Vail Resorts added a giant feather to the cap of its global skiing empire when last summer it announced a $1 billion deal to acquire British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb. Vail’s portfolio now includes the largest ski resort in North America and stretches from the Midwest to California. The corporate titan also owns the biggest ski area in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Perisher. While some cry foul, bemoaning the “Evil Empire”—Vail’s Epic Pass holders also have access to some of the world’s largest resorts in France,

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Switzerland, Italy and Austria—if you had the means, wouldn’t you circle the globe on one ski pass? Consolidation is one answer, but other models exist to save skiing. Vermont’s Mad River Glen began a skierowned cooperative in 1995, and the nonprofit model has been successful at Montana’s Bridger Bowl, Oregon’s Mount Ashland and Bogus Basin in Idaho. Another approach is overhaul to attract clientele. Some resorts are adding amenity upgrades including high-speed chairlifts, dining facilities and shopping. Others are increasing skier capacity: Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor added a 635-acre terrain expansion with its new Cloudchaser lift, and Jackson Hole in Wyoming built the Sweetwater Gondola to reduce base-area congestion. Two ski resorts in particular are bucking the conglomerate trend, and executing two very different approaches.


Professional snowboarders Ralph Backstrom and Robin Van Gyn scope out their lines from Big Sky Resort’s Headwaters Ridge during the 2016 Hiball Energy Athlete Summit. PHOTO BY WES OVERVOLD

BIG SKY RESORT

NE W / U P GRA DE D LI FT S

N IGH T SK IIN G

A DV E NT U RE M O U NTA IN

RE STAU RA N T S

Just two weeks after Vail publicized its Whistler Blackcomb acquisition, Big Sky Resort announced “2025,” a decade-long, $150 million private investment in the southwest Montana resort to create a European-style ski experience dubbed the “American Alps.” The nearly 6,000-acre resort is anchored by 11,166-foot Lone Mountain, a conical peak that would appear right at home at the roof of Western Europe, alongside the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Owned by Michigan-based Boyne Resorts, Big Sky is the third largest ski area in North America, and only one of the top five not operated by Vail. “This is about making Big Sky not just bigger but making it better,” said Stephen Kircher, president of Boyne’s eastern operations and son of the company’s founder, ski resort pioneer Everett Kircher. “We have a unique opportunity … to create something that most of North America does not see.” Big Sky rolled out the plan this winter replacing two aging chairlifts to service some of the resort’s most venerable terrain. The Challenger double chair was succeeded by a conveyor-loading triple accessing Challenger’s rowdy steeps in less than 10 minutes. The Powder Seeker six-person lift—complete with heated seats and bubble enclosures—rises more than 800 vertical feet in three minutes to whisk even the most cold-averse flatlanders into The Bowl. It provides access to the Lone Peak Tram and replaces an old triple notorious for wind holds and mechanical failures. Big Sky’s goal is to provide the most advanced lift network in North America, including a 10-person gondola originating at the Mountain Village, and a Moonlight-area lift to reclaim the longest vertical drop in the U.S. The resort has plans for night skiing on Andesite, and to scatter a host of new restaurants around the mountain and village to mimic the European on-piste dining and après ski experience. “The iconic mountain is certainly the core of that,” Kircher said of Big Sky 2025. “But underneath that is a sense of exploration, like you see in Europe. An attention to detail, ENHANCED SNOWM AKI NG an attention to creating a truly international destination.” >>

The decade-long vision of Big Sky Resort’s 2025 plan includes 12 upgraded or new chairlifts, including two that debuted this winter. Night skiing on Andesite Mountain will open for the 2017/2018 season. Learn more at bigsky2025.com. IMAGE COURTESY OF BIG SKY RESORT


NOW: REPORTS

Located on Canada’s “Powder Highway,” British Columbia’s Red Mountain Resort is known for its steep tree skiing and picturesque town of Rossland. PHOTO BY ERIK KALACIS

RED MOUNTAIN RESORT A day before Big Sky’s 2025 press conference, Red Mountain Resort announced it’s embarking on a different path to future development. A crowdfunding effort called “Fight the Man. Own the Mountain.” is the first of its kind in the industry, and for a $1,000 minimum investors can own a piece of the Rossland, British Columbia, resort nestled along Canada’s famed “Powder Highway.” In 2004, visionary American businessman Howard Katkov led a group of investors to purchase the resort intending on sustainable expansion that included a 1,000acre terrain addition in 2013. Now they’re taking that mission to the people with a StartEngine campaign that’s in a phase to gauge interest. Red hit the $3 million mark of a $10 million reservation goal in the first 10 days. Katkov said this first phase will run through the 2017 calendar year for Canadian investors and until April for Americans—SEC filings in the states take about four months—before beginning phase two, when potential investors commit actual dollars. “I thought, ‘What an interesting idea to reach out to our fan base and see if there was any interest in being an owner of our ski resort,’” Katkov told Mountain Outlaw in late October. “I have people saying to me, ‘I’ve waited 30 years to have an opportunity to be an owner of Red. I want this for myself, my children and my grandchildren.’”

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The campaign “Fight the Man. Own the Mountain.” confronts the ski industry’s consolidation trend.

Once phase two goes live—and Katkov is bullish that it will—six PHOTO BY RYAN FLETT tiers of equity will be available from the $1,000 minimum up to $25,000. Perks range from five transferable lift tickets to a five-year family season pass, and benefits in between. Owners will have access to a private club atop Grey Mountain, and overnight summit cabin stays will be available for higher-tier investors. Katkov admitted a few locals have recoiled from the “private” aspect of this plan, but mostly he’s heard overwhelming support. “It’s super important that the community is still an integral part of the fiber of the resort,” he said, “and I can tell you unequivocally that Red Mountain has that.”


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NOW: REPORTS

Gift of Gear Corbeaux’s philanthropy provides solid base BY BRIGID MANDER

W

HEN ASPEN, COLORADO-BASED FREESKIERS ADAM MOSZYNSKI AND DARCY CONOVER took their honeymoon

in 2012, they didn’t laze around a beach. They headed to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro, where they noticed the complete lack of appropriate gear and technical protective layers among the local mountain guides. As sponsored ski athletes, Conover and Moszynski made the guides an offer to ship back quality second-hand gear, collected from other athletes and friends in Colorado. To their surprise, the guides said no. The explanation: If the gear wasn’t stolen outright in transit, the intended recipients would have to bribe officials to collect their packages. A light bulb went off for the two Americans, who had been mulling over starting their own business: Build a gear company with a social mission to collect and recycle used technical gear and hand-deliver it to local guides in developing nations across Asia, South America, and Africa. The duo settled on producing quality, sustainable baselayers designed by athletes for athletes. “Baselayers’ functional design really seemed like an afterthought to most companies, so we saw a good niche,” Moszynski said. A shared aversion toward wool made a sustainable bamboo blend their choice material.

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This was the framework for Corbeaux (French for “raven,” a symbol ubiquitous in the outdoor industry), a social and ecoconscious Aspen-based clothing company nearly two years old and with big dreams. It has succeeded in sticking to sustainability points, via employing two U.S. factories: one in Rifle, Colorado, and one in St. Paul, Minnesota, and sourcing domestic fabrics. “Not only did we want to support American industry, but manufacturing abroad sounded like a nightmare with language barriers, huge minimums, and questionable environmental practices,” Moszynski said. The couple iced their mission with a little frivolity: thoughtful, utilitarian design details coupled with polka dots, bright colors, and flattering cuts. An Indie GoGo crowdfunding campaign brought launch capital, and the business has taken off from there. Yet the Corbeaux crew didn’t forget about philanthropic goals. Within a year of starting the business, they had collected and delivered gear to guides in Ecuador.


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Mountain Vista MLS 213597 • 36.12 Acres with views of Fan and Lone Mountain and Spanish Peaks • Homesite, Geotech & Soils Test performed • Mature Forest and Open Meadows Left: Corbeaux founders Adam Moszynski and Darcy Conover PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAM MOSZYNSKI

Right: Corbeaux ambassador Greg Shaffran (front left) and Adam Moszynski (front center) look on as Joel Vargas, president of Huarez, Peru’s local porter union, addresses its members. Thanks to Corbeaux, these men, who work as porters, cooks, and mule-handlers, now have high-quality gear to keep them warm in the mountains. PHOTO BY TJ DAVID

For their second gear-gifting trip, they headed to Peru in June 2016, where they donated 130 pieces of new and used gear to the Asociación De Auxiliares De Alta Montaña Ranrapalca, a local porter’s union working in the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca mountains. Corbeaux plans to extend its outreach to new gear companies for donations of gear overstock each season, from shoes, to eye protection and technical layers. “We take a lot for granted in this country. In so many other countries, no one has the right gear, they don’t have access even if they could afford it, no one is teaching conservation and how not to degrade the environment,” Moszynski said. “There is no lack of gently used gear in our communities. It can be put to use.”

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THE

ART OF HAPPINESS The happiest people we could find tell their secrets


OUTBOUND

G A L L E RY We all smile for photographs. Sometimes it’s natural, and sometimes not. But what stands out when a photographer captures the essence of happiness? Who are these joyful souls, and what are their secrets to a life well lived? Mountain Outlaw searched for the happiest people we could find to discover the secrets behind their smiles. It is our hope with this feature to spread a little wisdom and joy by sharing with you these stunning humans and their stories. –The Editors

S I MP L I CI T Y Tea Rai PHOTO BY JESS MCGLOTHLIN

Simplicity is key for locals on Anaa Atoll, a small dot in the middle of the Pacific with a population of 80 and little tourism or commerce. Tea Rai, who grew up on the atoll but now works in Tahiti due to job scarcity on Anaa, views life witeh a clean simplicity. “I’ll tell you about my smiling often; my laughing,” she says. “Happiness is loving my life. When you see someone sad … you have to smile to give [them] the smile.” Tea Rai beamed as she showed us hidden jungle caves, shell-strewn beaches and new faces. When she’s home, she enjoys the Sunday tradition of attending church followed by patia fa, a game where locals compete by thowing spears at a coconut suspended high on a pole. Life on Anaa has its own challenges, but Rai isn’t willing to let her smile slip. “When I have a bad moment I think about my family and my friends because they are the reason for my life.” – Jess McGlothlin

“When I have a bad moment I think about my family and my friends because they are the reason for my life.”

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GRAT E FULN E SS Ben Moon PHOTO BY MAX LOWE

Happiness has to start with yourself—with your attitude and your approach. I’d never experienced anything so stark as when I was diagnosed with cancer in my 20s. I was living on the road in my van, traveling the West with my dog, taking pictures and establishing my career as a photographer. At the time I was enamored with athletes at their peak, climbing the hardest routes, surfing the biggest waves. After being knocked flat by cancer that all changed. It made me realize what really matters in life: interactions with others, who we love and who loves us. And being grateful for what we can do instead of wishing it could be better. In my photography, I noticed a shift—that’s when I started doing portraiture. I was more interested in other people and their stories. I said years ago that all I really wanted was to work with people I care about and on projects I find inspiring. It’s been working for 15 years. I keep thinking it’s all a dream, but it’s the most sustainable business model: do what you truly love. – Ben Moon

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CO MPAS S I O N Tsering Dolkar Lama PHOTO BY WES OVERVOLD

Tsering Dolkar Lama is a woman who exudes peace, happiness and compassion. A devout Buddhist and mother of two, Tsering takes very seriously her faith and duty to others, especially the poorest and most vulnerable among us. It is a natural act, and she expects nothing in return. Also a successful businesswoman, Tsering finds tremendous happiness in helping others because she can. Her organized charity Tsering’s Fund helps educate girls from poor families, and Tsering takes great pleasure seeing these young women succeed and flourish. Tsering leads a life of compassion and grace. I was recently late arriving to meet her at a nearby Monastery in Kathmandu and I smiled as I got out of my taxi—instead of staring at her phone or pacing impatiently, Tsering had bought several kilos of guava from a local street vender and was handing them out to the homeless people gathered there. Just because she could. – Peter Schmieding

Giving to others increases endorphins, leading to experiences of trust, pleasure and social connection.

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Happier people have stronger immune systems and healthier hearts and are less likely to suffer from long-term heath issues.

P R E S E NC E The Shepherd PHOTO BY DAN ARMSTRONG

While traveling on an assignment to the Tusheti region of Georgia—not “Dixieland,” Georgia—we encountered this shepherd herding his cattle across a river we were exploring [for a fly-fishing documentary]. You could just tell the guy wakes up with a smile on his face. I couldn’t understand a word he spoke but offered him a piece of watermelon. You knew he lived a hard life, but he was so peaceful, and he was where he was supposed to be. The people in that region live in a special place not touched by the 21st century. They live off the land and have plenty of food. His happiness comes from his contentedness. That’s the thing—we have access to anything we want— new shoes, a new set of skis. That guy just wants to herd his cattle and put food on his table. We were slipping around in our wading boots and he thought it was so funny. He just rolled up his pant legs and walked across barefoot with his watermelon. – Dan Armstrong

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INNOC E N C E Cole PHOTO BY KENE SPERRY

There’s absolutely nothing like the innocence of a child. When we’re born it’s a clean slate. Cole is the youngest of three. He smiles all the time and feeds off everyone else’s energy. Everything he’s picking up [on] is a reflection of his surroundings. If somebody yells and startles him you can tell it’s a new experience for him. Innocence can be supported, but it can [also] be broken down. It’s the raw truth. Cole loves music and dancing and his family. And he eats like nobody’s business. If I break out a banana he acts like it’s Christmas morning. It’s the little things that can change somebody’s entire state. As we grow older we lose sight of those bananas and the little joys in life. Every night at dinner we say three things we’re grateful for. When Cole was first born, we said we’re happy he’s with us and healthy. Now we’re grateful for other things—we have food on the table and know not everybody has that. – Karen Sperry

EXPRESSION Lucy PHOTO BY MIKE LUM

What Lucy says makes her happy: “School and our family and our love.” She loves playing with her friends and telling jokes, and spending time with her Gramma and Papa and Nana and Grandpa. What brings her joy: “Eating snow, scrunching leaves, doing tricks on my trampoline and being outside.” Lucy has a tremendous capacity for joy and the present moment. We think her ability to feel every type of emotion and express how she truly is—sad, proud, angry, excited—actually increases her capacity for experiencing joy.  Just as she has big smiles that melt your heart, she also has big tears and big feelings of all kinds. Our deepest wish is that it never changes. – Karen and Mike Lum

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M IND F U L NE S S Theo, Bodhi, Mariane, Joel PHOTO BY SETH DAHL

Mariane and I talk about the positive, contagious nature of smiles and kind looks then reflect. We try to keep it light around the house with Theo and Bodhi (pictured above)—being cool and relaxing. Some of that is nature, but it’s nurture, too. We minimize media input and screen time, and try to consciously choose our role models—artists and thinkers and audiences that have some intelligent discourse. When it comes down to it, really simple things make us happy, so we remind ourselves of that. You can always compare and wish for something different, but humility and self-deprecating humor is key. To be happy, you have to give it back, you know? If you don’t give it back or pay it forward, you can’t keep it. – Joel McBurney

What makes me happy is striving to be authentic and genuine—striving to be our best self, but being flexible and not so rigid. Also connecting with the natural world. Doing things with people you love enhances it all. Whether it’s creating a nice space or a garden or art, happiness is seeing beauty in someone’s eyes. I love to compliment people and connect with like-minded people in the community. – Mariane Desjardins

People with a meditation or mindfulness practice report increased feelings of optimism, relaxation and overall awareness. 52 MOUNTAIN

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F R E E DO M KIT WHISTLER PHOTO BY J.R. SWITCHGRASS

To me, happiness is an open road and no plan, a new day on the horizon and wild, unfettered, open country ahead. I’ve found that my smiles come easy when I’m chasing the burning passions: the wild, freedom, life itself. If there’s a wide sky overhead, solid ground to walk on, I’m happy to listen to the music in the wind. Some days I’m content to breathe clean air and admire the slow journey of the clouds across the sky. I find a momentary haven in the open expanses of sage. It’s all I need to keep my heart from shattering into a thousand tiny ceramic pieces.  If it’s happiness you pursue, all you have to do is ask yourself every evening what you loved most about the day that just passed. Then wake up and make it happen again tomorrow. Adopt that as a daily ritual, and soon you’ll be living the life of your dreams. – Kit Whistler

“My smiles come easy when I’m chasing the burning passions: the wild, freedom, life itself.”

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.â&#x20AC;? -Charles Darwin

ANIMALS AND H APPIN ES S All mammals have neuro-horomones associated with happiness like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. Interacting with animals can increase oxytocin levels, which help us feel happy and trusting. In the long term, oxytocin helps us heal and grow new cells.

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Gallatin Preserve B IG SK Y • M O N TA NA

IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL

• Located minutes from dining and entertainment in Big Sky Town Center • Private Hunting and Fishing • Surrounded by local trails

• Private access road to Yellowstone Club • Bordering Spanish Peaks Mountain Club • Gated, 160-acre tracts with a flexible 5-acre building envelope

All information contained herein is derived from sources deemed reliable; however, the content contained herein is not guaranteed by Lone Mountain Land Company LLC or its affiliated or parent companies, subsidiaries, officers, managers, employees, agents, brokers or salespersons and none of the foregoing make any representations regarding the accuracy of such information. Any floor plans, square footage, photos, illustrations/renderings, maps and features and amenities described herein are for illustrative purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Offerings are subject to error, omissions, prior sales, price changes or withdrawal without notice. Prospective purchasers are urged to independently investigate the property. No governmental agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This material shall not constitute an offer to sell in any state or other jurisdiction where prior registration is required and shall not constitute a solicitation if you are working with another real estate agent. © 2016 The Big Sky Real Estate Co.. All rights in and to the content are owned or controlled by The Big Sky Real Estate Co.. Any unauthorized reproduction is expressly prohibited.


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HOW THE SKI INDUSTRY IS (AND ISNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T) HEEDING PREDICTIONS O F A N O V E R H E AT I N G W O R L D

BY TODD WILKINSON

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YOU RUMMAGE THROUGH A TRUNK IN THE ATTIC AND HAPPEN UPON A DUSTY OLD PHOTO ALBUM. FLIPPING THROUGH ITS PAGES, YOU DISCOVER A SERIES OF CANDID POSES FEATURING YOUR GREAT GRANDPARENTS BACK IN THAT DISTANT WINTER OF ‘17. Decades before you were born, these hale frosty-faced relatives, evincing grins from their snowy past, stand in vaulted white ramparts, the curves of their landscape recognizable to you— and yet they seem so foreign. But there your ancestors are: bundled contentedly against the elements, riding packed trams to the legendary powderamas of yore; ascending to destinations like Rendezvous Bowl in Jackson Hole, the black diamond runs of Grand Targhee, to the crest of Lone Mountain, and mugging for cellphone cameras along the ridge at Bridger Bowl. Savoring what old-timers called “downhill skiing’s golden age” in the Northern Rockies, they hit the piste in late November and didn’t quit until mid-April. Now in your own time, it’s Presidents Day weekend 2067, a period that once represented the busiest stretch of the ski season in winters half a century ago. You find that notion unbelievable. On this mid-February afternoon, it’s drizzling as it was during the Christmas holidays and into January; the thermometer reads a balmy 60 degrees. Intrigued by the thought of what once was, you set out to find the elusive snow line. As you wheel in a driverless car through Greater Bozeman, population 350,000, you encounter subdivisions in the Gallatin Valley stretching for 40 miles—farmland that gave way to sprawl a generation before as agriculture became unworkable in unrelenting heatwaves. Summers with only a few days of temperatures above 100 degrees in your forebears’ era now broil in triple digits for a month or more.

Few could’ve predicted that when shortages of freshwater and extreme heat events caused social unrest in the desert Southwest, from Vegas to Tucson, and when rising seas struck the coasts, more than a million “environmental refugees” would pour into Greater Yellowstone. Yet it happened. Along the four-lane highway leading down the Gallatin Canyon to Big Sky, you find every bend of the Gallatin River crowded with masses of anglers waiting their turns to cast, each knowing the current will be dipping fast as another short fishing season soon comes to a close. The Gallatin—formerly one of Montana’s crown jewels—once formed the cinematic backdrop to an old, old film, A River Runs Through It. On May 1 every year, the state shutters rivers to angling and rafting because of low flows and an attempt to reduce human stress on what remains of dwindling trout fisheries. But it’s like that on every stream in the region—the Madison, Snake, Yellowstone and Big Horn. Such a vision, what some might consider dystopia, isn’t a jeremiad coming from the mouth of a radical environmentalist. Rather, it’s a prediction made by someone who works for perhaps the best-known outdoor snowsport corporation in the world, the Aspen Skiing Company. What Auden Schendler describes as Greater Yellowstone’s futureshock can be applied to mountain towns throughout the Rockies. “Climate change isn’t coming,” he explains. “It’s already here; we’re at the front end now. But we can alter the future for those who will be looking back from 2067. The only question is: Will they be praising us for taking action or cursing us for what we didn’t do?”

AN ARDENT RECREATIONIST AND A FAMILY MAN WITH BILLS TO PAY, Schendler has been called

a “conscientious objector” and a gadfly. He notes that as 2016 set another global record as the warmest in modern times, more than a million square miles of snowpack— an area equal in size to three Texases—that would ordinarily exist in spring has disappeared since 1970. The same as epic areas of sea ice cover in the Arctic north has shrunken back and the ice caps of Greenland are in accelerating melt. In 2014, I listened to Schendler address the 2014 Jackson Hole SHIFT Festival on outdoor recreation, saying things about climate change the rest of his industry wouldn’t touch. I was shocked not only by his clear articulation of the science but that he still had a job. He told me his boss had his back covered. Besides serving as vice president of environment and sustainability for Aspen Snowmass, Schendler has served as board president of Protect Our Winters, a no-holds-barred nonprofit that has more than 130,000 supporters around the globe. Their primary target is first getting the ski industry and outdoor gear manufacturers to wake up, mobilize hundreds of millions of outdoor sports enthusiasts around the world, then turn up the heat on Congress, governors, state houses and even local chambers of commerce. Schendler doesn’t cloak his frustration with the ski industry. In 2016, he was asked to give a talk at the Outdoor Industry Association rendezvous in Denver. As he prepared his remarks, organizers wanted him to tone it down—to focus not on swift attitude adjustments companies


“THE WAY TO [ADDRESS THE PROBLEM] COSTS ALMOST NOTHING, BUT CARRIES RISK AND EXPOSURE: IT’S TO USE OUR VOICE AND INFLUENCE TO SPEAK OUT AND FORCE ELECTED OFFICIALS TO MOVE.”

must make to slow climate change, but how business can still grow and thrive in a warming world. “I told them, ‘No. I won’t do it. I don’t sugar coat,’” Schendler said. “That head-in-sand perspective is pervasive and it feeds into the perception that climate change is only a silly preoccupation of a radical fringe instead of being the greatest challenge for civilization of our time.” What Schendler is advancing involves an operational question that goes far beyond the bounds of existing balance sheets pertaining to investments in snowmaking, lift capacity, real estate, and building mountain bike trails to service growing numbers of warmweather visitors. It’s analogous to NASA, he says, identifying that an asteroid is on a direct collision course with Earth. Unlike that scenario, climate change, he notes, is already happening and the solution is clear: reduce the amount of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere. Apart from rationalizing inaction on climate change, based on the argument that it comes with huge costs, Schendler says politicians, corporations and citizens avoid addressing “the moral piece” of responsibility to future generations. “It’s really about how we want to live our lives, and what obligations we have as parents and citizens, even as job providers, to take big-picture steps to address the problem,” he says, then invokes something profound. “The way to do that costs almost nothing, but carries risk and exposure: it’s to use our voice and influence to speak out and force elected officials to move.” Schendler says the National Ski Areas Association, representing 313 alpine resorts accounting for 90 percent of skier/snowboarder visits

nationwide, has a program to reduce carbon emissions. Climate change will render many of those resorts no longer viable. Notably, he added, Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee in Wyoming were on the list of 2015 “climate challengers” taking modest action toward the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality. But Montana’s Big Sky and Bridger Bowl were not. Schendler has brought along his boss, Mike Kaplan, CEO at Aspen, and Otto Wieringa, general manager at Utah’s Alta. A huge irony, Schendler notes, is that companies demonstrating social responsibility can use it to attract smarter, more committed employees. “People, especially those with children, want to work for companies doing the right thing,” he told me. At the urging of Wieringa and Black Diamond Equipment CEO emeritus Peter Metcalf, 14 resorts in Utah sent a letter to Governor Gary Herbert pointing out that 70 percent of Salt Lake City’s drinking water comes from snowpack and 80 percent of the state’s freshwater goes to farmers and ranchers. They also noted that by 2050, Utah’s population is expected to double to 6 million. “Do I find it a little ridiculous to be pondering whether we’ll have a ski season 50 years from now given what other more serious priorities will be?” Metcalf asks. “Completely. But whatever it takes. If businesses with the most engaged passionate audiences don’t step forward, there’s no hope.” Outdoor recreation in the U.S. is worth nearly $650 billion annually in consumer spending and responsible for creating 6.1 million direct jobs,

Auden Schendler, Vice President of Environment and Sustainability, Aspen Snowmass and Board President of Protect Our Winters PHOTO BY JEREMY SWANSON

according to the Outdoor Industry Association. In Montana alone, outdoor recreation generates $5.8 billion in consumer spending, $1.5 billion of which flows as employee wages to 64,400 jobs. It is responsible for more than $400 million annually in local and state taxes, which fund schools and other essential services. Warning bells have been sounding. In 2006, climatologist James Hansen, now retired from his high-profile job with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University’s Earth Institute, said carbon-intensive business-as-usual would be a “guarantee of global and regional disasters.” A growing group of business people and prominent outdoor folk, from Metcalf to Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Todd Spaletto of North Face share Schendler’s and Hansen’s contentions. Corroborated by an irrefutable body of scientific evidence, they say human-caused climate change isn’t an abstraction; harbingers can be found everywhere. It’s only a matter of connecting the dots. >>

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LAST AUGUST, AS I WAS DRIVING TO INTERVIEW COAL-INDUSTRY OFFICIALS IN GILLETTE, WYOMING—

hub of the Powder River Basin—to write a story about the link between the burning of dirty fossil fuels in power plants and greenhouse gasses, more evidence was visible. Giant plumes of woodsmoke poured into the sky from forest fires burning in Yellowstone National Park, while along U.S. Interstate 90 the Yellowstone River had been abruptly closed to fishing and boating for 180 miles. The catalyst for the shutdown of outdoor recreation: an outbreak of a lethal kidney-destroying disease in thousands of whitefish linked to warm water and low flows in the Yellowstone. Dan Vermillion, a Livingston, Montana-based purveyor of global fly-fishing trips and member of the Montana Fish, Wildlilfe and Parks

“GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS WILL NEED TO FALL BY AT LEAST 80 PERCENT BELOW 1990 LEVELS BY 2050 TO AVOID SOME OF THE MOST CATASTROPHIC EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.”

Commission, said scientists whom he consulted blamed it on climate change. From his office in the Yellowstone River town, Vermillion described the closure as a sobering wake-up call for the recreation industry, especially fly fishing, which is a potent engine for the regional economy. “We’re seeing events happen with a frequency we’ve never experienced before,” he said. “The closure on the Yellowstone was a costly biggie but in fact we’ve been witnessing a rising number of user restrictions occurring on other rivers for half a decade.” When the Yellowstone River was shut down for three weeks, Vermillion said that business at a fly shop he once owned in Livingston dropped 95 percent in three days. Later, the same parasitic pathogen that killed the whitefish, proliferative kidney disease, turned up in seven other major trout rivers in and near Greater Yellowstone, renowned globally for its blue-ribbon streams. Some 40 percent of people who came to Montana in 2016 for fishing did so in Park County, where the Yellowstone River flows out of its eponymous national park. By 2067 as much as 70 percent of prime cold-water mountain habitat for trout could be gone. A recent study carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey showed that trout populations in seven

OUTDOOR RECREATION

$650 CONSUMER SPENDING*

6.1 MILLION

DIRECT JOBS

$5.8 CONSUMER SPENDING*

A mountain whitefish lies dead on the banks of the Yellowstone River near Pine Creek Road in Paradise Valley in August 2016. PHOTO BY RYAN WEAVER

64,400 JOBS

$400 MILLION

GENERATED IN LOCAL AND STATE TAXES*

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*ANNUALLY STATS ACCORDING TO THE OUTDOOR INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION


Ski areas along the Rockies, including Snowbowl in Arizona; Keystone, Breckinridge and Copper Mountain in Colorado; and Grand Targhee in Wyoming delayed their 2016 opening days due to unseasonably warm temperatures.

major river basins are already exhibiting signs of stress. When Vermillion was a boy growing up in Billings, Montana, August was the prime month for fishing. “Now I don’t book in August because of the uncertainty over water. In my world every place we do business—Mongolia, Brazil, the Bahamas, Alaska, British Columbia and Montana— has seen dramatic changes in what used to be considered ‘normal water.’ Fishing seasons were designed around when we had the most stable water conditions but it’s all getting out of whack. You create a negative perception and then people stop coming and pretty soon you have a domino effect caused by changing climate.” A seemingly small change in average temperature can have big effects, ecologist Mike Tercek noted in a recent special climate change edition of the journal Yellowstone Science. “Scientists predict that we will experience 3 to 8 degrees of warming in the next 100 years. In other words, the planet will experience about as much warming in the next 100 years as it did in the 8,000 years at the end of the last ice age, but this time it will be 30 to 80 times faster,” he wrote. Scientists in 2016 published a peerreviewed assessment in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stating that since 1979,

climate change is to blame for half of the drying forests in the West, expanding wildfire areas by 16,000 square miles. In addition, research spelled out in a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report said that for every couple of degrees the Fahrenheit rises, wildfire areas will quadruple in the West. Professor Andrew Hansen, who oversees the Biodiversity Lab at Montana State University, was among four lead authors of a new book in 2016, Climate Change in Wildlands, which offers a comprehensive overview of documented impacts and likely consequences for wild ecosystems. He recently elaborated on what it means for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. According to Hansen, the number of days below zero F in Bozeman averaged 20 during the 1950s, yet 14 in the last decade and is trending toward fewer and fewer. And the decline in snowpack has reduced river flows by about 25 percent in the Yellowstone River since then. Due to the current low flows and warmer water temperatures, summer fishing restrictions are now the norm in rivers. “I think the term climate change is more accurate than global warming,” Vermillion says. “Overall, things are warming and over decades that trend will prevail but in the meantime non-typical

weather will be more profound, including oddly earlier and later snowstorms.” Consider October 2016: Nearly 60 inches of white stuff blanketed Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, one of the snowiest in decades. But Professor Steve Running of the University of Montana, who was among a team that shared in winning a Nobel Prize for the science of climate change, says the overall trend is toward a drier interior West in which any potentially higher precipitation levels would be offset by rising temperatures. Jesse Logan, a retired Forest Service entomologist and national authority on mountain beetle outbreaks, describes the unprecedented scale of insect attacks occurring on western forests. Some 80 percent of whitebark pine trees in Greater Yellowstone are gone from blister rust and epic infestations of mountain pine beetles fueled by warming temperatures that allow them more easily reproduce. Seeds in whitepark pine cones have been an important food source for grizzly bears prior to denning and the collapse of whitebark pine is causing bears to range more widely, increased conflicts with humans and could be resulting in smaller cub litter sizes and rates of reproduction in female bruins, independent wildlife biologist and former bear researcher David Mattson claims. >>

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GLOBAL LAND/OCEAN TEMPERATURE INDEX The evidence is clear, Logan notes. It’s caused by rising average temperatures. But he also points to something even more insidious: snowpack is melting during winter itself. Snowpack has functioned like massive natural reservoirs. Glaciers millennia old are fast winnowing away in Glacier National Park and could be gone in a quarter century. Sooner or later, Logan says, this affects how much recharge is occurring for natural underground aquifers, which are being pumped faster than they’re being replenished in some valleys with rising human population. “Water is what drives everything in the arid West, from ecology to recreation and, in many ways, our economy,” he says. The reality is that it’s Mother Nature’s great natural water reservoirs and it’s been the foundation for how the inner West functions ecologically and economically: it’s skiing, fishing and hunting, rafting, fire prevention, irrigated alfalfa for cattle, livestock production, crop harvests, forest health, survival for wildlife and the unquestioned foundation of the multibillion-dollar agriculture and tourism industries. And it’s the lifeblood of major metro areas like Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Literally, the impact of climate trickles down from snowpack in profound ways—mountain summits to the shops on Main Street in the New West. “We blindly assume that snowpack will always be there,” Schendler said. The altered West of 2067 that he described will be the result of steady incremental changes: rising average temperatures, milding winters, heat outpacing precipitation and “unusual weather” that disrupts the order of things. Snow levels are retreating up mountains and for ski areas in the Rockies to remain economically viable, they will have to move lifts and snowmaking above their current base operations. Even then, they will struggle as climate change devastates skiing found at lower elevations such as in New England; skiing conditions in the Sierra and Wasatch will in decades to come no longer be reliable. 64 MOUNTAIN

THE 10 WARMEST YEARS IN THIS 134-YEAR RECORD ALL HAVE OCCURRED SINCE 2000, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF 1998. THE YEAR 2015 RANKS AS THE WARMEST ON RECORD.

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. SOURCE: NASA/GISS

The greatest enabler of the ski industry’s rise hasn’t just been putting capacity into terrain, but climate—having predictable, reliable weather as the basis of a for-profit model. But that’s changing. Schendler says other areas of the country have been the training grounds for skiers coming to the Rockies—from New England to the Midwest and California where millions of people have been introduced to skiing. But without winters they will no longer be feeder venues, meaning revenue for Rocky Mountain resorts will tumble. “We are already watching the decline of coastal, drive-market ski resorts. And this is where future Western skiers cut their teeth,” Schendler says, noting that recruitment of younger skiers is not keeping up with the aging ski population. “This is a crisis of our own creation that will not go away on its own,” wrote a panel of authors who completed a report on climate change, titled Unnatural Disaster, for the National Parks Conservation Association. “It will require decisive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through conservation and development of carbon-free power sources. There is growing scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions will need to fall by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 to avoid some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change.” The question is: how do we do it? Apart from phasing out old coal-fired power plants, regulating methane emissions and shifting to more renewable fuels, humans must change their attitudes, experts say. “We are bearing witness to a catastrophe,” Metcalf warns. “In light of the profound, uncomfortable, and challenging truths and

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VANISHING GLACIERS IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA AUGUST 17, 1984 - AUGUST 23, 2015

Glacier National Park, in Montana’s portion of the Rocky Mountains, is expected to be virtually glacier-free by around 2030. The roughly 150 glaciers it contained in 1850 dwindled to 83 by 1968 and to 25 today. The 2015 image also shows burn scars from wildfires. IMAGES TAKEN BY THE THEMATIC MAPPER ONBOARD LANDSAT 5 AND THE OPERATIONAL LAND IMAGER ONBOARD LANDSAT 8. SOURCE: NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY.

policy implications we have to come to grips with, incrementalism will not suffice. It’s a delusion being reinforced by a well-funded fossil fuel industry to distort the science. What we need demands leadership, guts and a forwardlooking attitude that goes deeper than what’s convenient for us in the immediate now.” AFTER I RETURNED FROM GILLETTE, WYOMING, Yvon Chouinard, co-founder

1984

2015

of the clothing manufacturer Patagonia, was passing through Bozeman. He doubts that affluent Americans are willing to inconvenience themselves with necessary lifestyle modifications to confront climate change. He said humans narcissistically deflect and point fingers but we never reflect on our impacts or hold ourselves accountable. Those who consume the most resources ought to be vilified, not held up as role models. “We’re self-centered consumers not citizens concerned about a greater good,” Chouinard said. “We’re electing people who are actually voting against our survival. It’s just like being an alcoholic and being in denial that you’re an alcoholic. And until we face up to that, nothing’s going to happen.” He has made elevating awareness of climate change a major focus of Patagonia’s marketing. The ski industry, by striving to be carbon neutral, can reduce its fossil fuel footprint, Schendler says. But equally as valuable is the message it sends to society, namely that recreationists need to stop behaving apathetically. Skiing isn’t cheap to maintain. Adherents who own second homes in the vicinity of mountain towns live luxurious, influential lives. They can cut down on their own energy use, set an example for others, and call on political leaders they know to take action. Before any shift can occur, especially one that results in carbon reduction occurring on a large scale, the collective mindset must stop its denial. >>


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One profound irony of dwelling today in a “post-fact” era, in which the credibility of science is under siege by fossil fuel industries trying to discredit it, is that science has been a north star for the ski industry. The very same scientific experts responsible for weather predictions, which have given the ski industry a framework for constructing successful business models, say the evidence of climate change is overwhelming. The National Academy of Sciences, the gold standard in science, has refuted arguments advanced by climate change deniers. NAS was on the leading edge of confirming that smoking tobacco causes cancer, and it helped inform public policy used to combat acid rain (caused by burning sulfurbearing coal) and depletion of the ozone layer (owed to using chlorofluorocarbons which were banned). The battles to bring about change are often hard won, Schendler notes, pointing to the tobacco industry’s ploys to discredit scientists even while people were getting sick and dying from smoking, causing billions of dollars in medical costs, lost job productivity and human misery every year. “Instead of addressing tobacco’s carcinogenic effects in the ‘60s when we knew about them, the industry obfuscated the problem, knowingly, for years, so they could bank more profit before the curtain came down on tobacco,” Schendler says. “They have very effectively injected doubt into the conversation. Speaking truthfully when it comes to the corporate sector, especially companies that affect the opinions of millions of people, is really important.” 66 MOUNTAIN

The paradox of knowing what lies ahead is this: Even if we wake up and become aware, how can we confront a problem and change the course of its effects? That’s where Schendler speaks of trajectories. Do you invest the resources or just plan to adapt? The latter, he says, condemns future generations to a world of environmental, economic and social turmoil. “The farce of those advancing the argument ‘we’ll just adapt’ is that you can’t adapt to a four or five degree rise because it’s a pathway to a 9-, 10- or 11-degree rise,” Schendler says. “All bets are off if you believe that adaptation can be easily managed in order to assure some kind of orderly transition.” Saying this, Schendler is actually optimistic that systemic changes, if driven from the top of America’s public policy makers in Washington and by the business community, can prevent the worst from happening. Switching from coal to a bigger mix of renewables will not be economically devastating. He points to expert opinions that electricity will cost more but as renewables scale and take advantage of greater efficiency born by technological investment, costs will come down. “I’ve learned that you can’t be shrill and come off as a handwringing crazy,” Schendler says. He explains that despite noble talk about “the future” residing in the center of America’s civil vocabulary, thinking ahead is actually too much of an abstraction for most people to handle. “On the other hand,” he notes, “if you understate reality, then it will result, at best, in half measures that don’t come close to the actions that are necessary.”

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YOUR SELF-DRIVING VEHICLE ARRIVES IN BIG SKY TO VAST VACANT STRETCHES OF BROKEN ASPHALT THAT HELD THOUSANDS OF CARS DAILY INTO THE EARLY ‘30S. In a rain jacket, you catch a chairlift up Lone Mountain and still are on barren ground a mile and a half in elevation. Eventually, you reach the slush zone where artificial snowmaking has been deployed in a decade-long losing battle against perpetual thaw. Finally, above 9,000 feet, you find winter—a rocky stretch of wild natural snow. Here on the summit, the base is 20 hardpacked inches (1/50th of what existed in 2017). Still, you let out a whoop. Awaiting you, unfolding in every direction, are encircling mountains spiked with the stark totems of burned-over evergreens, remnants of forests erased by epic wildfires following extended droughts and epidemic insect outbreaks. Schendler refuses to accept this bleak vision. He notes the selfless attitude of “The Greatest Generation” during World War II. And he points out that when Earth’s essential protective ozone layer was vanishing two generations ago, policymakers took action based on the science, and phased out the chemicals imperiling our survival at the time. “They took brave action because they refused to accept the prospect of doomsday,” he says. The worst kind of moral sin, he adds, is for elders who consciously knew better, who knew they needed to sacrifice in order to give their children the best world possible, to walk away from their personal responsibility. Fifty years from now, five months of winter— and the human economies and outdoor traditions built on it—could be melted back significantly; summers, meanwhile, will be radically different. Oh yeah, that allusion to great grandparents in ‘17? Those people, Schendler notes, are us. Todd Wilkinson is a Bozeman-based writer whose work has appeared in a wide range of publications from National Geographic to The Washington Post. He is author of several books, including the recent awardwinning Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek, An Intimate Portrait of 399, the Most Famous Bear in the World (mangelsen.com/grizzly), featuring 150 extraordinary images by renowned Jackson Hole photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen.


LAND

A STONE MONOLITH LOOMS

A fight to rename Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first national monument BY EMILY STIFLER WOLFE

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over the plains of northeastern Wyoming, its summit standing 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. People have been drawn here since ancient times, and the rock has many names. Mato Tipila. Bear Lodge. Grey Horn Butte. Aloft-on-a-Rock. Ghost Mountain. Most, however, know it as Devils Tower. The countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first national monument, it sees nearly 500,000 visitors each year. They come to pray and perform religious ceremonies, to climb the cracks sweeping up its sheer sides, and to walk the base and gaze upward. But a battle wages here, with the history of American Colonialism continuing to unfold in the fight over its name.


P H OTO B Y B R A D L E Y D AV I S : B A C K PAC K P H OTO G R A P H Y

An effort is underway to change the name of Devils Tower to Bear Lodge National Monument, the English translation of an American Indian name. In October 2016, Crow Tribal Chairman Darrin Old Coyote was preparing to appeal to the Department of the Interior. Old Coyote had support from the 10 tribes of the Coalition of Large Tribes, as well as tribal resolutions from the Cheyenne River Sioux, the Rosebud Sioux and the Northern Cheyenne. More than 25 tribes have cultural and spiritual connections to the tower, some dating back more than 1,000 years. In one tribe’s myth, children were saved from a predacious bear when the rock beneath their feet rose skyward. The bear clawed at the rock, creating cracks on its sides, and the children became stars. In Wyoming, the idea of a name change is not a popular one. The tower is a source of tourism revenue, and homesteading families have known it as Devils Tower as far back as eight generations. The current name purportedly arose when a guide with U.S. Army Lt. Col. Richard Dodge’s 1875 expedition misinterpreted a native name to mean Bad God’s Tower, which was later abbreviated to Devils Tower—the missing apostrophe was a clerical error. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt created the first national monument there, scribing the name in ink. Some tribes say it equates cultural and religious traditions practiced there to devil worship; others say it demonizes a sacred place. The renaming proposal follows two others in the same vein, both of which were successful. In August 2015, the Obama administration changed North America’s highest peak from Mount McKinley to its native Athabascan name Denali, meaning “the high one.” A year later, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names renamed Harney Peak, South Dakota, to Black Elk Peak, in honor of a Lakota holy man. The National Park Service, which manages the site, does not have a position on the controversy, and Devils Tower National Monument Superintendent Tim Reid says unofficial comments from visitors and interested parties seem evenly split. A 2015 Crook County Commission survey of nearly 1,000 local residents showed that 92 percent favored the name Devils Tower. “It is unthinkable to change the name of Yellowstone, America’s first National Park, or to change the name of Shoshone, our country’s

first National Forest,” said outgoing Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis in an emailed statement. “Why should Devil’s Tower [sic], our first National Monument, be any different? It has been called Devil’s Tower for over 100 years, is known far and wide under that name, and should keep that name.” In 2015, Lummis and Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso introduced bills to retain the name Devils Tower. The pending legislation blocks the U.S. Board on Geographic Names from considering a 2014 appeal—this by Lakota spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse to rename the rock formation and unincorporated town to Bear Lodge—until April 2017. Chris Mickey, spokesman for the Wyoming Office of Tourism, says a change would confuse national and international visitors, causing visitation loss. Both arguments echo opposition to a similar proposal in 1929. Others say this is about more than economics. According to Dr. Jeffrey Means, chair of the University of Wyoming’s history department and a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, it’s about hegemony. “It’s the continuation of the colonial process where one culture dominates another,” Means said, referencing 19th century assimilation policies lasting into the 1970s, which criminalized tribal religious practices, forced Indian children into boarding schools, and sterilized Indian women without their knowledge. “Naming is a demonstrable power relationship.” Reed Robinson, former superintendent of Devils Tower National Monument, says the name matters—a lot. Robinson is also a Rosebud Sioux tribal member and is now program manager of the Park Service’s Midwest Region Office of Indian Affairs. From a personal perspective, he said removing that moniker would be significant for American Indians. “It reminds us we’re a country that takes personal inventory.” The original inhabitants of the American West can teach us something here: They believe the Earth is part of us, and names are powerful. Indeed, in the interest of caring for our shared land, we must keep our minds open and listen to each other. Emily Stifler Wolfe is a freelance writer based in Bozeman, Montana. She is the founding editor of Mountain Outlaw.

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BY TAYLOR-ANN SMITH

01 - Mount Robson British Columbia / 12,972 FT

/01

02 - Grand Teton Wyoming / 13,776 FT

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CANADIAN & NORTHERN ROCKIES

MIDDLE ROCKIES

This stretch of the Rockies includes the Mackenzie and Selwyn mountains in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and the ranges of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia, created 65 to 35 million years ago.The Lewis and Bitterroot ranges of western Montana and northeastern Idaho completed this section of the Rockies.

The Bighorn and Wind River ranges of Wyoming, and the Wasatch Range in southeastern Idaho and northern Utah make up the Middle Rockies. The Absaroka Range of southeastern Montana and northwestern Wyoming are a link to the northern section of the Rocky Mountain Range.

â&#x20AC;˘ Includes the Columbia Icefield: the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains and one of the most accessible expanses of glacial ice in North America.

â&#x20AC;˘ The Teton Range in Jackson, Wyoming, attained its form less than 10 million years ago and moved more than 20,000 vertical feet relative to the valley floor of Jackson Hole. This makes them one of the youngest mountain ranges in North America.


Dominating 3,000 miles of western North American skyline from New Mexico to southern Canada, the Rocky Mountains epitomize diversity, elevation and beauty. Typically, mountains form near coastlines where oceanic plates dive under continental ones, but about 80 million years ago and

SECTION: 620 miles inland from what is now the Washington coast,SUBintense tectonic activity during the Laramide Orogeny mountain-building event formed a series of discontinuous mountain ranges collectively known as the Rocky Mountains. Here are the Rockies’ four most prominent regions.

The Rocky Mountains represent a series of more than 100 separate mountain ranges, rather than one uninterrupted mountain chain

03 - Mount Elbert Colorado / 14,439 FT

/0 3

04 - Kings Peak Utah / 13,527 FT

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SOUTHERN ROCKIES

COLORADO PLATEAU

Predominately in Colorado, this region of the Rockies also extends to northern New Mexico and the most eastern part of Utah. The Southern Rockies experienced more high-angle faulting than the rest of the range, resulting in their impressive elevation.

This section of the Rockies extends from southeastern Utah into Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico around the Four Corners region and encompasses approximately 130,000 square miles. The Colorado Plateau, also known as “Red Rock Country,” consists of a series of plateaus at different elevations in a stairstep sequence that resulted from faulting.

• 53 of the highest peaks, extending higher than 14,000 ft in elevation, in the entire Rocky Mountain Range are found in Colorado.

• The Grand Canyon lies in the southwestern section of the Colorado Plateau that was formed by the Colorado River. The greatest depths of the Grand lie more than one mile below its rim.

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RIGHT WHERE LUNCH, APRÃ&#x2030;S AND DINNER SHOULD BE. ON THE MOUNTAIN.

Live music 3 to 6 Premium ski parking available Located at Moonlight Lodge Open 7 days a week 406-995-7777 moonlightbasin.com


Photo: Gibeon Photography.


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APRÈS HOUR As the sun dips behind snowy peaks casting alpenglow on opposing mountainsides, the temperature plummets. That last ski run left your cheeks stinging and with numb fingers you lean your boards against the rack. A rush of warm air, music and buzzing patrons greets you at the door. You’ve arrived.

It’s après ski hour and you crave hot apps and cold drink. We’re here to guide you. Try these fantastic restaurants or build your own delicacies. From the delightfully savory to the indulgently sweet, here are the region’s top après ski recipes.


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SECTION: SUB-

OPEN RANGE

At Open Range, we search for esoteric and interesting ingredients and make foraged herbs and fungi into bitters and pick vegetables within miles of our restaurant for syrups and liqueurs to construct our seasonal cocktails. However, for a deeper look into our bartenders’ intellects we offer a list of reserve cocktails. Our current reserves portray a study into our classic cocktails. We also pride ourselves on the atmosphere we create and the community we nurture. This time of year that community is predominantly the après ski populace. Try these cocktails to wind down after a day on the mountain. 241 East Main Street, Bozeman, Montana. openrangemt.com (406) 404-1940

Prince’s Pine As the first snows grip the canyon walls, and a mist coats us, we scour the valley floor. The hollow has provided us abundant chanterelle and porcini mushrooms. For years, the overlooked evergreen Prince’s Pine had eluded the scope of our palette, but we have now discovered and utilized its birch-like nature to make one of our favorite signature cocktails. Its symbiotic relationship with the prized porcini in the forest placed them together beautifully in the glass. As it is in nature, so it becomes in our gastronomy. 1 ounce Rittenhouse Rye Infused with sugar pumpkin 1 ounce Knob Creek Barrel Proof 1 ounce Prince’s Pine syrup ¾ ounce lemon juice ½ ounce orange juice 4 dashes Open Range Porcini bitters 1 egg white Dry shake all ingredients, add ice and re-shake then fine strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a bay leaf and serve with elk and wild mushrooms.

Ship of Theseus

PHOTO BY LOGAN FOSTER

My uncle Dunker was an elder statesman of the Pennsylvania wilds. Living alone year round in a secluded hunting camp he seemed to be of a different time. He baked sourdough bread over open flame. Every Sunday morning he rambled down the mountain in an old Studebaker to attend mass. One day my father asked what he was drinking. The answer: “John, you change your woman, never your drink.” – Rick Visser, Open Range bartender Our version of the house Manhattan, re-envisioned, begs the question: When one changes the constituent parcels of a famously tried-and-true potion, is it the same cocktail?  2 ounces Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky 1 ounce Cocchi Barolo Chinato 4 dashes Angostura bitters   Stir all ingredients and strain into a cocktail coupe.  Garnish with lemon twist. Consider the ideals of perfection and enjoy with bone marrow.

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CULTURE: APRÉS HOUR

MICHAELANGELO’S RISTORANTE ITALIANO

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Michaelangelo’s Ristorante offers exquisite northern Italian cuisine served in a classic yet casual and contemporary environment. Featuring an extensive wine list from Italy, California, and Oregon. 75 Center Lane, Big Sky, Montana. michaelangelosbigsky.com. (406) 995-7373

PHOTO BY EMILY ANNANDONO

Tortellini di vitello con prosciutto e piselli ¼ cup butter ½ cup prosciutto di Parma, sliced and cut into strips ¼ cup chicken stock 3 cups heavy whipping cream ½ cup green peas, frozen ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated Sea salt and black pepper to taste 1 pound veal tortellini, cooked (or other stuffed pasta) 2 tablespoons sea salt

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In a medium stockpot, boil 3 quarts of water and add 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Bring to a boil then cook tortellini (or other pasta) until al dente, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and cook prosciutto until slightly crisp. Add chicken stock and deglaze. Pour in heavy cream, boil and reduce by half until thick. Add peas and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Mix with cooked pasta and serve with a glass of Antinori “Bramito” Chardonnay, from Umbria, Italy.

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CHET’S BAR AND GRILL BIG SKY RESORT

Named for Big Sky Resort founder Chet Huntley, nothing says après ski slopeside like Chet’s Bar and Grill. Featuring live music and traditional cheese fondue, Chet’s will warm you up after you put your skis away for the afternoon. Pair with a glass of fine white wine, and share stories from your day on the slopes. 1 Mountain Lodge Drive, Big Sky, Montana. bigskyresort.com/things-to-do/dining-options/chets-barand-grill (406) 995-5784

Neuchâteloise Swiss Fondue

1 cup Chablis wine 1 teaspoon minced garlic ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg Salt and white pepper to taste 1 ¼ pound Appenzeller Swiss

1 ¼ pound Emmentaler Swiss 1 ¼ pound Gruyere ¼ cup cornstarch 1/8 cup Kirschwasser brandy

Place wine and spices in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Shred cheeses and mix together in a bowl. Add cornstarch and mix until all cheese is coated. Using a whisk, add the cheese to the pot over lowered heat. Add in small handfuls of cheese and simmer after each addition. Continue until sauce hangs from the whisk without being stringy. Finish with the Kirschwasser brandy. Mix until fully incorporated and serve with chilled glass of Trimbach Gewürztraminer wine.

PHOTO BY MICHEL TALLICHET

SCISSORBILLS SALOON

Scissorbills Saloon is located at the base of Lone Mountain in Big Sky, Montana. Ski in to Scissorbills after a day on the hill for top-notch après-ski munchies and a full selection of liquor, beer and wine. Wet your whistle with Monatana craft microbrews on draft. Fill your belly with a burger, wings or nachos, and enjoy live après-ski music weekly. 39 Black Eagle Road, Big Sky, Montana. scissorbills.com (406) 995-4933

House-made Mozzarella Sticks

Cut mozzarella into ½-inch “sticks.” Dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Drop into egg wash. Dredge in panko seasoned with dried oregano. Refrigerate mozzarella sticks for 24 hours. Fry at 350 F until breading is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Marinara sauce 1 can crushed tomatoes 3 tablespoons diced yellow onion 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes 1/2 tablespoon black pepper 1 teaspoon oregano Salt to taste

PHOTO BY JOSEPH T. O’CONNOR

Sweat onion and garlic in small amount of oil then add remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes, and serve with piping hot mozzarella sticks and an ice-cold Salmon Fly Honey Rye from Madison River Brewing.


Railroad men in Taft circa 1907, the year crews started blasting through the Bitterroot Mountains to breach the Continental Divide. Rarely patrolled by the Missoula County sheriff’s deputies, the remote boomtown developed a reputation for lawlessness and debauchery.

TA F T , M O N TA N A

A Name Without a Place The forgotten boomtown of Taft, Montana BY MICHAEL J. OBER

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T

aft, Montana, may be one of the state’s more forgettable towns, but when it boomed it was raucous

and wretched. It owed its sole existence as a railroad construction camp to the creation of the massive Taft Tunnel through the Bitterroot Mountains, connecting Montana and Idaho. The Milwaukee Railroad surveyed and engineered the 1.7-mile-long tunnel to breach the Continental Divide and began blasting through in 1907. Taft sprang up immediately, its population swelling to nearly 3,000 souls by the 1910 census. Like most railroad construction whistle-stops, she was no beauty queen and was among the numerous shantytowns that emerged, quickly, adjacent to the Milwaukee’s main rail line pushing west. Bankrupt one year and flush with new investors the next, the Milwaukee spawned Taft-like towns in a frenzy and shed them just as quickly. The tunnel was its lifeblood. As towns go, Taft was strictly utilitarian serving as the operations base for the gigantic tunnel, which required a skilled workforce of teamsters, loggers, miners, cooks, drillers and laborers working round the clock. At its peak in 1908, when the tunnel finally opened amid great fanfare, there were 1,800 employees working out of Taft. Italian stone masons, Swedish lumbermen, mule skinners, freighters and hundreds of other skilled and unskilled laborers followed the tracks west to the formidable slopes of the Continental Divide,

PHOTOS COURTESY OF HISTORIC WALLACE PRESERVATION SOCIETY

CULTURE: HISTORY


there to construct a tunnel that detractors claimed to be “unimaginably expensive and a colossal boondoggle.” It became the nation’s most expensive railroading feat in history. As far as can be determined, there was never a church in the town … or a library, school, or Masonic Temple, or an opera house or fire department. Taft featured one grocery store, two cafes and a drug store. In contrast, there were 500 prostitutes and 30 saloons by one Missoulian journalist’s count, and “everything on a high level of impropriety.” Taft displayed no clear existence of law enforcement, either. Missoula was the closest town offering any kind of police presence, but the Missoula

County sheriff’s deputies steered clear using the excuse that it was too far away to effectively patrol. In truth, Taft was 90 miles from Missoula and accessible only by train in most months of the year. Time and again, deputies would be dispatched there only to find no witnesses, no evidence and no suspects in some high-level crimes including assault, homicide, robbery and rape. Missoula had its progressive and highminded culture, emerging business class, its streetcars, cemetery, power and water company and sturdy stone architecture. It looked to the west with scorn upon the necklace string of upstart rail stops en route to the tunnel through the Bitterroots: De Borgia, Saltese, Taft, Haugen, St. Regis.

“Taft claimed to have one prostitute for every three men and a murder rate higher than New York City.”

The Wilnston Brothers Material Yard in 1908. The railroad served as the only way in and out of Taft most months of the year.

Lawlessness, then, was the order of the day in Taft. One spring, as the snow receded, eight frozen bodies were found in and around the town sporting stab wounds and bullet holes. The year 1907 saw 18 documented— but unsolved—homicides. Nobody talked. Labor clashes were not uncommon. In 1908, Albanian stonemasons killed six Montenegrins in a dispute over subcontract wordings and wages. Missoula County attorneys and deputies could only shrug. Finding a solid witness in Taft was like finding a proper woman. Forest Service rangers had no better luck curbing prostitution as cribs crept into the Lolo National Forest surrounding the town, one in a crude tree house. Taft claimed to have one prostitute for every three men and a murder rate higher than New York City. U.S. Forest Service ranger Elers Koch wrote, “The bars were lined with hard-faced dance hall girls and every kind of gambling game going wide open.” Taft was smack-dab on public lands of the Lolo National Forest and therefore subject to federal regulations, which nobody obeyed. Tim Egan, author of The Big Burn wrote, “the rangers’ attitude toward the town was one of disgust. The caches of whiskey and rum, the slot machines, the hundreds of hookers, the killers and felons who mocked the rangers … that’s what Taft represented to a forest ranger.” One young ranger assigned to the Taft District telegraphed his supervisor: “Two undesirable prostitutes established on government land,” he wired. “What should I do?” “Get two desirable ones,” was the reply. >>

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CULTURE: HISTORY

A

Chicago Tribune writer, during a Milwaukee train stop there, described it as “the wickedest city in America.” But to call Taft a

city was a great stretch of imagination. It was a grim collection of unpainted slab-wood framed shanties interspersed with tent houses and slope-roofed sheds. Vintage photographs of Taft are hard to come by, owing largely to the truth that it was starkly unattractive to start with and got no better with time. Even William Howard Taft, after whom the town would be named, traveled to the work camp in 1907 when he was Secretary of War and declared it a “sewer of sin” and “a sore on an otherwise beautiful national forest.” As round-the-clock shift workers disgorged from the tunnel bound for the bars, another shift replaced them, often swapping beds in boarding houses for brief rest before a locomotive whistle announced a new shift, another dollar to be earned and then spent in the prostitute cribs and gambling dens. Taft was awash with vice, awaiting a cataclysmic end. It was the Great Fire of 1910 that finally did Taft in. The infamous inferno of that summer spared nothing as it seared more than 3 million acres. When the fire raged and raced down

off Lookout Pass during the Big Blowup, it seemed bent on incinerating Taft with a fury that only God could dispatch. In just one night, August 20, 1910, Taft fell to the flames. It was an easy target, its wooden structures mowed down by a relentless firestorm funneled through the narrow canyon. In places, even the steel rails of the Milwaukee Line bent and curled. Forest rangers tried to organize workers into a firefighting force but the citizens chose instead to break open barrels of whiskey and consume as much as they could while the flames approached. Just in time, a rescue train arrived from Missoula and residents tumbled into boxcars as the locomotive retreated through smoke and fire back down the valley. By morning Taft was no more. After it burned, the Missoulian headlines proclaimed almost dismissively at its riddance: “Taft lost, Deborgia and Saltese spared from flames!” Parts of the little town survived, like a two-story hotel that was eventually repaired by its owners. When the railroad rebuilt its tracks to the town, they parked boxcars on a siding track to be used as makeshift businesses and housing, a feeble attempt to resurrect the place.

PHOTO COURTESY OF HISTORIC WALLACE PRESERVATION SOCIETY

The East Portal railroad station leading into the Taft Tunnel, a 1.7-mile-long tunnel that crosses the Montana-Idaho border. The railroad was inundated with Taft residents fleeing the Great Fire of 1910.

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muster up for the thousands of motorists whizzing by, bound for someplace else. In 1962, the Interstate Highway System eventually caught up to the former boomtown. Bulldozers and graders widened the two-lane highway and the broad rightof-way gobbled up the remains. West of Missoula, underneath the fill and subgrade of Interstate 90, lie the remains of Taft, Montana, a fitting resting place for such a tawdry town. Today, Taft is a green highway sign that marks, well … nothing. It still has a name—just not a place. Michael J. Ober is four generations deep in Montana’s history and culture. He is professor emeritus at Flathead Valley Community College, and worked as a seasonal ranger in Glacier National Park for 44 years.

The St. Paul Pass Tunnel, formerly known as the Taft Tunnel, closed to railroad traffic in 1980, but has been open to hiking and mountain biking traffic since June 2001. It’s part of the 15-mile-long Route of the Hiawatha trail system.

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There was plenty of timber to harvest as millions of fire-killed snags stood stark and silent on the slopes up and down the valley. For a brief time, a small contingent of timberjacks tried to remake Taft as a harvesting base and railcar-loading site. Then there was the tunnel and tracks and telegraph line to maintain, offering labor for some. But with the monstrous tunnel now complete, there was no longer need for a large workforce and eventually folks walked away from what was left of Taft. By the late 1930s the Federal Writer’s Project accounted for only four remaining buildings, all abandoned. In the decades that followed, the Federal Highway Administration built a two-lane highway that punched its way up the valley, past the town site and over Lookout Pass. A small gas station, then a grocery store, was all that Taft could


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CULTURE: HUMOR

Ben Franklin said the only certainties in life are death and taxes. At least death is tax deductible. BY EDNOR THERRIAULT We live in a time when the workforce is infested with entrepreneurs—self-employed go-getters who carpe diem the crap out of every single day. These mavericks blaze their own trail through the economic landscape. I am one of them. Like many self-employed professionals, I frequently blaze that trail while wearing no pants and gnawing on a two-pound block of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar for breakfast at 4:30 in the afternoon. Yes, you could say that self-employment is a path to personal freedom. But personal freedom comes with a huge trade-off. Self-employment is rewarding, but it’s also fraught with fear and the insecurity that comes from an unpredictable income. When tax time rolls around that fear can explode into full-blown terror. As a musician, writer and freelance graphic designer, I have several trickles of earnings that flow together into one pathetic income stream, and filing my taxes is always complicated. A third of Americans use tax software to file their own taxes, and I’m among them. I prefer Tax SmackDown™ (Note: this is not the product’s actual name but I don’t want no trouble.). I want control over the process, and it’s definitely cheaper than having them done. I do know that filing jointly is the way to go for my wife Shannon and me. >>

ILLUSTRATION BY KELSEY DZINTARS

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According to PolitiFact.com, the average fee a CPA charged in 2015 to file an individual’s taxes was $273. Tax SmackDown™ sets you back $55 at Costco (coincidentally the annual fee for a Costco membership. But it’s worth it when you consider how much money I save on Kleenex, ibuprofen and wine by the case, much of which is purchased around tax time). It occurred to me that I could save $218 by doing the taxes myself. That represents a week’s worth of groceries, a new Fender Squier Stratocaster guitar, or one trip to the movie theater snack bar for a family of four. So, being the self-starting independent entrepreneur that I am, I prefer to tackle this challenge myself. It’s time for a Tax Smackdown™. I made some strong coffee, sharpened a bundle of No. 2 pencils, grabbed a fresh legal pad and put both leaves into the dining room table. I gathered all the paper detritus that clogs our lives, fired up the laptop and let the fiction writing begin. (Just kidding, John Koskinen, Commissioner of Internal Revenue!) Three hours later Shannon peeked over my shoulder to check on my progress. “How’s it going?” “Just about ready to start,” I said. “Is that iTunes? You haven’t even started the taxes yet?” “I’m making my playlist! You can’t expect me to do this without the proper soundtrack.” I could hear her roll her eyes as she left the dining room to open a bottle of Costco wine. “I’m going to help you.” Wine in hand, she sat down next to me and slid the laptop over. “Income?” she asked, fingers poised above the keyboard. “Some,” I said, defensively. “I’ve been busy around here, man. Those toilet paper rolls don’t just change themselves, you know.” “I know,” she said, “I’m just asking if you can give me the number. Let’s start with music. Add up your 1099s.” I gave her a number. “That’s all? Seems like you played a lot last year.” “Yeah,” I shrugged. “But it’s not like we have to report it all.” She looked at me the way you look at something that’s stuck to the bottom of your shoe. “It is exactly like you have to report it all. If you don’t claim it, it’s not fair to claim expenses and deductions.” Oh, fairness. Honesty. So that’s how we’re going to play this. She entered my income and compared it to my lengthy list of deductions, losses and tax write-offs. As a semi-professional

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musician, I managed to lose a crap-ton of money last year. New Fender guitars don’t grow on trees, you know. The graphic design portion was fairly simple, and a good place to declare new home office equipment like Bluetooth speakers and a new softball bat. Straight design work requires only imagination and execution, so it’s pretty much all profit. “How about writing?” said Shannon, opening a new pane in the software. For the first time, I made more money as a writer than as a designer and musician combined. This could have resulted in a tax burden, but I was counting on my expenses and deductions to help soften the blow. Shannon scrutinized my paperwork. “What’s this receipt here?” she asked, thrusting a small slip of paper at me like it was a pair of panties she’d found in my glove box. “Honey, you can’t write off a trip to Dairy Queen with the kids.” I sat up as straight as I could, rolling back my shoulders and pushing out my chin. I raised an eyebrow, looked her right in the face, and said, “Shannon, I am an artist, therefore my entire corporeal existence is fodder for my creative process. Any and all activities I experience may inform a creative work down the road, so the entire universe, of which I am the center, is tax deductible.” I punctuated my speech with a small drum roll with a couple pencils, and smiled smugly. Bovine excrement, she said. “Where did you read that garbage, on the Apple website? Lord, you Mac people … ” She broke out the red pen and started drawing lines through the items on my list of write-offs. “You can’t write off 19 growlers of Double Haul IPA,” she said, drawing a red line through the list I’d painstakingly compiled throughout the year. Well, throughout the NFL season, anyway. “Operator lubricant,” I said. “Goes to the defendant’s state of mind.” She gave me the stink eye and continued down the list. “Forty-five bucks for a lava lamp,” she announced. “I don’t see how that is deductible.” “Oh, that’s totally deductible. It’s for my studio, and if I turn out all the lights except for the lava lamp, it really provides a great ambience that opens the door to all kinds of creative solutions and ideas.” “With the help of a little Double Haul.”


She broke out the red pen and started drawing lines through the items on my list of write-offs. “You can’t write off 19 growlers of Double Haul IPA.”

“With the help of a little Double Haul,” I agreed. No red line. I felt like I’d just slipped one past the goalie. “What about your mileage? You’ve got 13,500 miles down here for work. That seems kind of high. Did you have that many out-of-town gigs last year?” I stroked my chin so she would know I was thinking hard. I squinted into the middle distance so she’d think I was doing some math in my head. “Not really,” I said. “Just that wedding in Whitefish. But there were other, shorter trips related to work.” “Like what?” “Well, like driving to Kettlehouse Brewery to buy Double Haul.” Red line. Turns out that only about 5 percent of the things I thought were deductible (cotton candy, fishing license, beef jerky, change for the jukebox, Ab Rocket, graphic novels, limes, ChickO-Sticks, etc.) passed muster. But thanks to her robust legitimate income, combined with medical expenses and deductions for both our kids, we wound up getting a small refund. It won’t be enough to send us RV shopping or anything, but at least it will cover the cost of the TaxSmackdown™ software. And maybe a growler of Double Haul.

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Ednor Therriault is a writer, musician and graphic designer who lives in Missoula, Montana, with his endlessly patient wife.

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Visit mtoutlaw.com/wool to watch behind-the-scenes footage of this feature, shot on location at Serenity Sheep farm in Belgrade, Montana.

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Y O U R F A V O R I T E W O O L S W E AT E R O R P A I R O F S O C K S HAS A LONG, WOVEN HISTORY.

Sheep were first domesticated around 8,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia, according to the Belgium-based International Wool Textile Organisation, and the earliest wool clothing dates back to at least 3,000 B.C. From Asia, sheep were introduced to North Africa and Northern Europe. Europeans embraced sheep farming, valuing this animal that provided not only meat and milk but also clothing fabric. The Spanish fiercely guarded a fine-wool sheep breed later called Merino, and selling these animals outside the Spanish empire before 1700 was punishable by death. The Dutch eventually acclimated the breed to their southern African colonies and from there the stock made its way with sailors to Australia, which by 1840 was the most important Merino sheep grower along with South Africa and New Zealand. Wool and cotton remained a significant part of the world textile industry until synthetic fibers were developed in the early to mid 20th century, and by 2000, synthetics and cotton accounted for 90 percent of worldwide textile fiber production. Today, however, wool fabric is seeing a resurgence as consumers seek natural alternatives to fossil fuel-derived products. In the following pages, Mountain Outlaw celebrates wool with some of our favorite American companies and the styles that reveal its elegance. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The Editors

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P E N D L E T O N D O R E E N C O AT

The Doreen Coatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s houndstooth pattern returns a classic style to your wardrobe. Whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re being treated to a gourmet dinner after a big powder day or stepping out for a night on the town, the mid-thigh length and side-entry pockets offer extra defense from winter winds. Family owned in the Pacific Northwest for more than 150 years, Pendleton Woolen Mills has long been a standard bearer of American wool apparel. $299 pendleton-usa.com


T H I R T E E N M I L E L A M B A N D W O O L C O . W AT C H C A P

From sheep raised in southwest Montana’s Gallatin Valley, Thirteen Mile yarns are spun at the mill in the ranch’s barn. You know you live in the Northern Rockies if a beanie is a vital part of your wardrobe for a majority of the year—now you can face the winter fashionably with a Thirteen Mile Watch Cap. And you can also reach out to them for customized options. $30 lambandwool.com

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E L S AW O O L 2 - L AY E R J E R S E Y M I T T E N

Made from 100-percent Cormo wool, yarn spun into a seven-gauge jersey and brushed on the inside for extra softnessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;read: super cozyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Elsawool mittens keep your hands warm when the mercury plunges. Raised in Colorado and Montana, Elsawool sheep are purebred Cormo, a breed developed in Australia with fine Merino ewes. $42 wool-clothing.com

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DUCKWORTH MENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S COMET HENLEY

Duckworthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wool fibers from Montana sheep are spun, knit and sewn in the former textile hotbed of the Carolinas, and this timeless Henley style looks at home on the ranch or in the office. With 100-percent Merino on the outside and polyester microfiber in, the double-layer construction wicks moisture away while trapping a layer of warm insulating air in the middle. $95 duckworthco.com

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THIRTEEN MILE LAMB AND WOOL CO. BLANKET

Sustainability is embedded into Thirteen Mile’s entire process, from the grassfed, organic lamb and wool to the renewable energy that powers the wool mill. These 100 percent wool blankets measure in at 64-by-90 inches and feature a gray warp woven through chocolate-brown yarn. For more than 20 years, Thirteen Mile’s ultra-warm blankets and throws have turned even the coldest winter evening into a cozy fireside night to remember. $190 lambandwool.com


WOOLRICH MILL WOOL PA N T

John Rich built his first woolen mill in 1830 in Plum Run, Pennsylvania, and Woolrich bills itself as “The original outdoor clothing company.” Inspired by archival designs, the 85 percent wool/15 percent nylon Mill Wool Pant is made with a mid-weight herringbone pattern that keeps heat in while you’re chopping wood on a cold winter day. A cellphone pocket on the right leg and wide, vintage-inspired belt loops marry the new with the old—and elastic ankle cuffs let you show off your favorite boots. $195 woolrich.com

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Flying into the Northern Chugach Range near the Knik River, pilot Shannon Bowman (R) and Di Whitney survey ”training runs” in the heli windshield. PHOTO BY SASHA MOTIVALA

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S I LV E R

How Silverton Mountain Guides are mining a new approach to heliskiing Alaska’s wild backcountry BY BRIGID MANDER

The group of eight 30-something professionals from Denver, Colorado, was a mess. Physically, they looked beat. Mentally, they were nearly incapacitated. They had been reduced to a starryeyed, floating state. For the time being, the crew seemed held together by an adrenaline high and some version of disbelief.


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ELEMENT “We skied 21 runs today,” one from the giddy group informed us. Smartphones came from all directions, with shots of skiers on Alaskan spines, lost in powder, dropping steeply and hitting airs like ski movie stars. Although the trip had ended with some extra heli-time costs, this team would have given a year of their lives for the experience. In all likelihood, attaining such euphoria probably adds one. The man who’s made a name for himself by regularly reducing people to this state was nowhere to be found. Aaron

Brill, who together with his wife Jen, started Silverton Mountain ski area in Colorado and followed it up with this offbeat but tightly run heli-ski operation in Alaska, is a quiet, determined snowboard athlete, guide, entrepreneur, and helicopter pilot. Aaron, a man preoccupied with making ski dreams reality, generally skips the schmoozing of cocktail hour. When you’re blazing a trail that runs counter to accepted wisdom and the beaten path, partying is low on the list.>>

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cross much of the ski industry, recent years have seen the propagation of a lemming-like approach to success: find big-money clientele, adjust the business model to coddle and attract them, schmooze and entice them to spend as much money as possible—even if it pushes the actual sport of skiing itself to the periphery. This trend is resulting in cookie-cutter ski resorts, over-thetop real estate, and amenities like five-course lunch options that take up more of the day than actual time on the slopes. These, not skiing, are the moneymakers. Deviating from the formula would be a financial nosedive. But 15 years ago, a brash move by Aaron and Jen Brill, then a pair of broke, upstart, but intensely passionate snowboarders, famously challenged the accepted order. As it turns out, in a happy by-product of chasing their dream, they proved you can still make money from just simply offering skiing and riding. Now respected as two of the hardest working people in the industry, against all odds, the Brills have engineered and executed a specific dream: to create an area where they themselves—high-level, big-mountain snowboarders—would want to shred. A search for the perfect spot eventually led them to Silverton, Colorado, on a mountain that was part of an old mining claim. It was big and steep, with lots of features and exposed terrain. Perfect. They wanted skiers to come to Silverton after everywhere else failed to cut it, when skiing was on the verge of taking over (or already had) the purpose of your life, and you’d become a junkie searching for a rich, deep-white experience. Undaunted by reams of government red tape and an industry’s worth of onlooking naysayers, the Brills secured the permits to open their ski area and implement a novel, bare-bones formula. They erected a used double chairlift purchased from Mammoth Mountain in California for $50,000 (the down-on-its-luck-town of Silverton chipped in a small amount of funding). Aaron blasted rock, poured concrete, and became an assistant surveyor to save money. They put up a 1,200-square-foot pole tent as a base lodge, added some couches and a keg, and opened for business. Skiing and snowboarding purists, turned off by the commercialism of other resorts, flocked to this promising new place only to find it exceeded expectations. Initially maligned as a simplistic deviation, Silverton’s concept quickly earned the founding duo legendary status in the ski industry. They’ve been called the saviors of skiing’s soul, an antidote to vapid, luxury, mass-market ski experiences, and some of the few remaining believers that skiing alone—the kind of

skiing that not everyone can or even wants to do—is enough to attract business. At Silverton Mountain today, the amenities still include just one lift, hike-accessed terrain, a helicopter that sells rides for $179 a run, and zero groomers. The terrain requires guided skiing for most of the season, and if you’re not good enough to ski serious, big-mountain terrain, well, they don’t want your money. If you need luxurious frills to make it through a ski trip, pick a different destination. There’s somewhere else, almost anywhere else, better suited for you. “It’s definitely something [that gets] more to the roots of skiing and snowboarding,” says Fabio Grasso, a guide at Silverton for the last 13 years, of the operation and the Brills’ management style. “It’s for clients who want to focus on the skiing.” The positive response to Silverton in Colorado inspired the Brills to step it up one more notch. In 2009 they took the concept to Alaska, called it Silverton Mountain Guides, and proceeded to turn the heli-ski formula on its head. Operating on their own terms, Jen and Aaron created another industry black-sheep niche for themselves: they won’t take just anyone with the money heli-skiing with them. Would-be clients are pre-screened for a certain level of skill and they’ll turn you away until you meet it, but they’re not suffering for business. On the contrary, their Northern Chugach season, which starts at $7,880 per week, sells out within hours. SMG is booked solid until 2018, with a waitlist, while many other operations struggle to fill seats. In order to give more guests opportunities to get on their program, they decided to expand beginning in winter 2015-16. Fittingly, it wasn’t the usual approach to add another helicopter. The Brills added a new season: early winter in Seward, Alaska. Due to traditional helicopter leasing costs, no other heli operation flies those months in Alaska, but all Aaron saw was cold powder, plenty of light for a full day, and the added bonus of shredding big faces and spines in pink alpenglow and long winter twilights. After Seward, there’s no rest for the weary. The SMG guides and the chopper head back to Colorado for heli-ski drops at Silverton Mountain until mid-March, and then back to Alaska for the traditional heli season. “They still really like to get after it [on the mountain],” Grosso says. “They haven’t slowed down much, even as we see them take on more and more on the business side.” >>


When you’re blazing a trail that runs counter to accepted wisdom and the beaten path, partying is low on the list.

Above: Guide Fabio Grasso leading his group of clients to the top of their run in Seward at the end of December 2015. PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVERTON MOUNTAIN GUIDES

Below: Aaron and Jen Brill, owners of Silverton Mountain Guides, are living the dream. If you’re coming along, you’d better be able to ride. PHOTO BY SASHA MOTIVALA

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What people underestimate about Aaron is how much he wants to [ride]. He’s still in it for the money, but he doesn’t compromise on the terrain.

Sven Brunso skiing ‘Riff’ on the backside of Silverton Mountain

aron’s snowboard track leads down a knife-edge ridge, cutting through deep, fresh powder that immediately sloughs down the drop-off to the left. We follow, lining up between Aaron and our second guide, “88,” referred to as such because, the more senior guides gleefully informed us, he showed up to Silverton, Colorado, looking for a job in a 1988 Oldsmobile. We’re all alone, high in the Northern Chugach. I’m not sure how many runs we’ve even done today so far, so fast and efficient they are. And we haven’t stopped for lunch. No one even suggests it. (I scarfed down some snacks in the A-Star between this run and last, a more exciting version of the chairlift lunch.) Not one person is interested in wasting time sitting around and eating, when we could be skiing faces like the one dropping out of sight below. The tails of my skis hang over the precipice behind us,

my tips poke into thin air over the line we are about to drop into. It’s steep; I can’t see anything but the first few feet. Aaron gives some directions on where to turn once we drop in, where to watch for sloughing snow, and where to start straight-lining in order to air over the bergshrund at the bottom. Basically, make about three or four big fast turns and then point it. He disappears into the void, leaving a cloud of white smoke, and reappears shortly far below on the sunny glacier. “Go for it,” says 88, cracking a grin. I drop in, railing a high-speed turn into one of the steepest, deepest, and fastest runs I’ve ever skied. Gliding into the sun where Aaron is, 21 runs of like this is clearly more than enough to turn one’s brain to mush. Enough to empty a bank account. And then come back for more.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVERTON MOUNTAIN GUIDES

ADVENTURE: THE SILVER ELEMENT


eli-skiing is expensive. It’s expensive for the client, and it’s expensive for the operator. Profit margins, when they exist, are thin. Competition is cutthroat. Myriad variables that can affect business are unpredictable: bad weather, bad snow, and poor snowpack stability are the major issues. When Silverton expanded to Alaska, they wanted to cut out some of these factors and bring their brand of soul skiing with them. Based on the reactions to Silverton Mountain in Colorado, Aaron was certain there was enough business out there from skiers and riders who could hang skills-wise, and who would be able and willing to pay the cost of heli-skiing. So the AK operation maintains a bar to entry that has nothing to do with bank accounts. Before they’ll touch your money, SMG first wants to know you can hang, because mellow glacier runs or long lunch breaks would suck the life out of Aaron, Jen and their guides, and the operation would cease to exist. A vetting of ski or snowboard skills by the crew during a few ski days in Silverton, Colorado, is preferred for new Alaska clients, and if they pass muster, they can join an Alaska trip if and when there is space. There’s a little flexibility: if you can’t make it to Colorado but desperately want to get on board, a phone interview grilling by Aaron or his guides will assess whether you’ll cut it. If the client doesn’t fit the bill, a polite redirection to a more traditional operation is offered, at least until the hopeful client hones their skills to a higher level. For SMG, there are a few reasons for this. “It’s just better with better skiers,” Aaron says. “It’s safer for everyone, and less stressful for me and the guides. And the guests are happy when everyone skis at a higher level.” This steadfast insistence on a certain level of skier has practical business applications, and it keeps the owners and the guides not only interested, but passionate. “What people underestimate about Aaron is how much he wants to [ride]. He’s still in it for the money, but he doesn’t compromise on the terrain,” Jen says.

ackson, Wyoming-based cinematographer and producer Sasha Motivala is a veteran with various heli-ops, both filming and as a client, and he’s a convert to Silverton’s program. “While it might not be film lines, it’s the closest I’ve come, and we didn’t even have to coax the guides into it,” Motivala says. “That was just the norm. You do have to have [the money] to heli-ski, but also have to have spent the real time in mountains to ski with Aaron and his guides, who are damned if they are going to spend their precious time skiing 35-degree powder or anything that resembles a warm-up run.” Motivala’s feelings echo the whole base of Silverton’s clientele: good skiers willing to pay for heli-runs, but only if they get bang for their buck. Today, SMG presides over the largest tenure among Alaskan heli-ski operators, at about 15 million acres. From a utilitarian point of view, this only makes sense when you understand that Silverton also has no set base lodge. “The whole goal is mobility,” Aaron says. If the skiing isn’t prime in the current location, SMG can pull up stakes and move the whole show to another Alaskan location with better snow or weather. “That can be a bit of a gamble … but when it works—and it usually works 9.5 times out of 10—the guests realize we are really committed to providing the best possible ski experience for them and come back year after year.” To make such mobility possible, Aaron and Jen have arrangements with a multitude of lodges around the state, and if need be, the operation can take to RVs in something out of a ski movie: friends, guides, skis, cans of beer, and a helicopter in tow. SMG sends two guides for every group, as opposed to the usual one-guide industry standard. That means one less paying client in the heli, but it’s another piece of the Brills’ carefully crafted puzzle. With two guides, groups can shred much more challenging and interesting terrain. It’s a safer, smoother experience, not to mention more fun for the guests—and the guides. “Their safety talk and protocol are amazing, and really professional. They don’t care what you think you know—you have to listen to them,” says Bjarne Salen, a filmmaker and ski mountaineer who spent time in the Chugach with Aaron and SMG last spring. “And they were really smart with the business. There’s so many good skiers that work a lot and have the money for this. I’d send any friend to Aaron.”>>

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place your revenue stream,” Aaron says. “For example, in college I wanted a hot tub. To save money, I lived in a house with no furniture [and] slept on a camping mat, but I had a hot tub outside.” With laser-like focus and unwillingness to stray from their own ski dreams, the Brills created an oasis for others from the merciless, uniform commercialism of the rest of the ski industry, and are making it work in the process. It’s the act of making some money without losing your own soul, according to Jen. “You can’t get rich off it,” she says. “It depends what making money means to you.” But by doling out bits of their own dream, of lives rich with profound experiences, the Brills are blazing a trail in the industry. For those lucky enough to get on board, that path leads fall line down the deep and steep. Brigid Mander is a skier and writer based in Jackson, Wyoming, who has graduated from ski bum to Responsible Professional Journalist, but still knows how to live on 92 cents a day. For this story, Mander’s ski bum research helped her understand how the Brills live and share remarkable ski dreams.

Guides Aaron Brill and Skylar Holgate scope terrain in Seward, Alaska, December 2015.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVERTON MOUNTAIN GUIDES

or his part, Aaron believes it’s exactly this approach that his clients appreciate. “I think it’s a big reason people notice the [professionalism at SMG], and why I feel comfortable allowing our guests into hyperchallenging terrain,” he said. “Two experienced guides per group can focus primarily on the care and safety of the guests within the run, which creates an attention to detail like no other operation can provide.” Even the helicopter is different. SMG uses a powerful AStar B3e on a long-term lease, meaning they keep it year round. They fly early season in Seward, midwinter in Colorado, spring back in AK, and use it for reconnaissance and other work the rest of the year. The simple ski bum dream Silverton offers belies the immense effort that went into the making of both the Colorado and Alaska operations. “You just wish you had had that idea,” Motivala says. “Everyone wants their own lift or helicopter, but few of us would have the ambition or the drive to actually make it happen.” It defies belief, based on claims by the rest of the ski industry, that this duo could make money without real estate deals, luxury amenities, or baller, bigmoney investors. “It’s really just a matter of where you


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It’s arguably the greatest memory adults can conjure: a snowstorm blowing in and the jubilant sensation when the radio announces that, unfortunately, your school is closed for the day. Letting out a “whoop!” you were racing to the closet for the warmest and driest Starter jacket you had, then off to the nearest hill for that most thrilling of childhood pastimes: sledding. Today, sledding remains a cornerstone of family winter adventure (without having to buy a lift ticket). Harken back to one Clark W. Griswold in Christmas Vacation, bundle up the brood and fire up the “old front-wheel drive sleigh”: It’s a powder day and your favorite sledding hill awaits—have some laughs, perhaps a snowball fight, and “set a new amateur recreational saucer sled land speed record!”

BY CARIE BIRKMEIER

PICK YOU R RIG This popular sled is among the more common styles, and you can find one at nearly any hardware store. Feeling spunky? Have a friend give you a spin before pushing you downhill!

An oldie but a goodie, the toboggan is simple in construction and easy to ride. Depending on the size, you can fit up to three people on board and ride down the hill together.

If comfort is your goal, look no further. This air-filled, bouncy sled provides both a fun and cushy ride to the bottom. Bonus: extra padding if you get airborne!

Dating back to 1889, the flexible flyer has a storied history as the first steerable sled. Sit on top and steer with your feet, or for a daredevil adventure lay on your stomach and guide the flyer with your hands. No sled? No problem. If you can sit on it and the bottom is flat, you’re golden! Try a baking sheet, laundry basket, or cardboard box with wax paper taped to the bottom.

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THE CREW Attitude

Footy for the boys

High visibility, high style

Head protection

Paralyzing Fear

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Layers upon layers

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The author/artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s completed teepee lights up the Big Sky night. PHOTO BY NICK BROWN


TA L E S

The Medicine Wheel BY KATIE LEE

The winter sun was moments from peeking over the horizon on my family’s ranch in western North Dakota. It was cold, still, silent. I stood on the cusp of a halo of embedded rocks, 28 feet in diameter and known to our family as an old teepee ring. Just before my foot crossed over the threshold into the sacred circle, intuition stopped me. I felt compelled to ask something or someone for permission to enter the circle. That morning I intended to meditate with the rising sun, seeking guidance for the symbols I planned to use on the full-sized, traditional teepee I was painting. With my eyes closed and my arms stretched out to my sides, I took a deep breath, inhaling the crisp, clean air. As I exhaled, I made a humble, silent request for a spirit or greater being to accept me into this holy place. Suddenly, I felt a presence directly behind me, and heard what sounded like puffs of air, like someone who had been running for miles stopped near me to catch their breath. I heard two deep inhales and exhales at my right ear—just sound, without any sensation of even a slight breeze. My body froze. In a split second, my mind clipped through every possible scenario of what might be lurking behind me. None seemed plausible. I whipped my head in the direction of the noise, fully expecting a six-point buck to be staring me down and ready to charge. My muscles tensed, my heart thumping. I gazed around me and was awestruck at the sight of the same wide-open prairie I had always known. No animal, no

person, nothing but the land and sky. As the sun slowly illuminated and awakened nature around me, I found myself inside the circle asking deep questions that challenged my concept of reality. Later, unable to shake the experience, I spoke with a Native American elder from the area. He told me the circle I had stepped into was an ancient medicine wheel, built by tribes for spiritual ceremonies and as places for healing. For millennia, these wheels have been constructed high on bluffs overlooking water and facing east to represent the elements of earth, water, fire and air, just as this one was. I told him about the unexpected breathing sounds I had heard, and he said they were cleansing breaths from the Great Spirit, purifying me before entering the sacred circle. Not being Native American, I had a natural question. “Why me?” I asked. He explained that only humans set up racial borders between themselves, and that the Great Spirit only sees the color of people’s souls. At once, I knew a primary symbol I would paint on my teepee would be the medicine wheel. Katie Lee is an artist and pallet-knife painter based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. At the request of a Big Sky family, she transferred symbology from her incredible journey onto their teepee.

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TALES

The edge of the world

Cornice dropping in the Andes BY DEREK LENNON

A howling wind sends snow crystals flying through the air and into the abyss. All I hear is the wind whipping off the Pacific and beating against the hood of my jacket. I triple-check that my ski anchor is bombproof, giving the buried T-slot another good tug. Then I load it with my full body weight. It should hold, I tell myself. Standing at nearly 12,000 feet in the Chilean Andes, I can just make out our tiny Toyota pickup truck glistening in the sun 3,000 feet below. There are no clients today, but I’m hard at work. It’s my job to inch out on a mass of overhanging snow and cut a monster chunk of cornice off the side of the mountain, while my partner watches from his safe perch on the ridgeline. We need to open Ski Arpa’s steep and rowdy terrain for our cat-skiing clients. The sun radiates against the cobalt sky, but the winter wind keeps the air crisp. The chill helps me focus. My fingers check the screwgate on my locking carabiner. Harness double-backed. Prusik cord tight and secure. Gripping my shovel, I take a deep breath and creep toward the cornice edge. My heart pounds under my GoreTex shell, my mind in overdrive: How close can I get to the edge before the world drops out? I reach out with my avalanche shovel and tap the snow. Nothing. I shuffle a few inches forward giving the snow another tap. Nada. I take another step toward the precipice. Now there is no ground underneath my feet—just compacted snow hanging on. I try to peer over the edge. It’s nearly 1,000 feet to the benchlike moraine far below. I glance around. Aconcagua, the highest

The author lets ‘er rip at Ski Arpa during mountain outside Sent Productions’ filming of the short of the Himalaya, ski movie, Vaya A La Cumbre. dominates the eastern PHOTO BY OLLIE NIEUWLAND-ZLOTNICKI skyline. Jagged peaks covered in loose, red rocks and deep snow stretch out forever to the north and south. To the west, the fertile valleys of Chilean wine country stretch to the Pacific. This is my “office” and it makes me smile. The wind snaps my attention back to the job at hand. I’m still about 10 feet from the cornice edge. My gloved hand snugs up the rope. I extend my shovel and give the cornice a light tap. It’s the sweet spot. A crack the length of a school bus shoots out in both directions from under my shovel blade and arcs toward the edge of the cornice in a crescent moon shape. A massive chunk of cornice drops from in front of my feet and out of sight. Roughly two tons of snow plummets down the steep south-facing slope triggering a large avalanche that tumbles and sweeps across the alpine cirque known as Cornisas. Instinctively I hop backwards away from the edge, amazed to be standing on solid snow. I’m safe, but don’t yet grasp this concept as the billowing powder cloud thunders down the mountain. It all happened in slow motion. Cornisas is open for business. It’s time to ski.

Derek Lennon worked for seven seasons as a ski guide at Ski Arpa, a backcountry snow-cat operation located in the Chilean Andes. He now lives in Big Sky, Montana, where he works as a ski instructor, ski guide, and writer.

Visit mtoutlaw.com/cornice to watch Lennon drop the cornice at Ski Arpa.

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F E A T U R E D O U T L A W S ALEX AND ANDREW SMITH For their upcoming David Quammen adaptation, Montanaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own filmmaker twins tell how bitter winter, authenticity and Dungeons & Dragons inform their Montana stories. BY STEPHEN CAMELIO

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O U T L AW S Watch video about the Smith Brothers at mtoutlaw.com/smithbros

Andrew (at left) and Alex Smith get authentic at the Aero Bar in Chinook, Montana, summer 2011. PHOTO BY MICHAEL COLES


OUTLAWS: ALEX AND ANDREW SMITH

It’s mid-January and snowing. With the light fading, it’s getting damn cold. Following a snowy path deep into the woods, an older man turns to a boy and says, “This is about as real as it gets.” The remark wasn’t part of the script. Filmmaker Andrew Smith was stunned when he heard actor Matt Bomer say these words between takes on the set of the new film, Walking Out. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a compliment that I’ll take,’” Smith says. It isn’t like Andrew Smith and his twin brother Alex are in need of praise. Co-writers and directors of feature films The Slaughter Rule, Winter in the Blood and now Walking Out, they’ve been nominated for two of the most prestigious awards in independent film—Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and Film Independent’s John Cassavetes Award—and have garnered prizes and nominations from countless other film festivals. These accolades have allowed the twins to work with some of the best filmmakers in the world. But as storytellers who pride themselves in capturing the true nature of Montana and the West, Bomer’s words hit home in a way no award ever will.

At 49 (Alex is 14 minutes older), the Smith brothers say, “Legend has it” when asked if they’re identical. But they aren’t indistinguishable. Alex, who is single and splits time between Woodstock, New York, and Missoula, tends to focus on a story’s bigger picture. Andrew teaches at the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and lives in Missoula with his wife and two daughters, and gravitates to “the poetry of the moment,” as his brother puts it. On set you’d think these diametric approaches would lead to disagreements, but more often than not their opposing styles complement their films. And their upbringing informed their storytelling. The Smith brothers take pride in where they come from: a remote ranch in the Blackfoot River valley outside Missoula. It’s where their mother Annick Smith and her husband David settled after moving west from Chicago in 1959. Though David passed away in 1974 when the twins were six years old, Annick stayed on to raise her family—and still lives on the ranch today. “We didn’t have a TV and there was no Internet so there was a lot of playing in the woods, reading and playing Dungeons & Dragons,” Alex says. “Whether it was the pinecones becoming magical bombs or our fence-fixing gloves turning into ‘Gauntlets of Ogre Power,’ we started creating worlds and creating characters and bouncing them off each other— essentially doing what we do today.”

Left: Montana is a huge playground. Andrew and Alex Smith explore the massive playground that was their family ranch in Montana’s Blackfoot Valley, spring 1973. PHOTO BY DAVID SMITH

Right: Looking sharp in Beaverkill, New York, 2006. PHOTO BY SARAH BORK


Alex Smith directs actor Josh Wiggins (David) on the Walking Out set in Hyalite Canyon, January 2016. PHOTO BY STANISLAV HONZIK

This remote, independent childhood didn’t always mesh with other kids their age, making the Smiths a lot like the outsiders their films often highlight: the lonely kid who just lost his father in The Slaughter Rule, the nameless, confused Native American in Winter in the Blood, the estranged father and son on a perilous hunting trip in Walking Out. “That sense of being outsiders allows us to identify with folks on the margins and who are underrepresented,” Alex says. “We don’t hunt, we don’t fish, we don’t cowboy, but we’re Montanans—we just come from a different kind of background and had different influences from the kids that we grew up with.” Those influences have a lot to do with their family. Before their father David passed, he was a professor of literature at the University of Montana who had started dabbling in screenwriting and documentary filmmaking. Their mom is a writer and filmmaker whose long-time partner is William Kittredge, the renowned Montana writer and academic who taught creative writing at the University of Montana, and who co-edited with Mrs. Smith the collection of Western tales called The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology. “There were a lot of parties at the ranch and lots of writers in Missoula who were our parents’ friends [and] became our

friends, like James Welch and Richard Hugo,” Alex remembers. “Then, with the film work, which included my mother on the board of the initial Sundance Institute, we got to go to the Sundance Lab in Utah and met Robert Redford and filmmakers who worked in different capacities in the industry.” Indeed, while writers are often told to write what they know, the twins were in the fortunate position to write whom they know. The brothers chose Welch, the Native American author, for their second feature film. They adapted the writer’s seminal coming-of-age novel of tribal and reservation life, Winter in the Blood, and filmed along Montana’s Hi-Line and on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Following that project, the brothers again stayed close to their roots with David Quammen’s short story, Walking Out, the first version of which Kittredge edited in the early ’80s. Alex and Andrew read it as kids, and the father-son relationship at the center of the story made an instant impact on the boys. As they got older the subtext of the 26-page narrative kept drawing them back. “It’s a very linear story—almost archetypal,” Andrew notes. “It’s about going up a mountain and coming down transformed. This story haunted us, so we chased it down.”>>

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OUTLAWS: ALEX AND ANDREW SMITH

Andrew Smith chatting with Walking Out short story author David Quammen on set at Hyalite Canyon near Bozeman, Montana, January 2016. PHOTO BY STANISLAV HONZIK

but it is almost unheard of in the film industry. “The history of Hollywood is movies not made where they take place, from Brokeback Mountain, backward,” Alex says referring to the 2005 Western set in Wyoming but filmed mostly in Canada. On their first film, The Slaughter Rule, which starred Ryan Gosling and David Morse, the Smiths were pressured by a producer to change the Montana location and shoot in Texas. Instead of giving over control of their script, they decided to make it themselves in and around the Great Falls area. When it came time to shoot Winter in the Blood, the brothers were told to bring the production to Canada where the tax breaks far exceed those offered in Montana. But telling a Montana story outside of Montana didn’t make sense to them. “We get so much in-kind support from locals excited about us making a film in their backyard … There is just such goodwill when we shoot here you can’t put a value on it.”

“We get so much in-kind support from locals excited about us making a film in their backyard … There is just such goodwill when we shoot here you can’t put a value on it.” Quammen, for his part, took it as a sign of respect when the brothers came calling. “I remember meeting them as boys and, having known of their work with Winter in the Blood, I knew they’d become fine filmmakers,” he says. “It was my story but it’s their film, so I just told them if you think you can do it, go for it.” And with Quammen’s blessing Alex and Andrew didn’t have to go far to shoot it: The twins remain commited to filming their Montana stories in Montana. Shooting where Quammen originally set the tale also struck the author as a smart move. “Given that the story deals a lot with wild nature, the landscape adds a lot to the story,” Quammen said. Filming at the actual location where a movie is set may sound inconsequential, 126

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Alex adds it doesn’t hurt that “they know this place and it’s so fucking gorgeous and the light is so amazing.” The truth of his words comes across in the work and can be seen in Walking Out, which hits film festivals this winter and U.S. theaters next fall. In the movie, the majesty of Paradise Valley, Livingston and Bozeman are on full display along with Montana’s formidable wildlife, imposing weather and challenging backcountry. But there is something more important to the brothers than money and even home-state pride—and that’s authenticity. “Seeing how the West is depicted by outsiders, we often think, ‘That’s not right, that’s not accurate.’” Alex says. “We tell stories about folks who live in the true West and that zero in on people you don’t really see in your everyday Western.” Walking Out is the third installment of what the twins hope will be a quintet of tales from The Treasure State. “We’ve envisioned a long omnibus of Montana stories,” Andrew says. “We hope to shoot each in a different part of the state and have them take place in different eras.” To that end, Alex and Andrew are putting the finishing touches on a script for a jazz-era Western that takes place in eastern Montana about a sheriff who also happened to be an outlaw. Though they don’t dive into details, you can bet on two things: The film will be shot in Montana, and it won’t be your typical white-hatblack-hat Western where someone rides off into the sunset. Instead, it will be as “real” the brothers can possibly make it. They seek the truth, and expect to find it time and again in Montana.


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LAST LIGHT

The Montana Old-Time Fiddler’s picnic is a three-day, annual event put on by musicians for musicians in celebration of old-time fiddle, bluegrass, western swing, country and folk. The picnic was the brain-child of James “Doc” Allison of Livingston, Montana, more than 35 years ago and was originally organized as a potluck for fiddlers to get together and play the music they loved. It’s now hosted by David and Candace Payne on the Mercer Ranch south of Livingston. PHOTO BY AUDREY HALL

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2017 Winter Mountain Outlaw  

With award-winning editorial content, design and photography, Mountain Outlaw magazine has been described as “Powder Magazine meets Rolling...