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E X P L O R I N G L I F E , L A N D A N D C U LT U R E F RO M T H E H E A RT O F T H E Y E L L OW S TO N E R E G I O N E X P L O R I N G L I F E , L A N D A N D C U LT U R E F RO M T H E H E A RT O F T H E Y E L L OW S TO N E R E G I O N

MOUNTAIN

FRE E

WINTER 2018

2018 OLYMPICS

T H E COS T O F G O I N G F O R G O L D

Yellowstone Grizzlies in the Crosshairs

BURIED BUT NOT LOST AN AVA L A N C H E S U RV I VA L S TO RY

SNOWBOARDING PIONEER

TRAVIS RICE

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FEATURES

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Inverted Portal is one of nine massive works of art at Tippet Rise Art Center, a sprawling 10,260-acre open-air museum and state-of-the-art classical music venue located in Fishtail, Montana. Equal parts shelter, sculpture and landscape, Inverted Portal was created out of the land beneath it. It weighs over 200 tons and required the largest cranes in Montana to hold the two sides in place while they were fastened together by steel pins.

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SOUTH KOREA DREAMING By Tyler Allen The U.S. is the only large country in the world that doesn’t contribute a penny of federal funds to its Olympic team. As they prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and Big Sky athlete Mark Urich speak candidly about the hardships, financial and otherwise, that accompany an Olympic bid. Managing Editor Tyler Allen also shines a light on the support U.S. Olympic athletes have leading up to—and following—their big moment on the world stage.

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TO KILL A GRIZZLY By Todd Wilkinson Now that grizzly bears are no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are looking to sell hunting tags to manage the bruins’ population and generate cash for state coffers. Should grizzlies become trophies for sport hunters? Should wildlife management agencies sell specific tags to dispatch “problem bears”? And are grizzlies more of an economic boon when they’re dead or alive? Todd Wilkinson dives into both sides of the debate and explores what’s at stake.

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AN ECONOMIC CROSSROADS By Claire Cella Jackson and Bozeman are reaping the benefits of high-tech infrastructure and intellectual capital in the form of high-wage jobs and diversified economies. But those same elements are squeezing an already limited supply of affordable housing and reminding some of the commutes and sprawl they left behind. Claire Cella explores what telecommuting and hightech industry mean for mountain towns of the Greater Yellowstone.

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THE FINE LINE By Emily Stifler Wolfe Just 10 percent of people buried in avalanches for more than 35 minutes survive. In 2014, septuagenarian and snowmobiler Lesley Martin survived a 105-minute burial in Idaho’s Frenchman’s Creek. Emily Wolfe recounts the harrowing tale of the massive slide that enclosed Martin and three others in a snowy prison, and discovers the lifesaving decisions Martin made in the crucial seconds after the snow gave way.

PH OTO BY E R IK P ETERSEN

Tippet Rise Art Center, MT Photo: Erik Petersen © 2017 Tippet Rise

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DEPARTMENTS TRAILHEAD 20 TEDx Big Sky is back with a big message, Jackson Hole’s Rendezvous brings music to the masses, and an awardwinning family event in West Yellowstone 21 Walking Out, the latest Montana-inspired feature from filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith, and a meditation on finding your home in Accidental Gravity 22 Cause: Women in Action weave a mental health safety net for Big Sky 23 Visit: The “living ghost town” of Madison County, Montana

GALLERY 26 The heartbreaking, inspiring power of imagery: Six artists and photographers lend their gifts to causes they champion

NOW 36 South Korea Dreaming 46 Mountain Town Moguls: What the Rocky Mountain West can teach us about entrepreneurship, as told by five intrepid business owners Reports: 56 A former gold mine in South Dakota gets new life as a portal into the nature of matter 58 The resurgence of Polaroid cameras and a visual journal of a rock star’s life 60 A museum in Topeka, Kansas, memorializes the Godfather of Extreme Sports

GREATER YELLOWSTONE 66 To Kill a Grizzly 76 An Economic Crossroads

CULTURE 84 How acupuncture is being used for reproductive health, addiction treatment and relief from chronic pain—with remarkable success 91 The science behind why some dog owners resemble their pets 96 Tippet Rise Art Center, a 10,000-acre cattle ranch turned world-class music and art venue 102 Regional music venues that heat things up when the mercury drops 108 One-pot wonders to warm your body and fill your belly

GEAR 114 Greater Yellowstone’s gear manufacturers, and the mountains and rivers that inspire them

ADVENTURE 122 The Fine Line 129 Humor: A former surfer tries sliding sideways on snow and learns it’s all in the edges 134 Tale: David Gilbert’s account of a first-time rock climber

OUTLAW 140 The relentless evolution of professional snowboarder Travis Rice

As I loaded up my car one early winter morning, a brief flicker of light from these perfect snowflakes caught my eye and drew me in for a closer look. As I stood there shivering, face and fingers numbed by the cold, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful complexity that just seconds before had gone completely unnoticed. The moment captured here was a reminder that even the smallest details in this world can impact our lives if we take the time to notice and appreciate them. PHOTO B Y COL TON S T IFFL E R

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MEDIA - PUBLISHING – MARKETING – VIDEO –

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MARKETING – VIDEO – PHOTOGRAPHY - DESIGN – TES – EVENTS - SOCIAL MEDIA - CONSULTING - MEDIA

UBLISHING – MARKETING – VIDEO – PHOTOGRAPHY DESIGN – WEBSITES – EVENTS - SOCIAL MEDIA ULTING - MEDIA - PUBLISHING – MARKETING – VIDEO

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MARKETING – VIDEO – PHOTOGRAPHY - DESIGN – TES – EVENTS - SOCIAL MEDIA - CONSULTING - MEDIA

UBLISHING – MARKETING – VIDEO – PHOTOGRAPHY DESIGN – WEBSITES – EVENTS - SOCIAL MEDIA ULTING - MEDIA - PUBLISHING – MARKETING – VIDEO

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Owned and published in Big Sky, Montana. EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR Tyler Allen SENIOR EDITOR Amanda Eggert ASSOCIATE EDITOR Sarah Gianelli STAFF WRITER/ DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR Doug Hare EDITOR-AT-LARGE Joseph T. O’Connor CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Kelsey Dzintars

PUBLISHER Eric Ladd 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 MANAGER Blythe Beaubien

LEAD DESIGNER Carie Birkmeier GRAPHIC DESIGNER Marisa Specht SENIOR VIDEO EDITOR Ryan Weaver LEAD VIDEOGRAPHER Jennings Barmore CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Claire Cella, Annie Fast, David Gilbert, Yogesh Simpson, Bay Stephens, David Stubbs, Ednor Therriault, Todd Wilkinson, Emily Stifler Wolfe, Jessianne Wright CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS/ARTISTS Cole Barash, Richard Barnes, Amanda Beach, Seth Dahl, Steven Drake, Sheila Dunn, Tripp Fay, Bill Foster, Tyler Grobmeier, Chuck Haney, Geoff Harvey, Gal Jakic, Gayle Kabaker, Mike Kline, Sydney Macdonald, Carol MacKay, Thomas D. Mangelsen, Mike McCready, Cam McDonald, Faith Miller, Jennifer O’Connor, Tim Palmer, Erik Petersen, Drew Pogge, Scott Serfas, Erich Spiess, Colton Stiffler, David Stubbs, Jon Wall, Forest Woodward Subscribe now at mtoutlaw.com/subscriptions.

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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 © 2018 Mountain Outlaw unauthorized reproduction prohibited CHECK OUT THESE OTHER OUTLAW PUBLICATIONS:

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explorebigsky.com On the Cover: Professional snowboarder Travis Rice was at Bozeman’s Filmlites Montana in August 2017, shooting a dream sequence for his latest feature film Depth Perception. P H OTO B Y J ENNI NGS B A R M OR E

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MISSOULA p. 21, 32, 69, 102, 129 BOZEMAN p. 46, 69, 84, 102, 115, 122 BUTTE p. 60

LIVINGSTON p. 21, 77, 114

PONY p. 22 BIG SKY p. 20, 22, 40, 52, 77, 108

GRAND CANYON p. 32

RED LODGE p. 114 W. YELLOWSTONE p. 21 YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

IDAHO SAWTOOTH NATIONAL FOREST p. 122, 134

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS p. 114

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK

DRIGGS p. 50

WYOMING

JACKSON p. 20, 46, 102, 114, 140

TOPEKA, KS p. 60

F RO M T H E E D I T O R Maintain the resolve I studied forestry at the University of Vermont and had a professor named John Shane, who was both a hero and mentor. He taught dendrology, the study of tree taxonomy, and expected us to learn the identity of hundreds of trees by their leaves, buds and bark. It was a daunting task but one I met with determination because he made the class exceedingly fun. He also taught me that disturbance is a rule in natural landscapes, whether it’s fire, wind or flooding, and it’s an essential part of the system. We, too, are part of that order as we shape the world to our liking. In the Greater Yellowstone we have a vast amount of land protected from the human hand, anchored by two iconic national parks. With help from the Endangered Species Act, this island of wildness allowed for the recovery of the region’s grizzly bear population from fewer than 200 to nearly 700 today. States are now considering hunting seasons for the great bears and in “To Kill a Grizzly” (p. 66), Todd Wilkinson discovers that even lifelong hunters struggle with the ethics of a potential trophy hunt.

Managing Editor Tyler Allen transcribes a story brainstorming session with the Outlaw team for this edition of the magazine. PHOTO BY JE N N I N G S BA RM O RE

The island that harbors these bruins is also shrinking, as towns like Bozeman, Big Sky and Jackson populate before our eyes. Technology has played a large role in this growth, as Claire Cella found in “An Economic Crossroads” (p. 56), an in-depth look at how startups and tech professionals have gotten creative to carve out their niche here, as well as some of the ramifications. We can’t shut the door behind us, so instead, this edition of Mountain Outlaw magazine celebrates the determined—those who don’t believe constraints of the past will chart their future. Amanda Eggert found five business owners in “Mountain

Town Moguls” (p. 46) who epitomize that creativity and dogged fight to build their careers in the Northern Rockies. “To foster the ideas that we think are important for this place, we had to start at the beginning, where the decisions are being made,” Brian Caldwell told her. His architecture firm Thinktank Design Group is helping to shape downtown Bozeman’s future aesthetic with projects such as the Lark Hotel and the renovated Rialto Theater. Resolve will be on full display during the 2018 Winter Olympics, as four U.S. Olympic and Paralympic skiers told me for “South Korea Dreaming” (p. 36). Talent and hard work are just the beginning of the monumental effort it takes to reach the world’s stage, as it also takes tenacity off the slopes to fund Olympic dreams. Like the natural world, disturbance is a normal part of our lives, but I hope the personalities and stories found in these pages deepen your own resolve.

Tyler Allen, tyler@outlaw.partners

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

New York state native CLAIRE CELLA (“Science Stakes a Claim,” p. 56) never imagined herself living in Wyoming. Growing up, all she knew about the state was that it contained Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole— now she lives in Lander and works for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, quite contentedly. She’s not shy to admit she moved to the West for the same reasons everyone else seems to—easy access to the mountains for camping trips, skiing and trail runs—as you’ll read in “An Economic Crossroads” (p. 76).

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EMILY STIFLER WOLFE is a writer, climber and skier who lives near Bozeman, Montana. She and her husband are raising a 2-year-old daughter and a spotted donkey colt, although who is schooling whom is still up for debate. She was the founding editor of Mountain Outlaw. (“Moving the Needle,” p. 84, “The Fine Line,” p. 122)

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A freelance writer and Bozeman native, JESSIANNE WRIGHT enjoys telling the stories of the West. In the last year, her reporting work has allowed her to fly a plane, watch an eagle come to life from sheets of flat steel, and breathe the life of a cannery’s timber beams that are more than 100 years old. In “A Spitting, or Slobbering, Image” (p. 91), she explored the science behind owner and pet look-alikes.

YOGESH SIMPSON is a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer based in Bozeman, Montana. He earned a master’s in photojournalism from the University of Montana in Missoula, and has been the photo editor at the Missoula Independent, as well as the managing editor of the Molokai Dispatch in Hawaii. The singer and guitarist of Holler N’ Pine, he wrote about the region’s burgeoning music scene in “When Cold Grips the Greater Yellowstone, the Dance Floors Heat Up” (p. 102). His preferred mountain pursuits include biking, skiing and paragliding.

DAVID GILBERT went to college in Vermont, graduate school in Montana, and otherwise has lived in New York his whole life. He has three children, including Max (pictured here), and has written three books, most recently & Sons from Random House. He is never rock climbing again, as you’ll discover in “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Super Slabs” (p. 134).

ANNIE FAST is an outdoor adventure writer currently based in Bend, Oregon. She started writing while studying at Montana State University, documenting the exploits of inspiring locals, while herself exploring the surrounding mountains on her snowboard. This led to a 10-year tenure at TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine, where she previously served as the editor in chief.  Still an avid snowboarder and still in awe of the talent of those around her, she profiled Travis Rice (p. 140) for this issue.

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CAUSE / P. 22

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Jackson Hole Mountain Resort / March 8-12, 15-18

PHOTO COU RTESY OF JACK SON HOLE MOU N TA I N R ES OR T

JACKSON HOLE RENDEZVOUS

JANUARY

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PH OTO CO U R TE S Y OF W ES T Y EL L OW S TONE C H A M B ER

R O B B I E H O U C E K | C A M E R O N S C OT T | P E M D O R J E E S H E R PA

Over the last four TEDXBIGSKY E RY | DA RY N KAG A N | E D UA R D O G A R C I A years, Wyoming’s R Y L A N P EBig Sky, Montana / January 26-27 W I T H S P E CIn I A2005, L A PPem P E ADorjee RANC E B Y and M Ahis R Twife I N SMoni E X TMulepati, ON Jackson Hole Mountain Sherpa, became the first Resort has sponsored climbers to wed on the summit of Mount Everest. Daryn Kagan was an anchor EVENTS the Jackson Hole ED B I Gcovering S K Y . Cthe OM on CNNTfor 12Xyears world’s breaking news. Eduardo Garcia Rendezvous: a multisurvived electrocution, but lost his arm in the aftermath. day music festival in What these three have in common is the ability to share positive stories with mid-March, on multiple the world. On January 27, Pem Dorjee, Kagan and Garcia will join Robbie Houcek, stages in Town Square, and in Teton Village Cameron Scott at the base of the ski area. The Zac Brown and Rylan Band headlined the last two years, but that Peery to speak and more is set to change in 2018. at TEDxBigSky There will still be the iconic backdrops, 2018. TEDx is a wide range of talented musical acts, and of an independently organized course great skiing, but a big headliner like version of TED Talks, an Zac Brown will not perform and now the international conference on festival will be split over two weekends. sharing ideas. This year will feature two long Produced, filmed and weekends of music, planned for March 8-12 marketed by Outlaw Partners and March 15-18. The first weekend will (publisher of this magazine), be geared toward the college crowd, and the and emceed by Outlaw’s following will cater more to families and Events Director Ersin Ozer, it Martin Sexton will perform January 26 at Big Sky Resort and make a special appearance January 27 at TEDxBigSky. the general public. debuted to a sold-out crowd P H OTO COU R TES Y OF M A R TI N S EX TON The first weekend will include après last year. This winter’s two-day performances under the bottom tram dock event centers on the theme of in Teton Village. Over the second weekend, positivity and will feature a special appearance by singer-songwriter Martin Sexton, the model will be similar to last year, who will also play an intimate concert at Montana Jack on January 26. including a Town Square show Friday night “Many of the speakers are going to be talking about real intense, serious and big concert under the tram Saturday. challenges and how they turned that around into nothing short of magic,” said The best change in 2018? All music will Jackie Rainford Corcoran, who alongside Lori Addicks, is coaching this year’s be free this year. This is an après party you hand-picked group of speakers. “People are going to leave feeling moved, inspired, don’t want to miss. – Doug Hare motivated.” – Jessianne Wright

KIDS’N’SNOW

West Yellowstone, Montana / Begins December 16

Based in West Yellowstone, Montana, since 2010, Kids’N’Snow is designed to provide all kids, both locals and visitors, with the opportunity to participate in a host of winter activities in a safe, stimulating environment. From snowshoe adventures and ice fishing, to snowmobile rides and sled dog tours, the program has introduced thousands of children to recreation that’s meant to provide a lifelong love for the outdoors and healthy lifestyle habits. Kids’N’Snow runs once monthly over four weekends, beginning December 16. Most activities are free and others are available at minimal cost. Whether they’re making their first snow angel, strapping on their first pair of skis, or actively learning about the wildlife surrounding Yellowstone National Park, young ones come away with a learning experience that’s hard to forget. Thanks to a dedicated core of volunteers, this program is a surefire way to introduce your family to the fun that can be had during Montana’s longest season. – D.H.

In a series of wide-ranging autobiographical READ essays, Bernard Quetchenbach’s Accidental Gravity manages to capture the interplay of the natural rhythms of life, the cultural cadences of time, and the vagaries of chance—both in his own life and in a more universal sense—that we would do best to recognize the inevitably of. Each meditation examines this sublime waltz between regularity, happenstance and human agency that combine to create the narratives we tell ourselves about our lives, with the lucidity of a philosopher and the lyricism of a poet. An English professor at Montana State University Billings, Quetchenbach’s reflections on the places he has lived, the shifting landscapes of our memories, and the environmental issues in the Greater Yellowstone region offer both the fresh take of an outsider and the knowledge of a lifelong naturalist. Beginning with his upbringing on the shores of Lake Ontario, the author reveals the fateful experiences and elusive magnetism that drew the peripatetic adjunct professor back, again and again, to Montana prairies and the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. In the end, he leaves room for both an understanding of and awe at the confluence of forces that draw us back to the same places—the places we eventually call home. – D.H.

WALKING OUT Adapted from a short story by acclaimed REEL Bozemanbased writer David Quammen, and directed by twin brothers Alex and Andrew Smith who grew up near Missoula, Walking Out is a haunting tale of a father and his estranged teenage son on an ill-fated hunting trip in the Montana backcountry. On the tracks of a bull moose, the stoic outdoorsman and his urbanite son slowly unravel an uneasy meditation on masculinity and manhood set against a backdrop of the unforgiving isolation and bleak beauty of snowy forests and austere mountains in Big Sky Country. That forbidding backdrop comes to the fore when a series of accidents turns a slow-paced riteof-passage story into a survivalist thriller. Strong performances by both actors and incredible wildlife footage carry the sparse, and often tense dialogue. Filmed mostly in Paradise Valley, Livingston, and near Bozeman, Walking Out is the third installment of a quintet of films based and shot in the Treasure State, the first two being The Slaughter Rule and Winter in the Blood. With their latest film, the Smith brothers have cemented their reputation as innovative cinematographers, evocative minimalists, and authentic storytellers of the modern West. – D.H.

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PON Y , MON TA NA P H OTO COU R TES Y OF BI G SK Y SK I ED U CATI ON FOU N DATI ON

WOMEN IN AC T I O N

Weaving a web of support in a mountain resort community Hidden among mountains, rivers and trees, ski towns are often likened to heaven on earth. Young people come to get lost and be CAUSE challenged by the rugged landscape, while older generations are attracted by the idea of a retirement with a view. However, living in a remote area can bring a sense of isolation and translate to a lack of resources for rural communities. In 2005, a group of nine women in Big Sky, Montana, saw this lack of support and decided to address it. The nonprofit Women In Action was born, with an aim to provide programs and resources to support the wellbeing of community residents and families. Women In Action works as a liaison in many cases, identifying the needs of the community, then reaching out to organizations already equipped to meet those needs. Through partnerships and collaboration, they’ve initiated services that may not otherwise exist in Big Sky. The organization’s executive director, Jennifer O’Connor, gave counseling as one example. “One of the biggest challenges that we have in Big Sky is that it’s really hard to get counseling services here on a regular basis,” O’Connor said. However, the need for counseling services in a mountain town like Big Sky was dire, since the Rocky Mountain states have some of the highest suicide rates in the Lower 48. To make this a reality,

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Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Tobacco Root Mountains, Pony, Montana, is considered a living ghost town by some. VISIT Beginning with a gold rush in the 1870s, Pony was a booming mining town of at least 1,000 at its peak. Today, it’s home to just over 100 year-round residents in town and the surrounding area. A stroll through the abandoned historic buildings will bring Pony’s past alive, and be sure to stop in the Pony Bar, the last operating storefront and an authentic Montana watering hole. This region of Madison County also offers blue ribbon streams for pursuing trout year round, including North Willow Creek that runs right through town. Skiers who enjoy the backcountry should check out nearby Bell Lake Yurt where experienced guides, expansive terrain, and reliable snow almost guarantee a unique powder adventure. And on your way back from Pony to points east, a soak in the mineral waters of Norris Hot Springs is a must. – D.H.

Above: Each winter, WIA provides approximately 40 children with scholarships to attend the locals ski program at Big Sky Resort and to participate in Big Sky Ski Education Foundation’s racing programs.

Women In Action partnered with the Montana State Human Development Clinic to bring in a post-undergraduate intern twice a week to provide consistent support at an affordable rate. Below: Big Sky kids enjoy an afternoon of Women In Action has exploration at Camp Big Sky. similarly paved the way for programs ranging from art enrichment at the local elementary school to substance abuse treatment. They also provide scholarships for children to participate in summer and winter camps, allowing them to learn beyond Big Sky’s classrooms. Most recently, Women In Action built a campaign called “Never Alone on Lone Peak,” which targets Big Sky’s 20- to 30-year-old demographic so that they know they have access to help. That help includes 24-hour hotlines for crises, suicide intervention and domestic abuse through the Help Center and Haven, both Bozeman-based services. “I think the strength, or the key to our success, has really been our ability to bring the right people to the table to make things happen,” O’Connor said. “Within our idyllic surroundings, there is an at-risk population that benefits tremendously from this service,” Jackie Robin, the owner of Big Sky’s Hungry Moose Market and Deli, wrote in an email. “Women In Action fills gaps so everyone can enjoy the benefits of our unique recreational community.” Made for and powered by the community, Women In Action has woven a web of support that assures locals they are never alone. – Bay Stephens

PHOTO S BY FAI T H M I LLE R A N D D RE W POG G E

YOUR ADVENTURE STARTS WHERE YOU PARK

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Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. -Edith Sitwell

Kandahar at Beehive Basin | Big Sky, MT | $3.45M 19.9 ACRES | 5,409 SQ FT | 3 bedrooms | 3 bathrooms Guest home: 2,165 SQ FT | 3 bedrooms | 2.5 bathrooms Stunning creekside location in Beehive Basin

Lot 338 Bristle Cone Drive | Yellowstone Club | $4.95 14.6 ACRES Largest residential lot available at Yellowstone Club

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All information given is considered reliable, but because it has been supplied by third parties, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete, and should not be relied upon as such.These offerings are subject to errors, omissions, and changes including price or withdrawal without notice. All rights reserved. Equal Housing Opportunity. If you currently have a listing agreement or buyer broker agreement with another agent, this is not a solicitation to change. Š2016 LK REAL ESTATE, llc. lkrealestate.com

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OUTBOUND

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ERIK PETERSEN

Look at a map of Afghanistan and you will see an appendage of land that juts out from the northeast corner. This is the Wakhan Corridor and it’s bordered by Tajikistan, China and Pakistan. The corridor is about 200 miles long, wedged between the Pamir Mountains to the north and the Karakoram range to the south. It’s a harsh environment. To stay warm, villagers collect yak dung for fuel to burn during the long, cold months of winter. I visited the Wakhan a handful of times to photograph these remote schools and the children learning there, while working as a photographer for Central Asia Institute. CAI provides education for girls and boys in remote regions of Central Asia. They work to promote peace through literacy and education. My purpose was to document their work and the impact it has on the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. It can be difficult to convey to Westerners just how different life is in these remote places. But photography is a powerful medium that can help bridge those gaps. Learn more at centralasiainstitute.org

SOCIAL

CHANGE

A young Afghan girl skips across the rocks while playing in a meadow near the village of Krit, in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. P HOTO BY E RIK P E T E RS E N

An image has the power to stir emotions, shift perspectives and ignite action. Mountain Outlaw spoke with photographers and artists who utilize their talents to bring awareness to the important causes and pressing social issues closest to them, and gain insight on how we can all affect change for the better.

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GAYLE KABAKER Women's March, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

Mountain Outlaw: How can an image affect social change? Gayle Kabaker: I think an image grabs people’s attention, and makes them feel something. If it's a strong image it could produce a strong feeling that might get them to do something they might not have otherwise done.

BY S HE I L A D U N N

MO: What is the cause or organization you currently feel most passionate about? GK: Ahh. So many causes right now. Women's rights are always at the top of my list. Everything from healthcare—abortion rights—[to] equal pay. Cancer and animal rights are also big for me. I am planning to get involved somehow in a visual campaign about getting out to vote.  MO: What is your advice for other photographers/artists who wish to create meaningful work? GK: I once went to an abortion rights fundraiser and the speaker talked about [the emergency contraceptive] Plan B, which at the time I'd never heard of. (This was many years ago.) I came home and e-mailed many of my women friends and asked if they knew what Plan B was. Many did not. I contacted the CEO of a local women's health organization whom I'd met at the fundraiser and offered to help in any way I could with a visual ad campaign promoting Plan B, as I felt it was so important. My offer was pro bono but it turned into more paying work for this organization.  I'd say the most important thing is to paint and create from your heart. If it comes from an authentic place, then it has a good chance of connecting with other people.  If you want to support a cause you really believe in, you could try writing to them. But I find that often organizations don't respond to the offer of free art. So it's a matter of having visibility—doing work that is meaningful and establishing yourself as an artist who does meaningful work.

SHEILA DUNN

“If it comes from an authentic place, then it has a good chance of connecting with other people.”

See more of her work at gkabaker.com

Most of my artwork tends to be introspective in nature, exploring inner landscapes of the human experience. But lately, I’ve felt the need to expand beyond my personal story and use my artwork as a platform for activism. I believe we all have a sacred duty as individuals walking this spectacular earth to make concerted efforts to protect it—and the rights of our fellow human beings walking alongside us. My Resistance Series features people that make this country great, individuals—both past and present—who have shaped our cultural landscape through their steadfast resistance to oppression. Renowned civil rights activists

Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour are two of the national co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington, where more than 1 million gathered in Washington, D.C., joined by another 4 million worldwide, to march in support of the movement’s mission to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”   Ten percent of all sales go the American Civil Liberties Union. sheiladunnart.com

June Brides was featured on the cover of The New Yorker in June 2012.

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TIM PALMER

I've spent a whole adult lifetime photographing rivers, and Kootenai Falls in northern Montana is among the most astonishing hydrological phenomena I have seen. It tumbles through an ornate complex of ledges and drop-offs, swirling from pool to plunge, pushing with a force that's dramatic to behold. Undammed rivers of this size, and with such impressive gradient, have become rare, as 80,000 large dams have been built in the United States. And this very site was imminently threatened in the 1970s by a hydroelectric dam proposal. The federal permit was contested by local tribes, who regard the falls as sacred ground, and by conservation groups. Ultimately the dam was stopped.  I'm deeply motivated to photograph sites such as this because their sublime beauty remains unknown to most people. These places must be cherished, not only by the Native Americans who recognize spiritual values when they see them, but by all of us.   Tim Palmer is the author and photographer of Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy, and 25 other books. See his work at timpalmer.org

The Kootenai River, home to several rare and threatened native fish species, is endangered by runoff and waste from current mining and proposed expansions of five open-pit coal mines along the Elk River in British Columbia. P H OTO B Y T IM PALME R

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FOREST WOODWARD

Former Marine, Aaron Howell, poses for a video portrait at Stone Creek waterfall in the Grand Canyon during a side hike.

In the spring of 2016, my brother and I traveled to Tuvalu, a sparsely populated country in the South Pacific. Over the course of our time there, we spent many an afternoon swimming, fishing and exploring with the local youth. We also conversed with the children about what climate change means to them and were struck by the positivity and creativity they brought to our conversations. By and large, children are not motivated by greed. They are not motivated by politics. They are not fear mongers. They are not selfish. Overwhelmingly, they are guided by joy, compassion, a sense of fairness and honesty—the same ideals I believe we must look to as we work together to change the course of our current climate trajectory. 

P H OTO BY SE T H DAHL

Three children play in the South Pacific on the coast Tuvalu, a country imperiled by rising sea levels due to climate change. PHOTO BY FO RE S T WOO DWARD

SETH DAHL

Former Marine Aaron Howell returned home from Afghanistan as a double, above-the-knee amputee and missing parts of both of his hands. He eventually learned to kayak with Team River Runner while recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center. It’s proven to be a transformational experience for Howell, who says that his time on the water has freed him from his disability, in a way, by allowing his mind to focus on the action and the challenge of the sport. This past September, Howell kayaked 226 miles through the Grand Canyon with two other veterans, Lonnie Bedwell, a blind Navy veteran-turned-whitewater kayaker, and pro kayaker and 101st Army Airborne Division veteran Russell Davies. Together they navigated the Colorado River’s largest rapids and hiked its steep side canyons while reflecting upon the integral role rivers have played in their recovery.

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Featuring stories and images from the outer islands of Tuvalu, Children of Climate Change is the first installment in a long-term film and photo project that seeks to stimulate conversation and inspire positive action by amplifying voices and sharing stories of the youth on the front lines of climate change. As a visual storyteller you have a gift, and with that gift a great responsibility to the world. Use that gift wisely, compassionately and strive to do good. See more of his work at forestwoodward.com

“As a visual storyteller you have a gift, and with that gift a great responsibility to the world. Use that gift wisely, compassionately and strive to do good. “

As a veteran myself—in 2004 I deployed to Iraq with the 1-163rd Infantry Battalion, a Montana Army National Guard unit based out of Missoula—I am inspired by the resilience demonstrated by my brothers-in-arms who overcome combat injuries through outdoor activities. I am currently editing the short film my team and I shot about the Grand Canyon experience, which is set for a spring 2018 release. My hope is that people will be encouraged by these powerful stories of resilience. That’s what compelled me to start Big Cedar Media four years ago— the opportunity to showcase the human condition through stories that inspire and motivate. Learn more at bigcedarmedia.com

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THAN YOUR IMAGINATION

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Mikaela Shiffrin racing in the giant slalom during the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup in Soelden, Austria, on October 28, 2017.

WITH THE WINTER OLYMPICS AROUND THE CORNER, U.S. ATHLETES FIND THAT GETTING THERE MAY BE THE HARDEST DISCIPLINE OF ALL BY TYLER ALLEN

P H OTO B Y ER ICH SPIE SS/ ASP / RED BUL L CONTENT POOL

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Ted Ligety is all smiles after a giant slalom race in Winter Park, Colorado. P HOTO BY GA L JA K IC

Ted Ligety skiing at the 2016 Putnam Investments NASTAR Pacesetting in Copper, Colorado.

“I make a good living, but that next group of guys are basically going into debt every year. It’s the unfortunate reality of a lot of our sports, especially in skiing.”

P HOTO B Y T RI PP FAY

S ANYONE IN THE NORTHERN ROCKIES WILL TELL YOU, SKIING IS AN EXPENSIVE SPORT. TO COMPETE AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL CAN BE A MONUMENTAL COST.

In March 2017, Canada’s government committed an extra $5 million of its federal budget to its Athlete Assistance Program, which helps pay cost-of-living expenses for its Olympic competitors. An 18 percent increase in funding, it brings the monthly stipend to nearly $1,800 in Canadian dollars for Olympians. The U.S. government doesn’t pay its athletes a cent, and we’re the only large country in the world that doesn’t commit federal funds to our Olympic team. Unless you’re a Lindsey Vonn or a Shaun White, with lucrative sponsorship deals, getting to PyeongChang, Korea, in February for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic games is a financial Everest to summit. Andrew Kurka grew up in Palmer, Alaska, and was a six-time state champion in freestyle

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and Greco-Roman wrestling. When an ATV accident resulted in three damaged vertebrae, his career on the mat was over at age 13. But two years later he tried a monoski for the first time and his athletic talents translated to the snow—in 2017 he won gold, silver and bronze medals in Alpine skiing at the World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy. It wasn’t an easy road for Kurka to reach the pinnacle of his sport. Growing up with a single mother supporting two boys, the expense of skiing was out of reach for the family. “I actually had to go to a local mall and ask people for a dollar and two dollar donations to join the ski club so I could be a ski racer,” Kurka said. “I was able to raise $350 and … literally lived at the ski resort for three or four days a week.” During the summer he would work two jobs to pay for his winter passion, eventually

earning a spot on the U.S. team when he moved to Aspen, Colorado, to train with the Paralympic Development Program. Even after moving to Aspen for the winters, he continued to work two jobs in Alaska during the offseason, queuing up tracks as a radio DJ and managing retail personnel at a Sportsman’s Warehouse. “Ski racing is expensive,” says Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety. “My parents spent a lot of money to get me on the U.S. Ski Team. Even once you make the U.S. Ski Team, you get handed a 20-plus thousand dollar bill.” One of the best giant slalom skiers in history, Ligety won his first Olympic gold medal at the 2006 Turin games at age 21, the youngest American male to ever take gold in Alpine skiing. He cemented his legacy at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with another first, earning the United States its first ever men’s giant slalom gold. Ligety said he’s lucky to be where he is today. Though it didn’t hurt that he grew up in the winter sports mecca of Park City, Utah, U.S. skiers are at a major financial disadvantage to their European counterparts, even those that aren’t on the top-tier teams for their respective countries. “They’re actually making a normal salary with benefits on top of what they make in their ski career. I mean that’s unheard of as an American,” he said. “The 40th [ranked skier] in the world in Europe can actually sustain a living, where if you’re 40th in the world [from] the U.S. you’re writing big checks every year.” Geography helps his competitors too.

European races are typically within a day’s drive from each other, whereas American skiers often have to fly to contests, incurring the associated costs of hauling their quiver of skis. “I make a good living, but that next group of guys are basically going into debt every year,” Ligety said. “It’s the unfortunate reality of a lot of our sports, especially in skiing.” The athletes competing in PyeongChang didn’t only surmount financial hurdles to reach the world’s biggest stage. Skiing, especially, is a sport that can exact a huge toll on the loved ones supporting Olympic dreams. Mikaela Shiffrin exploded onto the alpine skiing circuit as a teenage prodigy in 2011, making her World Cup debut at age 15, and took her first podium later that season, earning a Rookie of the Year nod. After taking the overall World Cup slalom title in 2013, she won Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia, becoming the youngest slalom champion ever. Of the young boys and girls who’ll be watching her try to repeat golden success in PyeongChang she’s cautious of giving them full-throated encouragement to try to follow in her ski tracks. “You wanna say, ‘If this is you’re dream go for it,’ because ideally just being able to have the dream, have the passion and work hard would be enough,” she told me. You can’t just go down to the local tennis court to practice, Shiffrin added, you need to get on the snow year round when you’re competing at an international level. And that means training in South America or New Zealand during our summers. “So, it’s very, very difficult and it causes a lot of stress in families and I think, to be honest, it breaks families apart to have to deal with the stress of ski racing.” >>

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Without the benefit of federal dollars, our elite athletes look to sponsorships, fundraising and, recently, help from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, which was founded in 2013. The organization serves as the primary fundraising source for the USOC. Dan Zelson, a second homeowner in Big Sky, Montana, joined the board six years ago to pair his love for the games with a commitment to philanthropy. He’s one of a handful of board members with homes in the Yellowstone Club, a private ski and golf community tucked next to Big Sky Resort. “It seemed Dan Zelson (middle) with Olympic like a pretty good bobsledders Nic Taylor and Elana fit,” Zelson said. Meyers Taylor, at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. “We’ve always been P H OTO CO UR T E SY O F DAN ZELSON involved in charitable [causes]. A lot of it, unfortunately, is some of the sadder stuff, medical causes and hunger. “You hear about families that give up everything to pay for training, or travel [by] car and sleep in the car, the stories continue that way over and over again. It’s definitely a hard life, but I think the rewards in the end are pretty special.” Zelson sees Olympic athletes as the epitome of role models for the nation’s youth, despite the spotlight only illuminating their talents every four years. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Olympics,” Zelson said. “I used to be the kid that would hang the American flag off the back of the TV and stay up late at night to watch all of the events.” He said his own kids have always admired professional football and baseball players, but he wanted to expose them to athletes that need all the right things—hard work, opportunity and a little bit of luck—to align at once to be successful in competition. 40 MOUNTAIN

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FOR ALP I NE SKI ERS, THE MONE Y’S AT THE TOP The best skiers in the world make a good living with prize money and lucrative endorsement deals, but if you’re not one of the elite racers the income is modest. Comparing the top money winners in professional golf, another sport with prize money income, illustrates that the money in skiing is mostly reserved for those who podium.

Mikaela Shiffrin was the No. 1 prize money winner on the 2016-2017 World Cup circuit at

$3,000,000

$604,523 Jacqueline Wiles was the No. 40 money winner at

$20,309

2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000

Golfer Ariya Jutanugarn took home

$2,550,947

as the No. 1 money winner on the 2016 LPGA tour. Moriya Jutanugarn was the No. 40 money winner at

$446,948

77%

of World Cup skiers made less than

$25,000

in prize money on the 2016-2017 FIS World Cup.

WHEN TO WATCH NBC Universal will broadcast and stream the 2018 Winter Olympic Games live, with the first primetime broadcast beginning February 8 and the opening ceremony on February 9. All events listed below begin at 6:15 p.m. mountain time, 10:15 a.m. local time the following day: February 11: Women’s giant slalom February 13: See Mikaela Shiffrin try to repeat her gold medal performance in the women’s slalom February 17: Watch Ted Ligety defend his men’s giant slalom gold medal February 21: Men’s slalom

Sources: https://data.fis-ski.com/alpine-skiing/prize-money-ranking.html, http://www.lpga.com/statistics/money/official-money?year=2016, http://www.thesportsexaminer.com/download/makes-track-stars-world-cup-skiers/?wpdmdl=2771

HE U.S. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE IS TRYING TO ADDRESS THE HARDSHIP THAT OLYMPIC DREAMS CAN EXACT ON ATHLETES AND THEIR FAMILIES.

While it troubles him that American athletes have to compete against a pool of well-funded talent from the other large countries in the world, he sees value in the independence our Olympic athletes have—they’re not de facto employees of the state. “It’s sort of a proud tradition that the athletes stand separate from the government, and that way they’re not influencing their true amateur [status],” Zelson said. “You could make an argument that a country like China that puts billions of dollars into their program, they’re really professional athletes competing for their country, versus a country like the United States that doesn’t do that.” Zelson says most Americans don’t realize that these competitors—with the support of the foundation—are funding their own training, travel, equipment and living expenses.

His current passion is working with the Athlete Career Education program, created to give athletes real-world skills they take with them when the spotlight of the Olympic games has dimmed. Approximately 120 companies are involved, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has a program called The Contenders that employs Olympic hopefuls while they train, and hires them as spokespeople for the stores and brand. USOC-ACE also offers career transition workshops, training and mentorship, as well as tuition grants and continuing education programs. “Ultimately, as a group we’re going to figure out a way to take care of these athletes,” Zelson said. “It’s almost like the GI bill—[if] you serve this country in the military, your college is paid for and it really should be for the Olympics. There should be a way that you have a job waiting for you, training waiting for you and education waiting for you.” >>

Mikaela Shiffrin at the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup in Semmering, Austria, in December 2016, where she won backto-back giant slaloms and a seventh consecutive slalom race. P HOTO BY E RICH S P IE S S /RE D BUL L CON T E N T P OOL

“ ... it’s very, very difficult and it causes a lot of stress in families and I think, to be honest, it breaks families apart to have to deal with the stress of ski racing.” M T O U T L AW. C O M / MOUNTAIN

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Mark Urich training on the slalom course at Winter Park, Colorado, in March 2017.

P H OTO B Y CA R OL M AC K AY

“If I qualify, I’m going ... I’ll sell everything I have to go.”

ARK URICH NEARLY QUALIFIED FOR THE SOCHI OLYMPICS DESPITE LEARNING HOW TO SKI JUST THREE YEARS BEFORE THE 2014 GAMES.

The Colorado native was born with a birth defect that left his femur deformed and without a fibula in his right leg, and at age 2 his leg was amputated to ensure a better prosthetic fit. He moved to Big Sky in the fall of 2014 after a brutal assault by gang members caused him to leave his native Denver, Colorado. He’s sponsored by the Yellowstone Club, which supports him with a modest amount of cash, and works for himself as a graphic and web designer—often at night after full days of training—to support his Olympic pursuit. Urich is still on the development team, so he pays everything out of pocket and says financial backing doesn’t come easily to him and his teammates. A fundraiser in November at a local brewery netted him nearly $1,000, but that’s a small dent in the $15,000 he expects this season’s campaign to cost. “Finding sponsorships for the Paralympics is a huge ordeal,” Urich said. “They don't televise Paralympics [and] there’s not a lot of exposure in our sport in general.” The running joke among his teammates is that people will ask what type of skis they like to race with—and the honest answer is whatever’s free, he says. He jokes that one silver lining of having one leg is that a pair of skis will give him one to race with and one to train on. He thought he had a sponsorship lined up with Rossignol and, with humor in his voice, told me they sent him a single, used slalom ski—without a binding. Urich’s love for the sport and the camaraderie he has with his teammates is palpable through the phone. He is squarely focused on getting the result that will land him a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team, and although he was on the outside looking in when we spoke in early November, he said his point total was one good race away from qualifying for Korea. “I have four races to do it, to qualify, but it could happen in one run,” Urich said. And that makes all of the training and fundraising worth it. He’s throwing many thousands of dollars at a dream that may not materialize, and if it does, will make the necessary sacrifices to get 42 MOUNTAIN

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himself halfway across the world for a chance to perform at the ultimate contest in his sport. “If I qualify, I’m going,” he said. “I’ll sell everything I have to go.” Zelson says stories like Urich’s or Andrew Kurka’s are more rule than exception for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. The determination and focus they bring to their training, fitness and nutrition can help them overcome the enormous financial odds stacked against them. “These kids are so determined that one way or another they’re going to figure it out on their own,” he said. But Zelson hopes that through the work of USOPF one day the costs won’t be a distraction from the pursuit of Olympic gold. “These athletes should only be focused on their training,” Zelson said. “If people really understood how our athletes are funded … they would step up in a big way to make that change.” Whether the day ever comes when U.S. Olympic and Parlaympic athletes have the financial support to focus solely on their training, the message from our country’s elite skiers to the next generation of world-class competitors is one of grit and determination. “All I could tell those young kids is ‘have the passion,’” Shiffrin said. “There’s a lot of days … [that] are going to be really frustrating, when you feel like you can’t get there, you can’t get to where you want to be. But those moments of success, whatever you define success as, they’re incredible and it makes it so worth it.” When the world’s attention turns to the slopes of PeongChang for a fortnight in February, you won’t just see the pinnacle of athletic preparation. In the American athletes, you’ll see the culmination of hard-fought victory already won.

YOU DREAM, WE BUILD. BIG SKY | JACKSON V isit tetonher itagebuilders.com to star t building your dream.


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ALLATIN IMBERWRIGHTS

Dedicated and experienced team of craftsmen with an emphasis on form and function gallatintimberwrights.com | 406.219.4053

ARCHITECTURE + LAND PLANNING located in Bozeman Montana 406.587.3628

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www.thinktankarchitects.com / M T O U T L AW. C O M

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Making the leap

THE WEST’S INDEPENDENT SPIRIT FEEDS THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEMS OF G R E AT E R Y E L L O W S T O N E BY AMANDA EGGERT

Small business owners will tell you that starting your own company isn’t for the faint of heart. Neither is mountain living: the climate can be harsh, the cost of living high, and seasonal tourism can make it feel like you’re suffering through a drought or drinking from a fire hose.

But there is a certain hardiness and ingenuity born of mountain living that translates well to the entrepreneurial experience, and the business owners featured in this story embody those qualities. Collectively, this group has more than 30 years of experience forging their own paths through the rapidly shifting economies of the Mountain West. Start-ups are sure to play an outsized role in that transition moving forward. In the most recent annual ranking of start-up activity in the U.S., the Kauffman Foundation listed Montana as No. 3 for “Main Street Entrepreneurship.” Wyoming ranked No. 3 for start-up activity, and Montana was on its heels at No. 4.

And those findings weren’t a fluke. Montana has been listed in the top five for start-up activity for five years running. Following the 2015 rankings, in which Montana topped the list, Jonathan Ortman with the Kauffman Foundation released a report describing Montana’s “collaborative mindset and do-it-yourself, creative spirit” as a key component of the state’s business ecosystem. So here’s to the brave souls who have chosen to launch businesses in the Greater Yellowstone region, for its mountain geography and independent spirit. Not only are they bringing unique products and services to market, they’re also expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystems within their chosen communities. >>

The biggest thing is just to really quit your day job and really commit to it.

A S E L F - D E S C R I B E D T I N K E R E R , Kelvin Wu has a decade-long passion for using his engineering know-how to build the perfect ski. After years of experimenting on his own, he moved from Seattle to Jackson, Wyoming, to start Maiden Skis, a manufacturing company that builds completely custom skis, from the core and shape to topsheet and length. “The biggest thing is just to really quit your day job and really commit to it,” said Wu, who was a research engineer at the University of Washington prior to his 2011 move to Jackson. “That was definitely daunting and scary.” While Wu’s business is small—he’s a one-man show save for occasional shop help—word-ofmouth has served him well. He now builds 60 to 70 pairs of skis per year and estimates half of his clients come from the Jackson area. The other half seek out his customized skis from farther afield. Wu has also worked with Teton Adaptive Sports to develop skis that better serve their needs. Wu’s engineering background comes into focus when he talks about replacing stock skis with custom models designed for skiers with disabilities. “The off-the-shelf skis would end up breaking pretty easily, so we came up with a design that would work better for the forces and weight that a sit-skier would put on their skis,” he said. By volunteering his time this way, Wu is able to pull from his prior professional experience—he worked in a prosthetics lab at UW—while contributing to the adaptive skiing community. Wu admits that he doesn’t delight in the minutiae of running a business—he refers to accounting, marketing and managing taxes as a “necessary evil”—but he’s grateful for the opportunity to support local nonprofits by donating skis to buoy their fundraising efforts. He also likes that he’s able to participate in the Jackson arts community by enlisting local artists’ creativity on his topsheets. And, of course, owning Maiden has been good for the size of Wu’s quiver of skis (deep) and tally of days spent on snow (many). “I’m always trying new things—new shapes, new materials, new designs. Somebody’s gotta go test them.”>>

PHOTO BY DAVI D S T U BBS

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CHARLEY GRAHAM & LAUREN REICH

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Pick the right market C H A R L E Y G R A H A M A N D L A U R E N R E I C H scrutinized Bozeman carefully when they first encountered it in 2011. Did it have a vibrant, walkable main street? Were the recreational opportunities abundant, and nearby? How far to the closest organic farm? Liking what they saw, the couple decided to relocate from Moab, Utah, and put down roots here. Graham spent several years as the head chef of downtown Bozeman’s highly acclaimed Blackbird Kitchen, and Reich opened a mini-farm south of Bozeman to grow organic produce for local restaurants. But Reich said they’d long harbored a dream of opening their own restaurant focusing on seasonal local ingredients, a “lowkey, classy place where people could come on a regular basis to eat good food.” In September, they made good on their dream when they presented their exceptionally local fare to eager patrons of Little Star Diner. Reich grows much of Little Star’s produce south of Bozeman at Star Pudding Farm; they also source veggies and meat from other area farms. Both of their fathers are entrepreneurs and that familiarity proved beneficial. “I think it feels a lot more attainable if you

To foster the ideas that we think are important for this place, we had to start at the beginning, where the decisions are being made.

BRIAN CALDWELL

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D E S I G N

G R O U P

Shape the process from start to finish who can bring a huge project to the finish line while also laboring over reams of detail, but architect Brian Caldwell of Bozeman does both. Caldwell and his business partner Erik Nelson started Thinktank Design Group in 1999 to “promote contemporary architecture and modernist ideas about design and sense of place,” he said. It hasn’t been an easy process for Thinktank, the firm behind downtown Bozeman’s Lark Hotel. Caldwell, who describes himself as an “all in” kind of guy, said he and Nelson learned to get involved in the building process long before a project is fully conceptualized, from the planning and zoning stages to studying up on real estate development. “To foster the ideas that we think are important for this place, we had to start at the beginning, where the decisions are being made,” Caldwell said. For the Lark Hotel—which has been so successful since its April 2015 opening that a 29-room expansion is currently underway—Thinktank identified and secured the property, developed a business model, and went through the entitlement process in addition to the architectural design. Part of the design process for the distinctly modern hotel, Caldwell said, included “caring deeply about the soap dispensers.” Although Jackson, Aspen and Vail boast a growing contemporary architecture influence, “for the most part, it’s the exception not the rule,” in mountain towns of the West, he said.

IT’S RARE TO FIND A BUSINESSPERSON

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Caldwell believes in rooting his designs in the present and highlighting a place’s unique qualities. “For me, if I can tell you about why you’re there and speak to an authentic experience, that’s the most important thing.” Although Thinktank also designs homes, Caldwell’s heart is in designing spaces that, like the Lark, get a lot of foot traffic. Other projects include a renovation of the historic Rialto Theater, which is slated to be unveiled in January 2018; and innovative spaces in Bozeman’s northeast neighborhood for creatives of all stripes. “It’s exciting because I get to share design ideas with someone new every day,” he said.

P H OTO B Y RYA N W E AVE R

grow up with that,” said Graham, whose father is an awardwinning furniture maker. Graham and Reich also relied upon a lot of determination and a little luck. Their persistence through early setbacks demonstrated their commitment to others, particularly as they sought a location. When the space formerly occupied by Frank’s Deli in downtown Bozeman became available, they jumped at the opportunity. “I remember thinking we’d be crazy to turn this down,” Graham said. The property owners had a similar vision for the space, and Graham and Reich were able to participate in the design and remodel process. Little Star Diner has beautiful wood floors, a counter facing an open kitchen, ample windows and elegant, modern furniture that Graham’s father crafted out of white oak and black walnut. Graham said he’s eager to see how Little Star’s menu changes in the next 10 years and how their relationships with farmers develop. “That’s been one of the fun parts—being able to make connections with people that are doing cool things and helping them with their projects,” Reich said. >>

I remember thinking we’d be crazy to turn this down.

PHOTO BY JE N N I N G S BARM O RE

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NOW: MOUNTAIN TOWN MOGULS

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spread out between Idaho, Minnesota, Montana and Colorado. E-commerce facilitated this growth by providing access to a broad customer base. “You can live in rural Idaho and start a business and you’re not necessarily dependent on the local economy to make it happen,” Hatch said. That said, Hatch has found tremendous local support. A number of business-savvy residents with impressive resumes have shared their knowledge and time. “In a mountain town, people are really rooting for you and looking out for you,” she said, adding that it would be easy to get lost in the crowd if she was in San Francisco or Houston. It took time for Hatch to find the intersection of her interests and a target market. “In the meanwhile it was all about trying lots of different things,” she said. In March 2017, Garage Grown Gear merged with Big Outdoors, another e-commerce start-up, and Hatch shifted roles to the chief marketing officer. “It’s become an entity outside of myself, which is really cool,” Hatch said. “There’s a team of four other people making it tick smoothly.” Hatch has worn a lot of hats to get to this point. “Like every start-up ever, it’s been a long and twisty road with lots of ups and downs and learning the hard way,” she said. The autonomy and solitude might not be for everyone, but it suits her well. “For me, it’s a beautiful balance. … I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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SLEEP IN THE CLOUDS VISIT BIG SKY SHOWCASES MONTANA’S FINEST RESORT DESTINATION AND ITS DISTINCTIVE ACCOMODATIONS

FOR TH E UNF ORG E T TA BL E E X P E RI E N CE

Locals and visitors alike will carry with them the indelible memory of first turning onto Lone Mountain Trail in Big Sky, Montana, and seeing breathtaking Lone Peak dominating the horizon. THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING The resort that sprawls from the peak’s 11,166-foot summit to its flanks is grand indeed. The “Biggest Skiing in America” showcases 5,800 acres of skiable terrain, 4,350 feet of vertical drop, and is home to Big Sky Resort, one of the largest ski areas in the continental United States.The resort is frequently recognized for its consistent ski conditions—Big Sky heralds more than 400 inches of snowfall annually. The high elevation keeps that impressive total cold and dependable. Quick access to the skiing and nonexistent lift lines are the rule here, not the exception. Yet the alpine skiing is just the beginning of recreation opportunities in Big Sky. Lone Mountain Ranch boasts more than 85 kilometers of Nordic trails, with state-of-the-art grooming equipment for those who enjoy perfect corduroy in the morning. Lovingly restored in 2016, and named one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, its historic log cabins offer the epitome of rustic comfort. Nestled amid towering pines and alongside a rushing creek, guests can enjoy the privacy while steps away from top-shelf amenities. Dogsledding is another thrilling way to enjoy the forests and meadows of the Greater Yellowstone, and is offered by a number of outfitters in both Big Sky’s Moonlight Basin and nearby West Yellowstone, Montana. 52 MOUNTAIN

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Big Sky Town Center, the growing downtown of the community, hosts a boarded ice skating rink when the mercury drops—lighting allows for skating, hockey, curling and broomball after the sun goes down. In the canyon you’ll find blue ribbon trout streams, including the iconic Gallatin River, that beckon hardy fly-fishing enthusiasts when the winter cold relents, especially before runoff swells the local waters in early spring. A mere hour drive to Bozeman, and Montana’s busiest airport, Big Sky is also an hour from the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, where snowmobile and snow coach tours leave daily into the winter wonderland of hydrothermal features and expansive views. THE DINNER BELL IS RINGING A sleigh ride dinner is one of the many distinctive experiences you can enjoy in Big Sky, whether you’d like a romantic getaway, or just step back in time with the family for a couple of hours. A sleigh ride with Lone Mountain Ranch or 320 Guest Ranch offers a magical experience for your family to create memories while huddling under a blanket, as the horse team pulls you through pine trees sagging with fresh snow to a beautifully prepared meal. And if you’re looking for an even more unexpected dining experience, Montana Backcountry Adventures takes reservations at its Montana Dinner Yurt throughout the winter. Patrons meet at the base of Big Sky Resort and take a snow cat—a ride on the outdoor roof is highly recommended—to a large yurt with live music, seated dinner and a torch-lit sledding hill.

THE DREAMS ARE FORMING No matter how you spend your Big Sky vacation outdoors, there are myriad accommodation offerings tailored to your particular needs. There are many hotels at Big Sky Resort, in Town Center and the canyon, as well as rental homes that can cater to your whole extended family in opulence. The world-class, luxury accomodations are offered throughout this picturesque resort hamlet by Big Sky Vacation Rentals, Moonlight Basin, Spanish Peaks and Vacation Big Sky by Natural Retreats, among other purveyors of one-of-a-kind desination experiences. THE NIGHT IS STARTING Enjoy all that Big Sky’s nightlife has to offer while you’re here—like roasting marshmallows in Fire Pit Park, visiting one of the many fine watering holes and saloons for après ski, or settling in for an elegant dining experience atop Big Sky’s Andesite Mountain at Everett’s 8800, a finer dinner view cannot be found in the Rockies. If you plan your trip accordingly, you can also enjoy the events where Big Sky truly comes to life and locals show you why they stay for more than skiing. The annual Big Sky Big Grass, held in February at Big Sky Resort is one of the premier indoor bluegrass festivals in the West. In addition, the 320 Guest Ranch hosts a skijoring competition, also typically in February, where brave skiers navigate an obstacle course and ski jumps while towed by a horse and rider. Just be sure wherever you choose to stay in Big Sky, a hot tub isn’t far away. After skiing the slopes of Big Sky Resort, gliding on the Nordic trails, or skating in Town Center, take time to enjoy the expansive Montana sky under a blanket of stars or a captivating snowfall.

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NOW: REPORTS

SECTION: SUBHEAD

Science Stakes a Claim A repurposed mine in South Dakota could unlock secrets of the universe BY CLAIRE CELLA

IT’S NOT OFTEN THAT YOU STRIKE GOLD TWICE,

but that’s essentially what happened in Lead, South Dakota. From the late 1870s to 2002, Lead was home to Homestake Mining Company, founded after the 1876 discovery of the Homestake deposit during the Black Hills Gold Rush. During its 126-year operation, Homestake carved out the largest and deepest gold mine in North America, produced more than 2.5 million pounds of gold and employed nearly 2,000 workers. At the mine’s height in the 1910s, Lead was the second largest city in the state, with a population of over 8,000. When the ore vein dried up and the price of gold fell in 2002, Homestake shut down and many miners, their families and townspeople boarded up shops, vacated homes and moved on, thinking there was nothing left. Now, Lead is home to

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Above: Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor approximately 3,000 Center, located in Lead, South Dakota residents. P H OTO B Y R I C H A R D B A R NE S But the mine was far Below: The purpose of DUNE is to from empty. It turns out see if and how neutrinos—the most elementary of particles—change as they that the mine’s caverns, travel long distances. 4,850 feet below Earth’s I M AGE COU R TES Y OF F ER MI L AB surface, are rich with something else: quiet. It’s the type of quiet that physicists need in order to study neutrinos, explains Chris Mossey, an electrical engineer by training and Fermilab’s deputy director for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility. Fermilab, located in Batavia, Illinois, is the country’s premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory and will act as host

to LBNF, an internationally designed, coordinated and funded program. LBNF will be built in the existing Sanford Underground Research Laboratory in the repurposed Homestake mine. The quiet Mossey references is like gold in the study of neutrinos, which although abundant—about 65 billion pass through just one square centimeter of Earth’s matter, every second—are incredibly hard to detect. These elementary particles have no electric charge, travel at nearly the speed of light and weigh at least a million times less than an electron, explains Mossey. “[These underground labs] provide unique facilities that are able to shield experiments from cosmic rays and other interferences. It becomes very ‘quiet,’ as they say.” The Sanford lab has been running physics experiments since 2012, but nothing close to the scale and impact of its most recent undertaking: the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. DUNE is being heralded as one of the largest science experiments ever built on U.S. soil and one that offers the potential to unlock answers to some of the most fundamental questions about neutrinos and the nature of the universe, according to Fermilab’s website. The experiment will utilize Fermilab-built particle accelerators to send a beam of neutrinos first through a neutrino detector at Fermilab—the “near site” for DUNE—then through the ground over 800 miles to a far neutrino detector in the LBNF. The purpose of DUNE is to see if and how neutrinos change as they travel long distances, which is key to understanding their role in the universe—and potentially, ours. Construction began July 21, where 875,000 tons of rock is being excavated in order to house the facility. This massive project is estimated to involve roughly 1,000 scientists from 30 countries. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science plans to contribute $1.5 billion, which will fund 75 percent of the cost of LBNF and 25 percent of DUNE. As of September 2017, the United Kingdom pledged roughly $88 million to help build key components for DUNE. Above ground, Fermilab expects the project to generate $860 million from new business activity and $330 million in earnings for local residents in western South Dakota—an estimated 1,800 jobs will be created statewide. “During peak construction from 2022 to 2023, we’re expecting 200 people to be needed to support LBNF/ DUNE,” said Mike Headley, head of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority in Lead. The actual experiment will not begin until 2026, but for Mossey and others, the project’s potential to answer fundamental questions of science helps fortify their patience.

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NOW: REPORTS SECTION: SUBHEAD

ASTOUNDING FINISHES

In an Instant Polaroid makes a comeback as the original shoot-and-share social network BY ERIC LADD WE HAVE BECOME A SOCIETY FIXATED ON INSTANT GRATIFICATION. From instant coffee and one-click Amazon Prime

purchases, to communication across the globe in a moment, the promise of a fast fix pervades society. Buried in our computers are thousands of photographs laying dormant, no longer part of family photo albums, framed collages on the walls or behind refrigerator magnets. Imagine, in the corner of a hometown photography shop, a young girl asks her dad, “What’s this?” pointing at a museumworthy camera called Polaroid. The father picks up the device and becomes a magician. He shows her how an image pops out of the camera on a piece of photo paper and waves it around to help it develop. You’d think he just bought his daughter the newest iPhone with her astonished reaction and the novelty of this 80-year-old technology. The iPhone and Instagram get credit for being the first shoot-andshare social network, but even Steve Jobs would have protested. The Polaroid camera introduced a social component to taking pictures in the late 1940s, and had a cult-like following similar to many of the social platforms today. Polaroid celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2017, and its name is now on devices that are hip to the times while remaining faithful to the brand’s analog roots. Polaroid is a medium that defies the digital age and remains a favorite among artists for its quirky look and instantly gratifying, one-of-a-kind images.

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The invention of easy to use instant cameras is credited to scientist Edwin Land, who unveiled the first commercially viable instant camera in 1948. Polaroid has a colored history, from massive success as a multibillion-dollar empire to eventual bankruptcy in 2001, and recent rebirth. Land conceived the idea of a camera that produced an instant print while on a family vacation. After taking a picture of his young daughter, she wanted to see the picture right away. But the film would have to be sent to a lab for processing, with prints eventually arriving by mail. So, Dad went to work and created the instant camera success. Now a new version of Polaroid is thriving and stirring up buzz with the re-launch of this brand quickly gaining traction with people who love the nostalgia, or young hipsters making a statement. There is something gratifying and refreshing about the not-so-perfect nature of a Polaroid photograph, as it genuinely captures a moment in time. The awkward nuances of a Polaroid make it timeless in nature, and worthy of the old family photo album. As you look for an escape from our plugged in, multi megabyte, wireless-driven society, Polaroid cameras help slow down time for a moment. So save some storage on your camera, grab a Polaroid and go shoot, shake and share.

MILLWORK & DOORS

A Rock Star’s Polaroid Journal Mike McCready, one of the finest guitar players of our era, has created a visual catalog documenting his life as a famous musician and devoted father and husband. McCready has toured the globe with Pearl Jam, which he co-founded three decades ago, performing in front of millions of fans. A rock star on stage, McCready has humble, artistic roots that are exemplified in his 2017 book Of Potato Heads and

Polaroids: My Life Inside and Out of Pearl Jam.

WINDOWS & CABINETS

The 240-page collage of memories documents his personal life and career, capturing vulnerable moments spanning from the beginnings of his band and family, to backstage jam sessions and gatherings with legendary contemporaries. His Polaroids capture the essence of his camaraderie

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with band mates, the power of stadiums filled with crazed fans, tributes to his friends who helped him along the way, the best musical days of his life, and personal family moments. McCready’s artistic, eccentric mind yields a creative mix of photographs with renowned

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musicians and actors, to Stonehenge landscape portraits. He inserts a real-life Mr. Potato Head into many of the photos helping to capture McCready’s humorous, devious spirit. A closing series of crowd photos pays homage to his adoring fans, reverberating like a powerfully delivered encore. Journals are an important method of preserving history and McCready’s approach to publishing these photos is not only an intimate glimpse into a genius musician’s life but also a well-cataloged piece of history.

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NOW: REPORTS

The Power of Evel A brash Butte legend gets a tribute worthy of his legacy BY JOSEPH T. O’CONNOR

WHEN A YOUNG ROBERT KNIEVEL WAS ARRESTED

for swiping hubcaps in his hometown of Butte, Montana, police tossed him in a cell beside notorious criminal William Knofel, nickname: “Awful” Knofel. Knievel changed his name to “Evel,” took to motorcycle stunts and kick-started a phenomenon that took the nation by storm. That’s one story, anyway. There are others. But no matter how you turn the wheel, no one had ever seen anything like Evel Knievel. Considered the Godfather of Extreme Sports, Knievel was part risk-taker, part master showman, and a deft entrepreneur. He hand-built his illustrious career and a splashy red, white and blue brand on the backs of powerful motorcycles and deathdefying acts. In the 1970s, Knievel became a legend and then a hero for a Vietnam War-torn America. He was pals with boxer Joe Frazier; Muhammad Ali, also a bombastic self-promoter, declared Knievel “the white version” of himself. “Kids wanted to be like me, men wanted to be me and women wanted to be with me,” Knievel once said. “He borrowed pieces from the most flamboyant people in show business,” said Matt Vincent, the former mayor of Butte who happens to be married to Knievel’s youngest daughter, Alicia. “If you look at the way Evel dressed, you could see pieces of Liberace and Elvis Presley in his getup. At first glance you’re like, ‘This guy comes from a hardscrabble mining town like Butte?’” Over a 15-year career, Evel Knievel amassed 172 motorcycle jumps over everything from greyhound buses to sharks and poisonous snakes, and crashed 19 spectacular times. The short list includes the infamous 151-foot disaster over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and a failed attempt to jump over a quarter-mile-wide section of Idaho’s Snake River Canyon in a steam-powered rocket called Skycycle X-2. Knievel holds the Guinness World Record for suffering the most broken bones in a lifetime: 433. Some don’t buy that number but in the world of legends, legendary tales pervade. Now, thanks to a new museum in America’s heartland, Evel fans can count the broken bones themselves. >> An Evel night wheelie at the Great Lakes Dragaway, Union Grove, Wisconsin, June 1973. P H OTO CO UR T E SY O F E V EL KNI EVEL MUSEUM

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NOW: REPORTS

SECTION: SUBHEAD

Above: The Evel Knievel Museum opened to great fanfare on June 30, 2017. PHOTO BY AMANDA BEACH

Below: Donning virtual reality goggles, visitors can "take flight" on a version of Knievel's famed 1972 HarleyDavidson XR-750. PHOTO COURTESY OF JONES HUYETT PA R TNER S

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THE EVEL KNIEVEL MUSEUM launched onto the Topeka, Kansas, landscape last summer and, among its hundreds of relics, displays more than 40 X-rays of the bones broken by the greatest daredevil in American history. Since its grand opening June 30, museum co-owner Mike Patterson says he’s astounded by the sheer volume of travelers hopping off nearby Interstate 70 to glimpse the Evel display. “In the first four months, we had [people from] all 50 states,” said Patterson, who is also the thirdgeneration owner of the Harley-Davidson shop that was expanded to include the museum. “Almost 60 percent of our visitors are from out of state. And it’s not just people passing through, it's people making it their destination.” The concept for a Knievel museum took root in 2013 when Lathan McKay, a former pro skateboarder turned Evel historian asked Patterson to help him renovate Big Red, the 1974 Mack truck and trailer Knievel used to tow equipment between venues. McKay, who began collecting Evel artifacts en masse in 2012 when he met Knievel expert Scott Wiley, acquired the truck after two years of haggling with the former owner. Patterson and his team had recently restored Jerry Lee Lewis’s vintage Harley-Davidson, and bore a reputation beyond polished results. With initial funding from McKay’s business partner Marilyn Stemp, the crew spent the next two years restoring the truck to its original, immaculate form, but a greater objective soon became clear. “We both kind of knew that the goal was always to have a permanent museum somewhere,” McKay said. The 13,000-square-foot homage to all things Evel now contains the world’s most extensive collection of Knievel memorabilia, including original motorcycles, leathers, road-rashed helmets, and a virtual reality stunt jump. It even holds one of the two famed Skycycle X-2s, thanks to a third partner, Jim Caplinger, who bought the rocket in Canada and helped the project through the finish line. While Knievel’s bone-breaking motorcycle jumps draw visitors through the museum’s doors, the partners see more to the exhibit. “I hope people from Montana feel like it’s well represented,” Patterson said. “It’s a tribute to the people from Butte and Montana.”

KNIEVEL WAS RAISED ON THE ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE STREETS OF BUTTE AND LIVED BY MAXIMS AKIN TO THE CODE OF THE WEST: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF; LIVE BY YOUR WORD; GET BACK ON THE HORSE.

NOVEMBER 30, 2017 , was the 10-year anniversary

of Evel Knievel’s death of natural causes at 69. In July 2007, four months before his passing, he appeared on stage with his son, Robbie, during Butte’s Evel Knievel Days, a three-day annual festival that draws daredevils, motorcycle hounds and revelers by the tens of thousands. In a final interview in 2007, a visibly ill Knievel broadcast the event as “the greatest, wildest motorcycle celebration in the world.” In true fashion, he radiated showmanship to his last breath. But behind the bravado and beyond the starspangled jumpsuit was a man who believed he could do anything. And even when he failed, he climbed back on his bike and tried again. Knievel was raised on the rough-and-tumble streets of Butte and lived by maxims akin to the Code of the West: Believe in yourself; live by your word; get back on the horse. “It’s just crazy how the guy bounced back,” Patterson said. “It’s why he was such an inspiration to so many people. He never backed down, and if he said he was going to do something, he did it. That spirit was needed at that time.” In the early ‘70s, America was in the throes of the Vietnam War, and the Watergate scandal was in full swing. In fact, Knievel’s daring attempt at jumping the Snake River Canyon on September 8, 1974, lost Page One headlines to President Ford pardoning Richard Nixon. The world needed a hero, and a brash Montanan draped in the colors of Old Glory filled that niche. In these uncertain times, McKay says the nation once more seeks a champion like Evel Knievel. “I think America needs it again,” he said. “They need the message that you can achieve anything in life. They need the red, white and blue, the motivation. And we need a hero.”

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ECONOMY / P. 76 SECTION: SUBHEAD

A lone grizzly cub walks across the sage flats in Grand Teton National Park.

G R E AT E R Y E L L OW S TO N E

P H OTO BY T H O M AS D. M ANGEL SEN

TO KILL A

GRIZZLY

Government agencies say Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears are biologically recovered, but should they now become trophies in proposed sport hunts? Even the sporting community is divided. BY TODD WILKINSON

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GREATER YELLOWSTONE: TO KILL A GRIZZLY

For two generations, it’s been illegal to trophy hunt grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1975 seized control over grizzly management from Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, invoking its authority under the Endangered Species Act.

Joe Gutkoski in his Bozeman home in November 2017. P HOTO BY J E N N IN GS BA RMORE

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ack then, the entire Greater Yellowstone grizzly grizzlies than ever before. … We know they are not the population was estimated to number no more bloodthirsty creatures they were portrayed to be by than 136, if not fewer. Most of those bruins our ancestors. But I still wonder, are we wise enough were clustered in Yellowstone National Park. Many to co-exist with them?” biologists feared that without emergency measures In summer 2017, with grizzly numbers having implemented to prevent conflict and stop humans rebounded in recent decades to somewhere around from killing them—including the government meting 700 in Greater Yellowstone, the Fish and Wildlife out harsh penalties to poachers— Service came full circle, relinquishing they would disappear from the its control and giving management region just as wolves had. back to the states. Servheen says “I never thought we would have the Endangered Species Act proved “Our culture, ever the numbers and distribution of it worked in moving the grizzly since Lewis and Clark bears we have today,” Christopher population out of the biological Servheen, the Fish and Wildlife emergency room and into recovery. came through in the Service’s former grizzly bear Still, there remain several early 1800s, has recovery coordinator, told me. “I significant concerns clouding had such a distorted thought we would be lucky to have the outlook for grizzly survival, view of grizzlies. any grizzly bears in the Yellowstone including the deepening impacts ecosystem.” of climate change; bears dying We treated them That’s how bleak it was and many in alleged incidents of human as expendable—as say the turnaround orchestrated by self-defense, often involving big things we needed to Servheen and others ranks among game hunters; and rising human the grandest achievements in population pressure affecting the eradicate.” wildlife management history. spaces bears need to persist. Yet even now, less than 2,000 But paramount, and indeed grizzlies roam the Lower 48, down the major point of contention for from 50,000 that used to inhabit hundreds of thousands of Americans the West historically. Sizable, viable numbers— who oppose giving states management authority, enough to ensure grizzlies persist for the foreseeable relates to hunting. future—exist in just two regions south of Canada: the Should the most iconic population of wild bears Greater Yellowstone and the Crown of the Continent on Earth again be targeted as animals killed for Ecosystem that includes Glacier National Park and sport, trophies and thrill alone? All three states have federal wilderness in northern Montana. expressed their desire to begin selling bear tags in the “Our culture, ever since Lewis and Clark came coming months or years. through in the early 1800s, has had such a distorted Matt Hogan, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s deputy view of grizzlies. We treated them as expendable—as regional director in Denver, told me it is not his agency’s things we needed to eradicate,” said Joe Gutkoski, a prerogative to instruct the states on what to do going former landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service, forward. He added that if the grizzly population falls who was 48 years old when grizzlies were delisted. below minimal numbers that the states agree to, the “I think we’re smarter in that we know more about bear can be relisted and control again wrested away.

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utkoski is a living legend to those who savor Montana’s wild backcountry. A solitary wanderer, his hardiness has earned him comparisons to a wolverine. Today, after seven decades of exploration, Gutkoski’s name appears in the summit registers of peaks scattered throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and points well beyond. He served in the Navy during World War II and following school at Penn State University, was hired as the first landscape architect in the history of the U.S. Forest Service’s flagship Northern Region in Missoula. In 1964, Gutkoski transferred to Bozeman and completed his 32year tenure of civil service fighting

misguided timber sales and attempts to cover mountainsides with mazes of logging roads. He’s also been a river protector, a wilderness crusader and a catalyst in pushing to re-establish free-ranging bison herds on the high plains. But of all his passions, none comes close to matching his zealous enthusiasm for stalking big game animals in the fall. Since the late 1940s, Gutkoski has cut the tracks of every major mammal in the Northern Rockies, including mountain lions, wolves, imperiled Canada lynx and wolverine. He’s taken black bears with his rifle, cooking them as roasts for supper. He has never eaten grizzly; the mere thought causes him to recoil.

Indeed, for most hunters, grizzlies have never been thought of as animals killed for sustenance; bringing down a Great Bear has always been treated instead as the ultimate wildlife trophy. Gutkoski, now 90, is among the few living Montanans who, when they purchased elk tags as young men, were also told they could take a grizzly, no questions asked. Reflecting on a couple of attempts to shoot an elusive massive boar in the South Fork of the Flathead River drainage, Gutkoski offers this solemn confession: “I’m glad I failed.” Had he succeeded, “driven by my personal ego in downing a grizzly for nothing more than the thrill of the chase,” Gutkoski says, he’d feel ashamed today. >>

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GREATER YELLOWSTONE: TO KILL A GRIZZLY

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ew issues in modern wildlife conservation have stirred raw emotion and vehement disagreement over what the ethical and legal objectives should be in rescuing a high-profile animal from the brink of regional annihilation. Nowhere in the Endangered Species Act does it state that animals brought back from near oblivion in a given location will or will not be hunted once restored. For example, Americans do not legally hunt bald eagles for sport, nor are peregrine falcons classified as game birds available andy Newberg of Bozeman is an for wing shooting, even though they could make intriguing trophies international celebrity in hunting circles. mounted on a wall. He is host of the Sportsman Channel’s Passions are even higher because today no species is more Fresh Tracks With Randy Newberg and also synonymous with Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks than oversees one of the most popular web podcasts Ursus arctos horribilis. devoted to public-lands hunting in America. Wildlife watching is one of the ecosystem’s key Years ago, Newberg killed a attractions, appealing to people from around the world. grizzly in Alaska, part of a dream Between Yellowstone and Grand Teton alone, more than hunt he took with his 82-year$1 billion is generated annually through nature tourism, “We have some very old grandfather. “It was the thrill according to Bozeman-based Headwaters Economics. of a lifetime,” he says. Having large bears here, Seeing a grizzly ranks even higher on visitor wish lists, done it once, he told me he has no according to one survey, than witnessing an eruption of which would make compelling need to repeat it again. Old Faithful Geyser. for commendable Almost two decades ago, In Jackson, Wyoming, a 22-year-old bruin given the he served on a blue-ribbon trophies. It would identity Grizzly 399 by researchers, is said to be the most panel of citizens in the Greater be nice to be able famous mother bear in the world. She spends most of her Yellowstone that examined time within the environs of Grand Teton National Park but to whack one that’s whether the scientific goals used could be in peril if Wyoming commences grizzly hunting causing problems.” to gauge bear recovery had been in the adjacent national forest where she dens. met. He concluded that they had. Global outrage erupted over the trophy killing of Newberg supported the Cecil the African lion in 2015, downed by an American measure to remove grizzlies bow hunter after the big cat was lured out of Zimbabwe’s from federal protection in 2017, just as he Hwange National Park. The possibility of something similar happening to had in 2007 when the Greater Yellowstone beloved Yellowstone and Grand Teton grizzlies is, for many, unthinkable. population was temporarily delisted from The bulk of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem exists in Wyoming safeguarding under the Endangered Species and that state has aggressively noted that if and when hunting commences Act. But lawsuits from environmental groups again, it will exploit its authority to generate revenue off bear licenses. The stalled delisting for a decade. state plans to charge out-of-state hunters $6,000 for a grizzly tag and $600 Newberg is torn when pondering where for Wyoming residents. hunts should occur—on the far outlying edges Scott Weber, a member of an organization called Wyoming Sportsmen of the ecosystem or closer to the national parks for Fish and Wildlife, put up a billboard in his town in 2016 at the height where there are higher concentrations of bears of summer tourist season showing a camouflage-clad hunter posed next to and people and thus likely more conflict. The a dead grizzly. He told the local Cody Enterprise newspaper, “The greatest states have said they first intend to target trophy in the Lower 48 is a male grizzly. Now you won’t have to go to “problem bears”—for example, those that Alaska to get a grizzly.” get into conflict with livestock, chronically During an interview with the Jackson Hole News & Guide, another wander into communities or get into trash. Wyoming outfitter named Paul Gilroy, a Safari Club member who lives Any hunts, if they target grizzlies that near Wilson, Wyoming, said he sees a commercial opportunity for his would otherwise be destroyed, relocated or business. “It would be a very popular hunt and easily advertised and sent to zoos, need to be carefully orchestrated easily booked. We have some very large bears here, which would make for and involve only highly skilled and qualified commendable trophies,” Gilroy said. “It would be nice to be able to whack hunters, guides and close involvement with one that’s causing problems.”

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“If we want to make sure hunting is embraced for future generations and not have society turn against it, then we need to respect the millions of people who value grizzlies and not talk about the animals with an attitude of defiance or hostility like ‘Let’s just go shoot the bastards.’”

Bozeman’s Randy Newberg on a bison hunt in Jackson, Wyoming. He hosts a show on the Sportsman’s Channel and oversees a popular web podcast devoted to public-lands hunting. PHOTO BY S T E VE N D RAK E

wardens and biologists on the ground, Newberg says. Newberg worries about bear hunting being captured on camera and posted on social media. It would create a firestorm. He witnessed the black eye Montana incurred when Yellowstone bison were gunned down in the snow right along the park border. Should a popular bear get accidentally killed, should a bruin get wounded and die with agony, should a female grizzly be slain because a hunter mistook her for a male, it would be a public relations nightmare that would have internationally negative consequences for the image of hunting, he says. “As someone concerned about hunting and its positive role in society, I am deeply concerned that hunting of grizzlies in Greater Yellowstone could make the backlash caused by Cecil the lion look like a 1.0 on the Richter scale,” he said. “The moment somebody shoots a bear like Grizzly 399, by accident, out of spite or stupidity, this will turn into a disaster for the hunting community of an order of magnitude like the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.” He offers an advisement to fellow hunters. “If we want to make sure hunting is embraced for future generations and not have society turn against it, then we need to respect the millions of people who value grizzlies and not talk about the animals with an attitude of defiance or hostility like ‘Let’s just go shoot the bastards.’” Some claim that if grizzlies aren’t allowed to be hunted, there will be more poaching. A counterargument is that poachers who break the law need to receive harsh sentences. There is fear among conservationists that the states will be lenient if more bears start dying due to claims of hunter self-defense. >>

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SECTION: SUBHEAD

GREATER YELLOWSTONE: TO KILL A GRIZZLY

Grizzly 399 and her three cubs walk down a dirt road in Grand Teton National Park.

can, over time, mean the difference between a rising or falling population. States say they won’t target female bears in sport hunts. Kerasote has traveled around the world and he has heard predictions that by the middle of this century, many large carnivores, including tigers in India and lions in Africa, could be rendered extinct in the wild. Given the trendlines of the global human population rising from 7 billion to 10 billion by mid century, the prospects are not good for species that need big spaces and human tolerance. Grizzlies are America’s version of the tiger and lion, and showing the rest of the world how species can be ushered forward through this century with compassion and stewardship gives hope that it can be done in other areas, Kerasote says.

P H OTO BY T H O M AS D. M A NGEL SEN

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rom his home in Kelly, Wyoming, Ted Kerasote has clear views looking west toward the breathtaking Teton Range. Behind him is the BridgerTeton National Forest, an area where he has hunted for decades. Grizzlies and wolves amble through his backyard and he routinely finds fresh tracks. When he moved permanently to Jackson Hole in 1986, grizzlies were incredibly rare and wolves were absent from Greater Yellowstone. Kerasote is, in his own way, legendary. For many years, he wrote a couple of widely read columns for Sports Afield magazine and he is author of the acclaimed book, Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt. Like Gutkoski and Newberg,

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he is a passionate defender of hunting when it is done to put meat on the table. “People try to tell me that if I’m not in favor of killing grizzlies, then I’m anti-hunting. I’ve been called that even though I’ve shot more elk than those people who are making the claim,” he said. “There’s an atmosphere of tremendous polarization in this country. It’s based on the belief that unless you are wholeheartedly with us, you are against us. Those who say we need to kill grizzlies for fun are on the wrong side of history. And they’re not doing the cause of hunting any favors.” The states can’t argue that hunting is an essential management tool because it isn’t, Kerasote says.

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Grizzlies have been stewarded successfully in Greater Yellowstone without hunting for four decades. Further, they can’t claim that revenues generated through the sale of bear licenses will fix funding woes. Wyoming is in a severe budget crisis because of falling revenues from declining coal markets. “Wyoming or Montana or Idaho are not going to maneuver their way through larger fiscal crises on the backs of dead bears,” he notes. “You can’t kill that many bears through hunting, on top of the number already dying through a variety of causes, and not have a negative impact on the bear population.” The deaths of a relatively small number of breeding female grizzlies

“The moment somebody shoots a bear like Grizzly 399, by accident, out of spite or stupidity, this will turn into a disaster for the hunting community of an order of magnitude like the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.”

ldo Leopold, in his age-old classic, A Sand County Almanac, writes about how the spirit of wildness left a mountain called Escudilla in the American Southwest after the last grizzly was slain by a trapper enlisted to protect livestock interests. In gazing at that place, pondering the mere existence value of grizzlies, he observed: “There was, in fact, only one place from which you did not see Escudilla on the skyline: that was the top of Escudilla itself. … No one ever saw the old bear, but in the muddy springs about the base of the cliffs you saw his incredible tracks. Seeing them made even the most hard-bitten cowboys aware of bear. … We spoke harshly of the Spaniards who, in their zeal for gold and converts, had needlessly extinguished the native Indians. It did not occur to us that we, too, were the captains of an invasion too sure of its own righteousness. Escudilla still hangs on the horizon, but when you see it you no longer think of bear. It’s only a mountain now.” Joe Gutkoski says that Greater Yellowstone is like a modern manifestation of Escudilla. “You don’t need to possess an individual grizzly in order to know and appreciate its power,” he says. “You don’t

“I honestly don’t understand why Wyoming keeps insisting that grizzlies need to be hunted. In practical terms, there’s just no good reason other than appeasing a few people who just want the thrill of saying they killed a Greater Yellowstone bear,” he adds. “To pander to that kind of mentality just makes the state look puerile. Is that the image that Wyoming really wants to project to the rest of the world?” The values of the West have shifted markedly since 1975 when grizzlies were given federal protection. “There are many people who moved here who think that having bears is pretty cool. There is a large wild bear constituency that did not exist generations ago,” Kerasote said.

need to claim its life for your own one-time personal benefit. I’ve run into grizzlies on hunts in the Gallatins and I’ve had profound moments of satisfaction seeing them and knowing they are there and may be there next time. They make me feel more alert and when you are more alert you feel more alive.” To him, no creature distills the essence of wildness more than a griz. “In this day and age, we are trying to hold onto that raw edge of nature as it slips away from us. Why would you want to kill an animal that is the emblem of the very thing we are trying to save?” He believes the relationship between people and apex predators has come around full circle and it’s time to chart a different course going forward. Newberg, who has an audience of millions, doesn’t disagree with Gutkoski’s assessment. “The grizzly is unique. States should take a lot of pride in the fact they’ve played a role in recovery,” Newberg said. “But grizzlies need to be treated like the special species they are, whether we manage them for hunting or not hunting. If we mess this up, then shame on us. The public will never forgive us if we do.”

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Savor the Secret | 5th Night Free M U KU LRESORT.C OM


GREATER YELLOWSTONE

AN ECONOMIC CROSSROADS Technology has broken the barrier of geography that long shielded mountain towns from growth

W

elcome to the Goldilocks

Bozeman has been growing 2 to 3 percent annually for the past few years, which has brought the associated challenges like increased traffic and housing prices. PHOTO BY CHU CK HA N E Y

moment of the Greater Yellowstone. Most are

familiar with the childhood tale, when a little girl tries to find not too hot or too big, too cold or too

BY CLAIRE CELLA

small, but “just right.” The tale serves as a palpable metaphor for the growth seen in mountain towns across the West—including Bozeman and Big Sky in Montana, and Jackson, Wyoming—which is spurred by a subtle shift in American societal values, a migration to where we find meaning. Realizing that access to nature contributes to a higher quality of life and sense of well-being, we’re escaping the sprawl of sidewalks, strip malls and subdivisions to settle in the mountains. But even here, we still struggle to find, and maintain, “just right.” >>

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or nearly the past 50 years, rural counties in the West with the highest share of protected federal public lands have shown faster population, employment, and personal income growth on average than counties with lower shares of federal lands, according to Headwaters Economics, a Bozeman-based nonprofit research group that works across the West to promote economic growth. Which leads people like Brian Guyer to ask, “Can you really blame telecommuters who have the ability to work wherever they want?” He has a hard time blaming people for coming to live in the mountains, because it’s exactly what he did, too. Guyer, the community development manager at the Human Resources Development Council, which operates in Bozeman and Big Sky, is not alone in following his aspirations to live in the mountains— ask a majority of people who live in Wyoming’s Teton County or Montana’s Gallatin County and they’ll echo their own versions of, We moved here for the lifestyle. Whether it’s the ability to ski out your backdoor, the local hospitality, or the after-work trailhead access, there’s an allure and charm to these former cow towns and villages near iconic ski mountains. “The secret is out,” says Chris Mehl, a two-term Bozeman city commissioner who in early November was elected mayor. He has had a pulse on the region for almost a decade, and praises the enterprising work of his predecessors in building a Bozeman with a lively downtown, a flourishing tourism and outdoor recreation industry, a growing healthcare infrastructure, and an exceptional school system, supported by the success of Montana State University. It’s easy to see why there is a desire to live in these places, and this phenomenon is not new (think of 1960s Aspen or Park City over 20 years ago). What is new is the pace at which people are moving and the reasons many are able to: technology. Technology has broken the barrier of geography that has long shielded mountain towns from growth. Historically, they remained isolated for the simple fact that they were hard to get to. Today, however, daily direct flights connect Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport to 15 major U.S. cities and Jackson Hole Airport with 10. This makes it easier for local entrepreneurs to fly important clients in, or West Coast-based technology firms to summon remote employees. Advancements in telecommuting technologies, such as cloud computing, video conferencing and high-speed fiber optics, have helped companies take risks on employees who want to work remotely. “They’ve realized they can build and grow their company almost anywhere,” said Mike Myer, CEO of Quiq, a Bozemanbased business-messaging platform. “And if their workers live in a place where their quality of life is higher, they’ll have happier, better employees.”

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JACKSON

$780,000 $75,325 $44,231 average home price in 2016

median household income

per capita income average

“THEY’VE REALIZED THEY CAN BUILD AND GROW THEIR COMPANY ALMOST ANYWHERE, AND IF THEIR WORKERS LIVE IN A PLACE WHERE THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE IS HIGHER, THEY’LL HAVE HAPPIER, BETTER EMPLOYEES.”

In Montana, the high-tech and manufacturing industry was projected to grow seven times faster than the state economy, according to a 2016 report by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana. Between 2001 and 2015, Headwaters Economics reported that Gallatin County added 2,984 jobs in professional, scientific and technical services—a 56 percent difference compared to other Montana counties—while Teton County added 80 percent more than the rest of Wyoming. “We’re seeing the development of a critical mass of people who bring diverse skills, like software development, marketing and product management, who weren’t here 10 years ago,” said Lance Trebesch, CEO and co-owner of the Montana-based companies Ticket River and TicketPrinting.com. “And it’s not just the people moving here,” he continues. “There’s also a robust community who have grown up here, grown successful businesses here, and have that savvy to know what it takes.” Liza Millet, the co-founder of Silicon Couloir, a Jackson nonprofit that connects entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed, agrees with Trebesch. She’s witnessed a blossoming entrepreneurial spirit since 2012 and says a majority of the growth she’s seen through her nonprofit’s startup intensives and pitch days is not from traditional technology, but from locals who have had dreams of building their own companies, mostly related to retail and the outdoors—like Stio, Sego Ski Co., and Give’r Gloves. Jobs in this industry also pay more than twice the average wage of the rest of the jobs in the state, and for three years, according to The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, Montana was the No. 1 small state for startup activity. In 2017, Montana was fourth. Wyoming was third. >>

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ut, there are signs that growth is putting a strain on other aspects of these local economies—most notably in the housing markets. The problem is so acute in Jackson that traditional tech companies struggle to pay their employees enough to live there. “And, if they can, they can’t find housing,” says April Norton, director of the recently created Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing Department. There’s a lack of not only long-term rental opportunities—which are commonly taken up by lucrative vacation listings—but also affordable options for home ownership and a lack of land to build on, says Norton. In 2016, the average home price in Jackson was $780,000, according to the Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates 2017 Market Report. Rental prices, similarly astronomical, averaged $1,842 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to the Wyoming Cost of Living Index for 2017. Meanwhile, the median household income was $75,325, with per capita income averaging $44,231. The cost of living in Teton County was 52 percent higher than the rest of Wyoming. Without enough affordable housing—or housing stock in general—for those who make decent incomes by national standards, young professionals live with roommates to make rent, service industry workers camp out in cars, and new families settle in neighboring towns and commute. Bozeman, too, is “growing so fast that more people want to move here than we’re able to build housing for,” Mehl says. As a result, 17,000 people commute into Bozeman from places like Four Corners, Livingston and Belgrade. In Jackson, 43 percent of workers reside in nearby Wilson or Alpine, or across the state line in Idaho. Wellworn commuting paths clog up Teton Pass and choke the Gallatin Valley—creating an irritation many newcomers thought they left behind in San Francisco or an experience locals have never faced before. So while people continue to move in pursuit of a higher quality of life, this very pursuit threatens the reason they moved in the first place. Commutes grow longer, cost of living increases, housing developments encroach on open space, and office buildings block views.

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till, many agree that they’d much rather live in a place that is growing rather than declining. And decline is something these two Rocky Mountain economies know all too well—in the past 50 years, both have felt the devastating effects of heavy reliance on the dwindling and volatile energy industry, and a lack of metropolitan hubs. That’s why both states have begun to enact long-range plans to bolster economic resilience through diverse industries—technology and entrepreneurship included. In November 2016, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead initiated ENDOW—or Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming—a 20-year plan that, among other things, adds technology as a fourth economic leg to balance against wobbling energy markets. In Jackson, Mead turned to John Temte to spearhead diversification and support of tech and entrepreneurship as chairman of the Jackson Hole Technology Partnership, which hosts an annual Wyoming Global Technology Summit. Temte grew up in Laramie, Wyoming, but pursued business management and entrepreneurship in California and started his first tech company in Palo Alto. When he relocated to Jackson in 2012, he brought along strong connections to Silicon Valley and investment firms through his own venture capital fund, Temte Venture Partners, LLC. He now leverages these high-profile relationships to bring entrepreneurial opportunities to Wyoming. The summit aims to connect young Wyoming companies with high-level mentorships, advisors and financiers who are looking to give back to the local community and feed this emerging ecosystem. In Montana, Governor Steve Bullock released the Main Street Montana Project in April 2014. Pillars include training and educating Montana’s future workforce, attracting and retaining businesses, and nurturing emerging industries and innovation. U.S. Senator Steve Daines—himself a former tech executive at Bozeman’s RightNow Technologies—also launched a biennial Montana High Tech Jobs Summit in 2015, to bring together the nation’s tech leaders with entrepreneurs and innovators to forge opportunities for high-paying jobs and successful business ventures.

“WE LOSE A LOT IF WE CAN’T HAVE OUR WORKFORCE AFFORD TO LIVE HERE.”

17,000

PEOPLE COMMUTE INTO BOZEMAN FROM PLACES LIKE FOUR CORNERS, LIVINGSTON AND BELGRADE. P HOTO BY MIK E K L IN E

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he experiences of peer cities—like Aspen, Boulder, Flagstaff and Park City—offer leaders, community members, company executives and investors the chance to learn from previous mistakes and address growth proactively. Guyer favors choosing thoughtful growth over a head-in-the-sand approach. And so his organization, HRDC, works throughout the Gallatin Valley to implement creative housing plans and to assist developers, local governments and city leaders, like Mehl, in preserving affordability. Bozeman and Big Sky are in the process of rolling out various initiatives to do just that: giving architects more flexibility; developing down payment assistance programs to help people take the first steps toward homeownership; offering financial incentives for listing long-term rentals instead of vacation homes; and incorporating inclusionary zoning, in which a percentage of all new

residential development needs to be affordable for low- or moderate-income residents. Everyone has a different perspective on growth though, Mehl says. “So, for instance, yes there might be more traffic, but now there’s also a cancer center in Bozeman. My commute just increased 25 minutes, but there’s a new Thai take-out restaurant.” Candace Carr Strauss, the CEO of the Big Sky Chamber and Visit Big Sky, would welcome a more robust tech sector in her town as a way to stabilize the seasonality of the tourism and construction-based workforce, and address major infrastructure needs—like spotty cell service and slow internet. In Jackson, Temte and Norton are also aware of the impact they can have through their positions. “We want to be a community first … and that needs people living locally,” Norton says. “Locals take cars off the road, they volunteer at the food pantry,

they watch out for their neighbors. We lose a lot if we can’t have our workforce afford to live here.” Temte says he serves on the Jackson Hole Technology Partnership to encourage affordability, so that people who want to live in Wyoming, because they love Wyoming, can, with a decent-paying job. Mehl knows it won’t be easy to find and maintain “just right,” especially if Bozeman continues to grow 2 to 3 percent each year, as it has for the past few. Jackson’s population swelled almost 10 percent between 2010 and 2016, and Big Sky grew nearly 20 percent in the same timeframe. Mehl can see that these towns might still have the same troubles as the Vails, Aspens and Boulders. “But we should aspire to learn from them, and have a humility about what can be done,” he said. “This is going to require a lot of attention for a long time to try to get it right.”

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C U LT U R E JEN AVERY HAS HAD CHRONIC PAIN IN HER NECK, BACK AND SHOULDERS FOR 15 YEARS.

BY EMILY STIFLER WOLFE

ACUPUNCTURE IS FAST EMERGING AS A SAFER WAY TO TREAT PAIN, DEPRESSION AND OTHER ILLS

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The 34-year-old grew up with three older brothers in a family of athletes. She had whiplash multiple times and in 2007, she injured her neck in a climbing fall. When she developed fibromyalgia while finishing her master’s in public administration at Montana State University in 2013, the pain was acute and unrelenting. After graduation, Avery moved to Big Sky, Montana, where she opened a yoga studio, waited tables and volunteered on ski patrol. A chiropractor helped relieve some pain, but always it simmered, worsening with stress. In February 2016, her struggles came to a head. Avery and her husband went snowmobiling in Cooke City, Montana, and the first day, her neck felt stiff. That night she lost range of motion, and by the second day it radiated to her scapula. They drove home. The next day it was so intense she struggled to breathe, so she went to the emergency room. The doctor who read the X-ray told Avery she had arthritis in her cervical spine, and prescribed anti-inflammatories and painkillers. But two days later, the pain became excruciating and her left thumb, index and middle fingers went numb. Her husband was working nights and she was too delirious to drive, so Avery walked a half-mile to the ER, crying. This time, an MRI showed gliosis— scarring on the central nervous system often caused by multiple sclerosis. The doctor prescribed more hydrocodone and suggested Avery see an orthopedic surgeon. The pain pills made Avery nauseous and constipated, so she only took them to sleep. Holding a hand on top of her head relieved some of the nerve pressure. After a month, she got into an orthopedist. He scheduled another MRI and

prescribed pain meds targeting her central nervous system, which she didn’t take. Two weeks later, the MRI results confirmed arthritis and ruled out MS. Inflammation combined with disc degeneration had pinched a nerve, Avery said, creating extreme pain. The orthopedist prescribed physical therapy, which helped, but not enough. So, her pain still too acute for massage, Avery tried acupuncture. “Instantly, there was a huge relief,” she said. That afternoon, the stabbing behind her shoulder subsided, and she could finally lower her hand from her head. Avery received acupuncture weekly for the next year, and she said it retrained her pain response, reduced anxiety and alleviated other aches. Many studies, including several published in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine, have shown acupuncture as a safe, effective way to manage both chronic and acute pain. As the U.S. medical community seeks to reduce over-prescription of pharmaceuticals including opioids, the needle is moving toward acupuncture and other drug-free therapies. A recent endorsement by the American College of Physicians will likely encourage the trend. In February 2017, the ACP officially recommended acupuncture for back pain, alongside other non-drug treatments including heat, massage and spinal manipulation. The ACP gives acupuncture a “strong recommendation” and calls opioid painkillers a last resort. An expanding body of data also shows acupuncture may be effective for treating numerous other ailments including nausea, seasonal allergies, infertility and neurological disorders.>>

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ACUPUNCTURE IS A PRACTICE IN WHICH THIN NEEDLES

Mayo also uses acupuncture to treat gastrointestinal disorders, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy symptoms are inserted into the skin and and other conditions. underlying tissues at specific Acupuncture’s use in reproductive points on the body to improve health has soared since a 2002 study health and well-being. published in Fertility and Sterility A fundamental element of showed women who received traditional Chinese medicine, it acupuncture after in vitro fertilization has been practiced for at least 2,500 were significantly more likely to years, according to the World Health become pregnant: 42.5 percent of Organization. Archaeological participants who received acupuncture evidence in the form of polished following IVF became pregnant, stone needles and hieroglyphs as compared to 26 percent of the indicate rudimentary forms may group that received only IVF. In have developed thousands of years the 16 total studies the journal has earlier, during the Neolithic Age. It published on the topic, 11 reported is a standard of care in China today, improved chances of pregnancy with used daily for many patients in large acupuncture. hospitals. It is also used for addiction Acupuncture was introduced to Old Chinese medical chart of acupuncture meridians treatment. Approximately 500 medical mainstream America in the 1970s, centers in the U.S. use the National when journalist James Reston had an emergency appendicitis while covering Secretary of State Henry Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol, according to NADA Executive Director Sara Bursac. She cited clinical Kissinger’s 1971 visit to China, prior to President Nixon’s historic experience and research showing it eases withdrawal symptoms, 1972 visit that opened U.S. relations with China. Reston wrote prevents craving, and increases participation rates in long-term drug about the acupuncture that eased his post-op pain, and The New treatment programs. The protocol, which uses five acupuncture York Times published his story alongside front-page news of the points in each ear, is also used to treat behavioral and mental health Apollo 15 liftoff. issues, emotional trauma and post-disaster symptoms. But with acupuncture needles approved only as experimental devices by the FDA until 1996, the practice was slow to take off in the U.S., and many assumed it a placebo. However, in 1997, MRI SCANS SHOW SPECIFIC ACUPUNCTURE POINTS ACTIVATE the National Institutes of Health concluded there was enough distinct parts of the brain. Needle Si Guan, a set of points on the evidence to expand it to conventional medicine, and indeed, it has hands and feet traditionally used for pain relief, and it calms the grown. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics estimated regions of the brain that register pain, according to 2014 research 1.5 percent of American adults—or 4.7 million people—received published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative acupuncture in 2012, up 1.6 million from 2002. There are more Medicine. What’s more, the painkilling effects often outlast the than 17,000 acupuncturists board certified with the National treatment session. Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, From a traditional Eastern perspective, the principles of and 27,000 licensed through individual states. acupuncture are based on the concept that life force, known as qi The Mayo Clinic, a renowned teaching hospital and research (pronounced “chee”), circulates the body on distinct pathways center in Rochester, Minnesota, has used acupuncture since 2001, called meridians. Issues like injury, disease and stress can block or primarily for pain, and now has more demand than it can meet. disrupt qi, leading to poor health. Hundreds of acupuncture points “We have had tremendous success [with acupuncture],” said Dr. are located along the meridians, each corresponding to an organ or Brent Bauer, director of Mayo’s Complementary and Integrative body system. By boosting the flow of qi, blood and other fluids, Medicine Program. “For intractable pain, patients with a chronic acupuncture restores balance to the person. long history of pain, or chronic headaches, we might still see a When viewed through a Western scientific framework, 30 percent significant response where everything else absolutely acupuncture’s effects—reducing inflammation, increasing failed.” Results are typically best before pain pathways are circulation and releasing natural painkillers, among others—have completely developed, he added. “If you’ve had pain for 20 years, been well documented, but how it works on a physiological and it’s more difficult to get lasting great benefits.” biochemical level is not understood. There are many theories.

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Zoe Strauss, owner of a community acupuncture clinic in Bozeman, People’s Republic of Health, and the practitioner who treated Jen Avery’s neck pain, has two ways of explaining it. The first is easy to picture. “When you get a splinter on your finger, the body recognizes a foreign object and immediately sends white blood cells to the area to clean out debris and regenerate healthy cells,” Strauss said. “Often with pain, whether back pain or surgery or a broken bone, we put a bunch of [needles] locally to do exactly that.” The second translates the concept of qi to nerve impulses jumping from spot to spot, which Strauss equates to acupuncture points. “When you have an injury, the nervous system … flashes a ‘crisis’ pattern and short circuits the way it normally works. The brain holds that message, so the [body] has time to recover. Sometimes with pain, opiate addiction [and grief], the brain will hold onto that message for too long.” By reconnecting the qi impulses, she said acupuncture can reset the nervous system.

Some theories suggest it releases opioids and other peptides in the central nervous system and alters neuroendocrine function, while others equate qi to potential energy in terms of quantum physics. Like any medicine, acupuncture is both a science and an art. There are many schools of practice—Japanese acupuncture, for instance, uses thinner needles and shallower insertion as compared with Chinese, in which practitioners often manipulate needles to incite de qi—or the heavy, sore feeling of vital energy being activated. “Very rarely is there ever a one-size-fits-all approach with acupuncture,” said Carissa Hill, an acupuncturist practicing in both Big Sky and Bozeman. Because it focuses on personalized care, she added, acupuncture can address a patient’s unique issues. >>

ACUPUNCTURE QUICK

Acupuncture has been practiced for at least

2,500 yrs

4.7 million

American adults received acupuncture since 2012

FACTS + STATS

17,000 acupuncturists are board certified with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

27,000 acupuncturists are licensed through individual states

42.5% of the participants in a study* who received acupuncture following IVF became pregnant, as compared to 26 percent of the group that received only IVF.

*2002 study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility

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TODAY, NEARLY 50 YEARS AFTER the Times article, acupuncture still isn’t part of our popular consciousness. “It’s hard for hospitals to create a mechanism to offer it, because it’s devalued by the government,” said Mayo’s Dr. Bauer, referring to the fact that neither Medicare nor Medicaid cover it. The Affordable Care Act requires private health insurance companies to cover acupuncture, but the number of treatments “It may as well may be limited, and it’s not be covered, typically out of network, says Gena Gaub of Rocky because [the] Mountain Insurance in insured get little Bozeman. “It may as well or no help when not be covered, because [the] they go.” insured get little or no help when they go.” While some Army Medical Centers offer it for veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD, the Army’s insurance company, Tricare, won’t cover it outside those centers. And it’s a socio-economic issue. Acupuncture is time-consuming and often costs significantly more than a prescription painkiller. Strauss wants it to be available to everyone and offers a sliding payment scale at her clinic. “Sometimes what we’re doing is training the body to function in a different way, and that can take multiple treatments over time,” she said. With funding going into research—an average of $17.9 million annually in NIH grants over the last decade—and new data emerging from conservative facilities like the Mayo Clinic and the American College of Physicians, there is a snowball effect. And results talk. “What gets people in the door is back pain that doctors and medication have not been able to resolve. That, and grief,” Strauss said. “What gets them to stay, [are] the results of those things, and on top of that, amazing improvement in their digestion, sleep, mood and energy.”

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According to experts, many people actually do share physical characteristics with their dogs, whether it’s long, flowing locks and a slender silhouette, or an upturned nose and a few extra skin rolls around the neck. Popular media has been playing on this for years. Take the early scene in Disney’s 1961 film One Hundred and One Dalmatians when a number of women are pictured walking their doppelgänger dogs. Or consider Jason Segal’s character Sidney Fife commenting in the movie I Love You, Man: He points to a fluffyhaired woman walking a poodle, saying, “I call them bowsers. It’s my nickname for people who look just like their dog.” Beyond the often-humorous illustrations and pairings made in the media, there is scientific data to support the claim that dog owners resemble their pets. >>

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n 2004, psychologists Michael Roy and Nicholas Roy and Christenfeld say their research, at least, does not appear Christenfeld put the question to the test after to validate this theory, as there was no relation to the ability to match psychologist Stanley Coren conducted a similar study owners with their dogs and the pairs’ length of time living together. in 1999. Both findings suggest there is some truth to the Instead, both psychologists believe there are two other mechanisms resemblance claim. that could be at work when a person gets a dog. Building on Coren’s work, which suggested that women Roy said people might select a dog based on temperament, which with long hair tend to prefer dogs with floppy ears, Roy and coincidently means they may share traits. A runner might select an Christenfeld asked independent observers to try to match athletic dog and find she shares traits with the new companion, such as dogs with their owners solely based on their being lean and muscular, for example. photographs. Christenfeld, who is a professor of psychology “I do not think it “Either way you did it, people were able at the University of California, San Diego, suggests narcissism in to put owner and dog together,” Roy said reiterated this idea. “If I like snuggling and in a recent phone interview from his office watching Netflix, I’ll get a dog who likes to any clinical sense, but at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. snuggle.” more generally, we do That said, it turns out the resemblances are Both psychologists think there’s a nuanced. According to Roy, the research subconscious process at work, too. When owners like what is familiar, and indicates that dogs most resemble their owners pick a pet, or at least a dog, they seek one that in things that are like us, when the dog is purebred, not mixed. some way resembles them because people tend to “If you look at purebreds, they are much prefer the familiar. then, have a head start more predictable,” Roy said. It’s easier to know “I do not think it suggests narcissism in any on that dimension.” what puppies will look like when they’re older, clinical sense, but more generally, we do like what and you can also predict their behavior and size, is familiar, and things that are like us, then, have a he said. head start on that dimension,” Christenfeld said. Similar studies have been replicated in Japan, England and “To some extent pets are capitalizing on our parental urges,” he Venezuela, garnering comparable results, although researchers still explained, referring to kinderschema, or the resemblance pets have can’t say scientifically if you look like other pets, such as your cat or with human infants with those large eyes, an oval face and extra skin. goldfish. “We want to care for small creatures—basically pets can step into that While researchers can confidently say there is truth to the claim space. … So a pet takes double advantage. It takes advantage of our that dogs and their owners tend to look alike, they’re still unpacking parental urges and it reminds you of you. the mechanisms that underlie it. “I suspect the resemblance is what touches your heart,” he One theory is that dogs and owners begin to resemble one another added. “Pets are a remarkably big deal to people.” over time. After all, there’s evidence this is true of married couples. So, if you’ve got a pooch at home, take a closer look. Are you Have you noticed you’re beginning to look a bit more, well, hairy? a bowser?

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CULTURE

a Jewel Box of Culture BY SARAH GIANELLI

WO R L D - C L A S S A R T S CENTER RISES OUT O F RU R A L M O N T A N A RANCHLAND

T I P P E T R I S E A R T C E N T E R may be lying dormant under a blanket of snow, but if last year was any indication, when tickets go on sale for their summer concert season in early 2018, they’ll likely go fast. Set on a sprawling 10,260-acre sheep and cattle ranch in Fishtail, Montana, Tippet Rise is a state-of-the-art classical music venue and large-scale outdoor sculpture garden. Opened in 2016 by New England artist-philanthropists Cathy and Peter Halstead, Tippet Rise—its name derived from Cathy’s childhood pronunciation of her grandmother’s nickname “Tippy”—was inspired in part by Storm King Art Center, an open-air museum in upstate New York. The center is the realization of the Halsteads’ dream to share their passion for music, sculpture and poetry in a stunning natural setting, and expose others to the thrill of discovery that has fueled their own lifetime of service to the arts. “I think that experience of discovery deepens your attachment to whatever that might be,” Cathy said. “Whether it’s discovering that next hill or a piece of music, or a gorgeous work of sculpture.” “And not only do you discover the sculpture and this new way of thinking about the world,” added Peter, “but you discover something in yourself.” At Tippet Rise, visitors have access to multiple means of discovery in tandem. Independent of the concerts, for which prices are astonishingly low, visitors can take free guided tours by bike, foot or electric-powered van that weave through the prairies, canyons and sagebrush hills of the old homestead with

informative stops at each of the nine massive sculptures spread across the property. In the morning, weather pending, ticket holders can attend a concert of international virtuosos under the arched, cave-like Domo, a monolithic feat of sculptural engineering conceived and executed by Ensamble Studios, an architectural firm based in Madrid, Spain. Designed for superior sound projection, the sculpture’s creation entailed a continuous 12-hour concrete pour into a rebar and plasticlined pit that when hardened, was excavated by bulldozers. In the afternoon, performances are held in the outdoor Tiara Acoustic Shell, an airy portable venue that provides unobstructed views of rolling hills crowned by the Beartooth Mountains in the distance. Evening concerts are performed in the Olivier Music Barn, an intimate, sleekly rustic concert hall meticulously designed for audiences to experience works by history’s greatest composers as they were intended to be heard. “Imagine—people have never heard Liszt play like it was actually heard by Liszt,” said Peter, citing the prolific 19th century Hungarian composer as an example. “That’s why we built this hall, because we wanted people in America to be able to hear Bach or Hayden or Mozart the way they heard themselves.” Peter says there are fewer than 10 halls left in Europe that can provide an auditory experience of this quality, and that there are none in America. “There’s only this,” he added. “It’s like a jewel box.” >>

Acoustically designed for superior outdoor sound projection, morning concerts are held under the Domo, one of three monolithic feats of sculptural engineering created by Spain’s Ensamble Studios specifically for Tippet Rise Art Center.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF TIPPET RISE ART CENTER, MONTANA

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TIPPET’S IMPRESSIVE SCULPTURES

Tippet Rise is the realization of a life-long dream of founders Peter and Cathy Halstead. The artist-philanthropists wanted to create a musical and visual arts center where all components are elevated by the magnificent beauty of the natural surroundings. PHOTO BY SYDNEY MACDONALD

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are exalted and humbled by the expanses of wide-open sky and snow-capped mountains that embrace them in a static, yet ever-shifting composition. From one perspective, the sculptures are dwarfed by their natural surroundings, from another, they loom overhead with breath-stealing magnitude. Whether wandering through a whimsical one-room schoolhouse wound with dense tangles of willow branches, or gazing up at an eyepopping metronome standing 65-feet tall, all of the works invite viewers of all ages to tap into their inner reserves of childlike wonder. Peter is an eccentric but endearing polymath, whose family fortune can be traced back to the days of Benedict Arnold when, according to one tour guide, “the Halsteads owned half of Manhattan.” Speaking with him is like opening a gushing faucet of rarified knowledge that careens effortlessly between quantum physics, classical

Left: International virtuosos perform in the Olivier Music Barn, an intimate music hall meticulously designed to enable concert-goers to hear the music of history’s greatest composers as it was intended to be heard.

relativity—and describes art’s role in musicology, poetry and cosmology. that context. Peter recalls a storm that ripped “Art measures the human soul,” through following a concert staged PHOTO BY SYDNEY MACDONALD he said. “Novels measure the ability of at the site of Beethoven’s Quartet, Right: A life-size replica of a frontierpeople to feel. Works of music measure an abstract, mobile sculpture of era schoolhouse, Daydreams was created out of local willows that the ability of people to think in ways rusty steel and gleaming curves twist around the sculpture both that aren’t verbal. Painting says things poised at the edge of a great chasm. inside and out. that can’t be said in prose.” “The air turned purple, and PHOTO COURTESY OF: TIPPET RISE ART CENTER, MONTANA The Halsteads are committed to there was so much particulate ARTIST: Patrick T. Dougherty PHOTO BY: Erik Petersen © 2017, Tippet Rise keeping the Tippet Rise experience matter in the air it wasn’t like intimate. Concert attendance is capped you saw purple over there, or a at 100 to 150 people, and consciously rainbow over there—you were sourced farm-to-table dinners are living inside purple.” enjoyed at long picnic tables in a barn-like pavilion Cathy, who has an equally impressive pedigree as the daughter of liquor mogul Sidney Frank, elaborated. “There preceding the evening performance. The center has attracted diverse crowds—from was this beautiful work of art in this incredible storm, on international connoisseurs of classical music and art, to this amazing land, and then you have Ariel String Quartet perform a Beethoven quartet that had so moved [the artist] area ranching families that may have never experienced when creating the sculpture. … That expression of those the upper echelon of high culture showcased at Tippet arts brought together, that deep human thought and Rise. For the Halsteads, witnessing the positive impact creation in conjunction with the power of this incredible on individuals, families and the community is one of the landscape is … beyond words.” greatest rewards. In discussing art’s systemic value to humanity, while “You get to hear it through their ears,” Peter said. living in a society that doesn’t always seem to share that “Like when you see something through the eyes of your grandchildren or your children, you see it for the first time. belief, Peter rattles off different means of measuring That’s the sense of discovery for us.” the universe—quantum physics, rulers, compasses,

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High Bridge - Study #2 by James Pringle Cook 36x30, Oil on Canvas

Cautious Approach by Todd Connor 36x30, Oil on Canvas

Elk River Warriors by Kevin Red Star 48x60, Oil on Canvas

Wild Roses by Martin Ricks 20x20, Oil on Canvas

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PHOTO COU RETSY OF PI N K GA RTER THEATRE

CULTURE

P I N K G A R T E R T H E AT R E

Jackson, Wyoming

The Pink Garter Theatre has emerged over the last few years as the premier venue for live music in Jackson. Once a traditional 350-seat theater, it can now accommodate up to 450 in the unseated and tiered space. Combined with its dimly lit bar and restaurant, The Rose, the scene is distinctly stylish. The programing ranges from weekly Thursday night salsa dancing and local DJ acts, to arena-filling bands on their way to or from Salt Lake City.

Q&A

with The Band of Drifters Ian Thomas is a self-proclaimed permanent drifter who’s been passing through Montana for the last nine years, but now calls Livingston, Montana, home. Fortunately, he’s found a band to bring his gritty, crooning country music to life. With thoughtful songwriting, loping rhythms and pedal steel, the Drifters execute this oftenattempted style with rare panache. Mountain Outlaw connected with Thomas in September as he was finishing a tour in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Mountain Outlaw: You got your musical start in Tennessee, but now consider Montana home. How did you end up in Livingston?

BY YOGESH SIMPSON

MO: How does it work, with a band here and a band in Tennessee? IT: There’s about 25 drifters in my band of drifters these days. I like it because it keeps the sound fresh for me and keeps the music changing and alive. It allows me the freedom to move around the country like I need to do. I’m the only real permanent drifter. L: I M AG E CO U RT E S Y O F T HE R I AL TO TH E AT E R , R : P H OTO B Y B I L L F OS TER

When cold grips the Greater Yellowstone, the dance floors heat up

There’s a lot of grousing these days about the pace of growth in the Greater Yellowstone, and its associated hassles. Whether it’s traffic, housing prices, crowded trailheads or long chairlift lines, there’s plenty to bitch about. But for music lovers, there may be a silver lining. With album sales at an all time low and streaming services offering artists paltry payouts, bands are increasingly turning to touring to make a living. As James McMurtry said in the last issue of Mountain Outlaw, “It used to be we’d tour to promote records. Now we make records to promote tours.” The result is more acts on the road, and since the game for promoters in our (relatively) unpopulated corner of the country has been to snag national acts en route to major metropolitan areas, this means more demand for music venues. Developers are responding. Last summer, the 4,000-capacity Kettlehouse Amphitheater near Missoula, Montana, made its debut with an impressive lineup of national acts including Ween and Lyle Lovett, and the Gallatin Valley will soon have a comparable venue. Bozeman’s Bridger Brewing recently secured 250 acres at the junction of Interstate 90 and Highway 287 near Three Forks. The plan calls for a 3,000- to 5,000-person amphitheater, in addition to a production facility and tasting room to open in 2019. But amphitheaters are fair weather affairs and the backbone of the music scene in our region is the mid-size venues: the dive bars and theaters with space for 150 to 500 people that incubate local talent, and occasionally land big bands passing through. There’s recent growth in this sector, too. The Attic is a fantastic new addition to the Livingston scene; Bozeman will soon see the resurrection of a long-shuttered historic downtown theater with an option for unseated shows (read: dancing!); and in the Tetons, the Pink Garter and Knotty Pine have been gradually upgrading their facilities for years. Here is a taste of venues, and two up-and-coming bands, that are shaping the music scene in our corner of the West.

Ian Thomas: I was touring through, in 2007, just doing a solo tour on my way out to the West Coast. A booking agent hooked me up with Danny Freund and we played a gig at the Murray Bar and then [Bozeman’s] Filling Station. For a while I was half-and-half. Then over the years I kept staying in Montana longer and longer.

MO: What are the main differences you find in performing in Montana versus the Southeast? IT: I would say they’re more similar than different. They’re both dancing regions—it’s a very different experience than playing for crowds that are sitting down. They also have mountains in common, but they’re very different kinds of mountains. But I’m more suited to this place, and I fucking love it.

RIALTO

THEATER

Bozeman, Montana

After years of languishing behind a boarded-up facade, and the promises of several failed developers, Bozeman’s Rialto Theater opens its doors once again in January. Completely renovated by Thinktank Design Group, the theater will feature state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment designed for all manner of music, drama and film. Between the ground floor and the mezzanine, the venue will have space for 400 people and include beer and wine bars on both levels. The top floor will house an event and gallery space, also with a bar. Highlights from the opening month include indie rockers Car Seat Headrest on January 26, and beatboxing comedian Reggie Watts on January 27.

MO: Is it challenging finding venues to play in Montana compared to the more populous Southeast? IT: You know, this is a very musical region of the country. It’s easy to find places to play with the bars in Livingston and [Paradise Valley’s] Pine Creek and Follow Yer’ Nose and the Old Saloon. Montana really seems to be picking up musically. MO: What’s your plan for handling the Montana winter and still making music? IT: I’m kinda wrapping up my year and headed back to Montana now. Then, not traveling much. It’ll be a good mix of playing out locally and woodshedding. I’d like to get a studio project done with this band. I’m hoping to have a record that has all the drifters on it, or at least the core ones. MO: The kazoo is prominently featured in your logo, what’s the affinity there? IT: I love the kazoo because I first started playing music on the street, and that was how I met people and learned to play. I spent years playing on the streets unamplified and the kazoo is loud, so that was really helpful.

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Galactic performs annually at the Knotty Pine. PHOTO BY JO N WA LL

T H E AT T I C

Livingston, Montana

KNOTTY Victor, Idaho

PINE

SUPPER

CLUB

A BOVE : P HOTO B Y G E O FF H ARV E Y, B E L OW : P HOTO COU R TES Y OF U NI TED I NTER ES TS

On the other side of Teton Pass in Victor, Idaho, the Knotty Pine Supper Club has been a low-key music hub for 50 years. For most of that time it was the definition of “intimate”: a tiny 165-capacity bar where you stood face-to-face with the band. About 10 years ago, owner Brice Nelson built a proper stage and dance floor, expanding capacity to fit up to 300 people. The acts are eclectic, from local string bands to an annual appearance by funk stalwarts Galactic. “We’ll do about anything and we’ve done everything,” Nelson says. “We try to keep it pretty loose.”

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In 2011, when fine art printer Geoff Harvey bought the Whiskey Creek Saloon in Livingston, the purchase included the attic above the bar, which hadn’t been touched in decades. “It looked like something out of a horror movie,” Harvey said. With the help of a few friends, Harvey transformed the space into a beautiful 150-capacity music venue. The gorgeous wooden dance floor is perfect for cutting a rug, but can be filled with chairs for an intimate listening experience. From the exposed rafters and off-angle walls, to the secondary sound system with built-in delay, The Attic was designed with acoustics in mind. Q&A with The Band of Drifters

Q&A

with The Lil’ Smokies The Lil’ Smokies are one of the biggest success stories to come out of the Montana music scene in recent years. They went from being a wedding band and darlings of the Missoula bar scene, to winning the Northwest String Summit band competition in 2013 and then the Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition in 2015. Since then, they’ve played the main stage at all the major festivals in the folk/bluegrass circuit. Andy Dunnigan (dobro) and Matt Cornette (banjo) of The Lil’ Smokies sat down with Mountain Outlaw to talk about their success—with bandmates Scott Parker, Matt Reiger, and Jake Simpson—and the challenges of genre classifications. Mountain Outlaw: You guys have made the difficult leap from local to national act—what was the key to making that transition? Matt: I think it’s persistence. We played a lot of gigs for very little money, for a long time. But we were very ambitious for a local band. Then, winning String Summit gave us confidence that we could do something on a national level. And then Telluride was the one that made us realize that we should be doing this full time. Andy: If we hadn’t had those [honors] it would’ve been a lot harder to put the mileage in that we just did the last two years. MO: How has your style and approach to playing and songwriting changed since the days of playing the parking lot of the Old Post Pub in Missoula? Andy: In the beginning we were basically a cover band, it was more of a hobby. Then, when I started writing songs, people responded

differently. There was more of a connection, which makes you want to write more. When it became a job, it was more of priority on art and the craft, and playing with more professionalism. Matt: I think learning how to build yourself up in a small market taught us quite a bit about being entertainers. Moving from the small bar to the medium bar to selling out [Missoula’s] Top Hat, that took three or four years. Then we had to learn how to play here in Bozeman and get people to show up. That was a great way to see how it works nationally too. Andy: And it’s taught us some humility on the road, going from being a big fish in a small pond in Missoula, then you go the East Coast where you’re virtually unknown, and playing to 14 people. MO: Have you been able to maintain your connection to your Montana fan base with all this travel to other places?

Andy: We get to travel around toting that Montana flag and I think there’s a lot of appeal to being the “Montana boys.” I like that. There aren’t that many bands coming out of Montana right now, so it does feel good to be the sonic diplomats that we are right now. MO: You guys get lumped in with a lot of the jamgrass bands out there, but the label doesn’t quite fit. How do you see yourselves in the galaxy of bluegrass, jamgrass, fill-in-the-blank-grass? Andy: Trying to classify the music is kind of like taming a wild animal. I don’t want to be labeled jamgrass. I like being in a venue and seeing young people, hippies, old folks, business people, frat guys. My favorite remark is when someone comes up to us and says, “I don’t like bluegrass, but I love you guys.” And that’s awesome. We’re not sitting around listening to old Flatt & Scruggs albums. We’re basically trying to be a rock band with bluegrass instruments.

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Where great acts happen. The historic Rialto is reopening its doors and ready to amplify the spirit of Bozeman. Catch a show. Gather with friends and neighbors. Savor wine, beer, and innovative flavors. Host your next event, large or small. Rock out with your favorite band. Discover something new. Experience atypical.

NOTEWORTHY WINE LIST SPECIALTY COCKTAILS LONE MOUNTAIN VIEWS FRESH FISH DAILY CHOICE STEAKS WILD GAME

OPENING JANUARY 2018.

EVENTS ON SALE NOW. SAVE YOUR SPOT! RIALTOBOZEMAN.COM

A continental bistro serving lunch and dinner 10 West Main Street, Bozeman MT 59715 106 MOUNTAIN

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Meadow Village Center, 151 Center Lane #2, Big Sky Open Table reservations online at olivebsbigsky.com or call (406) 995-3355 M T O U T L AW. C O M / MOUNTAIN

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ONE

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POT

Wonders MORE THAN JUST POT ROAST. Slow-cooked meals are like your favorite pajamas: comfy, warm and easy to throw on. One pan, pot, skillet or slow cooker is all you need to prepare these hearty dishes, which allow you to spend more time enjoying life and less time in the kitchen. For big flavor without the fuss, we tapped some of our favorite local purveyors for recipes that can be made entirely in one vessel with utmost convenience. Their top one-pot wonders range from the classic winter staple of beef chili to an epicure’s delight of braised short ribs with caramelized tomatoes. So skip the kitchen-wide cleanup, and go for comfort instead. These deceptively sophisticated recipes will impress the most gourmet of dinner guests. – The Editors

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Rainbow Ranch A Montana vacation unlike any other, the Rainbow Ranch Lodge combines the rustic West with classically elegant sophistication. A place where exceptional food, wine and accommodations are our passion and hospitality is instinctive._42950 Gallatin Road, Big Sky, Montana. rainbowranchbigsky.com (406) 995-4132 BEEF SHORT RIBS BRAISED WITH CARAMELIZED TOMATOES 5 pounds beef short ribs 6 large Roma tomatoes 3 stalks of celery 2 bay leaves 2 large carrots 5 cups beef stock 1 large yellow onion 1 cup all-purpose flour 4 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons canola oil Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add 1 cup of flour and season with salt and pepper, coat short ribs in mixture and shake off excess flour. In a large sauté pan, add oil and heat to medium high. Add ribs one at a time and sear on all sides until golden brown. Remove ribs from the pan and set aside pan for later. Dice all vegetables small, bring your sauté pan back to medium heat and cook vegetables until nicely caramelized. Deglaze with red wine and scrape all the fond (or base) off the bottom of pan and reduce until liquid is almost gone. Take off heat and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F and place short ribs in a roasting pan. Pour your caramelized vegetables over the ribs and fill pan with beef stock. Cover pan with foil and cook in oven four to six hours, checking occasionally for doneness. When cooked, the meat should be very tender and almost fall off the bone. Heat braising liquid on the stove and reduce to a nice sauce consistency with salt and pepper to taste. Pour your sauce over short ribs and serve with your favorite vegetables and starches.

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Buck’s T-4 Lodge

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Perfectly situated between the solitude of Yellowstone National Park and the casual sophistication of Bozeman, Buck’s T-4 has a long history of rich, flavorful, approachable game creations that leave you pining for the Rocky Mountains with every bite. 46625 Gallatin Road, Big Sky, Montana. buckst4.com (406) 995-4111 BRAISED MONTANA BEEF SHORT RIBS WITH BABY CARROTS (serves four)

3-4 tablespoons cooking oil of choice (not olive oil) 4 1-pound beef short ribs, bone in 8 thyme sprigs 8 garlic cloves, peeled 1 large white onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces 3-4 quarts beef stock 4 tablespoons tomato paste 12-15 local baby carrots

Heat a large, thick-bottomed sauté pan, such as cast iron or Le Creuset. Season the beef on all sides with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Transfer to a Crock-Pot. Season the large carrots and onions and brown in the same pan. Transfer to the Crock-Pot. Add the remaining ingredients except baby carrots to the pan and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Transfer to the Crock-Pot and cook on low for seven hours. Add the baby carrots to Crock-Pot and cook an additional hour. With fat loss and removing the bone, the beef portion will be significantly smaller than when you started.

Spice & Tea Exchange The Spice & Tea Exchange carries fine spices, herbs, blends, salts, sugars and teas, as well as gifts for cooks and tea lovers. 47 Town Center Avenue, Big Sky, Montana. spiceandtea.com/bigsky (406) 993-2163 SAVORY CHICKEN SLOW COOKER STEW (serves six)

4 boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (or 1/2 bag of small baby potatoes, cut in half) 2 medium carrots (or parsnips) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices 1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Pepperberry Sea Salt* 1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 1/2 teaspoons Autumn Harvest Spice Blend* 1 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika* 1 1/2 teaspoons Sweet Onion Sugar* 3/4 teaspoon Celery Seed* 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or chicken stock (low sodium) *The specialty spices listed are available at The Spice & Tea Exchange locations in Big Sky and Bozeman. Put vegetables and chicken in a large mixing bowl, add spices and mix well. Add tomatoes and broth, stirring to combine all ingredients together. Gently pour ingredients into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat six to eight hours (high heat three to four hours), or until vegetables are soft. Ladle into soup bowls to serve.

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Moe's Original BBQ Moe’s Original BBQ is a Southern soul food revival in an atmosphere that is relaxed, spontaneous, yet civilized (well, sometimes). By using fruitwood to smoke the meats daily and hitting it with two sauces, we know we have something special. Southern style side dishes and desserts are prepared daily from recipes passed down for generations. 47 Town Center Avenue, Big Sky, Montana. moesoriginalbbq.com (256) 339-3485  BEEF CHILI

1 cup yellow onion, coarsely diced 1 cup green peppers, coarsely diced 4 celery stalks, coarsely diced 2 jalapeños, coarsely diced 1 foot of sausage, coarsely diced 30 ounces diced tomatoes 2 ounces canned chipotle peppers, puréed 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder 1 tablespoon cumin 1 tablespoon kosher salt 3/4 tablespoon black pepper 1/2 gallon water 5 tablespoons beef base 1/2 can Budweiser beer 1 1/2 pounds ground beef 1/4 pound margarine  3/4 cup all-purpose flour Render ground beef in margarine until starting to brown, add vegetables and sausage, sweat until tender. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Deglaze with Budweiser beer, add tomatoes and chipotles, and cook for 15 minutes. Add beef stock and seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two hours, then it’s ready to serve.

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9/27/17 5:13 PM

FISH ON! SECRET LOCATION, MONTANA, USA

WWW.LIVINGSTONROD.COM (406) 570-3446 DUSTY@LIVINGSTONROD.COM

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SEND US A PHOTO OF YOUR LAST CATCH FOR FREE FLY-LINE ON YOUR NEXT ROD! / M T O U T L AW. C O M

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STIO / JACKSON, WYOMING Former Cloudveil cofounder and president, Stephen Sullivan, founded Stio in 2012, “to inspire connection with the outdoors through beautiful, functional products infused with mountain soul,” according to the company’s website. Headquartered in Jackson, Wyoming, Stio employees live and breathe the mountain lifestyle. With values based in sustainability, appreciation for nature and life balance, the company is dedicated to bringing the inspiration they receive from the adjacent Teton Range to consumers’ lives in and out of the mountains. Products are offered via the website, catalog, and the Mountain Studio retail locations in downtown Jackson and Teton Village, at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS

O F

T H E

SHOT 7 DOWN PARKA BOZEMAN

The Shot 7 Down Parka feels like you’re being wrapped in a warm hug. The parka features Stio’s Pertex Shield+ waterproof/breathable fabric on the outside, and is lined with 800-fill water-repellent down. The longer length keeps the booty-chill at bay, making this an ideal piece for everyday mountain living. $549 stio.com

LIVINGSTON

BIG SKY

RED LODGE

RED ANTS PANTS / WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, MONTANA In 2006, Sarah Calhoun founded a company dedicated to making work clothes for women. She committed to manufacturing her apparel—durable workpants designed for a woman’s curves—in the U.S. and then did one better by locating her headquarters in rural White Sulphur Springs, Montana.

JACKSON

HOMEGROWN ESSENTIALS In the Greater Yellowstone, we like to get after it. But the mountains, rivers and forests in our fine corner of the world aren’t just a playground for these nine intrepid gear manufacturers—they’re also a wellspring of inspiration, an R&D testing ground, and a source of community. Although companies like Mountain Khakis, Mystery Ranch and Red Ants Pants have a national following, they’re also very much rooted in their respective communities, suggesting that perhaps it is possible to build a brand with both roots and wings after all. – The Editors

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Five years after launching her company, Calhoun started a multi-day music gathering. Now the Red Ants Pants Festival draws 16,000-plus to hear the likes of Merle Haggard and Lucinda Williams. Last summer, in a prime example of “doing well by doing good,” the festival generated $19,000 for the Red Ants Pants Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering self-reliance in women and promoting rural communities.

RED ANTS PANTS WOOL VEST

Made with 21-ounce wool from Woolrich, America’s longest continuously run woolen mill, the limited edition Hooded Wool Vest’s interior is sewn with a breathable and fast-drying nylon liner. The vest’s collar and outer pockets are lined with cozy fleece, and two zippered inner pockets keep small valuables like keys and cash secure. $205 redantspants.com

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MOUNTAIN KHAKIS / JACKSON, WYOMING It started in 2001, as a concept drawn onto a bar napkin when co-founder Noah Robertson and Ross Saldarini were sitting at the Shady Lady Saloon in Jackson. Mountain Khakis has since evolved into an internationally acclaimed lifestyle clothing brand with the mission to “outfit and inspire the outdoor enthusiast.” Keeping recreation and functionality in mind, Mountain Khakis makes threads for everyone from the diehard skier to the hardworking rancher, and also has corporate uniform programs. It even has a “starving student special,” a discount program for university campus clubs.

CREEK TO PEAK WEAR / BOZEMAN, MONTANA Frank Gazella Jr. founded Creek to Peak Wear in 2016 after arriving in Bozeman during a month-long road trip. A natural entrepreneur, he formerly ran a successful pierogi (dumpling) company in Kansas for nine years after leaving the Marines.

RANCH SHEARLING HOODY

The simple and smart Creek to Peak logo is offered on apparel from T-shirts and hoodies to beanies and trucker hats. The company also partners with other brands on its website to encourage an eclectic mix of small businesses to market their products directly to consumers. Oh, and they also host Montana’s first mountain Soap Box Derby in Livingston every April.

The Ranch Shearling Hoody is perfect for winter, and what makes it a head-turner is merely a simplistic combination of wool lining and a canvas shell. It’s the real deal, and stands up to a rigorous daily routine of working, whether on the ranch or at the woodshed, as well as playing with the dogs or however you get after it outside. $155 mountainkhakis.com

KIDS CORE FLEECE FULL-ZIP HOODIE

Made with a cozy, 50/50 cotton and poly fleece blend, the Core Fleece Full-Zip Hoodie is meant to be everyday wear for the little ones when the temps drop. Offered in two colors, the neon blue sports “make adventure” on the back and the dark heather declares “find adventure.” Encourage a life of adventure in your kiddos with one of these sharp hoodies. $35 creektopeakwear.com

ROSCOE OUTDOOR / RED LODGE, MONTANA MYSTERY RANCH / BOZEMAN, MONTANA The history of Mystery Ranch runs deep, both in Bozeman and in backpacks. Dana Gleason started his first pack company in the ‘70s called Kletterwerks—since resurrected as a Mystery Ranch line—and went on to found the iconic Dana Design with Renee Sippel-Baker in 1985. They sold the industry standard brand in 1995, but couldn’t stay out of the business long. In 2000, they began Mystery Ranch with a focus on durability, comfort and weight bearing—ask any hunter who’s hauled a quartered elk out of the backcountry with one of their packs. With an emphasis on innovation, the company is beloved by wildland firefighters, hunters, soldiers, backpackers and skiers.

They started with a pair of pants called the Washakie, named after the 19th century Shoshone chief, which is still their flagship piece. Roscoe apparel is developed and tested in the rugged Beartooth Mountains above Red Lodge and is meant to stand the abuse of mountain enthusiasts.

SADDLE PEAK BACKPACK

WASHAKIE PANT

The redesigned Saddle Peak is making a big splash in the snowsports industry this season. The 21-liter pack is built for comfortable ski and snowboard carry whether you’re hiking the ridge at Bridger Bowl, or ticking off couloirs in the Teton backcountry. In addition to the well-designed avalanche gear pocket, it features easy body panel access when your boards are attached and a burly yoke to carry all that’s necessary for your mountain missions. $229 mysterranch.com

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Named after the tiny town of Roscoe that serves as an access point for attempts on Granite Peak, Montana’s highest, Roscoe Outdoor was founded in 2010 by Montananative Hans Howell in nearby Red Lodge. A voracious rock and ice climber, he realized there wasn’t a highly durable synthetic pant on the market—so he decided to fill that niche.

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Water resistant, fast drying and tough as nails? That’s why the Washakie Pant was built in the first place. With a durable, stretchy waffle-weave Nylon/Lycra blend and burly zippers on the pockets, these pants are meant for climbing, hiking or any outdoor pursuit where you can’t risk your gear failing. $94 roscoeoutdoor.com

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LIVINGSTON ROD CO., / LIVINGSTON, MONTANA Founded in 2015 by Livingston, Montana, local and avid fly-fisherman Dusty Smith, Livingston Rod Co. specializes in crafting graphite and fiberglass fly rods for fishing the waters of the Greater Yellowstone. Sold direct online, or in fly shops located across Montana, Wyoming, Utah and New York, each rod is completely unique. Depending on your fishing style and preferences, Smith will craft any length, weight and number of rod sections, whether you’re casting from a raft or wading in tailwaters.

Snow King Mountain shall have activities for everyone. SPARK R&D / BOZEMAN, MONTANA

YS DRY FLY

The YS Dry Fly is a heat seeker of a rod combining lightweight construction and mid-flex feel with accurate casting—perfect for those natural fly presentations that need precise landings and float. With each rod containing a one of a kind burl wood inlay, this is a rod you’ll want to keep in the family for multiple generations, to spread the love of fly fishing. $745 livingstonrod.com

When Spark R&D brought the first ever splitboardspecific snowboard binding to market in 2006— revolutionizing the industry—riders were hungry for a lightweight and efficient backcountry setup. Prior to this innovation by Spark R&D’s founder and chief designer Will Ritter, snowboarders had limited options for uphill travel. You could snowshoe with your snowboard strapped to your pack, or use the existing splitboard touring setup—this required you to mount your bindings onto an elevated and heavy metal plate, resulting in an unresponsive board feel on the way down.

SPARK R&D SURGE BINDINGS

The new Surge bindings are perfect for steep lines that require quick response. Stocked with Spark R&D’s Pillow Line Straps—molded in-house and 50 percent lighter than fabric straps—these binders weigh in at just 3 pounds. The built-in T-1 climbing wire effortlessly switches between flat, 12- and 18-degree climbing modes while traveling uphill. Ditch that old, wobbly setup you’re on and upgrade to the Surge. You’ll thank yourself when you have tight board-to-binding contact on the ride down, coupled with an easy switch between touring and ride mode. $415 sparkrandd.com

INCLINE GOGGLES / BIG SKY, MONTANA Every startup company faces a tough choice: spend gobs of money on flashy marketing, or spend it on product research and development. Matt Brown and Jason Meyers at Incline Goggles chose the latter, and after founding the company in 2016, the result is one of the most cutting-edge goggle companies out there. Combining the best technology behind optics and lens development—including a permanent anti-fog infused into the lens—and a sturdy frame, Incline gives you the proverbial “quiver-killer” setup.

ADEPT GOGGLES

Beyond the technology that makes the Incline Adept exceptional are its user-friendly features. Easily interchangeable custom straps keep you loaded with style points, while Intact interchangeable lens technology allows you to change lenses without taking the goggles off—or your gloves—with the simple snap of magnets. Remember the Benjamins spent on lens technology? That’s the cherry on the sundae. Top-of-the line photochromic lenses automatically become lighter or darker with changing mountain weather conditions. Incline is currently taking pre-orders for winter 2018/2019. $200 inclineoptics.com

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BE ADVENTUROUS. BE INSPIRED. JUST BE.

5 N I G H T + 6 D AY R I V E R T R I P S

Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho B O O K AT B O U N DA RY E X P E D I T I O N S .C O M O R ( 8 8 8 ) 9 4 8 - 4 3 3 7

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Boundary Expeditions operates under special use permits with the Salmon Challis National Forest and Payette National Forest and is an equal opportunity provider.


HUMOR / P. 129 Watch video of Lesley Martin’s account at mtoutlaw.com/thefineline

THE FINE LINE

TALE / P. 135

ADVENTURE SURVIVING

THE

AVALANCHE

AT

IDAHO’S FRENCHMAN CREEK Lesley Martin in her home in Bozeman, November 2017.

BY EMILY STIFLER WOLFE

P HOTO BY RYA N WE AVE R

T

Looking up at the slope that avalanched from the toe of the debris. The burial locations are out of view to the right. P H OTO CO UR T E SY O F SAW TOOT H AVAL AN CHE C ENTER

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colliding with a ball. Lesley Martin turned her head and saw the giant cloud of snow coming at them. She screamed. With no time to run, she turned and dove facedown onto the ground, put her hands up to protect her face, and the avalanche buried her. As the snow slowed, Lesley cleared an air pocket in front of her snowmobile helmet with her hands, and then it stopped. She couldn’t move. “I kept telling myself, ‘If I [panic], I’m going to die for sure,’” recalls Lesley, then 70. She tried to stay calm and breathe normally. Soon though, breathing became difficult, and she lost her cool. She had no idea what happened to her three snowmobiling partners—if they were dead or alive, or if someone might find her. Struggling to move, Lesley twisted her head inside her helmet and noticed a sliver of light in her left periphery. She realized she could move one arm a few inches, so she scratched at the snow beside her face. More light. Retracting her hand, she was able to pull her glove off a bit and extend her reach. She stopped when she felt cold air, afraid of plugging the hole. “The only thing that I could do at that point was lay there and think,” Lesley wrote a few weeks after the accident. She felt comfortable, but stressed for air. How could this have happened? Her group thought they were being cautious by sticking to the flats. She worried about the others—her husband George and their friends Sue and Bob Swanton— and thought of their son Chad, their dogs back at home in Bellevue, Idaho. She didn’t want to die like this. A feeling of warmth overtook her, and Lesley had a vision she was breathing into a sparkling golden globe. Eventually, the cold crept in, and she lost consciousness. >> / M T O U T L AW. C O M

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T

HE TWO COUPLES MET IN 1996,

when Sue bought a snowmobile from Lesley. They were all living in Washington state and became fast friends, riding together around the West— from the Pemberton Icefield in British Columbia to West Yellowstone, Montana. The Martins moved to the Ketchum, Idaho, area in 2000, and the Swantons, now living in Oregon, were out for their annual visit. Their first day it stormed so hard they didn’t ride, and when George Martin read the avalanche advisory the next morning, February 16, 2014, the danger level was rated considerable to high. In the two weeks prior, 60 inches of snow had fallen on The Martins and the Swantons in 2013. George Martin, who died in the a weak, shallow snowpack, and Frenchman Creek avalanche, is pictured both human-triggered and natural at right. slab avalanches had occurred PHOTO COURTE S Y OF L ES L EY M A R TI N the previous day, according to when the avalanche broke above them. the Sawtooth National Forest Starting on a northwest-facing slope near Avalanche Center. tree line, it ran 1,500 vertical feet to the valley floor and across “Avalanches will likely fail on mid-storm weaknesses and the creek. The crown—the top wall where the slab of snow broke could be large,” the forecast warned. “Avoid wind-loaded slopes, loose—ranged from 2 to 5 feet deep and was more than 1,500 feet steep consequential terrain, and large avalanche path runouts.” wide. It plastered tree trunks 30 feet high with snow. The crack The group set out for Frenchman Creek, with a plan to play it that Lesley heard was either mature timber snapping or the sound safe in the low meadows and trees where the Martins had ridden of the avalanche fracturing, said Scott Savage, the Sawtooth two weeks earlier. On the 90-minute drive up Highway 75 from Avalanche Center forecaster who wrote the accident report. Bellevue, they were impressed by the amount of new snow on Sue turned when she heard Lesley scream. “I remember Galena Summit. having enough time to think, ‘We’re too far away. It’s going to They followed a lone snowmobile track up the creek for a maybe hit my ankles,’” Sue recalls. But the avalanche flipped her half mile, then left the trail to play on some small hills. Three of over her snow machine and rolled it onto her leg, pinning her. She the four snowmobiles quickly augured into the unsupportable felt a crushing weight on her back and chest and couldn’t breathe. snowpack and had to be dug out. After 2.5 miles, the trail opened Bob heard the warning cry, and took one step before it hit him. into a clearing flanked by steep mountainsides, and the old track Both Sue and Bob were buried on their sides about a foot disappeared. deep, and managed to push an arm through the snow to clear With such unpleasant riding, they decided to call it quits, but their faces and chests, clawing at the cement-like snow with their when Bob and George went to turn their machines around, both hands. Approximately 10 minutes after the avalanche, Bob freed got stuck. Lesley and Sue helped dig out, an hour-long process his watch arm and took note of the time: 2:10 p.m. Although that involved crawling across the snow surface in an attempt they were only 6 feet apart, they couldn’t hear each other at to avoid post-holing to their waists. Bob turned Sue’s machine first. By 2:45, Bob was out. He grabbed a shovel from the only around, while 100 feet away George helped Lesley climb out of a snowmobile left unburied and tried digging Sue’s legs out, but chest-deep hole in the snow. The Martins were laughing together 124

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his frozen hands were unable to hold it, so they dug without it. By 3 p.m., she, too, was free. They fumbled with their avalanche beacons, icy fingers almost useless. Bob managed to turn his beacon to search, and they made their way to the spot they’d last seen the Martins. E S L E Y C A M E T O when she heard the sound of a snowmobile. An arm was sticking out of the snow— When Stevenson arrived at the avalanche debris, he started George’s. Sue grabbed his gloved hand, a beacon search and followed the signal to its lowest reading, 0.3 hoping he would squeeze back. Limp. The meters. The snow on the surface was soft, so he started digging with his skin on his wrist was ashen. They dusted hands. He bumped Lesley’s helmet, and she moaned. His heart jumped. snow off his face. He was dead. “Nate, this person is alive!” he yelled. Scales, assembling his shovel, ran They yelled for Lesley. Nothing. over and they dug frantically, clearing her face and chest. Finally, Lesley Bob wanted to look for her, but Sue could breathe freely. knew the odds were against them. They “What’s your name?” Scales asked, digging her legs out. She told him, were having trouble discerning which then looked to where she’d last seen her husband. She saw Bob bent over his signal was which on Bob’s old analog body, and knew George hadn’t made it. beacon—George and Lesley were less Bob walked over to Lesley and told her that Sue was all right. As Rooney than 5 feet apart, and Sue’s beacon was drove Lesley out the bumpy trail, she slumped in front of him, still transmitting—and trying to relax as the cold gripped her. She felt grateful Bob and even if they did find her, Sue were alive, but hollow inside. they were too cold to do L E S L E Y At the highway, Lesley loaded into a warm car where Sue anything. Bob had worked WA S B U R I E D waited—the same one the Swantons had flagged down. She as a bush pilot in Alaska shook violently as people removed her wet clothes and wrapped and Sue was a former Navy U N D E R T H E her in blankets. medic, so they knew how S N O W F O R The Ketchum Fire Department ambulance soon arrived to make decisions during and transported her to St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center, stressful situations. 1 0 5 M I N U T E S . treating her for hypothermia. She was admitted in stable “Our hands were condition, and physicians determined she had suffered a small so cold, we couldn’t heart attack due to hypothermia or lack of oxygen. She was released the grab a shovel or curl our fingers around following day. anything,” Sue said. “It just kicked in that Lesley was buried under the snow for 105 minutes. in order for there to be any chance, we had Only about 47 percent of people survive full avalanche burial, according to get help.” to research by Dr. Pascal Haegeli, an assistant professor and the research chair An hour after the avalanche struck, in avalanche risk management at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University. they made the difficult decision to go As burial time increases, the probability of survival plummets: Survival rates for help. are between 80 and 90 percent for non-trauma victims recovered in 10 to 18 At the trailhead, the Swantons flagged minutes. Between 19 and 35 minutes, the probability drops to 34 percent. down a car and asked the drivers to call Beyond that, it’s around 10 percent. However, as Haegeli reported in his search and rescue. When they pulled 2011 paper published in the Canadian Medical Associates Journal, “a buried into Smiley Creek Lodge, a mile away, a person who is still alive after 35 minutes has a relatively stable chance of group of experienced backcountry skiers surviving the ensuing 60 minutes.” overheard the story. Two of them, Nate As Savage wrote in his analysis, there can be a fine line between “safe” Scales and Justin Stevenson, had just taken and “unsafe” when traveling in the mountains. an avalanche class. They fired up their “If the group had stopped 20-30 feet farther away from the slope, none snowmobiles and pinned it to the accident would have been buried in the avalanche. If the group had stopped 20 feet site. Right behind them, the lodge general closer to the steeper slope, all four would likely have been buried deeper and manager Alan Rooney followed them all four members of the group may have perished.” on his snow machine, and Bob Swanton, They didn’t realize they could remotely trigger an avalanche from the still at the trailhead, geared back up and creek bottom, and that if they did, they were in the runout zone. >> headed in five minutes later.

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H R E E Y E A R S L AT E R , L E S L E Y MARTIN CLIMBED BACK IN T H E S A D D L E . She and her son

had moved to Bozeman, and in December she rode up Moose Creek, in the Gallatin Range, with a friend and her son. She was apprehensive, but it turned out she was just happy to be in the mountains. She speaks openly about the accident, her tone soft-spoken but matter of fact. “I lost my husband of 40 years, [and] I will miss him every day for the rest of my life,” she recounted. “[I want] to help people learn, help someone else not get in that kind of trouble.” Some of the takeaways are obvious—like getting avalanche education, practicing with rescue gear and choosing your partners wisely—but others may be harder won. When Lesley realized she wouldn’t be able to outrun the avalanche, instinct told her to lay down flat. It was a gamble, and it worked. All three of the survivors had the mental control to stay calm and the grit to keep fighting. The very instincts that kept Lesley alive in Frenchman Creek have allowed her to move on and thrive. “I won’t quit,” she said. “I’m a very strong woman, and I just go on with life. I like to have fun. I like to live.” 126

An overview of the avalanche from 500 vertical feet above the valley floor—burial locations of the riders are numbered. The snowmobile tracks to the left of the burial locations are from the group turning around two sleds before the avalanche released.

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W H AT I S A R E M O T E L Y T R I G G E R E D AVA L A N C H E ? The group caught in the Frenchman Creek avalanche didn’t recognize they were in avalanche terrain. “As I remember, we were out in the middle of a meadow, a long ways away from the base of the hill,” Lesley later wrote. “The last thing on our minds was an avalanche.” But when conditions are dangerous, it’s possible to trigger an avalanche remotely, even from below. “[Remote triggers occur when there is] a widely distributed weak layer beneath a stronger, thicker slab of snow—and something causes that weaker layer to collapse,” explained Simon Trautman, an avalanche specialist with the National Avalanche Center and former director of the Sawtooth Center. “You could think of it as a building collapsing if you knocked the pilings out from under it. Once the collapse happens, that fracture can move throughout the snowpack. In this case, it moved up the hill and caused the slab to break free and avalanche.” Trautman recommends taking a class to learn how to recognize and avoid avalanche terrain and always reading the avalanche advisory. Beyond that, carry a full kit of avalanche gear including a shovel, probe and modern beacon on your person and practice with it regularly.

Find educational materials and national course information at avalanche.org.

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er’s guide

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BY EDNOR THERRIAULT

Growing up, I developed a voracious need for speed that was fed with surfing, waterskiing and skateboarding. After high school I moved to the Northern Rockies, where surfing was an exotic fiction and I had no friends who owned a boat. I decided I’d check out downhill skiing. I never took a lesson, just borrowed a roommate’s old pair of skis and hit the slopes. Unfortunately my impatience, and that old need for speed, led me directly from the snowplow to the jumps in the park. Every ill-advised leap invariably ended in a spectacular crash landing that would strip me of all my gear, my breath, my dignity and a bit of cognitive function. This was the ‘80s— the only people wearing helmets then were in the NFL. Not knowing how to slow down or stop, I adopted a technique called “hitting a tree.” Undaunted, I took a spring break trip to Whistler, British Columbia, where Blackcomb Peak boasted a full mile of vertical drop. It took me so long to get down that mountain that by the time I came limping into the ski village, my neon-colored apparel had gone out of style.

I LLU S T RAT I O N BY K E LS E Y D ZI N TA RS

oarding

IP: PRO T

wear a helmet

ys

I couldn’t break the code. It felt completely unnatural to slide down a hill facing forward, feet encased in stiff boots that offered all the comfort and flexibility of a pair of cinder blocks. When approaching a challenge, rather than facing it head on, I prefer to sidle up to it. Fast forward 15 years and I’m living in Missoula, Montana, married, with two kids who are bugging me to take them skiing. My blood runs cold at the thought of hurtling down a mountainside as my body contorts into counterintuitive positions while my brain screams, “Negative! Abort!” It’s my son, Hudson, who saves the day. “I don’t want to learn how to ski,” he tells me. My sigh of relief could probably be heard at the top of Blackcomb. “I want to snowboard.” I’d watched snowboards sizzle past me while untangling from a ski crash. They traveled sideways, one foot in front of the other. Like skateboarding. Like surfing. Yeah, sure, I tell Hudson. Someday soon we’ll try snowboarding. >>

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t’s funny how kids can make someday occur immediately. Hudson shook me awake one Saturday morning and said he’d won a pair of lift tickets to nearby Discovery Ski Area by answering a trivia question on the radio. This happened before I’d had a sip of coffee, and I was unable to produce an argument. Today was the day. We drove to Discovery, which features a broad, gently sloping bunny lift your heels up toward the sky and push down with your back hill with an actual chairlift—perfect. We sent my daughter foot. It’s that simple. Sophie off to a one-hour ski class. The boy and I outfitted Armed with this new knowledge, I made my way to the ourselves with snowboards and boots. They offered helmets, lift for another go. Cautiously, I began slipping down the hill, but I was sure the knit caps we wore would be enough to alternately lifting my toes and pushing out with my back foot. cushion our melons during any little tumble we might take. It worked! I was snowboarding! I started to go faster between That was my first mistake. turns, fast enough to feel the icy wind stinging my cheeks and A few yards from the lodge, the bunny hill lift line was whooshing in my ears. I surrendered to my need for speed. bristling with micro athletes ready to take on the slope called That was my biggest mistake. I was rocketing across the Lums Run. Hudson was off to join the face of the hill toward the end of the run snowboard class, and I secured one when the downhill edge of my board boot into the binding of my board and dug in, slamming my body backward started pushing my way toward the into the snow. Like the last car on a I’d already taken more spills Lums Run lift line. Pushing yourself rollercoaster, my head whiplashed, getting to my first lift than along with one foot on a snowboard banging off the hard crust. those kids who were laughing is similar to pedaling along on a My bell had been rung hard. I at me would take all day. Hey, I skateboard, only your front foot is found out later that I’d gotten a used to surf, you little punks. turned 90 degrees inward and the concussion. I never lost consciousness, wheels can go in all directions. but as I lay on my back, looking up Not being double jointed, I’d at the crisp blue sky, I began to see already taken more spills getting images roll past my eyes. I remembered to my first lift than those kids who dreams I’d never had, experienced feelings of déjá vu of were laughing at me would take all day. Hey, I used to surf, things that had never happened. you little punks. I’ll just ride the chair up and let my natural Hudson appeared and looked down at me. “Wow, Dad, are skills kick in. you okay? Should I get the ski patrol?” I struggled to get up, not That was my second mistake. wanting the ignominy of being towed to the lodge in the meat I soon realized that somewhere between the bottom wagon. Swatting at the butterflies that were flitting about in my and the top of the lift you have to learn how to snowboard, peripheral vision, I assured Hudson that I was fine. because that’s how you get off. Once I crawled out of the After a couple more runs we called it a day. My wife Shannon way of all the 6-year-olds gliding off the lift behind me (Save drove, and having watched my crash from her cozy perch in the yourselves! Go on without me!)—I managed to get my boots lodge, remarked that I seemed lucid enough, although I was strapped in and started sliding my way down. I fell over every speaking in the kind of dull monotone you hear on NPR’s All 10 feet because I didn’t know how to turn. Things Considered. In the back seat, the kids chattered excitedly Or slow down. Or stop. Snowboarding was not like about their day on the slopes, already talking about which runs skateboarding at all. What was I missing? they wanted to try on our next trip. Halfway down the bunny hill I encountered Hudson’s Shannon kept glancing over at me with worried eyes, snowboard class. I threw myself onto the ground a few yards occasionally patting me on the knee. “Next time we come up away from the class and pretended to adjust my bindings you’re all going to have helmets.” for 20 minutes, while I eavesdropped on their 16-year-old Staring into the sunset ahead of us, I nodded, causing the instructor. horizon to jiggle up and down like a plucked guitar string. “Yes. Snowboarding is all about the edges, she told the rapt It’s just not worth the risk.” young thrill seekers. “But how do you turn?” asked one imp. “What risk, dad?” Sophie asked. Easy, she said. If your back is facing uphill, lift your toes up I looked at her in the rear-view. “You know. Dain bramage.” toward the sky and lean back. If your back is facing downhill, M T O U T L AW. C O M / MOUNTAIN

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134 IL L U SMOUNTAIN T R AT I O N BY KE LSE Y

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ADVENTURE: TALE

WARNING: This story contains profanity

Pitch No. 1: The Elevator Pitch

T

here they are, a thousand feet of sexless polished granite shining in the Idaho sun. And there I am, grubby and unshaven, three weeks from turning 50, standing with my 15-year-old son. I have never rock climbed— or climbed in any organized way. In my youth, I tackled the curated boulders in Central Park with what I considered cat-like skill. I was a tremendous at scaling trees. I had read The Eiger Sanction and had even seen the movie, twice. But my father was a banker and most of our peaks and valleys lay within the pinstriped world of the Dow Jones Industrial. But I am different. I went to college in Vermont and graduate school in Montana, and while I still live in my hometown of New York, my head is often maneuvering through strange fictional terrain. But climbing, like real climbing, with ropes and harnesses and those cool metal loopy things—carabiners? Yeah, carabiners. No, never that kind of climbing, not even in my most extravagant dreams. "We can do this when we come back," JP suggests, standing at the base of this glassy rock. "It's fun," Sam tells us. JP and Sam are our guides for the week in the Sawtooth Wilderness. Though I have done my outdoor time in Vermont and Montana, I haven't been camping, like serious multi-day camping, in probably 25 years. This embarrasses me. How far removed from nature I’ve become. And since I'm a New Yorker, born and bred, I’ve hired these two young men to take Max and me on our adventure, to reintroduce me to myself. "What do you think?" I ask Max. Max is game for anything. Max is hungry for excitement in all forms. Max wants neardeath thrills. Max and I had just done five days of rafting on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, five days of the biggest water in recent memory, five days of near-panic in the eyes of the outfitter who navigated us through rapids classless and base. But we had survived, we had laughed through gritted teeth, and Max, well Max, he wasn't impressed. No boats flipped. No one was injured or near-drowned.

For him, the goal of safety represented the failure of imagination. Only broken bones held meaning. "Of course," Max says of the potential ascent. And so we stash the climbing gear because we will be back, Super Slabs, the name sort of disappointing: it sounded like a big-haired, sequin-wearing band from the ‘70s, hard rock dressed up in gray Lycra. There was no Super Slabs Sanction. Not yet, at least. The author and son, Max

Pitch No. 2: The First Pitch

I

n February, I started feeling the pinch of 50, though in all honesty turning 40 was harder. I remember being cranky for the whole year leading up to that July, the last few months unbearable, my normally staid temper swelling to the surface, my patience near zero, my eyes seeking quick judgment. I imagined myself getting into fistfights, just swinging at that annoying dude passing me on the street. I tipped cabbies poorly. I was short with my dog. If I were Ishmael, I would have taken to the sea. But I was clueless to the cause of this aggression and depression—age seemed a dubious and rather pathetic reason for such a lousy mood—so I blamed whatever was within reach: my wife, my career, my life in this hard city. But then I turned 40 and I lightened almost instantly. Weird, I remember thinking. It was just getting older that had gotten me so down. But now the clock had restarted on a new decade. The following 10 years proved difficult and triumphant and joyous and regretful, a bit of everything, birth and death included, and approaching the big 50 I was wary of putting my loved ones through this

banal birthday crap all over again. So I planned a trip, a trip with Max. Some good old-fashioned father-son bonding. I would battle a cliché with another cliché. "For how long?" Max asked. "Two weeks, two and a half weeks." "Just the two of us?" "Yeah." He thought for a moment, which in teenage years encompassed the amount of time to return a text and a Snapchat. "Um, sure, I guess," he said. "But do you think we could just go for like a weekend." "A weekend?" "Yeah, like a long weekend." "Trust me," I said, "We'll have a good time." "But I have things to do," Max said. Is there a better, or worse, age than 15? The exquisite awkwardness, the strange new geography, every mirror a fun house mirror showing squat bits and elongated bits, the giant feet and small hands, the general mortification of the flesh, and of your parents as well. "And you'll do those things, I promise," I told him. "A week at the most," he said. "Two weeks and it's going to be a blast," I said. >>

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Pitch No. 3: The Hollywood Pitch

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fter four days in the Sawtooth Mountains, hiking and camping on heavy snowpack since the winter totals had been so epic, after trudging over sun cups the size of large serving bowls, kicking in every step, sliding, sometimes glissading, often resting as every footfall was multiplied by the x number of feet beneath, after mentioning to the guides my years in Vermont, in Montana, Max rolling his eyes, after four nights sleeping on frozen ground in front of ice-covered lakes with turquoise pockets of melt, beautiful yet vaguely eerie, like ponds of the purest industrial waste, after one long night of nearby lightning strikes and intense rain and hail pummeling our tent, father and son crouched together, uncertain of fate, after all these incredible moments and spectacular views and no cellular service and games of hearts and food made delicious simply for being food, after all this, here we are, returned to the base of the Super Slabs. They seem higher and steeper than I remember. Why did I agree to this again? "Is this going to be hard?" I ask JP and Sam, as they help us into our harnesses. "It's around a 5.8 climb," JP says, as if these numbers mean anything to me. "Oh." "There are some technical bits." "Technical?" And here Mr. Vermont Montana learns that technical is just another word for difficult. This particular euphemism drains the pursuit of its struggle and sweat and instead implies cable TV setup and computer work, the mild glitch of when something goes wrong on the networks. I can see the headline now: “Man Dies from Technical Issues, Please Stand By.” "Because I'm not in the world's greatest shape," I say. JP and Sam share a quick, obvious

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glance, having seen me in action these last four days. "You can definitely handle this," Sam says, strapping the helmet on my head. "Last week I climbed the Slabs with a dad and his two girls, 10 and 12 years old, and they killed it. They were from New York as well." I bet they're from Brooklyn, I

I’m hugging rock, near tears and imagine myself becoming just another contour of the Super Slabs, people climbing over my body for years to come, hammering pitons into my skull.

thought, but me, I'm from Manhattan. They hand me a pair of climbing shoes, and though I'm petrified of what’s to come, these shoes make me unspeakably happy, what with their close fit and extended arch and downward pointing toe and smooth sticky sole—they're like ballet shoes for studs. I feel ruggedly graceful. I admire how they look on my legs, their pleasing taper. My son is staring at me. "What?" I ask.

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"Nothing," he says. JP and Sam give us the basics: JP will take the front, Sam the back, and JP will scurry up to the first pitch and tie in and blah, blah, blah. I literally hear nothing. Oh, I'm nodding along, but my head is wondering if my harness is tight enough and if these wonderful shoes will give me blisters. I take in snippets of the pre-climb tutorial: belay, which is perhaps the loveliest word I've ever heard, and anchor and carabiner and bolt. But like with most directions, I'm baffled after the first turn and simply hope I'll find my way. "Should we do this!" JP cheers, slinging over his shoulder this bandolier charmed with multiple pieces of shiny metal gear. Sam's wearing one too. I am briefly jealous. "Yes," we say, because we are a team and we are doing this. JP starts up the graded incline, leaning into the rock, hands helping him along but in effortless style, like he's miming the act of climbing. Settled into his perch a hundred feet up, he calls down for Max, and Max literally sprints up this tilted face, like the natural he is, the little brat. Now it's my turn. First step okay. Second step fine. I enjoy the Spiderman grip of these shoes. More steps. Hands looking for ridges and holds. I can sense the potential mortal fall behind me even though Sam is still within dodgeball distance. I realize right then, on the easiest section of the Super Slabs, that I'm in over my head, even if I had once lived in Vermont and Montana. I'm a man who ascends exclusively by elevator. But I make it to JP and Max, and they smile and tell me, “Well done,” and Sam joins us with all the effort of raising a pinky while drinking tea. "Now it gets a bit more technical," JP says. I am so screwed.

Pitch No. 4: The Crux Pitch

T

he only other time I've ever felt this way was in 10th grade geometry class, the feeling of no matter what, I'm never going to be able to do this. Sorry, lengths and areas and volumes are not my bag. I'm totally incapable of providing the necessary proof. I am baffled. I am doomed. I am unsolvable. Up we go. Or up they go, JP and then Max. Me? I'm hugging rock, near tears and imagine myself becoming just another contour of the Super Slabs, people climbing over my body for years to come, hammering pitons into my skull. Don't mind me, I'm stuck forever. My son, my sweet son, shouts down encouragement, and my mind is full of free-falling invective. Shut the fuck up. You have no fucking idea what I'm going through. I swear if you say, "You can do this," one more time, I'm going to climb up there just so I can throw you off this super shitty slab. JP and Sam instruct me on how to wedge my hand into that crack and look for any ledges or shelves or protrusions, and swing my leg over and reach my hand up and brace my foot. But right now I hate these two people more than I've ever hated two people in my life, worse than Lenny and Squiggy. I blame them for bringing me up here. I cannot believe they thought I could do this. I'm almost 50. Don't they know that? Haven't I made that perfectly clear? Oh, and by the way I barely went outside while I was in Vermont and Montana. My knee is now bleeding. Fingers too. I have no dynamic motion; in fact, I am the opposite of dynamic motion. I am all fruitless gesture. I slip and feel the rope tighten and hold me, and I wonder if JP could just haul me up—he's young, he's strong, he got me into this mess—like if I fake a head injury, if I pretend to knock my helmet against the rock, I could go limp and he could be the hero. Win-win. Sam is right behind me. He tells me I'm doing great as he boils another pot of tea. Sam is a horrible liar. I can see my fear in his eyes, which shines back as mild amusement. These girls, I think, can we talk about these girls, only 10 and 12? How in the hell did they do this, Sam, this shimmying up this narrow seam? But then I remember women in all forms and at all

ages are stronger. Okay, how about the dad then? How did the dad manage? I scan the granite for dad tears and dad blood and dad regrets, dad humiliations, dad failures and dad jokes and dad attempts at bonding—at trying for connection during this time of tough angles and nearly impossible surfaces, this non-Euclidean world where getting from here to there is near impossible to grasp, even with ropes involved. I stare at this rock and I am haunted. "All right, man, well done," JP says to me. Done what? "Awesome," Max says, doing me the favor of not noticing my flailing. I carefully turn and rest my back against the slab. My legs are shaking, my arms wasted. From the top of the crux pitch we can see Redfish Lake, the endpoint for our trip, where we will hop on a boat later this afternoon and head back toward Redfish Lodge, where our rental car is parked. After a few days in Sun Valley, Max and I will fly back to New York City. Max will quickly get reabsorbed into his life of texting and Snapchatting and hanging with friends and discovering the more adult boundaries of adolescence. I will turn 50. I won't feel old but I will know that I am old. "That was horrible," I say. "But you totally did it," Sam says, smiling. I nod. In my adrenaline-fused gut I have nothing but tremendous warmth for Sam and JP, knowing soon I'll never see them again, despite the promises of keeping in touch. We will depart. We will exchange a single pleasant email and then appropriate silence. But right now I love them. And maybe this melts into my son as well, the big and small of growing older. And then JP ruins it. "Only two more pitches to go."

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IN THE YOUNG SPORT OF SNOWBOARDING, there’s something of an accepted—or expected— trajectory for a professional’s career. It’s safe to say that it usually doesn’t start on the top of the X Games podium, and it certainly doesn’t progress upward from there. In this respect Jackson, Wyoming’s Travis Rice is an anomaly. His 15-year snowboard career has evolved beyond the sheer athleticism that landed him contest medals and in celebrated video parts. His resume now includes producer credits on big budget film projects and event organizer of an innovative freestyle contest. He’s succeeded in making a huge impact in a sport that usually only sees the mainstream spotlight once every four years—and he’s done it on his own terms. Rice was raised in Wilson, Wyoming, down the road from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort where his dad was a ski patroller and taught him to ski at a young age. Rice discovered snowboarding at age 10, when the sport was still young and the community of riders in Jackson was small. “That was a great scene to come up in,” Rice says, “I was just making it up. It was always this very open-ended experience without limit or rule.” >>

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SECTION: SUBHEAD OUTLAW: TRAVIS RICE

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“ T R AV I S WA S T H AT R A R E TA L E N T W H O SEEMED TO BE he local crop of riders included Bryan Iguchi, a top professional and transplant from the exploding Southern California scene. Iguchi, both a mentor and contemporary of Rice, remembers the first time he saw Rice hit a jump. “I’ll never forget it, the hair on the back of my neck stood up,“ Iguchi said. “I’d never seen anyone ride with so much raw talent. He had power, style and control and he was still in high school. I knew at that moment he was destined for success and was going to change snowboarding.” Rice’s ascendance from talented local rider to worldwide acclaim was quick. In the spring of 2001, shortly after high school graduation, his big break came at a contest hosted by Snowboarder Magazine. Rice threw a backside 540-degree spin over a 114-foot jump in front of the entire industry, besting the efforts of the top pro riders. Snowboarder Magazine Creative Director Pat Bridges was there, and recalls, “Travis was that rare talent who seemed to be playing with a different deck of cards than everyone else.” As usual, Rice is in a good mood when we chat over the phone in September. His cheerful voice a perfect match to his looks, which haven’t changed much over the years—the blond hair, bright blue eyes, and his signature wide, dimpled grin. A smile that can move mountains—and move people to perform beyond their limits. Rice will be the first to share credit for many of his accomplishments, which he believes are achieved only

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through the effort of like-minded individuals. “I fit in there as this ultimate motivator,” says Rice, who has earned the nickname “Optimistic Prime,” a reference to his willingness to push himself and others to believe extraordinary results are never out of reach. It’s these results that Rice is after as he immerses himself in the editing process of his latest film, Depth Perception. This movie is a total departure for Rice—a full-length feature with limited fanfare and a bare bones production crew. The fact that the editing bay is in Bozeman, Montana, instead of downtown Los Angeles, is indicative of this sea change. “This film was a concept I came up with years ago that we initially thought was going to be a short art film,” he said. The project evolved into a full-length movie shot entirely in the British Columbia interior along with three other riders, Bryan Fox, Austen Sweetin and Robin Van Gyn. The premise, Rice says, is “both a whimsical and scientific look at the symbiotic ecosystem of the interior B.C. rainforest.” The ecological focus of the film is reflective of Rice’s ongoing interest in the larger biorhythms of the planet, which he also explored in his 2016 release, The Fourth Phase, a four-year project produced by Red Bull Media House and Brain Farm Digital Cinemas. In the film, he pursued the ambitious goal of following the hydrologic cycle in the North Pacific. “You could call [Depth Perception] a rebound project,” he says, referring to the immense challenge posed by The Fourth Phase. Rice is proud of that movie, but seems to have been exhausted by the process that was crowded with, in his words, too many cooks in the kitchen.

P L AYIN G WIT H A DIFFERENT DECK OF CARDS THAN EVERYONE ELSE.”

This isn’t surprising, as The Fourth Phase followed on the heels of arguably the most successful snowboard movie of all time, The Art Of Flight. The 2011 film brought the thrill of the sport to a mainstream audience—it was the No. 1 iTunes movie in the U.S. at its release and earned Rice a nod as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. The Art Of Flight was a bold endeavor, bringing viewers on an exploration of remote terrain paired with incredible feats of big mountain snowboarding, with Rice as both narrator and standout star of the film. Rice says he juggled many roles in that multi-year project. “I was sharing directorial/producer roles, essentially where we went, how we went about it and the riders that came with us was usually all up to me.” Rice continued in that robust role during all four years of The Fourth Phase, which serves to explain his embrace of the scaled-down production of Depth Perception. “It reminds me of the old days of snowboard filmmaking,” he said.

Left: Mark Landvik, Eric Jackson The “old days” would have and Travis Rice filming The been the early part of his career Fourth Phase in Russia in January 2014. when Rice, one year into his snowboard career, earned a Right: Rice snowboarding in Alaska during the filming of The 2002 X Games Slopestyle gold Art of Flight in April 2010. medal—a first for a rookie rider. The win exemplified Rice’s natural talent, combining technical skill with a willingness to go really, really big. He followed his X Games win with a series of equally groundbreaking accomplishments including a harrowing feat in 2004, airing over a 120-foot manmade jump in the Utah backcountry dubbed Chad’s Gap while filming for Absinthe Films. The jump had previously been hit by pro skiers, but there was serious doubt that snowboarders could manage the speed—estimated at nearly 50 mph—needed to reach the landing. >>

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SECTION: SUBHEAD OUTLAW: TRAVIS RICE

Above: Rice performs at Red Bull Ultra Natural in February 2012, at Baldface Lodge in Nelson, British Columbia. P H OTO B Y COL E B A R AS H / R ED B U L L CONTENT P OOL

Below: Rice and crew at the premiere of Depth Perception in Bozeman, Montana, October 2017. P H OTO B Y CA M M C DONA L D

ice was naturally the first snowboarder to hit it, easily clearing the gap and nearly overshooting it. This session essentially defined the sport that winter and was captured on magazine covers and in his memorable film part. Soon afterward, while filming another Absinthe project, Rice landed a new trick—a frontside double cork 1080. While riders had been doing 1080-degree spins, what set this trick apart was the double cork, essentially an off-axis rotation thrown into the spin. This trick was remarkable for ushering in the era of doublecorks, a progression that will be on display in the 2018 Winter Olympics Snowboarding Big Air. Look for riders to execute variations on Rice’s trick, which has evolved to now include quadruple corks and 1800 degrees of rotation. Rice could easily be competing in the Winter Olympics, but it’s not really his style anymore and he’s conflicted about the direction of the sport’s competitive side. “The talent of the next generation of snowboarders

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is incredible, but,” he carefully adds, “it’s gotten so specific.” He shares a common critique of modern freestyle snowboarding: a lack of creativity brought on by stifling judging and rotational one-upmanship. Rice sees other opportunities to evolve the sport, especially as an event organizer. In 2008, he launched the first incarnation of his ideal contest at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, aptly dubbed Natural Selection, which mirrored his own pioneering style of combining progressive tricks and steep, untamed backcountry slopes. This contest evolved into Ultra Natural, held in 2012 and 2013 at Baldface Lodge, a backcountry cat skiing destination near Nelson, British Columbia. Ultra Natural aired on NBC as well as worldwide on Red Bull TV. Jeff Pensiero, owner and operator of Baldface Lodge, worked with Rice and a burly crew of Nelson-based builders. “It took me a month to even understand what [Rice] was talking about— jumps 60 to 80 feet off the ground,” Pensiero said. “After we had the first few done, we had Rice out for a visit. He looks at these gnarly mountain guys, and says, ‘All these need to be higher—10, 20, 30 feet higher.’ “The guy has vision,” Pensiero says. Rice still sees these past contests as “beta events” leading to a realization of his ultimate vision. He’s actively on the hunt for a remote new location, one where he can execute a bigger, steeper, wilder contest to further challenge the skills of the top snowboarders in the world. Despite having a full slate of projects on his plate, Rice still finds time to focus his attention on sailing, another hobby he picked up from his father—and he’s gone big with this pursuit as well. He sails a 48-foot gunboat, a high-performance cruising catamaran that has served as his second home for the last six years. He counts two-time America’s Cup winner Shannon Falcone among his friends and mentors. Following our September conversation, Rice was setting sail from French Polynesia to Hawaii with big wave surfer Ian Walsh. In sailing, he sees parallels to backcountry riding. “Out on the ocean, with a tight group of friends, at the mercy of your own decision making—it’s hard, it’s a lot of work but incredibly rewarding. And it’s a good balance from being in the mountains.” And then? Rice will follow the hydrologic cycle back to Jackson Hole for another winter pioneering the sport of snowboarding.

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LAST LIGHT SECTION: SUBHEAD

After a frustrating month of wildfire smoke hanging over the Pacific Northwest, a friend and I hiked Mount Ellinor in Olympic National Park, Washington, to take in a post-rain sunset. When we arrived at the very top, we found this corky little goat awaiting us. Just moments before the sun retreated behind the mountains, a beautiful, deep orange color set the mood and this goat decided to model for us. I admired him for a minute before pulling out my camera to take this photo. In addition to being gratified that I’d gotten the shot, I was pleased with the whole intimate setting. It was non-threatening, peaceful and warm—just my friend, the goat, and I taking in a beautiful sunset after a month of dreary haze. P H OTO B Y T YLE R GR OBMEI ER

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2018 Winter Mountain Outlaw  
2018 Winter Mountain Outlaw  

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