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News You Need To Know

BY: Sarah Peruzzi | JANUARY 22, 2024


Snow Making

ACCORDING TO THE GALLATIN RIVER TASK FORCE, the most cost-effective and sustainable way to address drought and protect the Gallatin River is through water conservation. In Big Sky, every gallon of water saved or reused directly contributes to the health of the river and the watershed. That’s where snowmaking with reclaimed water comes in. Man-made snow boosts the snowpack, and because it is denser than natural snow, it delays runoff in the spring, helping to keep the watershed and aquifer healthy. The Yellowstone Club project, says Rich Chandler, Director of Environmental Operations for the YC, is about water conservation and the beneficial use of a scarce resource. Chandler also notes that man-made snow from reclaimed water is safe to ski and recreate on. This winter at the YC, another 35,000 linear feet of pipe with 66 different connections to snowmaking guns will take reclaimed water from the pond on top of the golf course to make snow on 55 skiable acres. That man-made snowpack will deliver a 25 million gallon benefit to the aquifer and watershed.


MSU Campus

The Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Montana, where the Marriott Tribute Hotel will be built to further students’ careers in hospitality. Photo by Joe Esenther

MONTANA IS BOOMING, but as fast as it’s growing, the state still experiences a brain drain when its college- educated youth leave in search of work. Montana State University’s Hospitality Management program and Lone Mountain Land Company hope to help change that by developing a campus “teaching hotel.” THE VIM will be a Marriott Tribute Hotel developed by LMLC on a 40-year land lease. The hotel’s name comes from the MSU Bobcat’s fight song: “We’ve got the vim, we’re here to win.” (In the old expression “vim and vigor, vim means energy or pluck.) Once THE VIM opens, students will work alongside seasoned hoteliers as they get hands-on training in hospitality management, culinary arts, marketing, engineering, design, retail, and construction. THE VIM is expected to break ground in late 2024 or early 2025. The clientele? Visiting faculty, students, parents, alumni, and donors. Aesthetically, the hotel will honor the historic architecture of the University and downtown Bozeman with brick facades and arched windows. A rooftop Alumni Club—with its private dining bar, hot tub, cold plunge, fitness center, sauna, and steam room—will serve as a philanthropy hub. There will be discounted rates available to welcome parents and students. “With a three-meal restaurant, cafe, marketplace, and official Bobcat-themed store, MSU will not only promote their brand, but offer classes that train kids to stay and become part of Montana’s driving economic force,” says LMLC’s Vice President of Planning and Development, Bayard Dominick.


Biker riding one of the diverse BSCO trails.

Biker riding one of the diverse BSCO trails.
Photograph by Tibor Nemeth

THIS PAST SUMMER, the Big Sky Community Organization (BSCO) celebrated its 25th anniversary and launched its “All Out for Parks & Trails Campaign’’ with the goal of serving residents and visitors alike. With this campaign, BSCO has three key initiatives: the creation of a new multi-use park for all ages and abilities; improving and expanding existing athletic fields and courts; and enhancing the existing trail network to ensure the safety and enjoyment of cyclists and pedestrians by building new multi-use recreational trails to meet increasing demand.

BSCO believes that community building happens through recreation. Expected to break ground in 2024 on land donated by LMLC in summer 2023, a new park will be constructed for the public off Ousel Falls Road which will repurpose six acres into a community hub. Initial plans show a dog park, lawn game area, picnic shelters, playground, and a full basketball court with a small plaza and seating. Cornhole boards with boulder seating, and a multi-use playing field suitable for everything from soccer to ultimate frisbee will round out the site. “The park will serve the entire population of Big Sky,” says BSCO CEO, Whitney Montgomery.

Existing parks will be modernized and receive a significant renovation, too. BSCO will expand the skate park and pump track to include a jump-line to practice skills. Existing athletic fields will be expanded and upgraded to provide a longer playing season, and a new adventure based, ADA accessible, playground designed for multiple ages and abilities will become a hangout for young families.

Other initiatives include adding 20 miles of multi-use recreational trails and improving in-town paths and trails to ensure a safer experience for pedestrians and cyclists. Ultimately, BSCO’s campaign will bring everyone in Big Sky “All Out”—connected, healthy, and thriving.


LAST SPRING, AS SCHOOL YEAR CALENDARS COUNTED DOWN, many Big Sky families were struggling to find quality, affordable childcare for the summer months. In a poll conducted by the Big Sky Child Care Task Force, more than 35 families indicated a need for childcare for four to five-year- olds. Hannah Waterbury, Executive Director of Spanish Peaks Community Foundation says that although a lack of affordable childcare is a national and statewide issue, it particularly affects Big Sky residents. She notes that more than 96 percent of women who live in Big Sky work, and those with children spend $1,733 monthly—16 percent of their median income— on childcare. Moreover, says Waterbury, the 50 percent of Big Sky’s workforce that commutes also face a need for childcare. Montana is one of only a handful of states that does not offer public pre-kindergarten. And Big Sky has only one full-time, year-round childcare facility—Morningstar Learning Center. These collective challenges make it difficult for families to live in Big Sky. They also make it hard for businesses to retain middle management employees.

Recognizing the urgency, Big Sky’s private, philanthropic, and public entities joined forces. Employing spaces donated by Big Sky School District #72, the Lone Mountain Land Company, Spanish Peaks Community Foundation, and Yellowstone Club Community Foundation worked tirelessly to launch the Big Sky Summer Camp for preschoolers.

But that was just one piece of the puzzle. “When Lone Mountain Land Company became aware of the need for childcare, they stepped in to help,” says Waterbury.

Morningstar needed more resources. Applying for a Childcare Innovation and Infrastructure Grant, funded by The American Rescue Plan Act and the Montana Department of Health and Human Services was the best option. In order to receive the $1 million dollar grant, Morningstar needed a 10 percent corporate match. That’s where LMLC was able to help. While Morningstar only ended up receiving $413,904 of its request, LMLC still matched its $100,000 commitment. The funds were the next piece of the puzzle for helping to address Big Sky’s childcare needs. Ultimately, more expansion will be necessary.


RiverView Rendering

A rendering of the RiverView Place development.
Rendering courtesy of Lone Mountain Land Company

WORKING WITH MULTIPLE PARTNERS, LMLC wants to ensure that the people who work in Big Sky can also call it home. To date, hundreds of millions of dollars has been earmarked to address community housing initiatives.

RiverView Place is slated to house 387 locals in 97 units in 2024. Featuring a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments, as well as shared living suites, RiverView residents will find affordable housing within walking distance to amenities such as playgrounds, pickleball courts, as well as athletic fields in the Community Park and restaurants, nightlife, fitness centers, and other critical retail services in the Town Center and Meadow Village shopping districts. The deed-restricted residential development ties directly into Big Sky’s extensive trail network and features a Skyline Connect bus stop that is expected to ease vehicular traffic. The housing complex focuses on sustainable building practices with low-flow plumbing fixtures and solar panels, and even includes covered bike storage to encourage residents to consider alternate modes of transportation.

“Affordable housing in mountain towns remains a critical need without a clear solution,” says LMLC’s Cryder Bancroft. “Through collaborative partnerships with the Big Sky Housing Trust and the Resort Tax, LMLC is working to ensure anyone who works in Big Sky can also live in Big Sky.” The upcoming Gateway Village development in Gallatin Gateway will offer 323 3-and 4-bedroom units catering to workers who prefer commuting to Big Sky. Meanwhile, the design sports a mountain-modern aesthetic and Gateway Village will look and feel like a mountain community.


Big Sky Stroll Fireworks

Photograph by Joe Esenther

EXPERIENCE THE ENCHANTMENT of Big Sky Town Center every Friday between 4–7pm from December 22 to the end of March. Immerse yourself in a lively atmosphere where local retailers, restaurants, bars, and art galleries offer exclusive specials, retail raffles, local musicians, and more. Friday nights in Town Center are the place to be this winter season!


Surefoot Town Center

Inside the new Surefoot boot fitting store in Town Center.
Photograph by Cryder Bancroft

Town Center gets more vibrant every year. The town is already rich with well-established shopping, dining, and nightlife. This winter brings even more.

– Got nagging pains in your ski boots? A Surefoot boot fitting store is now open at 47 Town Center Ave.

– Need a top-of-the-line chef ’s knife to round out your professional kitchen? The craftspeople at the renowned New West KnifeWorks will set you up.

– Got young ones coming to town? Cut back on their screen time when they’re indoors with a visit to The Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company, a southwestern Montana standout shop from Bozeman.

– With an eye on premium men’s and women’s lifestyle and outdoor apparel, Bluebird is a must hit for your four season casual wear.

– For those who don’t want to head to the base area to load up on Big Sky Resort logo wear, you can now pop right over to the new Big Sky Resort Store in Town Center.

– All that shopping will make you hungry, which is where another Bozeman transplant, Thai Basil, comes in. The Deep Fried Tiger Bombs—crab, cream cheese, onion, green onion, and carrot deep fried in a wonton paper sound like the bomb.

These new additions add to the already 35 established Town Center restaurants, bars, outfitters, and boutiques.

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