Visit Big Sky has a promotion titled “Visit Like A Local.” This is a campaign to remind visitors to embrace our community with kindness, mindfulness, and patience because we are on mountain time. I find this campaign to be truly personal because when I think about the campaign and its message , those are the exact reasons why me and my wife ended up here. Why we quite and sole everything to be here and why we chose this to be where our daughter should be born and raised. There are two experiences we had here in Big Sky that relate to the campaign and I thought that I would share them here so that visitors (and locals) can understand why we love this place and why we do what we do.
Let’s paint a picture. First, go back about 12 years ago and imagine a very different Big Sky. The resort wasn’t as big as it is now. The Town Center didn’t have all the buildings and restaurants. There was no medical center. Almost all of the condos and houses that you see now in the valley and on the mountain were not there. This was our first visit, it was winter. Snow was on the ground and we were staying up on the mountain near the resort. Up near Moose Ridge and Sitting Bull. It was VERY late in the evening when we arrived. It was dark. From where we living at the time, it could be considered pitch black. We got into the condo and went to turn on the heater and nothing.
After a while, we called the person we rented the condo from and explained the situation. “Give me about an hour.”, he said. He had to drive down from some place called “Bozeman.” Once he arrived, he discovered the pilot light was out on the furnace, fixed it and heat was restored! But he stayed. Another 2 hours. What first started out as him waiting to make sure the heat was working, turned into a two hour long conversation about Big Sky and Bozeman. How he ended up here. Everything he loved about living here. He answered all our questions about the area and then some. Turns out he he quit his fancy high rise job in Chicago to start a lawn care service. “What?! This is possible?” He was beyond kind and beyond patient. He also planted the seed.
The next event occurred during our next visit. My wife wanted to go fly fishing. We decided the only way to do that would be to have a guide. At the time there weren’t many Fly Shops so we drove to the bottom of the mountain and walked into one. A bell rang as we went in the door. It was a pretty small place. Behind the counter stood a rather large man with a burly beard. He had an organizer on the counter and was moving flies from one compartment to another. He didn’t look up at us. He didn’t acknowledge us.
We looked around a bit and waited about 10 minutes. It was then that he put down the tool he was using to pickup the flys, looked up and said “How can I help you?”. Behind him I noticed a sign “I didn’t move here to be in a hurry.” He was on mountain time! He then spent the next hour explaining to us everything about fly fishing and everything that we needed (and didn’t!). This was the visit that put the last nail in the coffin. As after this, we went home, sold everything, quite our jobs and moved here. Go slow. Be patient. Be kind. We were reminded of and experienced all that here.