Yellowstone National Park is one of the most spectacular wonders of the world, and we are fortunate to have it essentially in our back yard. But, did you know that in addition to millions of visitors passing through there in the summer, it is also open to the public in the winter? Except for a few weeks in the spring and fall when the park is closed to public traffic, you can experience the wonder during all seasons.
While you are making your plans to be in Big Sky this winter to enjoy skiing at Big Sky Resort or cross country and sleigh-riding adventures at Lone Mountain Ranch, consider a visit to Yellowstone to round out your trip.
You can explore the park on your own by cross country skiing into the park, and within it from one of their year-round lodging facilities; you can take a guided snowmobile tour; or you can view it from the warmth and comfort of a Snowcoach. The tours are available to various places in the park including the Old Faithful area and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. You can make it a day trip, or enjoy several days staying in the Snow Lodge or other hotel within the park. If you prefer to drive yourself, the section of road between Mammoth Hot Springs (North entrance) and Cooke City (East Entrance) is open on a year round basis.
Below is a collection of information to help you make your plans. Don’t wait, reservations for the tours and lodging within the park book early!
West Yellowstone Snowcoach and Snowmobile Tours:
Yellowstone National Park Lodging
This winter, the National Park Service is renovating the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins, so they will be closed. However, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins are open and currently taking reservations for the winter season. If you are looking to stay in the park for a few days, consider booking a Snowcoach to transport you to Old Faithful where you can cross country ski or snowshoe, stay in the Lodge or a Cabin, and travel back out again on a Snowcoach.
Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing
There are a number of companies that offer guided ski and snowshoe tours into the park, including and Yellowstone Expeditions and Yellowstone Ski Tours. If you’d like to explore on your own, check out the National Park Service information found here.
Big Sky-based art collectors need look no further than the Big Sky Town Center, where Creighton Block Gallery is home to some of the best known artists in Montana and the American West. Co-owner Colin Mathews has carefully curated a selection of artists to represent, covering a wide spectrum of style, color and mediums to align with the varied tastes of his clients, mostly Big Sky homeowners, decorators and art consultants.
“I select artists with an established reputation,” Colin explains. “I look for those who have sold their works at one or more of the great Western art auctions so their pricing is market based and their work has been juried.” The main gallery showcases paintings, sculpture, textiles and jewelry, mostly focusing on traditional Western historical landscape and wildlife. But within that theme, each artist has a different style and use of color and light that can make a world of difference.
The Native American painter Kevin Red Star—whose work is part of a Smithsonian Institution collection—is represented, along with Tom Gilleon whose contemporary Western paintings have sold at auction for the highest price ever by a living Montana artist. He also represents Todd Connor, Frank Hagel, Harry Koyama, up-and-coming Western artists Virginie Baude and Kelly Dangerfield, and a number of well-known bronze sculptors, including Greg Woodard, Ott Jones, Burl Jones and Simon Gudgeon. Artwork at Creighton Block Gallery ranges in price from $1,000 to $100,000 and up, Colin explains.
If Western art just isn’t your thing, Creighton Block also showcases a contemporary collection in a gallery just up the street on Ousel Falls Road. Here you’ll find a selection of modern art with Western inflections to compliment the boom in contemporary architecture that Big Sky has experienced over the last few years.“The demand for contemporary art is exploding in Big Sky, and in the West in general,” Colin explains. “It goes along with the boom in contemporary architecture and interior design in Moonlight Basin, the Yellowstone Club and other private developments here, so the art I have at the other gallery fits well in those environments.”
Located at 33 Lone Peak Drive, Suite #104, www.creightonblockgallery.com.
To Montanan’s, earning the reputation of “the last best place” comes with plenty of preservation and conservation work. It means allowing for growth, but also working proactively to protect the wide-open landscape, the rugged mountains, and the wildlife habitats.
When people are looking to buy or sell parcels of land in Montana, conservation easements are the perfect way to purchase a slice of paradise, while maintaining the beautiful landscape.
A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows landowners to continue to own and use their land, while protecting the property’s scenic, wildlife, agricultural, or recreational values. (http://www.bridahamcollection.com/conservation-ranches/)
Vivian Bridaham, a long-time luxury realtor with Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty, says conservation easements benefit everyone. “Preserving the land and open spaces in the west, especially in Montana, is very important to me,” she says. Bridaham has served on the Charter Board for Gallatin Valley Land Trust, and has worked with many buyers and sellers interested in conservation easements for several decades, and she says that these easements benefit everyone. For buyers, easements permanently protect the majestic views of Montana and access to recreation, and offer land at a fraction of regular price. For owners and sellers, it allows them to offer their legacy of preservation to future generations, as well as provide many tax benefits. For the public, easements protect the views from over-development, and create protected homes for wildlife.
Conservation easements are unique to the landowner creating the agreement. He or she can decide how much land is included, what sort of access is allowed, and they still maintain complete ownership of the land.
Interested in protecting the “big skies” of Montana, the wildlife habitats, or the priceless recreational opportunities? Chat with Vivian Bridaham on how you can make a difference and enjoy your very own piece of the west.
Contact Vivian at www.bridahamcollection.com/contact-us, or (406)586-4408
When the nights get cooler, the leaves begin to fall, and the mountains start to turn white, it means the holidays are right around the corner. During this time of year, there is no better place to be than the gorgeous community of Big Sky, Montana. Whether it’s hitting the slopes at the ski resort, snowshoeing on the trails, or sipping a hot cocoa in the village, Big Sky has something for everyone during “the most wonderful time of year.”
Free movie night! Every Thursday, 10:30pm – Lone Peak Cinema
Too chilly to be outside? Feeling like a cozy movie date? Meander over to Lone Peak Cinema every Thursday evening for a free late night movie. Must be over 21. Call (406) 995-4478 for more details.
November 25th – Movie screening of Chasing Shadows – Lone Peak Cinema
Head over to Lone Peak Cinema for Warren Miller’s 66th winter sports film, Chasing Shadows. It screens the night before Big Sky’s opening day, so you’ll be ready for that double backflip, (or just some pleasant groomed runs.) http://www.bigskytowncenter.com
November 26th – Big Sky Resort opening day
Skiing on Thanksgiving Day has been a tradition for many families for generations. Head on up to the hill and be a part of the festivities as everyone skis or snowboards the first lines of the season!
November 28th – Christmas Bazaar – Buck’s T-4
Need some ideas for presents? Or just want to be inspired by local artists? Bring the whole family to Buck’s T-4 for the second annual Christmas Bazaar and browse the talented local vendors. Enjoy a special meal in the restaurant, and treat yourself to discounted lodging as well!
December 3rd – Madgrigal Dinner – Buck’s T-4
The Arts Council of Big Sky is proud to announce the 19th Madrigal Dinner this year, to be held at Bucks T4 Lodge at 5pm. Considered “the traditional opening of the Christmas season,” this three-course meal with festive live music is a local favorite. The event usually sells out to purchase tickets early by calling (406)995-4742.
December 11th – Turkey for a Ticket – Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort is hosting its 9th annual Turkey for a Ticket. Help stock the local food bank and have fun skiing at the same time! Bring 20 cans of food, or a frozen turkey, over to the base at Moonlight and get a free lift ticket for that day to Big Sky Resort.
December 11th – Christmas Stroll – Big Sky Town Center
The lights will be strung, the treats will be warm, and Santa will be ready to greet the kiddos at this year’s Christmas Stroll at Big Sky Town Center. Watch the trees light up, stroll through local businesses, and join loved ones and new friends as everyone gets into the holiday spirit. For more info, check out the events at: http://www.bigskytowncenter.com