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The Famous Fox at Big Sky Resort

Written by Brin Merkley on at

One lady told me she named him "Red", but everyone else who talks about him says he doesn't have a name. I heard about this beautiful creature from people all over the resort... and then one day after work, I finally saw him!

My first sighting happened on a sunny evening as I was jumping into my car to head home for the day. I remember stopping to look at the beauty surrounding me when a flicker of red came into the corner of my eye. There he was... a gorgeous red fox!

He came strolling confidently and comfortably through the public parking lot as if to say, "oh hey new girl, that's where Dan usually parks... no biggie, seeya later!"

I was taken back not only by this animal's beauty but the fact that I had never been so close to a fox before! I had to follow him! 

He strolled on down to Lake Levinsky to refresh himself with a drink of water.

At this point I noticed a guest, a teenage boy, had also been struck by the same excitement that I had. The fox sat down maybe 15 feet away from him, just to hang out!

Even as complete strangers, we beamed at each other understanding the rare magnificence of this moment.

I sat for a minute to appreciate how great it was to see a teenager in the 21st century (who had just been completely sucked into his phone) transform entirely, smiling from ear to ear at this fox sitting near him.

Whatever was on his mind before had been erased and replaced with pure joy. Funny, how nature has that effect on people.

Just as my phone was about to die, I captured this ten second video, as this famous local fox snuggled into some lucky guests grass covered lawn for a bit of beauty rest.

What's for Dinner?

Written by Sheila D'Amico on at

Photo: Michel Tallichet

Ever Asked: What's for Dinner?

It never fails! Each night after our evening adventure, my husband and I look at each other and ask, "what's for dinner?" Summer is active time. Longer days after work give for more hours of play. Majority of the time we don't want to cook. Thank goodness there are plenty of restaurants that do. Big Sky Resort recently put together Feasts of the Week which helps take the guess work out of "what's for dinner."

We've tried to make Monday our golf night because of the Bunker Bar & Grill's Burger Night where we can get a burger and a beer for $12. After chasing a golf ball around for 9-holes, one gets a bit parched and famished. The Bunker grills up amazing burgers and I happen to love the Cold Smoke beer on tap.

On Tuesdays we like to go for long walks and combining the Carabiner Wine Night we save 40% on bottles of wine from their Wine Spectator list. This is a great ‘friends' night where we can enjoy lovely wine on a budget. Add in some great appetizers to share and we're sliding into our week rather well.

Hump day should be a weekly celebration. You're halfway to another weekend of fun. This is a great ‘date night' with a mountain bike ride on the new flow trails at Big Sky Resort and cap it off with a fine cuisine dinner paired perfectly with Montana Microbrews at Chet's Bar & Grill for their Beer Pairing Dinner.

Double dipping another round of 9-holes, the Big Sky Resort Golf Course on Thursday is convenient with Happy Hour at the Bunker where all appetizers are ‘fore' bucks (except the wings) and all Montana craft microbrew drafts are $3. For me, a refreshing summer drink involves vodka and happily (I think this is why it's called Happy Hour) all Stoli flavors are $5. Heck, it's almost the weekend!

TGIF is in full swing after work with a hike from the Scenic Chair Lift. If you're a 2015-2016 season pass holder, remember, you ride the Scenic Chair Lift for free or if you're a guest lodging in Big Sky Resort managed properties, it's free for you too. Now this is a great Friday night date. A good hike to ‘get to know each other' followed by a ‘picnic' from the MT Smokehouse Grab-n-Go you can either take with you to eat at the top of the Swift Current chair lift (hint: the outdoor bar at the closed Burrito Shack is the perfect place for a romantic meal with a view) or after your hike in the Mountain Village plaza at the picnic tables. When you discover you don't want the night to end, head to Andiamo restaurant for an adult lounge experience featuring craft cocktails by Dave McCune.

Saturday won't be beat out by Friday for amazing food and drinks. Whatever your mountain adventure is on Saturday, don't miss the Aperitivo at Andiamo Italian Grille for a traditional Italian happy hour on the patio and in the bar (Italians love to eat, so why would happy hour be drinks only!) with a variety of small plate specials and wine for $6 or cocktails for $8. Even if you aren't Italian, you feel Italian.

I'm not sure if Bloody Marys were invented to recover from your weekend or to prepare you for your work week, but the Bunker Sandtrap Sundays at the Big Sky Resort Golf Course works either way. They have an amazing Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar for $7 (with thick, yummy bacon) and Mimosa Buckets for $20. Surprising enough, some people don't even come for the golf on Sundays.

Trying to plan a date night in the near future or maybe something a little special during your vacation? Andiamo Italian Grille is putting together some delicious specialty nights:

August 19, 2015 - Alto Adige, presenting mountain wines and cuisine from Italy's norther-most region
September 16, 2015 - Piemonte, a culinary tour of Italy's most famous wine region

Reservations can be made at 406-995-8041

Photo: Michel Tallichet

I Never Intended To Play Golf

Written by Sheila D'Amico on at

Photo: Michel Tallichet

I learned golf from my Dad. It would be the two of us on a Saturday or Sunday after the chores were done. Hours of special father-daughter time. We'd be full from lunch and meet downstairs, I'd plop on the loveseat and he would lounge on the couch. With a press of a button, the boob-tube would come to life and... ahhh... we'd settle in on a televised golf game. Honestly, the most sound afternoon naps I've ever had. The lull of the announcers voices, the golf claps, my Dad snoring... I loved golf.

As I traded in chores for a career, my golf experience changed too. I remember a boss once telling me, as I was leaving for a business trip to Florida, "you have to play in the golf scramble, it's where business is done." Golf was a couch sport for me. Sure, my Dad actually did get me off the couch a couple of times to the driving range and my only experience in putting was at the local Putt-Putt with a windmill obstacle. I told my boss I didn't know how to play golf. His response, "it's a scramble, you don't have to know how to play."

In that first scramble, I sucked. I played with a kind man, Hank, who took all the newbie conference attendees on his team. I'm not saying I sucked, Hank told me I sucked. Yet, with each business trip, I played in the scheduled golf scramble, networking, averaging double par on most holes, and starting to enjoy golf. One day, I was actually asked to play in a foursome outside of the golf scramble. I'd never played my own ball before. I must be getting better to be asked to ‘play my own ball' for 18 holes. Not really, I was just a decoy so the other three could avoid another player wanting to join. Heck, I'll take it. Here I began to learn the game and the etiquette. I could drive the ball, but the rest of my game was still newbie status. But I loved it. My drives that sailed 200 yards straight. The occasional connection of a 5 or 7 iron that put me on the green. Then there's sinking a putt in... well... in less than 4 strokes. It's what brings you back for another round.

Years later, after being mostly taught by my work industry on the golf course, Big Sky Resort gave me the chance to take some lessons. How could I not, when it's so affordable at Big Sky Resort Golf Course for their Tuesday Ladies Clinics ($15 for each session or $125 for all 13 sessions). It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or looking to improve multiple aspects of play from chipping to putting to knowing why and when to use the various clubs in your bag. You will get better at the game (Mark Wehrman, the PGA Pro, is a great instructor). Best yet, after a lesson, everyone's encouraged to play 9-holes together, utilizing what we were just taught (and it's included in your session cost). Gives a whole new meaning to ‘ladies night out.'

It's rare to find me participating in the couch golfing sport anymore because Big Sky has too much to offer wasting it on the couch. I've traded in my couch club for a set of Callaway's and I actually own a push cart (pink too). I've gone from a handicap of ‘yes' to an actual number. Never think you can't play golf or your only skill is watching it from the couch. Get out there to the golf course, take a lesson, meet new people, and find out how much fun it can be chasing a white ball 18-holes and discover how tasty a beer can be at the Bunker Bar & Grill when the game is done.

Norse God of summer visits Big Sky

Written by Anna Husted on at

Around mountain ski towns we talk a lot about the Norse god of winter, Ullr, not just because it's everyone's favorite icy cool drink, but because we live and breathe snow. But this time of year it's important to know who the summer god is, and maybe ask ourselves why we don't talk about him.

Odur, also known as Od, is the Norse god of summer and sun. Very little is known about Odur. In fact, more stalk is taken with his wife, Freya, and her love, beauty, and exploration. However, one of the reasons little is known about Odur is because he too would take long journeys, which were not chronicled. Traveling and exploration is one of the most important aspects to Norse culture. While we may never value Odur as much as we value Ullr in our little mountain town of Big Sky, perhaps it's time we give a little more attention to the god of summer travels as we make our way in and out of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and up and across Lone Peak on a Lone Peak Expedition.

Summer exploration be nigh for all those who hear the call of Odur; wherever he may be.

Lone Peak in July.Photo: Anna Husted

Q&A with local downhiller Dylan Hall

Written by Dylan Hall and Anna Husted on at

I had a chance to sit down with mountain bike-lover and Big Sky Sports retail manager Dylan Hall to chat about Big Sky Resort's trials, weather, and his favorite parts of downhill mountain biking.

How long have you been riding downhill?
I've been riding downhill in Montana for 9 years now. I started mountain biking in the Midwest but it is a completely different game out here. I love the Midwest, but for me Montana brings more of a technical side of riding and of course being bigger, it has something for everyone.

What's the best tip you could give someone just starting out?
Overall get comfortable with the bike and try not to get in over your head. Understanding the bike and what it is and isn't capable of doing is key.

If you could describe mountain biking in three words what would they be?
Freedom through adventure.

What's the coolest thing you've seen while riding?
The weather can produce some really cool shows, but really the overall trail can lead you into some cool places you might not have a chance to get to or at least not have as easy access to if you weren't on a bike.

What's your favorite trail at Big Sky Resort?
The recently built flow trail Otter Slide. Otter Slide brings more of a new approach to Big Sky trails, it has a flow with a series of jumps that makes it exciting and it makes you want to keep coming back.

trail work
New ladder work at Big Sky Resort. 

Team riding

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