A Winter Season in Big Sky, Montana

Andrew worked in Big Sky in 2016 and convinced me to go spend a winter season working and living at Big Sky Ski Resort. We applied for jobs as Lift Operators (Liftee) and applied for employee housing. Two months later just before Thanksgiving we moved into our 12 x 12' employee dorm just 15 minutes down the road from Lone Peak in Big Sky Meadows Village. We would spend the next 5 months skiing almost every day on the majestic Lone Peak.

Now that sounded really nice in theory, until I realized I was spending winter in Montana. Having grown up in Hawaii and really enjoying living in the sun, I wasn't  entirely sure I like the whole 5 feet of snow on the ground everywhere for 5 months. Oops! However in November Big Sky Meadow where we lived didn't have snow on the ground yet so we went on a hike. 

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Anyways, getting to Big Sky I was ready for the new experience of living and working at a ski resort under the most majestic of Montana mountains, Lone Peak. I would get very acquainted with the winter version of Lone Peak. It would become my best friend, and my biggest challenge. Watching sunrise turn the peak pink, orange, yellow, from our $400/month dorm room, priceless. All Season Long. 

The Work Part Of This

A season working as lift ops began with me terrified of killing someone on a ski lift. Our WEEK LONG orientation to become a liftee made me rethink if this job is actually easy. But everyone assured me a monkey could do our job and we just push buttons. Ok perfect, so now if I screw up I'll feel even more stupid!

It ended up being pretty easy and only a couple people fell off chairs at my lift. I learned a lot about the real meaning of being a Jerry, how people can forget they are riding a chair at a ski mountain and have to get off at the top, how to stare at chairs for 4-5 hours and how to make the time go by faster. 

Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Turns out, passing time depends on your state of mind and is much better spent smiling at everybody and looking friendly. Other things learned: you can hold your pee longer than you think, ski poles are hard to keep track of on lifts, and ski patrol might kill me with an avalanche, but their dogs will dig me up after taking a dump on top of my buried body. 

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Sunrises at 8,000 feet up are also really amazing when you are alone in the bosom of a majestic Montana mountain peak witnessing something beautiful and sometimes magical in the crisp, clear, negative degree weather taking it all in. 

Working lift ops ended up being alright, I got some good powder laps in at Powder seeker, good mogul runs at mogul seeker, and good laughs with the lift mechanics watching people ski off the loading ramp into the pit.

Little did I know that the valuable lessons I was learning at lift ops on how to pass time and 'chill out' were preparing me for something much harder I would face. Recovering from knee surgery... *$#* I'm only in my 20s!! Lift ops was the first job I've had to force me to do nothing (of course after my tedious snow work and perfected ramp were groomed). I got pretty good at it, thank god because the next 2 months of my life would be spent not moving around much.

The Best Part Of Big Sky

was exploring the entire ski mountain and all of its hidden forests, rocky spots, ridges, seeing the peak, and checking out the numerous shacks built in random spots across the resort. 

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Did you like the photos and content on this page? Support the local artist by purchasing a photo.

Click on any photo you are interested in buying to purchase a print. Prices start at $3

The Tram

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Mountains Around Lone Peak

These mountains are just as majestic, if not more because they are harder to get to, seeming untouchable. Sitting on Lone Peak and staring out at these peaks makes you drool a little.


Ousel Falls & Dorm Hill

Ousel falls was a Big Sky meadow staple hike complete with a cool river, bridges, and frozen waterfall. I'm not sure what the hill was behind the dorm, but I'll call it dorm hill. We were waiting all winter for this hill to get enough snow to ski down, but I got injured and we missed out on that. However just hiking up the hill and making a fire with the view of the peak and the meadow village was awesome. 


Boiling River- Yellowstone

On the side of the frigid cold river flowing straight out of wild Yellowstone are hot springs that flow gracefully into hot pools rocked off from the cold water. We laid in the pools warming out bodies to the bones. A bald eagle flew over us and we could hear a pack of wolves howling. No joke, it was a quintessential Yellowstone moment. Emerging from a hot springs, you can't help but feel like mother earth just gave birth to you and your experiencing everything for the first time again.  


Grand Targhee/ Mainly About The Spud Drive In Theatre

We rented a small cabin at the empty, closed for the season, Spud Drive In Theatre just south of famous ski town Driggs Idaho. On the Idaho side of the majestic Tetons, we had epic days skiing knee to thigh deep powder. But the Spud is what really caught my attention, I'm obsessed with this place, and town. Turns out I'd been here before in the summer of 2017 and I never thought I'd be back to this giant potato I once drove 2 hours to see if it was real. Life goes in a full circle it seems! And I may just end up back at this potato, once again.

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Now the time has come,

A pandemic is around the corner, I tore my ACL during a simple ski fall, I'm in a gimp state of form and we don't know we are all about to get kicked out of employee housing. Andrew is kind enough to put aside snowboarding and hang out with me, doing activities one can do in Montana during winter while injured. We check out a ghost town, make a long drive to Cour De Alene to see the lake, and visit museums in Bozeman. 

Untitled photo

Family comes through lending us a home in Jackson WY to ride out unprecedented times of a global pandemic in the world causing chaos and uncertainty.

I look at Lone Peak like a friend standing still in time, a symbol of still beauty, while the world changes and sometimes seems to crumble around it. 


Did you like the photos and content on this page? Support the local artist by purchasing a photo.

Click on any photo you are interested in buying to purchase a print. Prices start at $3

  • No Comments
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In