Three New Garden Essentials for your Big Sky Property
If you are ambitious enough to try to have a garden in Big Sky (it can be done!), you need to start with the best tools. The tools behind a healthy, beautiful lawn and garden are becoming more advanced and useful every year. And as any gardener knows, half the allure of maintaining a beautiful backyard landscape and garden is the opportunity to play with some cool, specialized tools. So here are three hot new garden products to keep your Big Sky property looking fresh.
The Blossom Lawn Irrigation Controller is part of a new wave of analytic technology targeted at reducing excessive municipal water use. The beautiful green lawn has been a staple of the American residential dream for generations, but unfortunately, the beauty comes at a cost. Studies show a staggering amount of water wasted over the course of a year spent watering a single American family home. The Blossom Is here to help. Simply remove your old irrigation system controller, install the Blossom and control your irrigation profile from the Blossom app on your phone or tablet. The Blossom adjusts its schedule based on precipitation and is wirelessly connected to a number of local weather sources to configure the most efficient and waste-free watering schedule possible.
This surely isn't your daddy’s old wheelbarrow. The 5.75 cubic foot Thermoformed Poly Wheelbarrow from Jackson is a gold standard in yard carts, and no serious mulching job should be attempted without one. This wheelbarrow’s thermoformed poly construction and stabilizer feet increase its lifetime spent in your backyard. Perhaps most importantly though, the Jackson Thermoformed Poly Wheelbarrow has a 16” tubed tire that allows users to adjust inflation in accordance with different surface types and loads.
The phrase “Innovative new rake design” might sound a whole hell of a lot like “reinventing the wheel”, but the 26" Dual Tine Rake from Ames really is something of a watershed moment for raking. Featuring two rows of offset teeth to prevent leaf clogging, the Ames rake cuts down on the more frustrating aspects of raking while keeping your lawn leaf-free. Oh, and a slick comfort handle keeps your hands blister-free, too.
Although in many parts of the world spring is in the air, that isn't the case in Big Sky where we've had one of the best winters in decades. The cross country trails are still in full operation and being groomed regularly, and with changing snow conditions at different elevations, considering waxless skis may make your life easier.
If you watched any Nordic skiing events at this year’s winter Olympics, you may have heard how often color commentators and coaches talk about wax. It’s a big deal in the Nordic skiing world, particularly for classic skiers. The perfect wax job can mean the difference between running up hills and going nowhere. The difference between world cup skiers and you? They have a team of professional wax technicians to do the heavy scraping for them while you have three kids and a full-time job. So unless you have a friend who is considering becoming your personal wax technician, waxless skis are worth perusing. Think old-school fish-scales, only with strips of modern mohair skin under the skier’s foot rather than scale. World Cup races are being won on these “skin skis”, and they require less waxing than your pair of skate skis.
Billed as Atomic’s first skin ski that’s race-ready, the Redster is aimed at hobby racers or higher-end amateurs who want a dependable ski to train on without the fuss of a waxable ski. The Redster has a Nomex Featherlight core and is built with a carbon laminate, making it super light yet stable. The kick patch area of the ski is slightly wider, giving skiers a reliable base to step into and unlike competing models, the Redster’s kick patch is one large piece of skin material, rather than two strips.
Fischer describes their mid-range skin ski as “athletic”, and “ideal in hard or icy conditions”. Indeed, icy unpredictable conditions are really where skin skis start to stand out. The Twin Skin Pro features two offset strips of Mohair skin under each foot that are set at various depths into the ski’s base giving the skier a natural, nearly-waxed feel to their stride.
Billed as the ultimate solution for all day events in changing conditions, the Salomon S/Race skin ski is spendy, but worth it. At 1040 grams, the S/Race features a traditional racing sidecut (44 mm at the tip, waist and tail), interchangeable Pomoca skin inserts, and a super fast low-profile camber that optimizes snow contact. The Solomon S/Race is the fastest ski ever made by Salomon.
Whether you consider trying these skis, or sticking with the old favorites, get out there and enjoy the trails at Lone Mountain Ranch!
Mountains aren’t the only thing we have to thank Montana’s volcanic past for. Thanks to our region’s lava-filled geologic past, the Big Sky area is graced with a number of relaxing and unique hot springs. So if you find yourself in need of some rejuvenation, dip into one these regional warm-water meccas.
Norris Hot Springs
Tucked into the scenic and arid Madison River Valley, Norris Hot Springs offers visitors a kitschy, new age soaking experience, as well as a full beer and wine menu and a unique artisanal menu made out of locally-sourced and home-grown ingredients. Camping and RV hookups are available for an additional fee. Visit norrishotsprings.com for a full chemical content catalog of the healing minerals found in the one and only Water of the Gods.
Directions from Bozeman: Head west on Huffine through Four Corners, continuing west on highway 84 for 35 miles. Norris Hot Springs will be on your left just before entering the small town of Norris.
Chico Hot Springs
Chico is the classic Montana hot springs resort experience. Located in Paradise Valley, Chico Hot Springs offers a full range of lodging accommodations as well as extremely good dining options. In addition to the luxurious full-size soaking spaces, Chico also offers a full range of services to satiate even the most adventurous vacationer. including lodging and several restaurants. Chico offers guided ski and snowshoe trips in and around Yellowstone National Park, so when you’re ready to go face the elements, you can explore Montana’s winter wonderland. In the spring, take advantage of Chico’s exclusive partnership with Paradise Adventure Company, a full-service rafting outfitter located in Paradise Valley. And don’t forget, Chico has a renowned spa, so after the rapids have settled, work out your sore muscles with a massage or some yoga.
Directions from Bozeman: Follow I90 E towards Livingston, then take 89 S to Mill Creek Road in Pray. Take a right onto Highway 540 towards Chico Road.
Bozeman Hot Springs
Although decidedly less earthy, Bozeman Hot Springs is one of the oldest functioning hot springs in the region. Where Norris is a cultural experience, Bozeman Hot Springs is a workout facility, so if you’re in need of physical exercise and recuperation, this is your hot springs. After a devastating fire in 2008, Bozeman Hot Springs underwent a full renovation, transforming the old space into a beautiful, modern warm-water spa and gym. Bozeman hot springs now features live music, a full workout facility, and both indoor and outdoor pools and hot springs.
Directions from Bozeman: Located just south of Four Corners on highway 191
The town of Big Sky, and Big Sky country in general, is a mecca for Nordic skiing. Between Lone Mountain Ranch and the miles of groomed ski trails around the greater Gallatin County region, nordic skiing, and specifically skate skiing, is one of the best activities for getting into the woods and away from the crowds, fast. But unlike downhill skis, skate skis require more frequent waxing and at-home care, especially now as the weather changes from winter to spring-like conditions. This may sounds overwhelming, but don’t worry; waxing is one of the sublime pleasures of being a nordic skier. Here’s a quick primer on the basics of waxing skate skis:
What you’ll need:
1) Ski vice or clamps, homemade or store bought
2) Glide wax
4) Waxing iron
5) Cork block
Before being stowed away every spring, skate skis should receive a coat of “storage wax”, which needs to be removed every fall. After affixing your skis to your chose work surface, set your wax iron to medium heat and begin slowly heating the base of your ski. As the iron and the ski get hotter, the existing wax with turn ghostly white and stand out. Scrap off all the old wax to give yourself a new start.
After the ski is stripped and ready for wax, it’s time to give your skis their first coat of glide wax for the winter. Begin the waxing process by holding your wax block at a steep downward angle to the face of the iron, allowing hot wax to drip onto the ski.
Cover the ski with little blotches of wax from tip to tail. After the ski is fairly covered, begin spreading the wax around the ski’s base by running your iron in circular motions across the ski’s base. You will see the wax melt and spread. Continue this waxing motion until the ghostly white wax covers the ski base entirely. Because nordic skis have relatively soft bases, be careful to not melt the ski’s base.
Now it’s time to scrape. Hold your wax scraper at 45-degree angle to the ski as you pull the scraper towards yourself. You’ll see satisfying curls of excess wax pull from the ski. Once the excess is pulled from the ski, the bases should appear shiny and smooth. If you want to put some additional elbow grease into the work, buff the skis bases with a cork block to work the wax into the base.
Now get your skiing clothes on and get out the door!
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:Buffalo Bus Snowcoach TourBackcountry Adventures SeeYellowstone.comYellowstone AdventuresTeton Valley AdventuresYellowstone 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.
Montana is well known as a fly fishing destination, drawing people come from all over the world to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, be it fishing, skiing, hiking, camping, or anything else outdoors. Local teacher and avid fisherman, John Hannahs, tells us what makes fly fishing in the Big Sky area so special. Watch the video.
What better way to spend a gorgeous warm day than on a pristine golf course? When one thinks of Montana they may not think of great golfing, but Montana is very lucky to have championship courses with gorgeous views, that are without crowds, and that remain challenging to even those with the lowest handicaps. Grab the clubs and make the rounds to the Montana links!
Big Sky, Montana Golf Courses
Big Sky Resort Golf Course Combine classic links-style golf and the stunning natural beauty of Big Sky country to witness a golf experience like no other: the award winning scenic 18 hole par-72 golf course at Big Sky Resort. The Arnold Palmer course is 6,500 feet above sea level, offering long drives and spectacular views. Winding along the wildlife-rich banks of the West Fork of the scenic Gallatin River, tee up with deer, moose, and other wildlife as your gallery. Yellowstone ClubThe 18-hole "Yellowstone" course at the Yellowstone Golf Club facility features 7,300 yards of golfing from the longest tees for a par of 72. Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the Yellowstone golf course opened in 2005. Yellowstone Golf Club offers terrific views and challenging play for golfers at every skill level. Well-groomed fairways and greens keep Yellowstone Golf Club difficult yet friendly. Enjoy the incredible views of Lone Peak!
Spanish Peaks This course is a masterpiece of mountain design. Situated on 300 acres that utilize a true mountain golf experience. This course will test your ability on the fairway and the greens. Located at 7,000 feet elevation, there is abundant wildlife and views of several mountain ranges. The Spanish Peaks course has excellent playability and keeps every golfer having fun. Reserve at Moonlight Basin The Reserve is a par-72 Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that blends 8000 yards of nature-inspired golfing into an arresting high-elevation setting. As one of Jack Nicklaus’s finest alpine golf creations, each of the course's 18 holes perfectly frames an array of unique vistas. The course’s PGA Professional, Greg Wagner, is on hand to help members take their game to the next level with specialized clinics, tournaments, and private instruction.
Bozeman, Montana Golf Courses
Black Bull Run Tom Weiskopf, former British Open champion, and award-winning golf course architect, designed an amazing 19-hole, 7200 yard, par-72 championship course for Black Bull Community that is ultimately challenging yet eminently playable. In this signature 'modified links' style course, Tom has woven together native landscaping, an abundance of water features, and breathtaking backdrops to ensure each hole has a strong identity. He considers the bunker layout as being, "reminiscent of the style that was prevalent during the turn of the 20th century." Cottonwood Hills Established in 1984, Cottonwood Hills is the Gallatin Valley’s finest and foremost club open to the public. Admire the endless natural beauty and staggering mountain views while testing your skills on our 7,053 yard Premier Course, or delve into the game on the valley’s only 1,181 yard Executive par-3, perfect for the beginner and short game artist alike.
Anaconda, Montana Golf Course
Old Works A Jack Nicklaus Signature designed course, the Old Works Golf Course has been reborn on the site of Anaconda's historic century old copper smelter. Jack Nicklaus incorporated many historic relics in his signature design. With its affordability, course conditioning and friendly service, Old Works has built a reputation as one of the premiere daily fee golf experiences in the Northwest region.
Interested in gorgeous properties in Montana near a golf course? Or simply want to chat about golfing in Montana? Reach out to realtor and broker associate, Allison Gilley at Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty: 406-672-6115 and Allison@bigskysir.com.
For over one hundred years Montanans have been exploring the great “Big Sky” state on horseback. While most horseback riding has become a pleasure sport and activity, many people still rely on these majestic creatures for backcountry travel and ranch work. Horses are an integral part of Montana’s history and, as long as there are wide-open spaces, they will continue to be a part of the culture long into the future. Allison Gilley, a Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty agent with over twenty years of real estate experience, has been riding horses her entire life. Gilley says, “Montana is a very friendly horseback riding state with plenty of public land to ride. Also, many private properties are perfect for horseback riding. Montana even has entire subdivisions that are equestrian friendly with private trails and corrals.” Gilley loves the freedom to explore vast amounts of trails and landscapes in a short amount of time while horseback riding. She says learning to ride is a wonderful experience for an individual or an entire family, and Montana has plenty of professional companies who offer lessons for beginners to expert equestrians, such as Jake’s Horses (www.jakeshorses.com,) or Lone Mountain Ranch (www.lonemountainranch.com,) both in Big Sky.
If you are ready to start exploring the possibility of owning your very own slice of Montana, Gilley has exceptional horse properties available across the state, ready for your horses and adventuring spirit:
Whether you want to ride leisurely in the summer, take a clinic from the Montana-native “Horse Whisperer” Buck Brannaman, or go “loping through fresh powder snow on a blue bird day,” like Gilley, your perfect Montana escape awaits. Call Allison Gilley at Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty to inquire about properties or chat about her love of horseback riding: 406.995.2221.