Big Sky Relief: Pulling Together to Aid the Community

Posted on June 10, 2020 by Kali Gillette

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, it was evident that things were getting real regarding COVID-19 reaching Big Sky. The resort had not yet announced it was closing, but other resorts around the Rocky Mountains were.

Kevin Germain, Big Sky Resort Area District Board Chairperson, and Danny Bierschwale, Big Sky Resort Area District, saw the writing on the wall. That day, they had multiple calls with the attorney representing the tax board. The local resort tax has been in existence since the 1990s and helps local non-profits and government entities in Big Sky. Since its inception, the tax is collected throughout the year, and the funds distributed in June. The two men wanted to know if they could do things differently this year and distribute a portion earlier to respond swiftly to the pandemic. As it turned out, they had quite a bit of flexibility and could tap into the money they had already collected. The wheels were in motion.

On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Big Sky Resort announced they would be closing the following day. Germain reached out to the Yellowstone Club, Moonlight, and Spanish Peaks Community Foundations and started discussing how they could offer aid to the community.

By Friday, March 20, the Resort Tax Board approved putting $1,000,000 toward the relief effort. They agreed to allocate $500,000 to the Big Sky Medical Center and $500,000 to other social needs in the community. By that afternoon, the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation contributed half a million dollars, and Moonlight and Spanish Peaks Community Foundations each committed a quarter of a million. One week from the time talks started, the relief fund grew to $2 million, and a robust collaboration was in place.

At this point, community leaders were well aware of what happened in Sun Valley and other ski areas. They anticipated a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in Big Sky due to the number of travelers visiting the area. After a week of talks with Big Sky Medical Center and an understanding of their needs, the group allocated $1 million to finish four hospital rooms, purchase ventilators, an analyzer for testing, and a lot of PPE. The needs totaled just over $1 million, the majority of it covered through the relief fund.

Typically, resort tax funding goes to numerous entities. This year, 28 organizations applied for resort tax dollars, ranging from the fire department and Sheriff's department to the food bank. Resort tax dollars can only go to non-profits and government entities, but the money from the foundations has fewer restrictions. As such, they have been able to give out close to $200,000 in grants to help local families to help them through this period.

But the relief efforts didn't stop there. The business community had to shut down 3-5 weeks early, and two of those weeks were significant for revenues. They were going to need help. The Relief Fund organizers sent an email to the 28 entities that had received money asking if they had any remaining resort tax funds and could give them back to support the effort. These non-profit and government entities stepped up and gave back another $400,000 of funds not yet spent.
The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, an incredibly active organization, quickly joined the conversation about how to help the business community. They had $210,000 of unspent resort tax funds they offered to return to the relief effort. However, Big Sky Relief told them to keep the money and re-purpose it. The Chamber created the Big Sky Save Small Business Relief Fund, a micro-grant program for the businesses. To date, the fund has given grants to 57 small businesses totaling $192,500 of the $210,000. The remainder of the money will go toward re- opening bundles for businesses, including masks, gowns, hand sanitizer, signage, and plexiglass. They also facilitated a volunteer-staffed hotline to help walk the business owners through applying for aid through the federal stimulus package.

The group recently funded a study testing wastewater for Covid-19 to keep tabs on the presence of the virus and ease mitigation efforts.
"Everybody's trying to come together during this time of need and work very collaboratively to help our community out," Germain said. "Big Sky doesn't have a city government or mayor; people jump in and get things done. It's all bootstrapped and utilizes a lot of volunteer boards to make things happen. Everybody's just jumping in and doing what needs to be done."

What's next? Germain explains, "Our economy is 100% tourism-driven, yet we need to protect our residents' health and safety. The county line goes right through the area, so we are in conversations with both Madison and Gallatin County Health Departments about how to put together robust testing, tracing, and monitoring programs to open again." He says, "At this point, we need more testing and more contact tracers."
For updates on current relief efforts, or for ways you can help, go to


Art Auction 2020

Posted on February 20, 2020 by Amy Sand
The Arts Council of Big Sky is pleased to be hosting its eighth annual fund-raising art auction event on Saturday, February 29, at the Wilson Hotel in the Big Sky Town Center from 6 - 10 PM. The event is sponsored by Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty. Tickets are now on sale!
DATE: February 29, 2020, 6 PM
LOCATION: The Wilson Hotel
PRICE: $100
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!
The evening includes a quick-finish, live and silent auctions, music, food and drinks. This event is the only dedicated fundraiser for the Arts Council of Big Sky.
The Live Auction will feature artwork by Kevin Red Star, Julie Chapman, Terry Cooke Hall, Rachel Rusti Warner, Cyrus Walker, Ben Pease, Amber Blazina, Barb Swartz-Karst, Miles Glynn, Kirsten Kainz, Harry Koyama, Tabby Ivy, Tom Gilleon, Carrie Wild and many more!
Tags: Art Auction
Categories: Big Sky Culture

Calendar of Events: Big Sky Winter 2019/20

Posted on November 26, 2019 by Amy Sand

Categories: Big Sky Culture

Mountain Mall Remodel - Summer 2019

Posted on July 22, 2019 by Lindsey Bedell

Construction is well underway on the Mountain Mall at the base of Big Sky Ski Resort Village. The Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty team was invited to get a sneak peek at the recent renovations. An open concept and new structural steel bring a much needed upgrade to the space, thus creating a natural flow for incoming and departing skiers. Grab a coffee before heading out to the slopes for the day, or sit down at the new Apres Bar after a day of adventure and enjoy the view of Lone Peak from the large picture windows.

You can expect expanded dining options in the new Mountain Mall that includes sushi, stone-fired pizza, coffee shop and breakfast stop, along with cafeteria-style food options. There will be additional restrooms and sitting areas added- both indoor and outdoor with views of Lone Peak. The large, beautiful fireplaces offer a feeling of solitude and create a place to warm up before heading back out to the slopes.

The construction will also offer the option to host an array of events and will boast a wedding venue, conference and events center and offer additional outdoor space to increase capacity to accommodate 750 people.

The option to enter through the lower level and use the changing area and rent day-use cubbies to store your belongings before hitting the slopes is a huge bonus! Take advantage of the new elevator that will take you to the central core of the building to access retail and restaurants; in addition to the elevator, a new staircase, accessible on the exterior, will be great for those people coming in from the slope side.

Jamie Daugaard, Centre Sky Architects and Rocky Mountain Rustics have been working hard to get this project up and running for opening day in November! We hope to see you on the slopes and enjoying this awesome new upgrade to the Mountain Mall!


Categories: Big Sky Culture

All In. Big Sky Community Center – A Space for Everyone.

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Kali Gillette

Big Sky Community Center – A Space for Everyone.

by Kalli Gillette

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

When the people of Big Sky embrace an idea, they go big. It’s been a long-time dream to have an indoor community center, and today a space for recreation, eduction, arts and culture is becoming a reality.

Three years ago, Big Sky brought in a consultant to work with the Big Sky Community Organization (BSCO) and the Parks and Recreation District to assess the parks, open spaces and recreation in the area. The study found the only standard amenity missing from the community was a multi-use, public, indoor center.  As it turned out, the study also found this to be a top priority for both full time residents and second home owners.

Once these priorities were identified, the vision became clear; develop a permanent, year-round space where locals, visitors, organizations and clubs can connect and recreate. A community asset for culture, recreation, education and work space. A place that supports healthy lifestyles; physically, mentally and emotionally. A gathering place.

BSCO took the lead and set the wheels in motion. Philanthropic dollars were used for a cost analysis to identify 3.3 acres as the future site for this place. This land acquisition would also dedicate the existing well-loved Town Center Park as parkland in perpetuity. The plan made sense and a Founders Circle of 16 individuals donated money to purchase the parcel, which was then rezoned into dedicated open space.

The Founders Circle also funded the architectural design of the building. The center will house community learning and fitness rooms, an arts and cultural center, a gymnasium, a climbing gym, and office spaces for local non-profit organizations. Ciara Wolfe, Chief Executive Officer for BSCO explains, “Every space can be multi-use and utilized by all age groups. Whether it’s an after school program or a group of retirees, the space will be available for different ages at different times.” The master plan also includes an improved outdoor amphitheater and a refrigerated outdoor skating rink.

Another benefit of the plan is increased access to the trail system. During the study, 80% of residents said better connectivity to the vast amount of trails was highly important and the new project will provide a 43% increase in parkland.

Thus far, private funds have paid 100% of the cost. A capital campaign to pay for the building raised $12.5 million in philanthropic dollars. From there, the BSCO rolled out the public campaign, All In, to raise the remaining $5 million needed. “Every bit helps,” “Wolfe says, “From $20 to large donations, it’s important that this is a community-owned project.”

Tallie Lancey, BSCO Board of Directors and Chair of the Pubic Fundraising Committee, says, “At the Big Sky Community Organization, one of our guiding values is inclusivity. Our vision for the facility and its surrounding park space is to provide a safe place for our entire community to connect with each other, regardless of your background or ability. Furthermore, we are striving to build a Platinum LEED Building which would be the first of its kind in a Big Sky commercial application. Personally speaking, I'm delighted that BSCO is taking the bold step show the rest of the community how to create a healthy, sustainable building. Here's hoping that the residential marketplace will subsequently appreciate the benefits of healthy, sustainable spaces." 

Wolfe goes on to say, “The enthusiasm for this project speaks loudly for the values of the community. This is the most ambitious goal we have ever set. It shows a deep level of commitment to the people who live and visit Big Sky.”


Contributions can be made online at, or call Ciara Wolfe at


Categories: Big Sky Culture

Springtime Garden Essentials

Posted on May 14, 2018 by calliep

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.

Blossom Lawn Irrigation Controller ($149)

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.

Jackson Thermoformed Poly Wheelbarrow ($139.97) 

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.

Ames 26" Dual Tine Rake ($24.97)

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.

Make sure to check out Big Sky Landscaping's Garden Center for all of your flower and vegetable starter plants, or Wildwood Nursery for your tree and shrub needs. If they don't also have the tools you need, Ace Hardware is sure to have the rest! 

And don't worry, our flowers and vegetables learn to be pretty hardy around here :)

Moonlight Basin - July 2016



Artist Kevin Red Star at Big Sky Sotheby's

Posted on April 11, 2017 by calliep

We are so honored to have hosted a VIP reception for acclaimed artist Kevin Red Star in our office on March 22. The reception preceded the Arts Council of Big Sky's 5th Annual Art Auction held at Moonlight Lodge, sponsored by Big Sky Sotheby's International Realty. Kevin mingled with our guests, and spoke to us about his background and inspirations. Together, we viewed Episode One of the Sotheby's HouseGuest video series in which he is featured. Kevin Red Star speaking to attendees

The following evening, our office hosted over 150 people at the Art Auction, a huge fundraiser for the Arts Council of Big Sky's cause. There were over a dozen artists in attendance who were finishing off pieces to be auctioned at the event. Artwork in the live auction included pieces from artists such as Kevin Red Star, Tom Gilleon, Carol Spielman and Harry Koyama. In addition, there were photographs, jewelry and paintings from local artists such as AriO Jewelry and Kira Fercho in the silent auction. Kevin - Book Signing

All of the proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the Arts Council's mission of providing residents, visitors and artists with premier events, education and creative opportunities in the arts.

We currently still have a number of his paintings featured in our office, so stop by anytime to enjoy them!


Cross Country Ski Waxing

Posted on March 9, 2017 by calliep

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
3) Scraper
4) Waxing iron
5) Cork block

The Process:

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!

Meadow Village ski trails


Tips For The Holidays

Posted on November 29, 2016 by bigskysir


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Golf Courses under the Big Sky

Posted on July 12, 2016 by bigskysir

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 Golf Course

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 Club The 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 signature hole

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


Big Sky School District Building Reserve Levy

Posted on April 28, 2016 by bigskysir

ballotskidsMail Your Ballot Back Today! As the fastest growing school district in Montana, the Big Sky School District has seen enrollment for grades kindergarten through 4th grade grown from 98 students in 2006 to 157 in 2015/16. K-4 enrollment is projected to grow to 218 students by 2020. The purpose of the levy is to complete construction on the Ophir Elementary School. Ballots must be received via mail at the Gallatin County Elections office by May 3, 2016. For more information please check out this link:

Categories: Big Sky Culture

A Successful Evening - 2016 Big Sky Auction for the Arts

Posted on April 5, 2016 by bigskysir

Once again the Auction for the Arts at Lone Mountain Ranch was a huge success! Artists raised over $110,000 for the arts in Big Sky, Montana. Sponsored by Big Sky Sotheby's International Realty, this event is an amazing display of artist's talents. The Auction for the Arts was a “dynamic, multisensory artistic experience,” giving guests and local artists opportunities to interact, especially during the ‘quick-finish’ session during the live auction. The artists literally painted the final brush strokes or drew the last lines minutes before the auction began. The live auction included a sculptor as well as floral artist. Big Sky Local Artists included: Jackie Rainford Corcoran, Ari O., Jill Zeidler, Ryan Turner, Greg Darden, Shelly Bermont, Kira Fercho, Julio Freitas, Lori Elliot, Lorri Lagerbloom, and Heather Rapp. The Arts Council of Big Sky wishes for the community to “remain a beautiful place where the expression, enjoyment, and education of the Arts will inspire and sustain a healthy and vibrant community.” Programming provided by the Arts Council include the well-loved summer outdoor concert series, a local film festival, public art projects, and a new program to bring Lone Peak (Big Sky) high school students to Seattle to expose them to careers in the arts.

Read more about the Fourth Annual Auction for the Arts.


Student Scholarship Awarded

Posted on April 5, 2016 by bigskysir

Scholarship2016 Cathy Gorman and Tim Cyr, broker/owners of Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty, targeted their scholarship toward a highly motivated student with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Cathy and Tim have lived and worked in Big Sky since the 1980s and have supported the school district for over 35 years. Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty is donating a scholarship for the second year. Soby Rain Haarman, of Lone Peak High School, earned an A- average overall throughout high school. Soby has worn the mantle of leadership in student government and National Honor Society. She has performed with many school groups: the Concert Band, the Jazz Ensemble, as well as school and community drama groups. Soby was inducted into the International Thespian Society, and she organized the student docents for the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. Recognized as a Rotary Youth Leader, Soby also attended the National Student Leadership Conference on Forensic Sciences at American University and the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists in Boston. Soby will study psychology at Seattle Pacific University and after that wants to continue study in forensics. Congratulations, Soby Rain Haarman.


Building your Dream Home with Big Sky Build

Posted on March 1, 2016 by bigskysir

Big Sky, Montana is a growing destination for adventure-seeking vacationers, as well as full time residents looking to enjoy the outdoors and all that a resort town can offer. As fast as it’s growing, locating a property that can both meet your budget and satisfy your needs can sometimes be a challenge. The prospect of building a house from the ground up is exciting to some, yet daunting to others. Some want to be very involved, influencing every architectural angle, interior color and light fixture. Others would prefer to have options presented to them from which they can choose, putting more responsibility on the architect, builder and interior designer. Those who haven’t been through the process before often don’t know where to begin. In order to educate Buyers about the building process and dispel some of the myths, I sat down with John Seelye, owner of Big Sky Build, to learn about what it takes to build a dream home with his company.

Callie (CP): John, thanks for taking the time to share with our Buyers that the home building process can be fun and exciting, and doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it may seem. Let’s start with some details about you. Tell me a little about your company, Big Sky Build.

John (JS): I am originally an East Coaster, and I always loved to ski. After college, I moved to Colorado, but in the mid 90s, as soon as I heard they were building the tram at Big Sky, I knew I had to make the move. I moved here for the skiing, and nothing else. In 1997, a year after moving here, I started my company, Big Sky Build.  

CP: Your offices are located in Big Sky Town Center. Do you do all of your building in the Big Sky Area?

JS: Almost all of the building we do is in Big Sky. And we do not only new home construction, but also any size remodel – from a bathroom update or addition to a complete overhaul of an existing home.  

CP: For the Buyer that is looking for a home and hasn’t been able to find what they want, what can you tell them about where to start their custom building process?

JS: In order to make sure they end up being totally satisfied with their finished product, I recommend doing some research first with regards to the size of the home they want, the location, size of the lot, etc. When the client is working with a real estate broker, like you, they will help the Buyer narrow down where they might want to be based on their preferences. With different architectural guidelines and requirements in various subdivisions, that is a good place to start.  

CP: Do you recommend they work with their broker to find a piece of land first, then find a builder, or do you think it’s better when they involve you in the process from the beginning?

JS: Once they have narrowed it down to a few lots they like, I do think it’s in their best interest to have the builder involved from the beginning. There are a lot of factors with the lot itself that can affect their overall budget, not just the price of the land. They need to take into consideration the site work, the slope of the land, whether or not public utilities are provided, landscaping needs, etc. When I’m involved early in the process, I can help with any due diligence – soil and geotech studies, lot line determinations, design guidelines, and make recommendations based on my experience in various locations around the area. There are many pieces of the final puzzle.  

CP: Presumably, before you get too far along in the planning and budgeting process, these are all things that would need to be determined anyway before you can quote a price.

JS: Yes, those are all factors in pricing. And going through the pre-planning process with the client also lets us build a relationship and get to know each other. I can then give recommendations about things like an architect or an interior designer based on their “likes”. And having the architect involved early in the process, even before the lot is purchased, can also help with meeting a budget, no matter the size.  

CP: Are all of the homes you build designed by an architect?

JS: Yes. At a minimum, I require a full set of builder plans, designed by a Montana-licensed architect. I’ve had people purchase plans online and want them to be modified or customized to their liking, but because of differences in structural requirements for this area, often times the end result is nothing like what they started with because so many adjustments have to be made, so the plans can even end up costing more. Some clients will fill in the “blanks” with the interior details, but most will use an interior designer on some level or another.  

CP: Do you offer building packages, like a pre-designed “to be built” home, or are all of your projects custom?

JS: All of our projects are custom.  

CP: You brought up a good point about structural differences. Many Big Sky clients come from other parts of the country, and even the world. Obviously, different regions have varying architectural styles, but you say that this region also requires different structural requirements in a home. Can you tell me some of the components you suggest every client should consider when building in Big Sky?

JS: Most of what we need differently in a well-designed home is related to seismic events, high winds and high snow load. We aren’t known for having large earthquakes, but even with small tremors, when building on the sides of a mountain like many homes are, we don’t want to take any chances. Another component is soil quality. We need to make sure the platform the home will sit upon is stable under any circumstance. Porous or clay-like soil can need reinforcing, which we sometimes need to do when we dig the foundation, and that adds to the cost. We always have a structural engineer inspect and certify the building site. Montana is a cold weather climate, so when a roof is designed, we want to make sure to minimize the risk of areas where an ice dam can occur. They need to be well designed and highly insulated. Lastly, how the house and home site interact with forest fire danger is a big consideration. We live in the west where fires can be prevalent, so many homes have Class A fire-rated roof systems (and some developments require it) to minimize a fire loss.  

CP: What type and size homes do you build? Do you have a specialty?

JS: We have no specialties; it’s all based on what the client wants. We have done timber frames, log homes, contemporary and modern, large and small - you name it. We have a fully staffed office, employee-based job site supervisors and carpenters, plus highly skilled sub-contractors, all with a great depth of experience. My feeling is that a good general contractor will have a quiver of talent from which to choose, therefore being able to please any client.  

CP: Let’s talk about timing. How long does it take you to give a client an estimate on building the home?

JS: Once a lot is identified and the plans are provided, it takes about 4-6 weeks to price out a house. The more info I have about the interior details, the more accurate the budget will be. If there are unknowns, I will include an allowance that the client can work within when making decisions.  

CP: Once you have a signed building contract with a client, how long does the entire construction process take?

JS: The length of time will depend on the size of the home, but it varies from six to twenty months from the time we break ground.  

CP: As we said earlier, many clients do not live in Big Sky. How easy or difficult is it for a client who doesn’t live here to keep tabs on their home construction as its progressing?

JS: It’s very easy with today’s technology. We regularly use e-mail, video conferencing and take regular photos of the home’s progress. Every Monday we send a builder report to the client. It includes a weather report, what work was completed the previous week, what contractors were on site, projected business for the upcoming week, and it includes progress photos. It helps them keep tabs on the progression, but it’s also fun and can be shared with parents, kids and friends. I will tailor the communication needs to the client. Some want to talk every week; some don’t want to be involved at all for months.  

CP: What are some common myths about building a custom home that might make someone shy away from the process if they don’t know the truth?

JS: I’d say the most common myth is that the construction industry is shady and crooked. I’m sure in some areas it can be, but we have a highly sophisticated and experienced industry here in Big Sky. The client is the one who will ultimately be picking their team, so after talking with the real estate broker, and any friends or locals you know, go with your gut. The team is important, you have to trust them, and word of mouth and local reputation is going to tell you everything you need to know. Another myth is that building is stressful. If you let it, it can be stressful, but it should be fun and rewarding. If you take the time to pick the right team of people, including architect and designer, combine that with the right communication, it can be a great process and you’ll end up with the product you want. The last myth is that building is prohibitively expensive. It definitely doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are many places in the country where it is more expensive to build than here - Jackson Hole; Newport Beach; Greenwich, CT. We do have factors that affect the cost, like logistics, Mother Nature, and where many of our workers come from. However, we have been building here for 20 years so we know what to expect and it’s calculated into our costs.  

CP: When a Buyer buys an existing home, there are protections in place to prevent uncovering latent physical defects within the home. What kind of warranty do your clients get when you build them a home?

JS: Montana Law requires a one year Builder’s warranty on any new home. However, we stand behind our work in all of our houses. We take care of our clients long after the house is complete because we treasure our long-term relationships. We recognize that having happy clients is a win-win for everyone. All homes require maintenance, so we want them to come to us to line up a painter, a roofer, etc. to take care of client. And most of the time they want do because they know they can trust our recommendations.  

CP: After almost 20 years building in Big Sky, do you have favorite house that you have built?

JS: That is always a tough question, and I always determine that I don’t really have a favorite. Each new house I build I am always filled with excitement, I love seeing new designs. I truly appreciate all the houses we’ve built because each one is unique and is perfect for the owner. What is most important to us is that our clients are thrilled with the end product.


Fourth Annual Auction for the Arts

Posted on December 30, 2015 by bigskysir

Auction for the Arts, Big Sky, Montana

On Thursday, March 24th enjoy an evening of live music and refreshments while bidding on outstanding local art at the fourth annual Auction for the Arts in Big Sky, Montana. Presented by Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty, with support from Lone Mountain Ranch, Creighton Block Gallery, and Gallatin River Gallery, this much-anticipated evening raises money and enthusiasm for the arts through the Arts Council of Big Sky. Tickets to the event are $50 and include 2 drink tickets, heavy appetizers, live music performed by the Adam Greenberg Jazz Trio, and a silent and live art auctions. Guests will have the opportunity to bid on outstanding art by Big Sky locals: Jackie Rainford Corcoran, Ari O., Jill Zeidler, Ryan Turner, Greg Darden, Shelly Bermont, Kira Fercho, Julio Freitas, Lori Elliot, Lorri Lagerbloom, Heather Rapp, as well as custom dining creations from Lone Mountain Ranch, and the Moonlight Tavern. Tallie Lancey, a broker with Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty, and former president of the Arts Council of Big Sky, has been aiding in the planning of the event since its inception four years ago. “There is such a complementary relationship between real estate and art work,” especially through the well-respected Sotheby’s brand, whose mission is fulfilled by “artfully uniting extraordinary lives with extraordinary properties.” In addition to the natural relationship, Lancey says the Arts Council adds so much value to the Big Sky community through the artistic events it provides for local residents and visitors. Lancey describes the Auction for the Arts as a “dynamic, multisensory artistic experience,” giving guests and local artists opportunities to interact, especially during the ‘quick-finish’ session during the live auction. A ‘quick-finish’ means the artist will literally be painting the final brush strokes or drawing the last lines minutes before the auction begins. This year’s live auction will also include a sculptor as well as floral artist, completing their work right before your eyes. The Arts Council of Big Sky wishes for the community to “remain a beautiful place where the expression, enjoyment, and education of the Arts will inspire and sustain a healthy and vibrant community.” Programming provided by the Arts Council include the well-loved summer outdoor concert series, a local film festival, public art projects, and a new program to bring Big Sky high school students to Seattle to expose them to careers in the arts. This year’s Auction for the Arts is sure to impress sophisticated art collectors, local artists, and anyone looking to be inspired by an interactive evening of art – all while supporting the extraordinary local community of Big Sky, Montana. Call the Arts Council of Big Sky for tickets at (406) 995-2742. Tickets are only available in advance, and are expected to sell out.

Tags: Art Auction
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