Will Big Sky ever be like Vail, Aspen or Jackson?

In some ways: yes. In some, much more important, ways: no.

This is a question circling the minds of my –both buyers and sellers — clients of late.

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The question arises from the fear that our beloved town is changing. I understand their fears. There are lots of buildings (both commercial and residential) wrapped in Tyvek, traffic has increased, and more people are moving here. Will a ramshackled home soon cost $1M, like those other ski towns? Will the townsfolk become snobby and forget that we’re here to ski, not be seen in the most expensive ski gear? Will the trails, rivers, bars, and ski areas become overly crowded? My reaction is always the same: I understand your fear, but that’s all it is. Big Sky’s charm and character are not at risk of evaporating into the cold smoke of developers’ coffers for a number of important reasons.

1. Location. Big Sky is on a dead-end road in a cold, wild, faraway place called Montana (might as well be Canada, to most folks). It’s difficult to travel here from many places. The closest major metropolitan area is nearly 6 hours away. We are happily, some might say, a great distance from a densely populated area. Without millions of people nearby, Big Sky thrill seekers must trek through several layovers, part with hundreds of dollars, and endure jet lag. We love that.

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2. Boyne. Big Sky Resort is operated by a family business, meaning they don’t report to corporate shareholders. That fact sometimes irks local business owners, but is appreciated by locals at large. Yes, we’re in need of modernized amenities and infrastructure, but isn’t it wonderful! I’m not being sarcastic.

3. Local leaders. A dedicated, well-educated, dynamic group of locals share, for the most part, a vision to maintain Big Sky’s best characteristics as our town grows. These individuals volunteer their time, money, creativity, and energy on boards across the community to ensure that our snowmobile trails are groomed, our kids get the best education possible, our arts scene thrives, our signage is easy to navigate, and our neighborhoods are clean, safe, and beautiful (among many, many other purposes). We cooperate and collaborate because we’re all part of the same tribe.

Are there going to be some growing pains? Absolutely. We’re already feeling them. Will there be some visitors who haven’t wrapped their minds around the Code of the West? Definitely. I see them around town, from time to time. Maybe eventually they’ll get it. Big Sky isn’t for everyone and we’re proud of it.

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