Images of the West: Living History

The Mission Mountain Railroad may be Montana’s shortest line, but it’s a valuable remnant of the industry that changed the West


Local Knowledge: Ranching for Sage Grouse

Delaney 44 Ranch helps preserve essential habitat where cows and wildlife thrive

Photo by Thomas Lee

Letter from the Editor: Winter Reflection

Before the snow flies there is a nearly imperceptible pause...

Written by Seabring Davis  

Seabring Davis

Other Contributions

Where the Living is Easy Music in the Mountains The Flight of the Hummingbird Living the Dream Integrating Nature Mountain Exposure Eclectic Parkitecture Uniting Color Historic Symmetry The Year Of The Horse A Yellowstone Club Retreat Hearth and Soul Building a Timeless Legacy An Uncommon Cabin in the Woods Timeless Fusion Mountain Tradition A Modern Vision Summer Camp Perfect Harmony Winter Getaway: Red Lodge, Montana Beyond the Cabin A Fine Balance Good Country Authentically Western A Home for the Ages Letter from the Editor: First Snow Dining Out: The Old Hotel Letter from the Editor: Signs of Summer Letter from the Editor: The Angler’s Sojourn Dining Out: Simply Good Food From the Editor: Hit the Road Making a Statement: Miller Architects Letter from the Editor: Winter’s Toll Letter from the Editor: Evolving Home Dining Out: Comfort Food Western Design: Cowboy Modern Western Design: The Idaho Club Letter from the Editor: Talking Art Dining Out: Conserving Montana One Table at a Time Dining Out: Cosmopolitan Cuisine at TEN Dining Out: Ranch to Restaurant Letter from the Editor: Waiting for Summer Letter from the Editor: Arts Economy Letter from the Editor: First Frost Letter from the Editor: Why Art? Letter from the Editor: Up Close and Personal Letter from the Editor: A Tradition of Talent Letter from the Editor: Winter Reflection Dining Out: The Taste of Whitefish Letter from the Editor: How Big is Your Bucket Letter from the Editor: Falling Short Western Design: Rustic Allure Dining Out: Fish Food Western Design: In the Studio with Painter Hugh Wilson Western Design: Home Base From the Editor Dining Out: Tradition, with a Twist Letter from the Editor: I Know Where the Fish Are Letter from the Editor: Big Sky Country Letter from the Editor: Forging Ahead Dining Out: Barn Dance Letter from the Editor: Like an Open Road Letter from the Editor: The Language of Fishing Letter from the Editor: Cast Again Editor’s Letter: The Passing Season Dining Out: Saffron Table Dining Out: Lone Mountain Ranch Serves Up a Sense of Place Western Design: Uniquely Rustic Western Design: JLF & Associates Letter from the Editor: Season of Possibility Dining Out: A Montana Tradition, Chico Hot Springs Letter from the Editor: Design Trends Dining Out: The Ranch at Rock Creek Redefines Montana Cuisine Dining Out: Seasonal Bliss Western Design: Refined Rustic Letter from the Editor: Winter Wave Letter from the Editor: Blending Seasons Western Design: A New Mountain Lodge Western Design: Historic Haven Western Design: In the Studio with the Viers Western Focus: Classic Connection: Miller Architects Western Design: Reviving the Barn From the Editor: Seasons of Simplicity Dining Out: Innovation Meets Tradition at Bisl Letter from the Editor: What is art? Dining Out: Holland Lake Lodge, Rustic Wonderful Letter from the Editor: The Secret Weapon Letter from the Editor: Fly Fishing for the Greater Good Western Design: Mountain Zen Western Design: Creekside Contemporary Living Big Sky on HGTV The Spirit of the West in Jackson, Wyoming Letter from the Editor: Staying Power
November 2014

Inevitably, with the onset of winter, comes reflection. 

Short days, long nights. For me the season spurs an appraisal of the past year. Before the snow flies there is a nearly imperceptible pause — before the diversions of skiing and skating and weather, it let’s me look back at the year. This is when I remember and appreciate hours on hiking trails, my dogs romping ahead. I long for the cool, clean flow of the river and basking in the sun again. I smile at the thought of the open road and miles to ride on a bike. I am grateful.

Remembering time spent adventuring outdoors and time spent with friends also brings a realization that it seems there’s never enough time to do it all. There are no regrets, but instead, a call to action. I make a list of the stuff I still hope to do and the places I’d like to see in the future. And so, each year for the winter issue, our staff compiles “The Big Sky List”. This time we’re offering a Top 20 of the Northern Rockies, from hot air balloon rides to spring creek angling to canoeing. It spans all seasons and will hopefully launch plans for your next adventure.

We’ve also launched a beautiful new website for the magazine: Associate Editor Christine Rogel has taken many months to reflect on 21 years of archives and presented all those articles, images and memories in sleek graphic quality that has become a hallmark of the magazine. Now you’ll find a way to explore Big Sky Country with one click on the interactive Forge map or find more works by your favorite contributors and a place to share your own Top 20 Big Sky List of exciting activities in the region.

Our contributors continue to showcase surprising winter exploits that extend the boundaries of fun. The writer-photographer team of Reno Walsh and Ryan Turner (“A Wild Ride”) bring us backcountry powder on the Big Sky Snowmobile Trail. Local rider, Brian Hurlbut dissects the mountain map for the Biggest Skiing in America™ and fiction writer Sarah Grigg (“Elk Limp”) visits the more somber side of winter.

While the adrenaline seekers map out the next backcountry sojourn, there’s also a quieter side to the Northern Rockies. That side comes through in the historic profile of a train engineer in northwest Montana (Images of the West) and in the Dining Out article featuring Billings’ family-owned Caramel Cookie Waffle bakery. These real-life stories of small town living anchor our communities and the heart of this magazine throughout the year.

I hope you’ll find inspiration in these pages for your own Big Sky List.