Compiled by Explore Big Staff

The people have spoken! Voter participation in the fourth annual Best of Big Sky survey increased by 120 percent over last year as locals and visitors logged onto explorebigsky.com or filled out paper ballots to vote for their favorite businesses, people and events of 2014.

This year, winning businesses were awarded the framed wall certificates we’ve given in the past, in addition to a $500 Outlaw Partners marketing credit. Thank you to everyone who voted this year and congratulations to all the winners!

Best Outdoor Retailer: Gallatin Alpine Sports
Gallatin Alpine Sports, called “GAS” by locals, opened its doors in 1995 as a premier bike, ski and snowboard shop. Located at 169 Snowy Mountain Circle in Big Sky, GAS offers best_outdoor_retailer_gastop quality, friendly service to locals and visitors alike. The store offers quality brands like Trek and Rocky Mountain bikes; Atomic and Faction skis; and Never Summer and Venture snowboards and longboards. With great brands and competitive prices, it’s a one-stop shop.
gallatinalpinesports.com, (406) 995-2313

2nd place: Grizzly Outfitters

3rd place: East Slope Outdoors

IMG_7116Best Live Music Venue: Gallatin Riverhouse Grill
Enjoy scenic views of the wildlife preserve and the Spanish Peaks while rocking out to some of the best live music acts in the country. The Gallatin Riverhouse Grill celebrated its one-year anniversary in 2014, and kept the party going all year long with acts such as the Rocky Mountain Pearls, the Groovetrotters and the Driftwood Grinners. Stop by the Highway 191 eatery on the Gallatin River, order up a half-rack of ribs with a side of sweet corn nuggets, and high-five owners Greg “Carnie” Lisk and Kyle Wisniewski for serving some of the best entertainment in Big Sky. gallatinriverhousegrill.com, (406) 995-RIBS

2nd place: Town Center Stage

3rd place: Choppers Grub & Pub

Best Après: Scissorbills Saloon
The people have spoken. Winning best après for three years running, Scissorbills Saloon is Big Sky’s favorite post-ski hangout. Located in Big Sky Resort’s Mountain Village, on the top floor of the Arrowhead Mall, Scissorbills is the prime spot for taking a lunch break, or grabbing drinks with friends after a long day on the hill. scissorbills

“I want to thank all of our faithful customers and wonderful employees for the years of support,” owner Keith Kuhns said after hearing the news.

Live music is performed every Saturday and Sunday starting at 3:30 p.m., and Rum Boogie – a DJ set with drink specials – takes place every Thursday at 10 p.m. The casual, let-loose atmosphere is the perfect remedy for sore legs and thirsty throats.
scissorbillssaloon.com, (406) 995-4933

2nd place: Lone Peak Brewery

3rd place: M.R. Hummers

Best Burger: By Word of Mouth
By Word of Mouth, known by most as By WOM, wins the coveted Best Burger in Big Sky for 2014. The Westfork Mall bistro is open for dinner seven days a week and features locally raised, sustainable meat and produce in a variety of signature dishes made from scratch.

Best_burger_bywomTheir scrumptious double decker is made of two Montana Angus beef patties with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and caramelized onions on a wheat bun. Tremendous in flavor and size, this burger will leave you truly satisfied.
bigskycatering.com, (406) 995-2992

2nd place: Choppers Pub & Grub

3rd place: The Corral Bar, Steakhouse, and Motel

Best Bartender: Jake Nelson
The Best Bartender award of 2014 goes to Jake “LaMotta” Nelson. The 36-year-old currently slings drinks once a week at M.R. Hummers, located in Big Sky Resort’s Mountain Mall, and once a week at Milkie’s Pizza & Pub in the Westfork Mall. Having tended bar in Big Sky since 2001, Nelson has delivered impeccable service to thirsty patrons at a number of different spots including the Black Bear, Scissorbills Saloon, and the Alpine Lounge.

“I feel appreciated,” Nelson said. Originally from best_bartenderDuluth, Minn., he has called Big Sky home since 1996. Next time you order a drink from Big Sky’s best bartender, say congratulations and buy him one too.

2nd place: Greg “Carnie” Lisk – Riverhouse

3rd place: Ashley Johnson – Choppers