By Abbie Digel

It could be due to Gallatin Field’s shiny new terminal, or the 11 cities that fly directly into Bozeman, or the season pass deals offered at Big Sky’s three different resorts, but it’s clear that Big Sky is growing.

The Big Sky Owners Association (BSOA), the oldest and largest association in Big Sky, held their annual meeting on Friday Sept. 2 in the Talus Room at Big Sky Resort.

Taylor Middleton, General Manager of Big Sky Resort, revealed that the town has grown by 89 percent in the past 10 years. Compared to Sun Valley’s negative 1.5 percent, that’s an impressive feat. “Resort towns are expensive,” Middleton said, explaining that more families are leaving ski towns to live in locations with cheaper living expenses. But people are moving to Big Sky.

“Just look at Ophir school,” Middleton said. This year, Lone Peak High School has doubled in size. Also, he said, “Our community didn’t exist 35 years ago. Our growth potential is much higher compared to other ski towns.”

John Bohlinger, Lt. Governor of Montana, engaged members in a discussion of creating citywide wifi that would be broadcast from the top of Lone Peak.

“The quantity and quality of bandwidth is important for growing a business,” Bohlinger said. He hopes to assist with this effort in the next year.

Inquiries from other members included what the Big Sky community will do to help Moonlight Basin have a good year, and whether or not Big Sky will have a community garden.

Other agenda items included a discussion of noxious weed management, bears and trash, and a solution for maintaining the two ponds in the Meadow.

The BSOA has a relationship with the Big Sky Noxious Weed Committee to help maintain members’ property. They collaborated with Allied Waste to use bear-proof canisters, and are in discussions to require every household, even non-BSOA members, to have bear-proof cans.

The two ponds, one by the community park, and the other behind the Silverbow Condos, were built by Chet Huntley in the ‘70s without regulation. The ponds are natural sediment collectors, and BSOA has brought in consultants and the Water and Sewer Board to help solve this ongoing, complex issue.

Of the BSOA’s million-dollar budget, 50 percent is used for snowplowing, and no assessments to the current budget plan will be made this year.

Check bigskymt.com for a full meeting agenda and BSOA membership information.