By Gabrielle Gasser Explore Big Sky Cub Reporter

Big Sky is a true diamond in the rough. Along with amazing views, the biggest ski resort in America, and plenty of space, Big Sky is a small town with a strong sense of community.
Here, residents rarely feel the need to lock their doors against intruders; cars are left running when people grab their mail; and the worst burglars in town are curious wildlife. Residents greet tourists with a warm, welcoming smile, happy to point them in the right direction, whether in town or on the slopes.
Big Sky is a friendly town. In the 13 years I’ve lived here, I’ve noticed that crime is rare. I feel safe driving and walking around the town, and even if I’m leaving a movie at 10 p.m., I’m not afraid that I’ll be attacked. This is the beauty in the sense of safety and community in Big Sky.
It’s an outdoor-oriented place. Most residents and visitors are active in some way – skiing, hiking, fishing or the like. People here value wildlife and the natural beauty surrounding Big Sky.
When I went to school part-time in Indiana, we took field trips to Chicago where we would go to museums or the zoo. When I came to school at Ophir, we took hikes and went on a fourth grade trip to Yellowstone National Park. The school system in Big Sky puts heavy emphasis on experiential learning. Its motto, “Where we learn by doing,” is a great example of the curriculum as well as the mindset of the community.
Ski Fridays are also a valuable program at Ophir and Lone Peak High School. This program requires students to ski as part of their gym class, encouraging us to have fun while exercising in fresh air. The youngest students are taught how to ski, while the older students learn about snow science or get safety lessons from Eagle Mount, a Bozeman-based nonprofit offering recreational activities to those with cancer or disabilities.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend half the year in Big Sky, until seventh grade when I moved here full time. The experience I gained at Ophir taught me to appreciate nature and to be active. I’ve always loved going to Yellowstone, and learning about the natural phenomena in the park, and I love being able to look out my kitchen window and see deer, elk, or even moose on occasion.
Life in Big Sky is notably different from life in many other places. We think differently and live different lifestyles. In Big Sky, residents are incredibly trusting of others, and I feel fortunate to have lived here for much of my childhood and now through my high school years. I’m very glad to have settled in Big Sky permanently. I’m very lucky to live in this beautiful place.

Gabrielle Gasser is originally from Indiana but attended school in Big Sky part time since preschool. She moved here permanently in seventh grade and is now a junior at LPHS. She loves reading and skiing, and plays varsity volleyball, basketball and golf at the school.