By Anne Marie Mistretta

It was the summer of 1993, and the Mistrettas were taking the “grand tour” of the Northern Rockies with one teen and two “tweeners.” We had come to fish the fabled waters of the Gallatin!

When we found a Silverbow condo for a nightly rate of $100, we grabbed the deal. Relaxing on a deck overlooking the Big Sky Golf Course clubhouse, we noticed light reflecting off what we thought must be a ski lift snaking up the mountain. Émigrés from the pinball slopes of Vermont, we investigated and were delighted with the friendly and expansive resort in the Rockies.

First we came to fish. Next we came to ski. Then, in 1994, we came to buy a condo at the base of the mountain—Skycrest unit 1712.

Lone Peak called to us, and in ’94 we hiked Bone Crusher to the scree-ridden ridge to “seek the peak,” when hiking was the only way to the top.

Each time we visited Big Sky, we stayed a little longer, and in the summer of 1995 we had arranged our work lives back East so that we could stay for weeks. Our internal time clocks never switched to Mountain Time that summer, because each morning we heard the whir of the chopper blades as they lifted off from the free skier parking lot, dangling loads of wet cement for the tram foundation and disassembled construction equipment. The mountains rang with excitement.

Although our kids continued to hike the peak, my husband and I elected to ride up 1,450 vertical feet to some of the most spectacular views and radical skiing terrain in the country.

Anne Marie and Jerry Mistretta sold their condo in 1996 when they built a home in Big Sky. They transplanted permanently in 2003. Anne Marie became the Big Sky School District school superintendent, and Jerry worked as fly-fishing guide. They are now productively retired.