By Emily Wolfe
Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

BIG SKY– Local shopping opportunities have continued to expand, with the Dec. 29 opening of a new women’s clothing store now in the Westfork Plaza.

Located downstairs from Eye in the Sky Photography, Mountain Maven aims to offer affordable fashion and chic active wear.

Originally from Sioux Falls, S.D., owner Crystal Snook has dreamt of opening her own store since age 18, she said. Now 30, she spent seven years working at Grizzly Outfitters and has lived in Big Sky for 10.

Mountain Maven’s clothing collection spans from work to play, Snook says, from print bohemian dresses, to sleek yoga brands. “I’m combining what I see women in Big Sky wearing,” she said. “I like to call the whole look ‘mountain lifestyle.’”

Her brands currently include M. Rena, Kensie, Zobha, Be Love, Amano Studio and Montana Wild Designs, and she plans to carry Gentle Fawn and Beyond Yoga, as well.

Welcoming and relaxed, Snook enjoys spending time with customers and helping them shop. With the fashion pieces in particular, Snook likes to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and try things they wouldn’t otherwise pick out themselves, without breaking the bank.

Hence the name for the store. Maven means “expert,” and Snook says her time working as a buyer at Grizzly made her an expert in clothing.

The shop’s 800-square-foot space is light and airy, with simple décor and a leather couch. Jewelry and other merchandise are draped over a few deer and elk antlers, which Snook’s boyfriend collects, and a mirror framed by barn wood hangs on the wall.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous, just laid out very nicely,” said Stephanie Jacobs, a first time visitor to Big Sky from Raleigh, N.C. “It reminds me of the boutiques I like to go into [at home] – not too crowded, not a bunch of stuff everywhere.”

That was a deliberate move on Snook’s part.

“I have a limited selection, [because] I want you to look unique,” she said. “I want you to come here knowing that the girl you work with isn’t going to show up the same day wearing the same jacket.”

The number of boutiques in Big Sky is growing – there are more than five now – and Snook believes this will encourage visitors to come here with that in mind. “I think shopping begets shopping. It’s like art galleries – the more galleries there are, the more people are going to come here looking for that type of thing.”

Open from 11-8 a.m. daily, Mountain Maven is located at 120 Big Pine Drive #6, below Eye in the Sky Photography and next to the Broken Spoke Bar & Grill in the Westfork Plaza of Big Sky’s Meadow Village.
Stop in for wine night every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., or for drinks, appetizers and the chance to win a gift certificate at the Jan. 30 grand opening party from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.