Who is Chet Huntley? The founding father of Big Sky Resort

VISIT BIG SKY

Plenty of Big Sky Resort guests stay at the Huntley Lodge or take turns down Tippy’s Tumble, but few may be aware of the namesakes behind them. Chet Huntley and his wife Tippy founded Big Sky Resort in December 1973.

Huntley is best known for his role on the NBC flagship evening news program The Huntley-Brinkley Report, which ran from 1956 to 1970. Huntley met David Brinkley during the National Republican Convention in the summer of 1956 and their coverage of the event gained quite a favorable audience response.

From there, NBC decided to give them their own evening news program which resulted in one of television’s most famous catchphrases: “Good night, Chet … Good night, David … Good night, NBC news.” In its 14-year run, the show won eight Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards for Outstanding Achievement in News.

NBC News not only brought great fortune to Huntley’s career but also to his love life. While working for NBC in Washington D.C., Huntley met Tipton (Tippy) Stringer who was working as a weather reporter at the time.

They were married in early March of 1959. After Huntley’s passing in 1974, Tippy continued building her life while continuing his legacy. In 1995, she founded the Stringer Foundation to support causes that included public broadcasting, literacy groups and women’s shelters. She passed away at her Los Angeles home in October 2010.

After retiring from a successful career in journalism, Huntley decided to return to his home state of Montana with Tippy to make his dream of opening a ski resort a reality. His conceptualization of the resort began while he was still working at NBC in 1968 and only took approximately six years to become a reality.

Unfortunately, Huntley passed away on March 19, 1974, just a few months after the opening of Big Sky Resort.

When Big Sky Resort opened, it only had three chairlifts and a gondola, where the current-day Ramcharger, Explorer, Swiftcurrent and Powder Seeker lifts are, but under different names and not nearly as modern as they are today.

A piece of Huntley history—the newscaster’s roll-top desk that he used at NBC—is on display at the Visitor Information Center located at the intersection of Highway 191 and Lone Mountain Trail.

A version of this story was originally published on the Visit Big Sky blog at visitbigskymt.com/chet-huntley-founding-father-big-sky/. Read more interesting content about the area on Visit Big Sky’s blog at visitbigskymt.com/category/blog/.