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Big Sky Shootout film and photo festival returns

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The Master Bladers team accepts their award for People’s Choice Best Video from Second Season CEO Erik Morrison at the Big Sky Shootout afterparty at Tips Up on April 16. PHOTO BY BELLA BUTLER

Community rallies to conserve & celebrate its mountain culture


BIG SKY – Electricity was in the air the night of April 16. Clouds gathered and danced with anticipation, circling Lone Peak and welcoming the prevailing winds that would soon come carrying the spring snow. The first flakes began to fall softly upon the faces of the eager onlookers gathered on the patio of The Wilson Hotel in Town Center.

Moments before they were immersed in playing bottle toss, drinking beer and listening to the melodic beats of DJ Missy O’Malley as she welcomed festival goers to the Shootout lounge. But the familiar and funny feeling of the dew-point drop was unmistakable to those gathered there. The tribe instinctually paused, turned and cast their gaze to the peak just as lightning split the sky illuminating the clouds from deep within and revealing a stunning silhouette of the tram upon a blazing mountain top.

A moment later, as if on cue, the heavens opened with the bass drop and bore down upon the crowd with heavy snows driving them inside. It was clear winter had made its triumphant return and with it the return of the Big Sky Shootout Film & Photo Festival.

We all had that feeling it was probably going to storm that night, said Erik Morrison, festival producer and Second Season CEO.

“Historically Big Sky has delivered some solid spring storms around the Shootout, hence all the classic powder segments like Higher Love and Snow Dreams that the festival has produced,” Morrison said. “It’s just that special combination of Lone Peak and this ski community’s stoke that seems to pull it in. With all of us coming together to honor this tradition and celebrate the festival’s return … It had to snow. Fortunately for us the storm was a motivator for people to come celebrate. We had over 400 people in attendance with the largest and rowdiest crowd at 7 p.m. right when the lightning struck and the storm was raging. You can’t make this up!”

Established in 2014 by Lone Peak Cinema owners Scott and Sally Fisher, The Big Sky Shootout was a full on visual celebration of Big Sky’s ski community. Open to all and focusing on content exclusively shot at Big Sky Resort over a one-week period, teams of six or less were invited to test their creativity and tell their tale on the big screen. Come showtime the community would gather in dayglow and denim for two sold out shows, vote for their favorite festival films and celebrate what makes Big Sky great. It was a time-honored tradition and one that was sorely missed with the pandemic and the closure of Lone Peak Cinema.

Years passed and many wondered if the Shootout would ever return. In the spring of 2021, Morrison approached the Fishers about his interest in Second Season collaborating with them to bring back the festival.

Since the pandemic we have seen significant change here in Big Sky and across the West. “If we are to preserve our traditions and mountain culture we must continue to create it,” Morrison said. “That is central to the work we are doing at Second Season and the reason we felt compelled to act. Once Scott and Sally gave us the green light we brought Shootout veterans Skylab Media and Peak Creative Designs onboard to the production team. Community-minded businesses and organizations collaborated swiftly to support us and breathe new life into the Shootout. A sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone one of them who stepped up.”

Huge fans of the Shootout tradition and never ones to miss out on a good party, the team at Grizzly Outfitters pulled out all the stops and gathered over $5,800 in cash and prizes. They invited GoPro to join the fun and generously donated six Hero 10 Black camera kits complete with handler, chesty, enduro batteries, and daytripper packs; a dream package for any content creator. This plus thousands of dollars in door prizes like skis, goggles, helmets and soft goods made for many a happy festival goer.

Events like the Big Sky Shootout give Grizzly Outfitters and our team the opportunity to say thank you to the community that supports us, said Andrew Schreiner.

“Locals are the heart and soul of Big Sky. Without them… Well we would live in a pretty boring and stagnant community. This is our home and we will always support core local events that cater and inspire outdoor activities and phenomenally fun evenings like the Shootout. Keep up the good work Big Sky and thanks for all your years of support.”

Many of the other collaborators who supported the Shootout were on hand with their family and friends to celebrate and enjoy the show. Kevin Barton of Ace Big Sky, Beth Hoffman of Big Sky Build, Wes and Alex Hoeker of Two Pines Properties, and others were in attendance, some staying for multiple showings. Beth was rewarded for her spirit when her ticket was pulled for the grand door prize giveaway later that evening.

It was so great to have the festival back this year, said Wes Hoecker. “I loved seeing all the films,” he said. “Lots of friends and coworkers contributed and made films. We love this community and are stoked to be involved. Already thinking about the Shootout 2023!”

 With this community support the team at Second Season was able to significantly step up production and expand the festival to include film and photography. With 10 eclectic short films and 50 photos it was the largest number of submissions in Shootout history. All of the film and photo submissions for the Seventh Annual Big Sky Shootout Film & Photo Festival will be available to view at later this week. Additional artist spotlights and their work will be featured the next two weeks on Second Season’s Instagram and Facebook. Awards were given in the following categories:



1st Place Video: Master Bladers | “Group Masterblation”

2nd Place Video: Shootout Veterans | “5 Guys 1 Line”

3rd Place Video: Beet & Jojo | “The Dirtbag”


1st Place Photo: INOAH Photographer

2nd Place Photo: KG Content

3rd Place Photo: Heather Rapp


Video: Shootout Veterans | “5 Guys 1 Line”

Photo: Tim Chamberlain


Video: Shootout Veterans | “5 Guys 1 Line”

Photo: Ice Fox


Video: BSPN | “Here, Now & Pow”

Photo: Tim Chamberlain


Video: Bomb Snow | “Big Lies & Hashbrowns”

Photo: Heather Rapp


Video: BSPN | “Here, Now & Pow”

Photo: INOAH Photographer


Video: Master Bladers | “Group Masterblation”

Photo: KG Content

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