The most decorated male American skier of all time makes Big Sky home
By Michael Somerby
BIG SKY – Bode Miller may just be the most recognizable ski racer in history. With six medals over five Olympic Games, among many other records, he’s certainly the most decorated. Now, “The Bode Show” has come to Big Sky, Montana.
In a town where just about every activity is backdropped by the massive, standalone prowess of Lone Mountain, alpine sporting reigns supreme—what better place for a living legend of skiing to plant roots?
Along with his wife Morgan and their two sons, Miller began setting up a new home in Big Sky this summer, and says he’s looking forward to reintegrating into a mountain community again.
Miller, 41, is a native of Franconia, New Hampshire, where he was raised in relatively harsh conditions by modern American standards, sharing a log cabin with his parents and three siblings, sans electricity or indoor plumbing.
Of course, being smack dab in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, log cabin or not, comes with a host of perks for any kid growing up, namely a reverence for the outdoors instilled at a young age.
“It was pretty tough and pretty rugged with long winters but lots of independence,” Miller told EBS during a recent interview. “I had a lot of opportunity to play sports and enjoy my time.”
Miller spent time in Montana when his sister attended Montana State University and the Treasure State is now providing many of the trappings of a life-loving, outdoors-driven lifestyle he grew up with back east.
“[Montanans are] really genuine and hardcore and tough, which I like,” Miller said. “Talk about average lives being inspiring, and those are the lives you want to surround your kids with. I think that’s a real part of Montana life. It reminds me of New Hampshire, just bigger and more extreme.”
The title of Miller’s autobiography, “Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun,” neatly captures the essence of his character. As a competitive ski racer, his relationship with medaling was complex, to say the least; for many racers, the medal is all that matters and gold is the goal from the start of every race.
Instead, Miller’s approach was that of a creative athlete less concerned with the rigors and minutia of alpine racing and more so with the enjoyment skiing gave him. He raced “as fast as the natural universe will allow,” Miller recounted in his book.
“I wasn’t a spectacular competitor; I enjoyed athleticism and the freedom of the whole thing,” he said. “While I was in competitions all the time, I had an uninhibited approach of going faster than was reasonable. I was playing rather than trying to win a particular race.”
Still, on paper, Miller was a mighty competitor—the best male skier the U.S. has ever produced, winning six Olympic medals over five Winter Olympics, one gold, three silver and two bronze; five World Championship medals over eight competitions spanning 1999-2015, pocketing 4 gold and 1 silver; 33 World Cup race victories, winning events in all five disciplines, making him the last the of five men, to date, to ever do so; the only skier ever with at least five World Cup victories in all five disciplines, among other accolades.
Since officially retiring from professional skiing in 2017, Miller and his family are making Big Sky home, dividing their time between houses in Southern California and New Hampshire.
“We were always planning to split time between oceans and mountains,” he said. “It’s really a natural split for me because I love both. The nature up in Montana, or even New Hampshire, rounds out what we’re offering [our kids].”
While he lived in a winter wonderland much of his own, Miller is excited for the outdoor opportunities Big Sky will provide his children, particularly where the slopes are concerned, and the community values his entire family will be immersed in.
“I want my kids to be able to wake up in the morning and go straight onto the lift … that was a struggle of mine growing up,” Miller said. “We don’t need amenities beyond what Big Sky offers: good food, good culture, good people and access to nature.”
A portion of Miller’s decision is centered on his new, long-term partnership with Lone Mountain Land Company, the prominent Big Sky developer that manages Moonlight, Spanish Peaks and various Town Center developments. Those involved call him “Chairman of the Boards” as a fun play on his title.
For Miller, who has fielded countless offers and requests to represent various brands and companies, LMLC’s approach to their developments inspired his acceptance.
“I’ve had opportunities to do ambassadorships … but it’s not that common that I’m really impressed, with eyes-wide-open going into that sort of role,” Miller said. “The way that Lone Mountain Land Company is doing their developments is amazing, like how they put 80 percent of the land in Moonlight into land trust. It’s a pretty incredible thing. … It’s rare.”
Keep an eye peeled for Big Sky’s newest member of the community—but if you spot him on the slopes, don’t be surprised if you only catch his backside.
Bode will be introduced to the community on Thursday, Aug. 15, on the Music in the Mountains stage with an accompanying video by Teton Gravity Research, and will be at the event signing custom-made Big Truck Bode hats and raffling off a pair of Bomber skis and a day of skiing with him this upcoming season. All proceeds from the raffle will go to Big Sky Arts Council and Big Sky Ski Education Foundation.