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Entrepreneur: Steve Emerson

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Owner of Black Kettle, LLC



Where did you learn to ski?

Bridger Bowl

Where do you live now?

Gallatin Gateway

If you weren’t doing this, what would you do instead?

More work helping people enter into Emergency Medical Services education at one level or another

Steve Emerson was a 12-year veteran of the Big Sky Resort ski patrol when he decided to open a business on the mountain serving food.

“I saw a need for it and was inspired by the nature of my own imagination to do something about it,” says Emerson, who owns Black Kettle Soup and Black Kettle Burritos, which are open during the winter season.

Emerson opened the soup shop – which sits at 9,000 feet just above the bottom terminal of Big Sky’s Triple Chairlift – during the winter of 2009-10.

He had such success serving soup, sandwiches and pastries that the resort asked him to open a second location, and in the 2012-13 season the second shop was open for business, this time selling burritos, tamales, nachos and hot and cold drinks near the top of the Swift Current Chairlift.

“My mountain awareness having been a ski patroller was my lead-in,” says the Bozeman native. “Being aware of how things work here in the wintertime helped me to take the right approach.”

The close proximity of the two businesses was at first a concern, Emerson says, but they ended up driving business to one another.

The biggest challenge of the job, he says, is getting supplies to and from the restaurants. Since Emerson works a full-time winter job as the ski patrol medical director, it means early mornings and late nights snowmobiling up from the base area to drop off soup and burrito fixings, and take down trash and gray water.

“Because I’m here anyway it’s a perfect place for me to be doing business,” he says. “During the day I don’t worry about my businesses – they take care of themselves. My employees do a great job.” – Emily Wolfe

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