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Leaving the Greatest Snow on Earth for the Best Terrain and Vibe in the World



By Dave Granger

World-famous professional free skier, Jamie Pierre, is preparing to make the biggest change of his life and career. This spring, after 15 years in Salt Lake City, Pierre and his family are moving to Big Sky Country. While this news may seem shocking to Utah powder fanatics (who tout “the greatest snow on earth”), it’s a no-brainer for those of us who call Southwest Montana home. Between Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin, the Yellowstone Club, Bridger Bowl and our extensive backcountry, the terrain and ski culture here are topnotch.

In the summer of 1991, after graduating high school in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Pierre first visited Montana on a road trip to see the West. He returned a few times to visit friends at MSU, to compete in a 1997 extreme ski competition at Bridger Bowl, and for a couple movie premieres.

In 2009, Pierre attended the first Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP)/Billy Poole Memorial Fund Collaboration at Big Sky Resort. Now in its third year, this annual event celebrates the life of extreme skiing legend Billy Poole by inspiring BYEP participants and mentors. Since then, Montana has had a magnetic pull for Pierre.

In fall 2010, he brought his wife and two children to Bozeman to collect a tipi and spend some time getting more acquainted with the area. On a day hike up Big Sky’s North Fork trail, the idea to move here took root.

Now 38, Pierre holds the world record cliff jump on skis: he launched 255’ off the backside of Grand Targhee Resort. Famous for these massive drops, Pierre has also done some serious ski descents. In Haines, Alaska, for example, he’s the only person to have ever skied the infamous Northeast Couloir of Mount Emmerich.

This winter, Pierre has already visited Montana six times. Rather than bringing an entourage of photographers and ski partners to Montana, he stuck with the locals—a wise move. He ripped Moonlight and the Yellowstone Club with Bozeman-based photographer and skier, Travis Andersen. Then Big Sky stalwart, Ryan Turner, showed him “the ins and outs of Big Sky and Moonlight Basin.” On their last day shooting photos together, they were “fortunate enough to get invited to ski and shoot pics at the Yellowstone Club.”

Before the chairlifts stop turning for the season, Pierre and his family plan to relocate to Southwest Montana. He says it’s “an honor” to ski here and help market the region and the trifecta of resorts.

“The people here are super-friendly. Everyone says ‘hello’.” My wife and I want to raise our family [here]. Ophir School sounds incredible, as does everything about Big Sky.”

Travis Andersen Photography
Travis Andersen lives in Bozeman and specializes in scenic landscape photography and outdoor action sports photography in the Gallatin Valley and surrounding mountains of Southwest Montana. He cofounded Vast Studios, which is at 410 North Broadway, Bozeman. (406) 580-0762

Ryan Turner Photography
Big Sky resident Ryan Turner specializes in action and landscape photography. His images are seen around the world in national publications and corporate advertising. Catch him at his recently opened gallery/studio to get one of his custom framed Giclee Prints. He’s located in Big Sky, adjacent to Bugaboo Restaurant in the Big Horn Center along Highway 191. (406) 580-5997

Resorts, photographers and pro athletes often work together. Here are several ways Jamie Pierre has already been involved with Southwest Montana’s incredible resorts during the 2010/11 winter season:
-He was invited to Big Sky Resort’s official Season Kickoff Party (Dec. 18) to sign posters alongside his own personal ski hero, Scot Schmidt.
-Over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, he made his first official visit to the Yellowstone Club’s famous “Private Powder,” courtesy of Dan Lakatos Director of Outdoor Pursuits.
-In February, Jamie brought his family and his older brother Chris’ family, to Montana. On that trip, Pierre skied with BYEP and with fellow pro shredders for the 2011 BYEP/Billy Poole Memorial Fund event.
-Over President’s Day Weekend, Pierre hosted his first official “Jamie Pierre Steeps Clinic” at the Yellowstone Club.
-In March, he skied alongside the Moonlight Basin Freeride Team, and then guest emceed the sixth annual Moonlight Basin Headwaters Spring Runoff.

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