In the summer of 2002, I interned at Skiing magazine in Boulder, Colorado. Majoring in English and working at a ski shop through college, it was a dream manifested.
Between logging ski test data into spreadsheets and writing gear review blurbs, I began reading the stories of the ski world. I specifically remember one article, written by former Powder Magazine editor and Bike founder Steve Casimiro, that focused on the winter constellation Orion, which first appears on the late summer horizon signaling the coming snowfall. That piece stuck with me. It was about the paradox of changing seasons, the sadness of leaving summer behind and the delightful anticipation of the winter ahead; that first powder dream of the season.
I’m writing this letter from my desk in the Outlaw Partners office, where I started as a senior editor in 2012; and where, today, we’re putting together my last edition of EBS newspaper.
Over the past decade, I’ve had the honor of leading EBS and Mountain Outlaw magazine, and the unique opportunity to report on this resort town during which I’ve interviewed and gotten to know many of you in this incredible community.
And I’m humbled to have worked alongside this brave, creative and talented team.
I’ve covered three Montana elections, three Montana governors and the state Senate; Yellowstone National Park; grizzly bear attacks and wildfire; resort tax, water and sewer, the schools, the fire department, the sheriff’s office and sports. I learned about unincorporation and six-man football, nonprofits and HOAs and Big Sky Resort. I’ve gotten to know this community and its members, your struggles and your victories, the importance of our local businesses; just how good a ByWOM burger is and how to order a clutch lube.
Outlaw Partners and our editorial team have grown and shifted, over the years leaning on our traditional print media while expanding our digital platforms. We shapeshifted during COVID and came out the other side, stronger as a newspaper and as a community with arms locked.
My heart is heavy leaving this team and the publications we’ve built but I’m grateful for the opportunity and for the trust you, our readers and sources, have placed in us. I look forward to witnessing EBS from the outside and in the trust I hope this community will continue to place in the publications.
With change comes anticipation and I’m excited for a new chapter in my life and career. I’m staying here in Big Sky for the time being and hope to see you all around town. I salute Outlaw Partners and our publications for documenting the news and history of this special place; for telling these important stories. And I salute you, the Big Sky community, whom I respect and have worked my best to serve over the past 10 years.
As I look into the brightening predawn sky, I see Orion, the unmistakable, bright three stars making up his belt. The constellation hails the changing season and I’m reminded of the importance seasons play in all our lives. As your editor in Big Sky, I bid you farewell. As your fellow community member, I extend my thanks, raise a glass, and look forward to many more.
Joseph T. O’Connor