By Abbie Digel Explorebigsky.com Editor
Before Big Sky Resort’s chairlifts were spinning and the Huntley Lodge was built, there was a small, active community of locals, some of whom still live in Big Sky today.
Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of Big Sky Resort and the moment when everything changed in Big Sky as a community. A small group of people that were here “before anything else,” says J.C. Knaub, will gather in March 2013 to celebrate the 40 years that have passed since the inception of the resort.
Because of the advent of social media, this group, consisting mostly of past construction workers, ski instructors, ski patrollers and people who helped “build everything from nothing,” have been gathering on sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube to share stories, photos and videos, Knaub said.
Knaub encourages anyone who is interested or who has something to share to find the page, named Big Sky 40 Years DTR (down the road). The page’s purpose is also for sharing updates on reunion news. The party will be held at Buck’s T-4.
“It’s a celebration of locals that are still around,” he said. “We did one at the 30th anniversary, but this time we are going to become more structured. Basically, we are a link to the past.”
Knaub explained that while this small group lived in Big Sky in the 1970s, they recorded their experiences through filming and taking pictures, similar to what we do today.
The Facebook page is full of ruminations on that time. “You can try to explain what we did there, but if you did not experience it, you could not possibly know the freedom of youth we experienced,” one testimonial read.
Pictures of early softball games, gondola and hotel construction and people enjoying cross country skiing are posted on a daily basis. Also, an arsenal of old 8 mm reel film footage is available on YouTube, provided by Gary “Fry” Collins. To see more videos, visit gcollinsbigskychannel on YouTube.
Knaub says this is an ongoing project, and they will continue to gather and solicit photographs, videos and memories to add to their online time capsule.