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Montana: Skiing the Last Best Place



By Tyler Allen Big Sky Weekly Staff Writer

The photographs collected in the new book, “Montana: Skiing the Last Best Place” are as eclectic as the state’s 17 ski areas themselves. From panoramic aerials to portraits of rustic base lodges, the images – all the work of Bozeman photographer Craig Hergert – are a striking compendium of the places Montanans go to slide on snow.

The large-format coffee table book includes more than 200 pages of glossy photos from all corners of Montana’s ranges, and is accompanied by writing from Big Sky’s own Brian Hurlbut and a forward by ski movie pioneer Warren Miller, who writes, “You can now view all of Montana’s beauty by simply flipping through these pages.”

Hurlbut’s stories tell of the quirky histories of these resorts. Opened in the 1930s west of Missoula, Lookout Pass was one of the first ski areas in the U.S. and today is known for its free Saturday lessons for kids. And then there’s Blacktail Mountain, which has the only “upside down” lodge location in the state, where parking and après happens at the top of the hill – Hergert takes you there with a two-page panoramic photo of Flathead Lake and the snowy Mission Range towering behind it.

A 25-page section devoted to Big Sky and Moonlight Basin resorts shows the iconic Lone Mountain from nearly every angle.

“Winters here are cold and long, making for excellent skiing conditions from November through April,” Hurlbut writes. Most of Hergert’s photos show the mountain under bluebird skies, and Hurlbut amends, appropriately, that “Big Sky sees its fair share of sunshine during the winter, as well.”

From deep powder at Bridger Bowl to Great Divide’s “rambunctious” night-skiing crowds, this new book celebrates Montana’s winter lifestyle.

“Sure, Montana has a couple of ‘deluxe resorts’… but it also has a lot of small ski areas where skiing is just like it used to be,” Miller writes. “Simple, beautiful and quiet.”

Hergert’s new book will inspire you to explore these simple, beautiful places and satiate your winter thirst in the meantime.

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