The effects of stress on one's mind, body, and spirit are both numerous and terrifying. Also known as "America's #1 health problem," stress can cause something as simple as frequent headaches or, if allowed to persist over a long period of time, can potentially lead to more serious concerns like ulcers. Medical research conducted over the past 30 years has also shown a link between this common affliction and an increased risk of developing cancer. Enter Big Sky, Montana.
For most people the mention of "Montana" alone evokes feelings of solitude, peace, and wonder. The vast and untamed wilderness that dominated the land centuries ago still exists today, largely untouched and preciously preserved for us and future generations. The state of Montana exudes its own state of wonderment; a literal "breath of fresh air," indistinguishable yet extremely tangible, if only you afford yourself the opportunity to come here. And if you are like the millions of Americans suffering from the stressors of work, family, and economy, you actually can't afford not to.
Nestled within the impeccably scenic and serene Gallatin National Forest and tucked under the 11,166 foot Lone Mountain, Big Sky is just what the doctor ordered. A year round mecca of outdoor activities, this small town is a big destination and offers something for everyone. From thrill seeker to spa goer, adventure hunter to shop-a-holic, Big Sky's diversity is enough to tame even the fiercest of appetites, all within a setting of superlative splendor. There's no reason this should not be considered an ideal couples location, even if only half the couple is outdoor oriented. Big Sky offers plenty of activities, both indoor and out, to suit everyone's lifestyle. The allures of Big Sky are many, as are the reasons to get yourself here.
Skiing enthusiasts will find plenty of legendary Montana powder on all of Big Sky's three interconnected mountains. With over 5,500 acres of playground, 4,350 vertical feet, 220 trails, 400 inches of annual snow, and no lift lines, your decision alone to make this your skiing destination will bring you peace of mind. It's like driving to work without the other commuters, except this is God's country. And it's this country that provides a winter wonderland of magnificence and leisure for the outdoor aficionado. Even if skiing isn't your "Zen" activity, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and the like are all readily accessible from this mountain resort community, backed by countless acres of forest service land. While all of Big Sky's winter activities and the snow capped vistas they provide should be enough to get you to call your travel agent, I would be remiss if I didn't focus on my favorite season here: summer.
Montana summers are the reason I spend the other eight months working so hard, but here eight months of stress are released in one deep breath. Amazing Rocky Mountain golfing, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and, my personal favorite, fly fishing, can all be enjoyed within the confines of Big Sky and its environs. Where else can you see bear, wolf, elk, moose, and eagles during the day and retire to a spa treatment followed by five-star dinner at night? And considering Big Sky's proximity to the entrance of Yellowstone National Park (30 beautiful minutes), it just doesn't get any better. The community is also centrally located between three world class trout streams in the Gallatin, Yellowstone, and Madison Rivers. It's no coincidence that I chose to hold my exclusive "Wine on the Fly" fly fishing event here; with four elite Napa Valley wineries playing host to 50 guests, only the luxuries Big Sky could provide would do.
While much less desirable to me (but equally relaxing as the others for some), shopping is yet another "pastime" that can be enjoyed year-round in Big Sky. Whether your interest lies in art galleries, day spas, jewelry or clothes boutiques, or simply for that perfect souvenir, the possibilities are endless. And with the Montana mountains and forests as your backdrop, you are constantly reminded that this isn't your average shopping trip. Yes, life is good.
Big Sky is perfect for the sole traveler, the group of friends, as well as the family, speaking volumes of its diversity. Families of all ages will revel in the multitude of indoor/outdoor activities from which there are to choose. There are even year round events specifically tailored for families with young children including arts, crafts, games, and childcare. Why leave the kids at home when you can explore this mountain paradise together?
You've spent your day exploring just one of the several trails in this vast network, following a wildflower-lined high alpine stream as it carves its way through canyons and meadows. You've heard nothing but the rustling of the wind through the trees, the cry of once endangered eagles, and the sound of your own footsteps. More than once you have questioned whether or not you are really doing what you should be: Am I really happy with my job? Do I have my priorities straight? You take a look around, surrounded by pristine natural beauty, realizing you haven't seen another hiker in the three hours you've been exploring. You take solace in the fact that Montana has been, and always will be, here for you; a reminder that life, as complicated as it is, is fragile and gentle and beautiful, and you are a part of it all. Montana and Big Sky country has an uncanny ability to bring clarity to even the foggiest of minds. So after you've cleared your head with pure Rocky Mountain air, retire to a local day spa to relax and rejuvenate your body and delight your senses. There are several to choose from, and the Spa at Moonlight Basin is the ideal setting where nature meets nurture.
Big Sky, Montana isn't just a place, it's a state of mind. It's one of the "rights" in a world with so many wrongs. In such a tumultuous time, Big Sky provides the relief that most of us want, yet all of us need. Fresh air, unspoiled wilderness, warm and friendly faces, and limitless possibilities; this is the Big Sky that I immediately fell in love with. Come here and you will fall in love too. You owe it to yourself.