Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Thanks to our friends from all over the world for the lovely Christmas Cards (and cookies!) that have brought smiles to our faces here at Mountain Sky. We wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Diamond City Gets A Lift

The gift shop is currently hovering 6 feet off the ground.

A view of the front support from inside the gift shop.

Temporarily closed for business :)

General Manager Yancey, admiring the crew's handy-work.

Year after year, our gift shop grew more and more popular, thanks to Tawnya's efforts.  She dedicated tons of time to tracking down the perfect items to fill the floor space, to decorate the walls and to fill the shelves and drawers.  Hats hung from the rafters, toys overflowed from the corner, and a trip into the back storage room to resupply the showroom was a journey into a veritable jungle of hanging clothes.   Our jewelry space was packed top to bottom with turquoise and silver, beautiful necklaces and earrings and designer purses.  Last season, it seemed we had reached the limits of the current space, but our guests and staff clamored for more.  

The building has a top floor, but it has gone unused over the years due to accessibility issues.  After considering our options, we decided to make that space usable again by adding an interior staircase and strengthening the foundations.  This would effectively double the space in the building, and the entire ground floor would become available as retail space.  As with all construction done on the ranch, it was of the upmost importance that we preserve this historical building as much as possible, so our only option was to lift the entire building off the ground!

The crew first inserted long steel beams to create a network that criss-crossed through the windows and doors.  These were propped up by carefully stacked towers of 4x4 cuts of wood.  Next, the crew utilized four powerful jacks to slowly lift the building off of its foundations, lifting first with the two in front of the building, and then with the two in back.  This was incredibly tricky, as we wanted to preserve the existing fireplace and chimney without having to take it down and build it back up again.  In the end, after a long day of work, the crew hoisted the building 6 feet off of its old foundations, with the chimney standing unharmed.

Returning guests and staff will be delighted to find a revitalized gift shop next season, offering a little more room to move around amongst the western treasures we've placed there.

Why, you ask, didn't we go the cheap and easy route and tear the whole thing down?

The preservation of the historical elements of this ranch has always been a priority.  Many of our guest cabins and our lodge date back to 1929, and were carefully remodeled in order to preserve that look and feel, while adding all the comforts and details that have earned this ranch Montana's only 4 diamond AAA rating.  History as rich as ours shouldn't be carelessly tossed away.  To brush up on that history, click HERE.

Diamond City, as the building has long been dubbed, was an old homesteading home of the Lewis family, and was moved down from our upper pasture to its present location by the lodge by then-owner Charles Murphy, back in the 1920's.  He used the log home as his year-round residence and office for the ranch.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November News

Greetings Friends! We hope that your Halloween featured more treats than tricks, and that your Thanksgiving day left you happily comatose from mashed potato and stuffing overload. And now for the latest and greatest in Mountain Sky goings-on:

Challenge Dairy is responsible for Challenge Butter, the largest selling brand in the West. This purveyor of fine dairy products is holding a sweepstakes to give vacation-goers a "taste of the West" as fine as their butter: A 7 day, 6 night getaway for 4 at Mountain Sky! Check out their blog for the sweepstakes details, as well as information on their products. It's an incredible opportunity, folks.

"Bionic" Brad Moyel Ready to Take on the World

Our happy-go-lucky yoga instructor and hiking guide is going to have some additional pep in his step, thanks to two successful hip-replacement surgeries. The first procedure was done in early November, and the second was successfully completed yesterday. Staff met up with Brad and his daughter Lotus for pizza prior to surgery #2, and he was giddy about the improvements he was already feeling at that point. He's resting up at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for the next few days, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Brad's yoga classes are extremely popular at Mountain Sky, and his hikes are always well attended, thanks in large part to his cheery disposition, infectious (and mischievous) grin, accommodating and reassuring approach to instruction, and his extensive knowledge of the land. We can't wait to see the zeal with which he tackles life post-surgery. He'll tear up the ski hill this winter, and then tear up the trails (and yoga mats) this spring :)

Mountain Lion Sighting... on Stacy and RC's Porch?!?

At 6:30am, Brooke Draves was on her way to her daily workout at the pool fitness facility when she turned the corner by Stacy and RC's front porch. It was pretty dark out, but she heard that she had startled something big, and stood still as her eyes adjusted. It was hard to make out, but she saw a mountain lion leap over the railing and flee down the short hill, its long tail trailing behind it. The bowl of dry food left out for Twitch (the ranch cat) may have been the source of the big cat's curiosity.

Because the ranch is virtually empty (our staff shrinks from 70 to 7, and only a few of those staffers actually stay the night up here), and because winter conditions tend to drive wildlife from higher elevations, the ranch becomes the ideal spot for deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and the occasional bear to come foraging for food. Mountain lions are extremely elusive, and work hard to avoid contact with humans, so Brooke felt fortunate to be one of the few to have spotted one this season.