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History of Big Sky, Montana

"Montana skiing has arrived!" SKI Magazine announced in its September 1973 issue.

Big Sky Resort was conceived and built by the late NBC newscaster, Chet Huntley. It first opened for skiing in December 1973. In 1976, Boyne USA Resorts purchased the resort and has owned and managed it since then.

Boyne USA Resorts is a Michigan-based corporation that owns several mountain and golf resort properties across the United States including Crystal Mountain in Washington, Brighton Ski Resort in Utah and Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in Michigan. The family-run corporation started in 1947 and is still run by Everett Kircher and his sons and daughters.

Everett Kircher skied for the first time in 1938 and fell in love with the sport. At the time, Everett owned a car dealership in Michigan and soon started spending his weekends looking for a spot to build a ski hill. In 1947, he bought 40 acres of land and a used chair lift and open Boyne Mountain opened in 1948. Everett sold his car dealership, purchased Boyne Highlands by 1963, installed the world's first triple chair lift and became a pioneer in snowmaking. In 1999, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Snow Journalists Association.

Under the leadership of Boyne USA, Big Sky Ski & Summer Resort continues to set standards for skiing in Montana and skiing in the Rockies. An aggressive lift expansion plan has seen the area add 13 new lifts in the last 10 years. With 17 lifts transporting skiers and snowboarders over 3,500 skiable acres, the resort has set the standard for uncrowded slopes and non-existent lift lines.

In 1990, the resort invested $18 million in the Shoshone Condominium Hotel and the 43,000-square-foot Yellowstone Conference Center. In 1995, the Lone Peak Tram was built hoisting skiers to 11,150 feet and giving Big Sky one of the nation's largest total vertical drops at 4,180 feet.

Big Sky constructed the single largest development since the resort's inception the Summit Hotel Condominium in 2000. This $45 million project is located less than 300 feet from two-high speed quads and a gondola on what might be the last best place for slopeside lodging in the Rockies.

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