Big Sky: Four things you’ll love about us

Local kids share the rules with new kids

Every year there are rumors about new families with kids expected to move to Big Sky, and this year is no exception. Are there fifty? Twenty five? Ten? The real numbers won’t be known until (and if) we start school next fall. One thing is for sure, however. Kids who move to Big Sky have to learn a different set of rules, and they may not be the ones they expect.

#1. Nothing is open all of the time 

With Lone Peak looming over the town, most businesses run in accordance with the ski resorts’ schedules. What does this mean? That stores may have irregular hours and can close on a whim. This can happen on a powder day, on a we-didn’t-have-any workers show-up day, or because it is May. On the other hand, everything is usually open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Easter because everyone else’s vacations are some of our biggest days of the year. Hours are also different: Nothing is open all night, or really much past 6 p.m. or 9 p.m.

If you think you need a poster board for a project, or ice cream because you really want it after pizza, plan ahead. Students who have grown up or gotten used to living in Big Sky are well aware of this. “Sometimes we go somewhere to eat and they are closed or their hours are so irregular. You know it’s like we’ll go and think that they are open and then they are not because there is a weird hour change or something,” explains LPHS Senior Maddie Strauss.

#2. No snow days, but many snow clothes

Many students around Big Sky are well-adjusted to unpredictable weather and if they are planning to be outside they know what to bring; for school they might just leave their coat in the car and make a quick dash inside, especially because lots of students don’t use their lockers. “Coats are kind of annoying to carry around. It’s easier to be cold for the five seconds it takes to get from the school to your car,” says Strauss. Expect to buy functional clothes as the main style of attire says Discovery Academy Senior Caleb Unger. “Beanies are definitely a go to, along with Patagonia puffy coats and fleeces. Work pants like Carhartts or other heavy duty pants are common. For shoes, Vans are definitely the most popular among kids in Big Sky but Tevas and Chacos are common too. I would say that the style of Big Sky kids is usually pretty sporty and outdoorsy.”

Discovery Academy Senior Mazie Schriener agrees. “The weather is super unpredictable and can change super quickly, especially in a place like this. It is better to be prepared than not when you are in the mountains.” Just don’t expect that all that weather will allow you a few days at home in your pajamas due to an especially big dump. Most Big Sky students can go from kindergarten to high school graduation and never have a day off due to weather. That is, unless they catch the “powder flu” which is very common and contagious.

#3. Life here isn’t a teen movie

It can be argued that teen movies are hardly accurate anywhere, but that is especially the case in Big Sky. “I have been here my entire life so I have no idea what it is like to actually be a new kid,” admits Madison Perdue, a junior at LPHS. “But in movies and stuff the new kid gets bullied and is an outcast... here every time someone meets the new kid everyone wants to be friends with them.” Other students who have lived in Big Sky their entire lives agree that Big Sky just has different dynamics. There aren’t mean cheerleaders, stupid jocks or meet-cute romances--an especially difficult thing to pull off when most people have known each other their entire lives.

Libby Flach, a Junior at Discovery Academy notes that a key difference between Big Sky and a teen movie is its location. “Most teen movies take place in a suburban area but we are lucky enough to live surrounded by mountains.” As for cliques and romance, Libby thinks both exist, but are harder to see in a small school. “Cliques might not be as apparent as they are in the movie, and as for cheesy romances? I think every romance is cheesy.”

#4. Fewer teams and activities equal many more opportunities 

There is no doubt that Big Sky is a very small town and for students this has benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, there are far fewer clubs and sports, on the other hand, there are also fewer students to populate them. What does that mean for new students? Clubs and sports will bend over backwards to get you to join. The musical is squeezed in between the sports seasons. The Pep Band struggles to even exist because so many of its members are athletes. John Chadwell, a Junior at LPHS had a unique experience as a result of this supply and demand equation. He won his first lead role in Disney’s High School Musical two years ago, and then rapidly had to take on two other male roles as well. “I certainly did not expect to win the lead role-- and two other considerable roles at the same time.”

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