Angela Enriquez with her fiancé Walter Pettiford and their two dogs: Baby and Camo. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANGELA ENRIQUEZ

The escape home

Angela Enriquez and her journey in Big Sky

Angela Enriquez has carved out a life for herself in Big Sky far different from the one from which she escaped. She says that many people are running from something when they land in the area. As for her, she was getting away from an abusive relationship. When she started as a lift operator at Big Sky Resort, her supervisor at the time said she would likely not last the season. That was 13 years ago. “I guess I showed him!” she said. She was around for the iconic days of Big Sky, working in lift ops, being a barista, working as the gardener, and as a server for Bernie at Hummers. She also embraced her creative roots at Solace Spa and was one of the women that helped Sarah Matthews build the Hair Shop of Big Sky.

Now she works at the Yellowstone Club Spa and makes jewelry and art from her sojourns into nature: antler and feather earrings and nature-inspired wall hangings.

She was cautious because of her past and slow to move into any relationship. There was no instant spark. It was more a quiet settling, the realization courtesy of time and frequent adventures with mutual friends that Walter Pettiford is a good guy. Their relationship just flowed – and they are to marry this summer. She says that being involved in a negative relationship when she was younger taught her to find what is good.

The Oregon and Idaho native was quiet, shy and had few friends before meeting good folks on Lone Peak. The way she describes it, the Big Sky community has allowed an unfolding in her. She has become more and more herself with the passage of time.

“People were saying hi and inviting me to do things,” she said of her first season. “Now I go back to Idaho and say hi to people in the store and they look at me funny.”

Not only have people been good to her, but the mountains themselves have proven healing.

“Being in the mountains with the fresh air really brings serenity and peace to me. I’m a Cancer, so I’m really sensitive. A lot of things can get to me and I can dwell on them. Being out of cell service helps me bring that peace back into my life,” she said.

She goes on long hikes with her chihuahua mix pups to explore nature and find things for her artistic pursuits. The oldest, named Baby, was found just before her move to Big Sky.

“I found Baby not being taken care of, so I rescued her and she rescued me,” she said.

Puppy fever hit again about six years ago, so she and Pettiford found Camo on Craigslist.

When she is not on strolls with the dogs, she has a number of hobbies that keep her occupied. She got her first deer when she was 18 years old and lost the hobby for a few years when she first moved to Montana. Then, she found a few hunting buddies: longtime locals Ron Sweeney and Matt Sitton.

“The average deer gives you 30-40 pounds of meat. I do it just to know we can provide for ourselves – and it’s a lot healthier than farm raised animals,” she said, and also noted that hunting allows for them to eat healthier for less money.

Downhill mountain biking as well as snowboarding also keep her busy.

The mountain just makes you better, she explained.

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