In the 80s and 90s—in what you might call the Wild West of downhill—Montana was happily flying under the radar as a ski destination, but the caliber of skier that Big Sky Country produced is a testament to just how epic the skiing was, and still is. Back in the day, extreme freestyle pioneers honed their craft on the slopes of Yellowstone Country, pushing the boundaries as far as one could.
Skiing got the “smear turn” from Montana native Scot Schmidt, who may as well have invented freestyling. And there’s fearless Tony Gilpin, who they called Gumby because surely he was made out of rubber. Mickey “Roll the Dice” Price shredded Montana’s mountainsides like no one else and graced us all with his signature Flying Squirrel move. These founding fathers of freestyle were out there doing what they loved in a place that loved them back, testing the limits day in and day out, skiing lines no one ever skied before.
And back then, it didn’t matter what you were wearing or what kind of skis you were carving turns on—no one cared. What mattered was having some good old-fashioned Montana fun in what Montana does best—powder and mountains. This local spirit is still part of what makes skiing in Montana truly authentic and downright legendary.
In a day and age where everything is exposed through digital media and trends persuade the masses, it's rare to find communities isolated from this exposure.
This was not the case in Montana throughout the 80's and 90's. The cultural and geographic ingredients in Montana during this timeframe developed a special kind of skier. Some of these skiers would become local legends and go on to influence the next generation of freeskiers.