Slopeside Style: Ski Camp Retreat in Big Sky



Perched on a ridge overlooking the Club at Spanish Peaks, this log home is the epitome of the classic Montana lodge. The structure commands a presence, with its massive, hand-peeled logs, and the stone fireplace is a fortress within the living room, beckoning all who enter to sit, relax and take in the sweeping view.

The home was built for the kind of mountain lifestyle that lends itself to recreation and entertaining. In the winter, a ski trail leads right past the home, carrying skiers toward the Club at Spanish Peaks and the slopes at Big Sky Resort. Built by Hackbarth Homes, the home was created as a spec, and it's for sale through Rivers to Peaks real estate in Big Sky.

Bear Creek Log Homes created the structure at its yard near Bozeman, then they disassembled the home and assembled it onsite. All of the trees that went into the home were from around Montana. The stone used in the fireplace is from the Oklahoma prairie and was laid as dry stack to give it the authentic look of an old-time cabin.

"It gives it that cozy cabin feeling," Hackbarth Homes owner Mark Hackbarth said. With such heavy accents as log and stone, the home's countertops needed to balance the mass, so Bozeman Marble and Granite was brought in to create the granite countertops in the kitchen and baths. Despite its feeling of mass and weight, the home does feel like a home — due largely to the work of Little Bear Interiors.

Although the home had already been built when the interior design firm was brought in, Little Bear owner Debra Young and designer Tracie Floyd were able to take the canvas they were given and paint a vibrant picture of stunning design. The first thing Young noticed was the great views from all the windows. “This house has beautiful views, so we wanted to make sure when we were doing space planning that we left the profile of the furniture fairly low, so you can enjoy these views," she said. “There’s nothing to obstruct that. Your eyes are attracted to the views, not the furniture.” With a retail store in Bozeman, Little Bear Interiors is able to match the furnishings to the home until the feeling is just right. "When we come in and design a house like this, we can work off our retail floor," Young said. "And when we want to make a change, we can take something back to the store, swap it out and we're done."

A unique style of wood floor is used throughout the main floor of the home. The wood was reclaimed from old pickle vats. The wood has a blend of rich, blond hues and deep accents, and it plays nicely off of the light-colors of the massive interior logs.

Hackbarth Homes searches the country for unique woods like this, coming up with interesting reclaimed finds, such as those from mushroom beds. Another type of unusual wood was used for the downstairs bar. Reclaimed from a cow barn, this freestanding bar was created out 12-inch thick timbers. Next to the bar is another unusual creation: a handmade poker table. The table was made by local artists and craftsmen out of scalloped wood, with painted bronze trout lining the interior of the poker table.

Hackbarth was also able to reclaim local wood for the staircase railings. He came across a rancher in the nearby Gallatin River canyon who was going to burn slash piles of juniper, and rather than see this wood” a relative of the cedar family” go up in smoke, Hackbarth's crews salvaged much of the wood and used it for the custom stairway railing. "With everyone moving toward the green uses of wood, it was nice to be able to reclaim some of that wood," Hackbarth said.

Just out the backdoor of the home, known as Ski Camp Retreat, are 300 acres of private skiing on kid-friendly Spirit Mountain as well as private lift access to the combined terrain of Big Sky and Moonlight Basin (over 5,430 acres of pristine, uncrowded Montana powder). Nearby is the Tom Weiskopf Signature Golf Course, which was rated the No. 1 golf course in Montana by Golf Digest in 2009.

The recreation coupled with the authentic design of the home make Ski Camp Retreat an exceptional opportunity, says Will Brunner of Rivers to Peaks Realty. One unexpected feature of Ski Camp Retreat is the unique camaraderie of membership at The Club at Spanish Peaks, Brunner said. "Spanish Peaks' current membership comes from 32 states and four foreign countries, and they're a group of like-minded people who share an appreciation for this unique corner of Montana."

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