Not So Average Joe: You don’t know Beau
The many lives of Beau Blessing
Beau Blessing could be called Big Sky’s Renaissance Man. He has dipped his toe into nearly everything – law school, getting a CDL to drive a rafting bus, being a rafting guide, graduate school for information systems and operations management, teaching skiing. While drawn to intellectual pursuits, he really tips his hat to the wilderness – and to his own wildness. Blessing likes challenges and cringes at the thought of ever becoming someone with the same predictable stories.
He was set for corporate life, before flipping the bird at it, or as he said more professionally, suffering “sudden burn-out which segued into other professional opportunities.”
He eventually landed in India, bought a motorbike and rode it from one corner to the other over a six-month time span.
“It was a point of departure,” he said meaning in the figurative sense. He wanted the path less traveled, away from an office building and a suit – and he found it.
When in India, he met a guy who was traversing it on bicycle. Inspired, he took to E-bay when he returned to the states, bought a bike for $400 and did 3,000 miles of the Divide Route. During that journey, he traveled through Montana and knew he would be back.
He made the move from Florida to Montana six years ago, picking-up the stereotypical Subaru on the way – and he is proud to be a Subaru owner.
Blessing quickly became a whitewater rafting guide without having known whitewater prior to his time in Montana. He became a ski instructor after only being a vacation skier prior to settling in Montana.
“I hadn’t been to Bozeman or Big Sky before. I was nervous and they said, ‘Well, we’re a ski school. If we can’t teach you then we’ve got problems,’” he said with a laugh. So, he learned because they taught him – and then he taught children the joy of skiing.
A year and a half ago, he bought a condo.
“Since then I have been kind of dirtbagging it – renting it out, so all summer I live in my Subaru. That’s kind of a river guide thing to do,” he explained.
Professional Ski Instructors of America has a satellite school in Garmisch, Germany because “we (the American government) still have a presence there so they are tied into our Rocky Mountain Division. The ski school director passed through Big Sky a few years ago and Blessing “cornered him.”
Every winter, Blessing heads to Germany to teach children how to ski.
“I have housing over there. It’s an incredible experience, it’s so much fun. I still rent my place out here, so I’m still getting ahead of my mortgage a bit,” he said.
Next on his docket? A Ford Transit 15 passenger van to launch his business. The business will involve hike, bike, and paddle board tours. He speaks with excitement about Yellowstone National Park as he knows it. Blessing is launching a Yellowstone guide company with his girlfriend Colleen Rossier, who has a PhD in Ecology next summer. He wants to do eco-active and interactive tours.
“98% of visitors to the park do not go more than 100 yards from a paved road,” he said, referencing some data he found a while back. He loves systems – looking at the park and figuring-out a way to best introduce people to it with regard to their interests.
“To me, the park is so accessible. It is comprised of four watersheds… even though it is 2.2 million acres, there is a way to approach it,” he said.
The Yellowstone River is the largest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, he noted, and visitors can learn a valuable lesson about the interconnectedness of the wilderness.
“Connecting that idea that you can experience things and observe things… that [the water] is going down to the Gulf of Mexico and there is a bigger picture than just being impressed by the steam coming up [from thermal features].”
He is continuing to invest in the area, getting a business going and focusing on making his love of the outdoors contribute to his livelihood.
“Montana is different and neat – still accessible. Thirty-five million acres of public land and 1 million residents,” he said with awe. “There are not distractions.”