Hannah Johansen has an ethereal quality; like she stepped from this world into another and returned with enhanced wisdom and kindness – which actually is accurate. There is a gentleness to her founded in the respect of others’ journeys, and much of that was crafted from the gauntlet life presented her from an early age.
Big Sky Fire Department (BSFD) Deputy Fire Chief Dustin Tetrault said with a laugh that Alicia Fischer, BSFD’s administrative officer, often describes his two daughters as “feral”. Ages five and six, he calls them imaginative, wild and free. “They’re little strong independent women already,” he said.
Aaron Weik has two first names. The other is Sergey – a nod to his roots that started far from the mountains of Montana or his Americana Minnesota upbringing.
It might be hard to picture Lone Peak High School biology teacher Dr. Kate Eisele with a shaved head. But around 2000, when she was in grad school, her long locks were reduced to a buzz cut.
Seth Griggs-Ryan was the first Not So Average Joe, partly thanks to his kind disposition and wry humor and partly because of his quirky pursuit to be the human billboard of Big Sky – he negotiated free food and drinks from area establishments by getting their logos tattooed on his arms.
Teamwork seems intrinsic to Mark Walkup, the new general manager of the Hungry Moose: from college football to the cheerleading squad at Auburn University to playing the bass guitar professionally for popular punk bands. He has travelled nearly every nook and cranny of the nation – that is part of the reason he wants to be in Big Sky.
As one of the H-2B Program participants employed in Big Sky, Tresan Frazer saw snow for the first time in 2017 – and has come back every winter since.
Samantha Mize-Honatke once dipped her toe in water outside of Montana. She tried Phoenix for a year, “but the water was too hot,” she joked. Sure, she missed the Montana mountains and seasons and had a palpable distaste for all the concrete in the city, but people were what really made her pack up and head back to her Gallatin Gateway roots.
Sean Doherty says that if he had not run away from the city he would be “a very different, miserable person.”
New York City was fun for him in his mid-20s, but it would not have been sustainable. It may have taken years or decades for him to realize that he just did not quite fit. He was in the wrong environment.
Writer’s note: My mom, the laboratory QA safety specialist at the state lab, used to walk my sister and I through the halls and different components of the lab when we were little. I thought Debbie was the coolest woman then, especially after I started hearing about all the ultras she ran, and still feel that way now.