In all my life I’d never been so far from city lights. I was exhausted from a day spent horseback riding and fly-fishing in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. My belly was full of wine and gourmet lobster tail — as gourmet as you can get with campfire cooking. I should have had no trouble getting to sleep, but I didn’t want to miss a moment of gazing up at that spectacular night sky.
“We provide a portal to the authentic Montana experience,” says Dean Genge, president of The Club at Spanish Peaks. “More than 3 million people go to Yellowstone every year. Less than one-tenth of 1 percent get more than 100 yards from the pavement or boardwalk.” Genge hopes to get more people off the boardwalk with his private ski resort and golf community in Big Sky, Montana. In addition to offering traditional club amen-ities, Spanish Peaks also offers guided treks into the national park, complete with a team of cowboys to lead the way, cook the meals, and prepare the campsite. “It’s a way to get into the heart of the park and experience the glories of nature in a way that very few people do,” Genge says.
The experience doesn’t end when you leave the backcountry. Cradled in a secluded valley with Yellowstone to the south and the Gallatin National Forest and the Spanish Peaks to the north, the primely located 5,700-acre property offers members and guests the chance to enjoy horseback riding, biking, and hiking trails; rock climbing; white-water rafting; sightseeing; trout fishing; swimming; and skiing — even boasting a private lift to Big Sky Resort, one of the largest and tallest ski terrains in the country. And, of course, you can play a round of golf on the Tom Weiskopf-designed course before heading to the clubhouse for a gourmet meal. But perhaps the main appeal of Spanish Peaks is what the club is missing: There’s an obvious lack of pretension that reflects the overall Montana attitude, making your inner cowboy feel right at home.
FYI: 877.995.3100, www.spanish-peaks.com.
Issue: June 2011