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When I walked out of the Round House on Sun Valley’s famous Baldy Mountain in 1947 I was followed Gary Cooper, his wife Rocky and their ski Instructor to ride the single chair to the top. Several times during his vacation Gary said to me, “be sure and come visit me in Hollywood when the snow melts. I’ll even get you onto a movie set where I’m working.” I was instinctively aware that once the snow melted we would have absolutely nothing in common, other than the fact that we both lived in Southern California. After World War II, successful and rich unfortunately became very closely associated and rich became a very negative term to many people who weren’t. I think that the definition that fits rich better is ‘Economic Stratification.’

Warren Miller: Economic Stratification and the Yellowstone Club

When I walked out of the Round House on Sun Valley’s famous Baldy Mountain in 1947 I was followed Gary Cooper, his wife Rocky and their ski Instructor to ride the single chair to the top. Several times during his vacation Gary said to me, “be sure and come visit me in Hollywood when the snow melts. I’ll even get you onto a movie set where I’m working.”

I was instinctively aware that once the snow melted we would have absolutely nothing in common, other than the fact that we both lived in Southern California. After World War II, successful and rich unfortunately became very closely associated and rich became a very negative term to many people who weren’t.

I think that the definition that fits rich better is ‘Economic Stratification.’

Gary Cooper was a very talented and financially successful movie actor while I was living in my four foot by eight foot teardrop trailer in the Sun Valley parking lot and skiing seven days a week for less than twenty cents a day. However, when all of us were standing at the top of the mountain deciding which run to ski down, we were all equal and thus “economic stratification” was erased from our interactions.

I have never liked the term rich, because it has come to mean the owner of a multi-million dollar condo at a ski resort that is only occupied for a week or two a year.

Lately I have read numerous newspaper articles about, “the haven for the rich and famous at the Yellowstone Club in Montana. Its’ gated community guards the super rich from being bothered by less fortunate people.” I signed on as the director of skiing at the club two years before the first lift was installed because its 14,000 acres of private property would continue to provide a wilderness experience for my children and my grandchildren. I bet my over-half-a-century reputation as an extreme sports movie producer that my own vision of the Yellowstone Club would someday become a reality. It has done that and then some. However, during the last ten years, there have been a few divorces amongst the over 320 members that have shattered their own lives. And then a contentious divorce by the founders of the Club, the Blixseths, has temporarily delayed the fulfillment of the dream that every member has come to expect. Having one of those ugly divorces in my own background, I know that when you split your married financial nest egg in half, it takes a long time to recover. And recovery at The Yellowstone Club is happening right now.

Almost every member that I know graduated from college, with a lot of student debt to pay off. While working at their first real job, they found a new way to do the same thing better and started working six and seven days a week. Not eight hour days, but ten to sixteen hour days. The stories are legend about some of the early Microsoft days when a lot of the young lions slept on the floor in their cubicles for a few hours a night because they were so excited about what they were doing. ‘Economic stratification’ began to separate them from their friends who only wanted to work eight hours a day, five days a week.

I have considered myself economically stratified ever since the age of fourteen when I delivered the Los Angeles Shopping News to Walt Disney’s home in the Los Feliz hills adjoining Griffith Park. In 1937, I could throw the paper over the wall to his house as well as the other economical stratified people who lived in his neighborhood.
In 1950, I borrowed $100 from four friends to launch my motion picture company because no one person would loan me the necessary $400 and thus my economic stratification has continued to this day.

Almost every member of The Yellowstone Club is a self made, very successful person and can’t avoid being Economically Stratified. Can they pay more for a cup of Starbucks coffee than you can? Do they still drive all night to go skiing close to where they live when they don’t have time for their Montana vacation? Yes, and they do that on a lot of weekends.

What would happen if one of the wealthiest people in the world showed up at Vail or Aspen with his wife and children? They would be mobbed by people wherever they went! The privacy that every member of the Yellowstone Club has earned by their hard work is highly treasured by them.

What if you are a skier, out of work and live in Detroit? You are temporarily economically stratified but you can still car pool drive to Boyne Mountain. If you can’t afford to buy a lift ticket you can climb to the top of the mountain as often as you want to and ski down at your own speed. A lot of skiers did that in the 1930s and ‘40s until we could afford to buy a $2.00 rope tow ticket. With the help of gravity everyone is equal at the top of any mountain. How you got there is up to you. The only inequality at a ski resort is where the various levels of ‘Economic Stratification’ will get to sleep after their day of skiing or snowboarding.

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  1. Economic stratification, rich, poor, class warfare, trickle down, poor little rich kid, lifestyles of the rich and famous, we earned it so we deserve to build our own piece of private paradise, we were just like you once, life is hard even for us, please ignore our wealth because with hard work, a little brilliance and a few breaks anyone can become wealthy just like us. Our poop doesn’t stink now but it used to…….Nice stories, but as time goes by, fewer and fewer are brainwashed into believing them.

  2. I’ve never heard the Yellowstone Club come up in conversation in Billings, and I get around. I don’t think that the typical Montanan cares much what you do or how much money you have.

    I work for the Billings Outpost. I don’t think any of the “numerous stories” that you refer to have appeared in our pages. Maybe you’re not as widely reviled as you think.

    Economic stratification doesn’t work as a synonym for rich. Wealthy folks are just one strata. You’re no more economically stratified than poor folks. You just reside in the top layer.

  3. Oops, I used the plural “strata” when I meant to use the singular “stratum.”

  4. It would have been nice to point out the federal government — as in the govenment of, by, and for people who can’t afford the Yellowstone Club — provided most of the early funding via the Gallatin I & II land swaps.

    But the reason you were brought on was to waste your reputation obscuring the obscenity of YC and it looks like you are working so much overtime I wonder if you are sleeping in your cube. Or cage.

  5. Man, Warren, give it a rest. How many times do we have to hear about you living in Sun Valley’s parking lot? As points out, where would you be today if Sun Valley hadn’t let you and other average or poorer folks ride its lifts? If early ski resorts had been as elitist as the YC from the start, the sport would have millions fewer participants and be a very small market for ski films and videos. I’m sad that you are promoting and defending a dismaying lifestyle.

  6. Worked your way up to privilege, eh, ol’ feller?
    Better get to work on somebody like FDR who’ll realize the middle class is really just a firewall between you privileged (no matter how you got it) folks and those folks who can’t feed their families.
    History is full of situations where there wasn’t an FDR–and now they are referred to as former…

  7. Allen,

    Here’s my point: There are valid reasons for gated communities. There are members, like myself, that are basically nobodys that just happen to have money… I don’t need or want privacy and I would invite anyone that I got along with up to my home in the club. But, that’s me… there are also members that I’d consider “targets”.

    I have my own reasons for joining the club, that had nothing to do with privacy or security. But, others have higher profiles and have a demonstrable need… Could you imagine having the concerns and troubles of a “Bill Gates”, or a “Brittney Spears”, or some other random high-profile person of either fame or fotune?

    Yes, maybe they could ski a day at Vail without being accosted. They could probably ski a day in Moonlight Basin without being accosted… But, could they have a home in Westfork Meadow without some lunatic eventually showing up on their doorstep, or, paparazi, or, kidnappers, or, (insert issue here)?

    My point is this: There is a point. And until you have lost all privacy in your life, or, had someone try to harm you or your children, simply because you are either rich or famous… You really don’t know all of the issues.

  8. Now, now, folks. We are all live in Montana, afterall. So, what matter our address or house square footage, gate or not? Frankly, most locals would agree, the issue is money…NOT yc members personal wealth, but locals OWED and NOT getting their due (florists, contractors, waste water manager, etc.). My question, then, if you belong to a “community within a community” (i.e. yc), what is your responsiblity to assure employees/locals their pay?

  9. I think a lot of what gets people riled up about the YC (and others, absolutely) is this: If there is one value that Montanans consistently share it is common access to outdoor recreation. The fact that the YC has a gate and “private” skiing is enough for most Montanans to judge on. Outside, Miller is right, we are all equals, and we respect someone out there enjoying the same pursuits we do, regardless of class, ski shape, boat size, etc.. The influx of money and the attempted privatization of outdoor recreation is what most people resent about the YC and explains the schaudenfreude that arose with the bankruptcy.

  10. Hold it!!!! Being rich is not bad. Being a crooked asshole is, and that is what Blixeth did to his “friends”, the folks he was shaking down with his Ponzi. The guy has left a trail of broken dreams and fortunes in his past, and will as long as he lives. It is who he is.

    That aside, I am 66 and watched Warren Miller ski movies in an auditorium in the fall for years, even before high school. Miller is a really old dude, folks. He narrated them himself in those days, had a drawing for some ski wax, duofold long johns, local lift tickets, whatever, as door prizes. He earned his right to pay to ski in solace. Earned it. At a time of confiscatory taxes. A whole lot of unfortunate people have been eating pizza he paid for, in apartments others paid the rent for.

    When you start to whine about the very existence of the Yellowstone Club on private property obtained by a land trade with the USFS, don’t you ever, ever, forget that it was a process driven by local environmental organizations with national support. The GYC wanted that extension of protection, of public lands, bellied up to Yellowstone Nat’l Park, and that was the arm’s length land exchange, with some dollars for boot, that was gained by what we are supposed to believe was a democratic process. It was public, with all the public notices and meetings. Don’t ever mention the deal as a “give away” unless you want to expose the world to your prejudices and foibles.

    Some folks are to the manor born, and others say that they “got lucky.” Luck is managed opportunity. You make your own luck. You do what it takes to be in position to receive great benefits from work that suddenly becomes highly valued. If you can sing well enough to have millions paying to watch you, buy your music, you earned the money. Or your invention, your software program, your real estate, whatever. If you don’t pay the entry free, you don’t draw a bull and you don’t ride at the rodeo, and you can’t be the bad ass bull rider of all time. You pays your money and you takes your chances. We live binary lives. Every decision is plus or minus, left or right, up or down. Where that leads is based on our own decisions, and circumstances at the time. People who end up with a home and membership at the YC either were to the manor born, or they made a remarkable string of correct decisions. And Timmy was there to take their money for a good idea gone bad, because that is the Blixeth way.

    As to the insular idea of a “gated” community, you do know that many live full time in those communities. Personal security in a time of growing criminality is a decision you make and pay for. They chose to pay for it. The peace of mind. My boss had a nephew, an LA kid out for a good time, end up in a Mexican border bar, days later, slumped up against a booth wall, without his internal organs. Not kidnapped. Gutted for organ transplants. Another friend of mine’s previous neighbor in Cabo was kidnapped for ransom. It is a bad ass world out there, and some comfort for those who can afford it is living in a secure environment. Go to any ghetto rent subsidized housing, and ask if the people living there are concerned about their personal safety every day. You know the answer. YC people, who have to have considerable means just to buy in, have legitimate fears. I went to grade school in the 1950s with some kids whose mother lived on the same street as the Weyerhaeusers in Tacoma. She drove her kids three blocks to school and back, daily, because she had money and was traumatized by the Weyerhaeuser kidnapping. In our sleepy little town, we thought that odd and anti-social, in a way. But there was not a gated community. When there was a semblance of one, they moved there.

    I have yet to have a good job that had me working for a poor person. Come to think of it, I have never had a job working for a poor person. People with money spend it. It is why they have it. Scrooge McDuck was a comic character. And some of those people make much more, every day, than they can possibly spend on themselves. So it their capital that runs our economy. And in local economies, it is their spending that runs the local economy. Big Sky, and YC is an integral part of that whole valley, runs on people spending money on entertainment. There is not one thing essential to an industrial economy in Big Sky. The timber is saved for amenity values, or has been logged. The remains are devoted to having fun. Mad money. And everyone there ought to remember that. Without the spending of people with lots of extra money, there is nothing there. Because there is lots of heavy duty money spending it in the area, people of lessor means have jobs, and access to world class skiing. Not at the YC, mind you, but at damned good ski areas on the margin of the YC. The synergy of that place is palpable, and when the YC went sour, the bills that went unpaid, the building contractors and subs went unpaid, the hurt was severe and widespread. The only thing that will heal that is for people who have money still, to spend it having a good time, and wanting to be a part of the local scene at least on a part time basis. The hopes and dreams of Gallatin county rest on rich people spending money. Pray for it. Do dances around the campfire for it. Hope for it. That is the salvation.

    And, if you see Warren Miller, thank him for 60 or more years of great fun, and terrific film. If Bill Gates is in town, think about where we would be without his and Paul Allen’s idea for a common language for computers. Celebrate Greg LeMond for showing the world an American could cycle with the world’s best. You know that Lance Armstrong does. YC is a good deal for Big Sky and Bozeman. So much good should not be destroyed just because a charlatan and fraud like Blixeth couldn’t help himself, or that his Ponzi came to an end. And celebrate all those who have the dough and inclination to ski on slopes they bought and paid for. Their existence provides the ambience that pervades the area, and provides the synergy to have all the other amenities and services that are legion. One crook does not make the whole of the place bad.

    If you want to live in a commune and grow beets for the politburo, no one will stop you. You have the freedom to do what you want and be with who you want. Not unlike those who ponied up their money to live in YC.

    One of the lessons of life I have learned, is that most (not all) people of means got there because they are great people. Nice. Friendly. Hard working. Some changed when they had a lot of money for a while, but most stayed just the same, and only drove better cars, had more houses, and had more fun. If they were fun, you have to know they hang with others who want to have fun, also. That might include in inordinate number of people of means they have met while having fun at a more expensive level than most can afford. So what?

  11. Great polemic in favor of the status quo but it sounds like some third world countries that I’ve lived in, the wealthy living behind high walls, protected by barbed wire, broken glass and an army of security guards while the squalor, crime an poverty fester around them. It also sounds a lot like the middle ages when Kings, Counts, and Landlords were ensconced behind their castle ramparts while the surfs did their bidding hoping for a few trickle down crumbs.

  12. The YC gate is there to present an ‘exclusive’ offering to artificially inflate prices…add the term ‘for high net worth individuals’ and you have your basic garden confidence scam. I have no sympathy for anyone investing in former bankrupt Blixseth’s markup ego swindle. I hope YC will re-means test all it’s members for elligibility requirements in the current climate (and with their tanking yellowstone property valuation) and throw the stragglers out!

  13. I suppose it is a lot like the middle ages in America. Like Europe in the middle ages, the US was attacked by muslim zealots, and an inordinate amount of treasure and lives have been expended to repel those Islamic zealots intent on taking land and people by force, and enforcing sharia law on the infidels. It took the Europeans until 1492 to rid itself of the last of them from Spain. 700 years of muslim rule in parts of western Europe is still a scar on that part of the world.

    And at the end of it all, Europe had progressed, and the people gained freedoms never obtained before. And great wealth. They also participated in the enslavement of minorities, and majorities alike. From slavery in chains to indentured servants, there was class distinctions above that level. Still are today. And still are in most of the world. But there is no class distinction against wealth, the buyer of the greatest freedom of all, the freedom from want. You can still obtain that today, if you are driven, lucky, and focused. All those Asian kids in public schools with the straight A’s are doing exactly that. They are using our education system, our freedoms, to align themselves to succeed. And they do that as a minority, a racial minority, in a free country that makes a sincere effort to disallow discrimination on the basis of color, gender, religion, national origin, and now even sexual preference. The Yellowstone Club is not a threat to those freedoms. It is an expression of those freedoms.

    Thousands begin marathons each year in Boston, New York, and other cities. There is only one winner for men and one for women. Would we be a better place if all finished as they started? If all finished with the same time? Life is a game, and to some, an economic game. And in that game, few do really well, and most do OK, and there are those that don’t do well at all. Some don’t try. Some don’t want to play by the rules. Others don’t want to work. And that is their decision. I don’t see how the US can be painted as a place of middle ages serfdom when we see so many coming here from other parts of the world to do better and they do. They usually do that by working, by managing their opportunity. Live with it.

  14. I was born and raised in Montana. My father worked at a sugar beet factory. I had to leave Montana to make money and now I am back living at the Yellowstone Club.

    I thought the gate at the entrance was silly until I learned that it takes two hours for the sheriff to arrive when they are called at night. The Club is in Madison County and the law is on the other side of the mountain range. Not only do we have to provide our own security we have to have our own fire department because the county does not provide us with any services. This is in spite of paying millions of dollars of property taxes.

    Everyone I know at the Club is self made and they pride themselves on the number of jobs they created and the good work environment they provided their employees.

  15. My mother was raising three kids by herself working as a checker in a grocery store in Indio, California. Basically a Mexican immigrant ghetto near the Salton Sea, out in the middle of the deserts of south-central California.

    I know a woman who worked at the Safeway in Indio during the early seventies. She also had three children…

  16. The proliferation of gated Shangri las like the Yellowstone Club built for the uber wealthy is the direct result of the increasing concentration of wealth, income and power into fewer and fewer hands. The wealthiest 1% of Americans, about 3 million people own about 40% of total wealth in the U.S. The bottom 80% of Americans, about 240 million people share about 10% of the total wealth in the U.S. Between 1990 and 2005 in the U.S. in inflation adjusted numbers, the value of the federal minimum wage decreased by about 10%, production workers pay increased by 5%, Corporate profits increased by 107%, and CEO’s pay has increased by about 300%. If you think that this extremely inequitable distribution of wealth, income and power will lead to more social stability and social cohesion and less resentment against places like YC, Then you guys who are telling your rags to riches, I’m just a regular, deserving, hard working dude stories are actually dumber than you sound.

  17. @Mickey Garcia… Your statement confuses me: “you guys who are telling your rags to riches, I’m just a regular, deserving, hard working dude stories are actually dumber than you sound.”

    What, exactly, would you have done differently in the same situation? Honestly, not a knee jerk, “holier than thow” response…

    You seem to be anti-capitalism… Which is fine, I’m not judging your politics, I’m just curious what you would have done differently…

  18. Mr. Garcia: My morning newspaper, the Oregonian, today, has a George Will column about unintended consequences, in which he makes a case for a series of court decisions, from the Supreme court down, that led to aptitude testing being considered discriminatory under the Civil Rights Act. The consequences of those decisions was for business to require a college education degree in place of aptitude testing, any of which could not withstand legal challenge as to being discriminatory. So qualified by aptitude testing but not having a degree, people of color were further denied jobs, which put an inordinate demand on college and university education, which in the supply and demand process, drove up costs astronomically. Income disparities were exacerbated by the economic barrier put in place of the intelligence barrier, by the need to pay for at least four more years of education to do a job their intelligence and skills gained by completing high school would be all that was needed. Lawsuits can have unintended consequences. The economic costs can be huge.

    As Will says in the essay, “…this supposed civil rights victory, which erected a barrier between high school graduates and high-paying jobs, has exacerbated the income disparities between high school and college graduates.” Of course, Will is challenging government as the end all and be all of societal good, as is his way and conservative point of view. He is, however, cautioning all of us that there unintended consequences of encoding fixes in law, and the trap of unintended consequences can make the cure worse than the disease.

    The redistribution of wealth that will make those who hold people with great wealth in distain pleased, can also lead to wealth accumulation in the hands of bureaucrats who will in turn just keep it for themselves as we have seen in socialist and communist countries throughout the world. The issue in the U.S. is not the wealth, but the access to opportunity to acquire wealth. People live here, move to here, just to have the opportunity to better themselves. And many do. Those who are here, who do not avail themselves to the opportunity, have a huge tax supported safety net of government subsidized food, housing, and education, all designed to allow people to live and make an attempt to better their economic condition. The lengths that we go, as a country, to help people can in turn erect new barriers to success. Many do not have the trust in themselves to attempt to leave the comfort of the dole, to break out and find new and better ways to live and thrive. None of that is the fault of the wealthy. And, there is no way to redistribute history, to go back and change history. Nor should there be, if only because that would be the end of public or personal responsibility.

    The issue with the Yellowstone Club is that people of means were offered a pleasant set of conditions for a set amount of money. Only the seller was running a Ponzi, and using monies meant and promised for other purposes for his personal pleasures and toys. Fannie Mae or Timmy Blixeth, it makes no difference. Trust was placed in people, and they looked after themselves instead of those whose trust they had gained. Bernie Madoff started his Ponzi the year Kennedy was elected President, and he made it work under nine Presidents and administrations, of both political persuasions. Blixeth ran out of time sooner in the process. The people who bought into his deal are not bad because they did, nor are they to be castigated because they have made some money. The villain is Blixeth. Was Blixeth. Will be Blixeth forever. The issue is Blixeth, not the people who paid to join the YC. They are victims of a Ponzi deal. No more and no less.

  19. Many salient points and superb reading. Bairbait nailed the issue. Troy, you are welcome at my campfire anytime.

  20. @toolelk

    thnx. I’ll carry the firewood.

  21. I consider Warren Miller to be the Patron Saint of Ski Bums throughout the country….from those skiing 500′ verticals to those with 3400′. He has visited every little ski area from the West to the East and speaks kindly and fondly of them all. He is not a ski snob. I come across people all of the time who are proud of the fact that their children have never skied anywhere but Beaver Creek or Deer Valley and wouldn’t even consider a drive to Boyne Mountain or Holiday Valley or Seven Springs or Wilmot. It is their loss to have never known the pleasures of loading the car, slipping through an icy parking lot, putting skis on the roof rack with numb fingers, taking ski boots off on the tailgate, and driving those two hours home.
    Ski where you want to ski, with who you love, who you want to be with, and who can keep up with you. All turns are good turns.
    Thanks Troy and Bearbait!

  22. Joe,

    First off, I am not evil. I’m sorry you feel that way and that you “have a hard time” believing otherwise.

    Second off… Please define “GREED” as you so eloquently stated that Master Toole succumbed to. It sounds to me like your buddy, Master Toole, was doing what you do. Identifying demand and building product. If he would have been more successful, would that have been GREED or, was it just because the economy collapsed around him and he, I presume, failed? We all take calculated risk to some degree. Stasis can be risk, motion can be risk. We all try to make our way through life keeping things interesting and creating opportunities for those we care about. Some are more successful financially than others, some are more successful spritually, some are more successful physically… What’s important to you? Strive for what’s important to you.

    Are you trying to do better for yourself and your family, or simply trying to maintain status quo? I’m sure you’re eating and staying warm… Isn’t that GREED to take jobs just to make more money so that you and your family can live a little better? Was it GREED that you took a job you HATED just for money? I once had a job that I HATED… I quit… life’s too short to waste it doing what you don’t want. Find your way out.

    I’m sorry to hear that you HATE to work in the Club… When I built my house, I rented all of the rooms at the Corral and put my crew up there. They were mostly from the Bitterroot, so, we needed some place local. I ate/drank/fished/played pool with them. We went on hunting trips, went fishing, snowboarding, skiing… I thought we were all friends and that they appreciated the work and enjoyed the project. I HATE to think that they HATED working there… Even after the procect was complete, we all climbed into the truck and drove to Canada to bow hunt for black bears (I got a great pair, sow + yearling. The full body mounts are in my cabin in the club).

    yes, there was red tape with the club, but, for the most part, it was mitigated and we got things done. I got my cabin, they got work, and everyone was happy. Even now, 10 years later, I still get visits and still invite many of the “workers” that helped me with my Montana dream over to my home for skiing/snowboarding/hunting/fishing. Feel free to ask them… Ask Richard Patterson my GC from Victor, ask Jim York my painter from Missoula, ask Alexis, the chinker, ask Travis Andersen from Bozeman who helped Jim prep and paint, ask Chase the finish carpenter who broke his ribs snowboarding in the club with me (I drove him to see Dr. Dan before we realized how bad it was and had to send him in an ambulance to Bozeman). I don’t think any of them HATED working in the Club.

    I guess you would call it all just BOOM or BUST GREED, but, I personally am glad that I did it. And I take offense to your posit that I am “evil”.

    So here’s the deal… I’ll assume that you’re not just a whining and disgruntled pariah, looking for someone to blame, if you don’t assume that I’m evil and GREEDY.

    quid pro quo…

    As for Joe and Allen, I’m not sure who you are referring to… Didn’t see a reference in my quick glance above.

  23. In the early days of Moonlight, the trails were poorly marked, and the housing areas for the Yellowstone Club even less so. This fact, coupled with a thick blizzard, caused me to lose track of the trail. I was surrounded by mansions, but could see the six-shooter lift (or the one below it? This was several years ago.) I merely needed to walk fifty paces into a driveway to have a drop into the lift line – otherwise I’d be hiking up a drainage and ending my day on the slopes.

    This particular driveway was roughly 1/4 mile long. I made a few paces toward my drop point before a door was opened just wide enough for a white pit bull with a head as wide as my shoulders to pop through and tear after me. A 1/2 hour standoff ensued with only my snowboard between myself and a set of foaming white jaws. I wondered if the Mexican construction crews would respond to my screams.

    Thankfully it didn’t come to that. I dropped into the drainage, hiked up, and swore I would throw a cyanide steak into the owner’s yard ASAP. (I never did this, by the by).

    I just wanted to share this little tidbit about my adventures in the happy-go-rape-the-working-class land of Moonlight Basin, and to ask you, Warren Miller, how is it that the rich can feel entitled to develop one of the great natural wonders of Montana for a strictly inclusive audience? How preserved is a habitat that’s covered by castles anyhow? At least I can remember when it was still worthwhile… but now that Brokaw has officially dubbed your generation ‘Greatest,’ you can feel justified in acts of hoarding and gross theft, material and otherwise. Right?

    But karma or justice or whatever you believe in is already intervening. Keep divorcing your twisted souls away! I’ll be there to poach, poach, poach – shredding the fresh lines and peeing in the hot tubs. So you go on and make some more crap ski porn, Warren. Maybe I’ll watch one while doing your Puerto Rican housekeeper in the master bedroom.

  24. Joe/craftsman… Not sure what name you want to go buy… I prefer to use my real name, because I stand behind what I say rather than hide behind an internet veil of anonymity that dehumanizes and allows people to say things that they wouldn’t say in normal human, face to face discourse…

    But, that’s another story.

    Of course I took offense to what you said. You assume that I’m evil for no other reason than good, old fashioned ignorance. You seem to be unable to separate the Club owners from the Club members. If the Owners harmed you and your friends, I’m truly sorry. But, why would you assume that that makes the Members, and by association, ME evil???

    I understand that many have been harmed by the club’s business practices and the bankruptcy. This was not the doing of the members. But, the members have banded together to try to make things right. We have no obligation to do this. There was no requirement for me, or any other member to donate, from our personal accounts, to support those harmed by the club… But, there are good people here that have a genuine desire to help where they can.

    If you have trouble with what Tim did, or what Edra’s doing, that’s a personal issue between you and them and has nothing to do with me.

    How many tools/supplies/etc. do you think have been stolen from job sites, including the club? How ’bout I just “assume” it was you and that all construction workers are evil?

    What I am saying here, is some people have genuine claims. Some people just like to jump on the bandwagon and have someone think for them and blame the world if they get in trouble.

    I, for one, prefer to stand on my own two feet and look those in the eye that I believe have harmed me rather than jump to rash and unjustified assumptions that I post, hidden by a dehumanizing veil of anonymity. I’m sure you did find 5 construction workers that said they hated the club… I’m sure they have random reasons for doing so. But, they chose to work there, nobody forced them. I’m sure I could find 5 girls in my office that say that they hate construction workers… But, that doesn’t make construction workers bad or evil either.

    As for your friend that went into a rage about not getting paid… I don’t blame him. I would too. But, that again, has nothing to do with me. But, keep in mind, in my own evil way, I donated thousands of dollars to a fund to help him and those like him make it through these tough times.

    My personal advice to your many friends that hate working in the club… FIND ANOTHER JOB. Life is to short to do what you hate. I would define that as greed… Doing what you hate for money.

    Now, on to the next one…


    Based on what you wrote, I would describe you as evil.

    If I wandered into someone’s yard with an angry dog, I would simply make a note to myself “don’t go in that yard again”. But, you fantacize about killing it?!?!? A Dog? In Montana? Obviously, you are not from Montana, at least not at heart because I can barely imagine a human wanting to do that, let alone a Montanan. And we all know that the story was grossly exaggerated. If the pitbull wanted you, a snowboard would not keep it at bay for hours as you screamed for you life. It probably wanted to lick you because you smell of patchouli oil. (guess that was a rash assumption, and I appologize if it was off the mark)

    You are so unhappy that people built homes on the mountain that you want to pee in their hottubs? I’ve never really thought about peeing in anybody’s anything… but, remember your statement about karma… it may come back to haunt you…

    I find it very amusing that you mention something about karma right at the same time that you make idle threats about harming others… maybe you don’t truly understand the meaning of the word. But, I wholeheartedly hope that it exists.

    How is Moonlight Basin a “happy go lucky rape the working class” project? I doubt very much if someone hadn’t built chair lifts, lodges, etc (that took a considerable amount of money) you wouldn’t be there in the first place and would have nothing to gripe about. So, you feel entitled and disgruntled about something that you use and enjoy, but, hate that people put it there?

    Hoarding and gross theft? Your thoughts are knee-jerk and unoriginal. And people like you cause good people to lose faith in humanity.

  25. Oh… Troy. Your not going to convince these guys of anything. They need to blame someone, anything for the economic or personal difficulties they are facing.
    I don’t understand why the contractor’s let the club get so far out without cutting them off for non payment? I’ve been working for the club since day one, I saw what was happening and cut them off when they hit my limit. Sounds like Greed to me!
    Thanks Troy and all the other folks that are giving so much of their time and money to help the people in need during this trying time.

  26. I don’t get it. One guy runs a Ponzi on everyone, and the hate and vitriol is against the victims by stratification of their accumulation of wealth. The bad guy is Blixeth. He is the architect of this deal. It is about his ego, his total lack of morals, his ability to screw a widow woman out her timber by telling her lies about pre-existing (albeit non-existent) deals. He has been running his con for thirty years. THIRTY DAMNED YEARS!!!! And you know what, he ducks behind bankruptcy every time. He dodges the bullet. A good US Attorney would take his pants down and give him a whippin’ if those US Attorneys were looking out for something other than their own legal legacies and big bucks at a private law firm down the road.

    Blixeth is the bad guy. If you had a problem with an individual home owner in contracting, and you did not solve it, or attempt to solve it, then don’t blame anyone who has more money than yourself. I have been ripped off in my lifetime by born again Christians, oppressed minorities, women, other religious minorities, and building trades contractors. The first time is their fault, and the second time is mine.

    I have friends who are poor by definition, and friends who have enough money to live comfortably. I even have friends who have money to live extravagantly. I would suppose that if any of us were to piss the other off, we wouldn’t be friends. I also don’t do business with friends, because the climate in America is every man and woman for him or herself. No holds barred. We are a society of greed, in that way. That is why lawyers are so many, and working with a contract is the only defensible track. Make sure if you prevail, the other guy pays your legal fees because you had it in your contract to work that way.

    I can see by reading the emotions of the writing in this thread that Hamas and Israel don’t have a monopoly in idiotic hatred. I guess I have a problem with the painting of anyone who bought into the resort is by nature and greedy asshole, and anyone who worked to build it is a saint. I hardly believe that to be true on any level. In the race to make dough, and to get the contracting piece of the action, a lot of short cuts were made by a whole lot of people. Illegal aliens, no housing, low pay for the two moonlight rides and the picnic lunch, with the terror of the rides into and from Bozoland everyday. Boom town deal. And BoomTown went bust for now. It is the history of the West. Even the New West. The human wreckage, the defiled environment, the easy money and liberal spending. It is what it is. Just never forget that Blixeth got his land by land trade with the USFS, Gallatin NF., and the whole of the process was driven by environmentalists intent on expanding their idea of protection for lands near the Park. There are unintended consequences for grand actions like that. Anyone else who wanted to trade land with the USFS was put on the back burner, and is still there, due to this land trade. It was the Montana quota for some time, and appears that condition still exists. YC was made possible by the GYC, and the GYC’s environmental cohorts across the largest scale. Montanan’s got what they wanted in the Burn, and the collateral damage was Blixeth. Live with it. And if you don’t like rich people bringing their money to Montana, you had better come up with a new economic model, and fast, because it is about all there is outside of some agriculture, very little mining, very little energy exploration, inconsequential lumbering and timber now, and a paucity of money to expand government offices and employees with those recession proof checks to spend in town to keep the grocer and hardware store owner in business.

    The outfitter business, and stockmen, are being diminished by wolves daily. The pot of money for rehabing mines and the like is going to dry up. Selling amenity values to people with money is about all that is left, and it appears than there is resistance to those people because they evidently are all assholes and cheap bastards who only come to be rid of the hoi poloi and to rest in their own solitude. Gee. Who’d a ever knowed? Buying solitude. What a concept. Isn’t that what the Wilderness deal is all about? Get rid of stockmen and loggers, and preserve the Wilderness just for people like me who want it to themselves? On what level of greed are we talking about the YC buyers and victims of the Blixeth Scam #?. The haters should get a life. Move on. Go somewhere else. Start anew. Get rid of the stress in your lives. Maybe Obama will find funding for a new Peace Corps kind of deal, and you can build clean water systems or habitats for humanity, become third world community organizers. Sitting in the cold and snow of Bozo waiting for recovery is no way to manage your life. It apparently only foments hate.

  27. bearbait,

    your comments make me smile. Smart, well-thought, and on the mark…

    I’m sure Obama’s first order of business will be to create that “new” peace corps…

    Not sure who you are, but, would love to swap war stories sometime…

  28. Kai: I’m guessing you had a little too much “Loud Mouth Soup” to drink on Saturday night when someone should have served you a “Shut the **** Up Cocktail”. Your vulgarity is a give away and gives you no credibility.

    Regarding miserable employees: I have worked in a marina looking up parts and pumping gas, I stocked groceries, bagged groceries and rung up groceries. I worked in retail and I’ve owned a retail store, I did door to door sales, worked as a sales assistant to a stockbroker and have been a manufacturer’s rep. I have washed dishes, waitressed, waitressed and waitressed, and been the prep cook in a restaurants. I cleaned houses, painted houses and hung wallpaper. I was a phone solicitor and worked for a caterer….basically, I have done every job for someone else that I have ever asked them to do for me. I was/am a happy person. The only time I ever “hated” a job was when the management made the work environment miserable. Take a good look at your own attitude and that of your employer…if either one is no good, the experience won’t be either.

    Bearbait and Troy: thank you for your thoughtful and intelligent assesments and comments.