Author Archive for Buck's T-4


Dirtbag for Parents: Buck’s T-4 Hosts Ophir School 30th Annual Pie Auction

Bon Jovi. Bubbles. Spiked Punch. Disco Balls. Sparkly streamers. And lots and lots of pie. 80s prom? Nope, just the 30th Annual Ophir School Council Pie Auction.

On Saturday, February 20th Buck’s T-4 hosted the annual pie auction for the first time since its inaugural year. The event raised a whopping $35,000, despite the current economic times and had over 200 people in attendance. Our community really knows how to rally together, go Big Sky!

While the event had all the traditional elements—raffle, silent auction and live pie auction—the organizers also added a high school prom theme. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Montana Room at Buck’s T-4 look so spectacular; what, with all the silver and blue streamers, twinkle lights, sparkling stars, balloons galore, and of course patrons dressed from head to toe in prom regalia.

The big three at Buck’s, Mike Scholz, Chuck Schommer and Dave O’Connor were happy to see the event return to their venue and eager to help make the night a huge success. The night before I caught Chuck, Food and Beverage Director at Buck’s, preparing Jell-O shots and testing out different punch recipes (spiked, of course) to be served at the prom. The evening’s appetizers were reminiscent of school lunches with Executive Chef Todd Christensen coming up with some new twists to old favorites—grilled cheese with brie, bacon and apples, five cheese macaroni, and grilled baloney sliders with caramelized onions.

The icing on the cake was the variety of prom attire. At least three decades worth of fashion faux pas were represented—70s, 80s, and 90s—as well as some of the more stereotypical points of high school fashion. A cute couple had an early dinner at the bar dressed in classic nerd ensembles, complete with pocket protectors and thick-rimmed black glasses sporting a classic band of white tape wrapped around the center. Others were dressed to the nines in heels and dresses that never have the opportunity to make it out of the closet. The Montana Room easily doubled as a set for Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink.

Pies and cakes of all tastes and proportions were donated for bidding. Lauren Hafer of Buck’s T-4 created a lush butter cream cake in the shape of a flying pink elephant. The Yellowstone Club donated four different creations, one of which was a set of four pies representing the first four letters of the alphabet. A local created a beautiful cake in the shape of a handbag with an O for Ophir as the monogram. I saw two beautiful creations from Big Sky resort, one an elaborate half dome with a marble print, and the other, fresh raspberry tarts adorned with fresh magenta orchids. All the pie bidding raised a total of $4,910.

The pie auction has grown from its simple origins into the biggest yearly fundraiser for Ophir Schools. The money raised is vital to supporting the ski and swim programs, field trips, classroom supplies and much, much more. Many community members and businesses donated pies, items for auction and raffle as well as their time putting the event together. Buck’s T-4 donated use of the Montana room, labor and linen costs and also 10% of the total bill of guests dining in the main dining room as well as $1 for each person eating in the pub between the hours of 5 and 6pm that night.

There was only one minor hitch through out the whole event—a late night pie fatality in Buck’s T-4 parking lot. Two happy winners were in the process of escorting a delicious strawberry shortcake style cake to their vehicle when to their dismay they lost control and the pie was lost to the pavement. Those of us left at Buck’s rushed to the scene of the accident and found the two women making the most of the situation. After all you can’t let a good pie go to waste. I did what any Good Samaritan would do and grabbed a fork.


The Snow Gods are Listening: Fresh Powder at Big Sky

For those of you who have been faithful in your prayers to the snow gods, it appears your diligence has paid off. The snow is falling, and falling in Big Sky, Montana.

Today is the first big powder day in two weeks time, which is a lifetime to skiers and boarders. I was probably the only one driving down the mountain this morning. The eastbound lane of Lone Mountain Trail was a continuous stream of cars filled with powder seeking ski and board fanatics. Trust me when I tell you I wished I had been headed the other direction but unfortunately my attempts to conquer snowboarding Thursday left me a little too battered to make it out today.

Thankfully, it is still snowing, so there is the promise of another powder day tomorrow. We’ve been very fortunate with snow here in Big Sky this winter, with excellent conditions since day one of ski season. And while we’ve had a bit of a drought these past two weeks snow wise, on the upside we’ve had phenomenal weather for January. Typically, the coldest month of the season, we’ve been experiencing spring like conditions here in Big Sky. And the guests at Buck’s T-4 who come from much warmer climates have really appreciated all the sun and 30°F+ days.

I checked in with those fortunate to get up the mountain today and the report is great. The only drawback to all the powder is that there might actually be lift lines. My cousin said that he had never seen that many people at Moonlight Basin before–it was also $10 day–which is a sharp contrast to my lineless Thursday snowboarding session where I felt like I practically owned the mountain.

When I first made plans to move to Big Sky most people I told in LA had never even heard of the place let alone associated amazing skiing with Big Sky. It’s places like Vail, Aspen and Tahoe that steal all the glory, and Big Sky is no Vail. It’s better. Just last night I was talking to a guest who has been coming to Buck’s and Big Sky for the last 13 years and he agreed with me. He told me that Big Sky boasts some of the best skiiable terrain for all ability levels while managing to still feel like a home away from home. You don’t get that everywhere and that is why he comes back year after year.

Happy powder days everyone in Big Sky!


Steel Wine Dinner: Rosy Cheeks and Happy Stomachs

When I arrived at Buck’s T-4 on Sunday evening for the Steele wine dinner I found the dining room already brimming with guests sipping on the night’s first wines. One of the first wines was an Aligoté—a varietal I’d never even heard of. I found the delicate and clean flavor of this grape to be a wonderful surprise, why don’t we drink more of this grape? Apparently, the Aligoté variety has a long history of under representation as Jed Steele, founder of Steele wineries, shared with us. The Aligoté was originally considered fit only for servants to drink in long ago French history.

Buck’s executive chef, Todd Christensen, definitely outdid himself with the hors d’oeuvres creation and presentation. Just looking at my pictures makes my mouth water as I remember savoring the butter poached oysters with wild mushrooms, pancetta and reggiano. And as if those weren’t enough by themselves, Japanese salad wonton cups and duck confit fried rice accompanied the delicious oysters.

This winter’s wine dinner not only showcased culinary talent but was also designed as a metaphorical representation of Todd’s personal journey as a chef.  In Japanese culture this is called a kaiseki ryori. Each course stood for a different chapter in both his life and career, from growing up to heritage. Todd called upon his Japanese mother’s memory to remind him about the foods and dishes that captured his attention in his younger years; he really did love those wonton salad cups as a child.

We were fortunate enough to be in the company of not one but two Steele winemakers, with Jed’s son Quincy also in attendance. Quincy shared his experiences collaborating with his father on the Writer’s Block label. Like Quincy himself, it seems to be the more adventurous and quirky of all of the Steele labels. Interestingly, each of the eight wines crafted for this label feature unique writing from different authors on the bottles. The Roussane we drank that evening featured Mahinder Kalids Lapland’s work.

Throughout the eating and drinking, laughing and talking, I did my best to accurately capture all aspects of the evening on film. (Okay, I’ll admit that I really used an SD card but that doesn’t have the same sound to it, now does it?) Standing at the back of the room at one point with my camera it was a pleasure to see how good food and wine work a special magic to fill a room with a sense of merriment. Tasty wine made for rosy cheeks and delicious Rocky Mountain Elk and dessert sushi made for happy stomachs.

Too, the night was a reminder of how appreciative Big Sky is to have Mike Scholz, Chuck Schommer and Dave O’Connor back at the helm of Buck’s T-4. Together they have put countless years into making Buck’s what it is. Mike even got a little bit choked up when he was thanking all the guests for making Buck’s possible. I am from LA, and we just don’t have restaurants like Buck’s there, and we definitely don’t have people like Mike, Chuck and Dave running them.

The evening was a huge success. I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you weren’t able to attend this winter’s wine dinner I bet you won’t miss the next one.


New at Buck’s T-4: Live Music featuring Cyrus Kimbrell

Tonight, Buck’s kicks off the beginning in a series of live music performances taking place all January long. Buck’s has a history of providing Big Sky with some of the best in musical talent. Most recently, Mission Mountain Wood Band returned for their traditional New Year’s Eve performance and excited fans with their energy and enthusiasm like times past. Tonight’s performance will be a different setting and style, with Cyrus Kimbrell making Buck’s pub his stage and the selection of tunes showcasing his unique versatility and ability as a singer and songwriter.

When asked what sort of music the audience can expect from him Cyrus  half laughed and said, “I will play anything from old Irish ballads to ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ depending on the audience.” And from what I’ve seen I believe him. That isn’t to say that Cyrus isn’t capable of serious, he just has a certain rustic charm capable of drawing a laugh from any audience.

His comedic prowess was proven in our brief photo shoot Wednesday as I spent most of the time laughing at his antics. His prop selection included his Taylor guitar, his dog Jackie Chan, a samurai sword and a skull shaped shot glass. However, beneath his humor was a mild unease at being the focus of my lens.  It’s evident that Cyrus isn’t interested in limelight or attention, he just wants to play his music.  Really, I don’t think he knows how not to play. That intensity and love of music are apparent the moment he picks up his guitar.  For those of you like me, with out any natural musical inclination, it’s a source of envy watching someone like Cyrus, who manages to humbly harness both talent and passion.

Cyrus will be playing all January at Buck’s T-4 pub starting tomorrow, Saturday, January 9th. Shows start at 10pm and admission is free. The bar is open until late and I’ve been pretty impressed by the cocktails created by Buck’s bartenders. I recommend arriving earlier to try out Buck’s new pub menu, they definitely have some of the best dishes in town. Try the fried chicken–the recipe is straight from Helen Knight’s kitchen–and I promise you will come back and order it again. And don’t forget to ask for some fried pickles no matter what you order.

Further performances will be held on Saturday, January 16th and Friday, January 22nd and 29th. If you’ve read this far you have to see Cyrus play at least once this January. He’s even made mention of a special guest performance by “Mankoon Buckstaff.” Apparently, or so I’ve been told, the only way to find out what that means is to show up and watch.  I’ll be there just to see just who or what the elusive Mr. “Buckstaff “is.

For more information please call 406.996.4111.


A Buck’s T-4 2010 Celebration

Everyone at Buck’s T-4 would like to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

Special thanks to all of you who joined us to celebrate the New Year at Buck’s. The night was filled with delicious food—apple wood smoked Bison Prime Rib, Surf n’ Turf, Grand Marnier Cheesecake, yum—and great music and dancing. Mission Mountain Wood Band once again took over the dance hall and definitely created the biggest and best New Year’s bash in Big Sky.

Leading the midnight champagne toast was proprietor Mike Schloz and his wife Andrea from center stage in the dance hall followed by MMWB’s rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” And then, of course, the dancing and celebrations carried on until quitting time. What a tremendous beginning to 2010.

Here are a few pictures of the evening’s festivities.



For those of you disappointed that you didn’t get your tickets fast enough for the New Year’s Eve performance by Mission Mountain Wood Band (MMWB) at Buck’s T-4, don’t dismay. They’re playing a special encore performance Saturday the 2nd of January, 2010. But hurry, tickets are half sold out already.

MMWB performances are a  Big Sky tradition, especially so at Buck’s T-4. For the careful observer, there are two worn MMWB bumper stickers adhered to the ceiling above the main bar, a reminder of the good nights had in the past. From 1974 to 1985 MMWB helped throw the biggest New Year’s Eve party in Big Sky, at Buck’s T-4. Starting while the night is young they’d launch into their collection of country electric blue grass with a bit of rock n’ roll music and play all the way into the new year. MMWB developed a cult following because of their high energy shows that really got the crowd dancing the night away. And this Saturday is sure to be no exception.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to relive the legend.

Where: Buck’s T-4 Dance Hall

When: Sat. January 2nd, 2010

Show starts: 9:30pm Finishes: 12:30pm

Doors Open: 9:00pm

Tickets: Only $35.00 for 3 sets of music

Call (406) 995-4111 for tickets and you can pick them up at Buck’s T-4 Lodge lobby

Can’t wait for the dancing to begin.


Buck’s T-4 Annual Christmas Party

Recently, Buck’s T-4 helped celebrate the holidays with our annual community Christmas party. Like years past the event was a big hit. It was a good chance for Buck’s kitchen to showcase some of their delicious and mouthwatering creations. Guests were able to sample some of the delectable treats off Buck’s  newly launched pub menu, like the Cajun Pork Chop Sammie. Those were a quick favorite and disappeared straight away. And the house made bison and pork sausages that came fresh off the grill were quick to follow suit.

Here is just a taste of the other bites offered at the party, I caution those with an empty stomach to not read on:  Oysters Rockerfeller, freshly carved roast beef served on warm pita bread with sheep dip, in house smoked salmon served with marinated cucumber on five spice flat bread, fried Szechwan mushroom wontons, roast vegetable pizza, a sampling of fine cheeses and much much more. For those with a sweet tooth we had trays of  creamy chocolate mint brownies, lemon curd tarts, eggnog custard tarts (my favorite), pecan tarts  and a selection of everyone’s favorite Christmas cookies.

And no event at Buck’s T-4 would be complete with out a taste of our award winning wine list and selection of local beers. The Christmas party was no exception with a variety of reds, white and a rose all available to be sampled as well as Lone Peak Brewery’s Nordic Blond and Steep N Deep Winter Ale draft beers.

The night was a good indicator of the busy winter season that lies ahead. All of us at Buck’s T-4 are really looking forward to having you join us in our dining rooms or lodging this winter. If you haven’t made it down to Buck’s for dinner yet or are still thinking about where to vacation this winter, come and see us. You won’ be disappointed!

And from all of us at Buck’s T-4 have a very merry Christmas!!!

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