Posts Tagged ‘Buck’s T-4


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.


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!!!


Buck’s T-4 Open for Summer!

As warmer weather settles into the mountains, snow has been melting, the river is roaring and the first signs of summer have begun to appear. Spring is a transitional time in Big Sky where one can find themselves skiing and sun bathing on the same day. Once the ski lifts close, many retreat to the backcountry to hike and earn their last turns of the year. Spring is typically a safer environment regarding avalanche danger. It is also a beautiful time to hike with the sun warming your back and you ascend ridges in virtual solitude and make fresh tracks, even if it is on corn snow until the white disappears from the hillsides.

Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally when the Beartooth Pass opens along the Beartooth Highway which is South of Columbus, MT and near Red Lodge Mountain. Backcountry skiers flood the area from all surrounding areas of Montana to get one last chance to shred world class terrain before enjoying the Rocky Mountain summer’s treasures. Big Sky ski bums were no exception. We packed our cars, trucks and campers full of brats, ski boots, tents and beer and then headed out to the Rock Creek campground at the base of the pass. It was a joyous occasion and a bit of a reunion for many of us who had not seen each other since the chair lifts closed at Big Sky and Moonlight ski resorts. There were a few large camp-sites filled with Big Sky skiers, our campsite had about twenty of us. We spent the first night partying around the warm campfire, excited to get back on the snow the next day and excited to see each other again. Saturday morning we rose, filled ourselves with coffee and food, and then headed up the pass. The Beartooth Pass ascends to 10,947 feet and resembles somewhat of a large plateau, but is surrounded by 20 peaks, which reach over 12,000 feet.  Glaciers are abundant in the Beartooth Mountains. From Red Lodge we ascended over 4,000 feet in 15 miles. The Beartooths are breathtaking and are filled with lakes, forests and of course abundant wildlife.

We began our day at a turnout which was filled with skiers, many we recognized. We left a few vehicles at the turnout and shuttled up toward the Rock Creek headwall. I jumped into the back of my friend’s pickup truck filled with skis in my t-shirt and enjoyed the scenic ride to the top. There was a small hike ahead of us and then we descended to a fabulous chute on the Rock Creek headwall. The corn snow is very different to ski; it is difficult to carve a perfect turn because the edges of the skis slide on the round snow. But I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying the first few steep turns into the narrow entrance and down around the cliff walls. The views were incredible as I peered down this incredibly long and dynamic run. The Rock Creek Headwall was so much fun; we had to it twice that day. Other great places to ski in the Beartooths include Gardiner Headwall, 57 Chevy and Hidden Couloir.

Skier, friend and all around wonderful guy; Eric Hansen was definitely not missed at the Beartooths. Eric is the owner and creative remodeler of the Powder Bandit Ski Bus. The Powder Bandit is a mid-size school bus once used for a school sports team. Eric bought the bus and remodeled the interior to be an ideal mobile ski condo for him and his girlfriend Allison. A kitchen, dining area, two beds and ample storage space fill the interior while the exterior houses ski racks and a lockable storage compartment. Eric truly holds a genuinely positive and inviting outlook. Eric shuttled skiers up the pass Saturday and Sunday so that many could enjoy the skiing. A true public servant, Eric Hansen deserved much more than the bottle of wine I gifted to him as a ‘thank you’ for shuttling.

Spring is also the most exciting time to raft the whitewater. As the snow melts from the surrounding mountains it drains into the Gallatin River creating wild whitewater. The water is so high that often the raft companies do not take commercial trips through the notorious “Mad Mile” section of the Gallatin River. However there are plenty of whitewater thrills to be had in the upper section of the river. The staff at Buck’s T-4 is looking forward to rafting the upper section next week!

As one drives on 191 in the scenic canyon between Big Sky and Bozeman, one will see many kayakers running and playing in the rapids as well as commercial and private rafting boats. The river comes alive in June and the canyon is filled with whitewater enthusiasts. If you have some space in your vehicle and you don’t mind company, be sure to pull over and give one of these guys a lift. Montana may be the last place on Earth where hitchhiking is still common practice and a fine opportunity for friendly conversation and meeting new neighbors. Kayakers and rafters often must hitchhike in order to get back up or down the river to their vehicle.

The last of the spring showers is moving through Big Sky now and summer season has officially begun at Buck’s T-4. This summer Buck’s is offering unbeatable value with activity packages. Choose a la carte from whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, horseback riding and Yellowstone Tours. You can plan your whole Montana vacation by staying at Buck’s T-4. Travelers will not find a better deal in town for hotel and activities than they will at Buck’s T-4.

Buck’s Pub offers $10 Steak Night every Wednesday. Hand cut steaks average about 10 oz. and are cooked to order and served with salad, baked potato and steamed vegetables. Buck’s Pub is serving a barbeque themed menu this summer.

Buck’s Main Dining Room continues its tradition of offering elegantly prepared wild game; hand cut prime grade steaks, delicacies and an award-winning wine list. If you are visiting Big Sky don’t miss this diamond in the rough. Buck’s Main Dining room has been acclaimed in publications such as Gourmet, Bon Appétit and Wine Spectator.

Call 1-800-822-4484 or (406) 995-4111 to plan your Montana experience and get the best value in Big Sky.

Hopefully I will see you in Big Sky enjoying all of Montana’s fabulous treasures.

Sunny days and best wishes,



In like a Lamb, out like a Lion!

It’s March in Big Sky, which means snowstorms, parties, spring skiing, powder and tons of fun. The first week in March encompassed it all. The week started out warm and ended with two big powder days, and a rockin’ spring party.

My dad and brother came to visit, which allowed me some time to explore parts of the mountain that I rarely made it to. Sunday was blue sky, great visibility and warm weather. My dad and I headed to Mr. K a long gentle groomed run which is loved by beginners and experts alike. After our warm up we hit some of my dad’s old time favorites such as Crazy Horse, Upper Morning Star and Lobo. Although Dad has been skiing Big Sky since 1991, he still likes to stick to the same groomed cruisers he loved back then. Big Sky offers fantastic terrain for intermediate skiers. Sometimes we get carried away talking just about the Tram and all our expert terrain. But most skiers that come on vacation are intermediate skiers and they are looking to enjoy their ski vacation and not go home with any injuries. Big Sky and Moonlight have plenty to offer in that department.

Although my dad has skied Big Sky for almost 20 years, he had never been to Moonlight Basin, which definitely deserves a couple days of exploration. Moonlight Basin’s groomed trails are long and meander through gorgeous woods, and offer breath-taking views of Fan Mountain, Beehive Basin and the Spanish Peaks. We explored all the blue square runs off both the Six-Shooter lift and the Lone Tree lift. We laughed as we loaded the high speed 6-person lift at Moonlight alone. “It sure is nice to have this great amenity here, but we don’t even need it.” I said. “The trails at Moonlight are as private as you need, pristine beauty, great skiing and a taste of what Montana skiing is all about.” My dad and I laughed and remembered what Big Sky was like 15 years ago, a lot like Moonlight.

I persuaded my dad into the trees for a run. We took Whiskey down from the Lone Tree Lift, it’s a gentle slope with trees spaced out to allow plenty of turns. Moonlight has a collection of idyllic tree runs. They are not too steep, not too tight, they are just right. I suggest exploring Whiskey, White Bark, Single and Double Jack.

To end the day, my dad, brother and I headed to Buck’s T-4 for dinner. My brother fancies himself somewhat of a food connoisseur and was wildly impressed with the cuisine. “It’s crazy that there is such a magnificent gem of a restaurant all the way out here” exclaimed my dad. I ordered the Field and Stream special which consisted of a veal chop with a caper demi-glace and cherry foie gras duck confit ravioli. My dad went for the Catch of the Day special which was a seafood bouillabaisse with scallops, salmon, muscles, shrimp and crab. My brother ordered the extremely tender Bison Tenderloin. For appetizers we had Trout Cakes and Fried Oysters. The meal was fabulous, but to end it right we had a double-decker brownie with fudge and wrapped in filo dough and served with homemade vanilla ice cream. We also couldn’t pass up the huckleberry cookie and pear sorbet. Buck’s is a reataurant that shouldn’t be missed if you are visiting Big Sky. Best known for wild game, Buck’s also offers prime grade hand-cut steaks and features an award-winning wine list. There is also a hotel that offers affordable lodging.

After that dinner we were in need of some calorie burning. Luckily for us the next night it started to dump. The snow came with a vengeance. The storm was so intense driving was nearly impossible. However we were determined to make it down to the Lotus Pad, Big Sky’s only Thai restaurant, and often called “the best Thai I have eaten anywhere” by travelers. After a fantastic dinner with friends I made the journey back up to the Mountain Village and dropped the boys off. “I will never make fun of your driving again” stated my brother, who isn’t used to what a Montana snow-storm can bring in. “Thanks for getting us back to the hotel alive.”

It was an early morning indeed the next couple days. Big Sky was hit by a storm that eventually brought what seemed to be about 30 inches of snow over two days. My Dad taught me well as a kid “No friends on a Powder day.” I raced to the Swifty line early and secured my place in line for another early morning tram line filled with oceans of un-touched powder. It was divine. I can’t say enough about skiing powder, but I will restrain myself and point you to my last blog entry if you crave expansion on the subject.

After a hard day of skiing we were rewarded by going to the Yurt dinner at Big Sky. We were picked up from the Summit hotel in a snow-cat that sat 25 of us, in a cabin or on the roof. We headed up middle road to a Yurt, where we enjoyed sledding, a bonfire and a delicious filet mignon dinner accompanied by french-onion soup, mashed potatoes and vegetables. The meal was finished with chocolate fondue, and then we headed back down the mountain. If you are visiting Big Sky, don’t miss this backcountry dining experience.

Saturday was Dirtbag day, our favorite holiday in Big Sky. I started my morning by visiting a punk band show at the Bambu Bar while I enjoyed breakfast and a Bloody Mary. Next, we gathered at the base of the Lone Peak Triple lift and lined up for the Dirtbag parade, where the Dirtbag King and Queen ski through a tunnel of ski poles and screaming Dirtbag ski bums, then we all headed down Crazy Horse. Next we rode back up the lifts to a stadium built from snow at the base of Crons. Powder 8 skiers, including myself hiking up Crons and lined up to see who could do the best powder 8’s. The snow had not been touched for a week and the wind had done some damage making it slab. Watching the pairs come down was riotously entertaining. After the awards ceremony at the Black Bear, we had a delicious home-cooked dinner and then dressed for the Dirtbag Ball, where all us ski bums partied until we were kicked out. The costumes all day consisted of neon ski gear, vintage clothing and the wildest, most outrageous attire one can find. The Dirty Shame played for us, and rocked the house.

The first week in March truly came in like a lamb and out like a lion.

Happy Dirtbag,



Lifts Open at Big Sky – Buck’s T-4 offers KILLER Deals!

Welcome back to the Buck’s Blog. I am happy to be back writing about the Big Sky area and everything going on around here. Since the month of December brings so many events, I will try to keep my chatter to a minimum.

Big Sky Resort opened the Swift Current and Explorer lifts November 27 on Thanksgiving Day. Early season conditions exist, but that didn’t stop all the local skiers. Everybody seemed overjoyed to be back on the mountain skiing and seeing friends again. Lift tickets are $39.

I decided to take advantage of the backcountry on Thursday. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I couldn’t pass up an invitation to ski Beehive Basin with some friends. We headed out early when the thermometer read only 11 degrees. It didn’t take long for the sun to warm the earth and before I knew it I was stripped down to just my thermal shirt and snow pants. We had about a 2 hour skin up to the top of the ridge between Beehive and Middle Basin. We took a fantastic run through what felt like mid-winter powder snow into Middle Basin. Then hiked back up to ski a couloir that lead us back into Beehive. We certainly earned our Thanksgiving dinners that night. I could not have asked for a more spectacular holiday.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday I skied Big Sky Resort. It was wonderful to talk to everybody on the lifts and in the bar about the skiing. I can’t tell you that I was skiing the best powder of my life, but I was having almost as much fun. The whole mountain seemed to buzz with ecstatic skiers and snowboarders just happy to be back on snow.

The free week for Big Sky Frequent Sky Card holders began Sunday, November 30 and will go through Saturday December 6, 2008. Buck’s T-4 offers $99/night for single or double occupancy for all Big Sky Frequent Sky Card holders. So if any of you don’t feel like driving back to Bozeman, Livingston, Butte, Gardiner, Bismark or any of the other surrounding areas, we invite you to be our guest! Also all winter long any Big Sky Resort lift ticket holder receives a 15% discount on lodging here at Buck’s.

Don’t feel left out if you are a Moonlight Basin skier. Moonlight Basin is scheduled to open December 12, 2008. Buck’s offers fantastic ski & stay packages for Moonlight, as low as $79 per night per person.

Here is my ‘dirtbag skier tip of the day’; If you are a college student log onto www.buckst4.comand check out some student discounts offered for both lodging and food for you at Buck’s. If you are a MSU student (or even if you are a student elsewhere) get a hold of that MSU Pocket Guide and clip the coupons for DIRT CHEAP DEALS!!!

December holds so many events in Big Sky. I personally am looking forward to attending a wine tasting with gourmet hors d’oeuvres this Friday at Buck’s. It’s only $15 per person and is a screaming deal for 6 wines paired with elegant food.

Also on Friday, December 5 it is $20 day at Big Sky Resort. This is the cheapest day to ski all season long!

The ever so popular Madrigal Dinner will be held at Buck’s on December 8, 2008. This is a holiday tradition in Big Sky. The MSU choir sings, there is a fantastic plated dinner, wasail toast and more. This is one of the more elegant events happening this December.

One of my favorite Christmas events is the Christmas Stroll around BIg Sky. Local businesses offer spectacular deal, there are activities for kids, and a beer stroll for adults. It is a great time to meet and greet friends and neighbors. I even heard a rumor that Santa will be there!!!!

Also the Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday ball, the Boots and Belles Ball is December 13, 2008. This is a fantastic event that proves to be even better this year. Not only will there be the buffet dinner which features dishes from many local restaurants, but ’10 Foot Tall and 80 Proof’ will be playing. I can’t wait to dance by boots right off my feet! The Boots and Belles Ball will be held at Buck’s T-4.

The Buck’s T-4 Community Holiday Party is December 16, 2008. This is a fabulous event, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and tons of Big Sky locals. I got a sneak peak at the menu and I have to tell you it looks delectable. I can’t wait. Every year is so much fun seeing friends I haven’t seen since last winter. The best part is the free food!

December 20 Big Sky Resort has a rail jam called R.U.S.T.

Buck’s T-4 offers a $99/night rate (single or double occupancy) for anybody attending any special events in Big Sky through the month of December. All the events are listed on our website

Sorry to sound so much like a marketing girl! 😉 But I just had to let everybody know what is going on this month in Big Sky.

Think snow! I will see you on the slopes.


Fall in Big Sky, Oktoberfest, biking, Yellowstone and more!

Greetings to the readers of the Buck’s T-4 Blog, I am pleased to say that fall has official begun in Big Sky. September and October may be Big Sky’s best kept secret. With warm but crisp days and cool nights, Big Sky has the perfect weather through these months. The beauty of Montana is truly unmatched in the fall. As I drove from Buck’s to West Yellowstone yesterday I was in awe of the spectacular hues that filled the canyon floor and crept around the streams alongside the road. What a spectacular sight against the backdrop of the mountain ranges of Yellowstone National Park in the distance. The canyon almost looked golden and on fire due to the wild fall colors.

Once I reached West Yellowstone I headed straight for the Rendezvous trail system that begins in town and trails through Lodge pole and Douglas fir forest. These are cross-country trails in the winter and mountain biking trails in the summer. These trails are my personal favorite as anybody can bike them. All the trails are rated using the ski rating system; green trails for beginners, blue for intermediate and black for advanced riders. The Rendezvous trail system is also fantastically marked with maps and directional signage around every corner. Perfect for out of town visitors, families or locals such as myself looking for a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

After speeding up and down hills and through the forest, I decided to explore West Yellowstone. I wandered through the town and weaved in and out of cute tourist shops. I ended up finding some irresistible items that I had to bring home with me. The store clerks were as friendly as ever and once again I was reminded of what a wonderfully hospitable area this is.

Fall is the perfect time to visit Yellowstone National Park. The summer crowds have exited the area and the park returns to desolate serene beauty. No more traffic or navigating through crowds on the boardwalks at popular attractions. In October, you can experience a far more private Yellowstone. The current on the rivers are much less strong this time of year, so it is an ideal time to jump into the boiling river and relax in the peaceful surroundings.

Oktoberfest took place at Buck’s T-4 on September 19 and was a huge success. We would like to thank everybody from the Big Sky community who came to enjoy our ‘Biergarten’ with three local breweries serving up beer and a representative from Matador wines introducing our guests to wines. Out kitchen team at Buck’s T-4 was serving up some delicious German cuisine. We were lucky to have an extremely lively band and the party went on into the dark hours and eventually moved inside to our bar. Everybody had a great time, and I am already looking forward to next year.

Have a fabulous fall; I hope I will be seeing some of you soon.

Keep on keepin’ on,



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