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A great story on the new book today in the Whitefish Pilot:

Documentary project explores Montana ski areas:

By MATT BALDWIN Whitefish Pilot

Bozeman-based photographer Craig Hergert has spent the past eight years traveling in his truck and camper to every lift-serviced ski area in Montana. From the “biggest skiing in America” of Big Sky to the dozen or so mom and pop areas scattered throughout the state, Hergert has photographed and skied them all. He’s complied the best images from his journey into a 226-page coffee table-style book “Montana: Skiing The Last Best Place.” The book follows in the spirit of a true documentary project and attempts to capture each ski area in its naked truth — as they actually are. “The goal was to tell the story of what is there right now,” he said. “There is enough ski porn out there.” The book’s afterword says it best.
“I did not want to stage professional skiers ripping down the steepest slopes and cliffs depicting a world of what skiing should look like, but rather what it does look like.”

He references one photo in the book of a snowy, foggy view at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
“It is like that there a lot of the time,” he said about the raw image. “I didn’t want to paint a glossy picture.” Hergert’s travels took him to 18 ski areas in Montana as far east as Bear Paw Ski Bowl near Havre, and as far west as Lookout Pass on the Montana / Idaho border. It’s the contrast of skiing in Montana that intrigued him most on his journey. High-speed quad lifts and $14 cheese burgers on one end of the spectrum, a lonely T-bar on the other.
“Having places like Big Sky and Whitefish contrast with ski areas only open on the weekends — they’re similar in ways, but also completely different,” he explained. Hergert started the book in the real-estate development boom years around 2005 when slopeside condos were going up at an unprecedented rate. “I was concerned some of the mom and pop ski areas would get bought up and I wanted to document these places as soon as I could,” he said.
When the recession hit, the building slowed, but Hergert’s project went on. He found that many of the ski areas in the state haven’t changed in decades and are in no danger of changing any time soon. “That’s the allure to some of these places,” he said. “It’s still 1972 at some of these ski areas. Some even have the same carpet in the lodge from 1972, and nobody wants them to change.”

After visiting every ski area in Big Sky Country, Hergert does have a few favorites. Discovery Basin near Phillipsburg tops his list. He enjoys the Wild West feel of the area with the variety of terrain. “The front side is family fun, while the back side is full-on expert skiing,” he said. One of his favorite days while traveling came at Turner Mountain near Libby. He timed the trip to perfection. “We got there on a Friday and it had snowed 30 inches,” he remembered. “One bus load of drunk Canadians was there, and us, and that was it.” It felt like they had the mountain to themselves. He made a few trip to Whitefish, which he calls in the book, “one of the liveliest ski towns in the state.”
“Although the skiing can be top-notch, the best part of Whitefish is the overall atmosphere. It’s a mountain that truly embraces and relishes in its history as the oldest ski resort in Montana.” Hergert hopes the book has a long shelf-life as a historical place marker and says that it just might spark a local to check out a new ski area in Montana. “I made it for us, people that live in Whitefish, Bozeman or Havre,” he said. “I wanted it to be something that documented these places and something for people to look at and maybe inspire them to go on a road trip,” he said.

The book is available online at, iTunes and Amazon, and sells for $60.

Last modified on Thursday, 07 March 2013 13:27

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Hi Craig,

Your photos of Montana have an emotional and epic feel to them.  I actually said, "wow" out-loud when your homepage loaded.

Jim Read More ...
...Instead of merely imparting a place in time, as most photos do, Hergert’s panoramics seem to capture the entirety of a scene, from subtle differences in topography and color to holistic form and totality of detail. The result is a more comprehensive engagement of the mind, and a more visceral aesthetic response. When you see an image in Montana Read More ...
Hi Craig,

I wanted to let you know that we did receive your book all in good order last friday. Ah what a majestic land it is and your photographs capture it about right, they are truly stunningly beautiful. We sure did see a lot of familiar places, we are itching to get back to Montana next year, until then your book will do just fine..

Thanks again
Read More ...
The book is great!  We absolutely love your work, and will definitely be back at the shop this summer.

Thanks Craig!  I had a tough time choosing which to pick.  You do beautiful work!!!  I used to live in Bozeman and you're photos bring back all the beauty and peacefulness of Montana.  I'm sure I will be ordering from you again!

s again!
Read More ...
"Craig, thank you so much for your quick shipping of the Bridger Bowl print we ordered last week. We just got it framed, and it is flat out amazing!!!!! My dad is going to absolutely love this years Christmas present more than anything ever. Keep up the good work!"

Nancy VanDermolen

Minneapolis Minnesota Read More ...
"Craig, your work is just simply captivating. I've never seen anything like it, I catch myself getting lost in the amazingly detailed and creatively composed panoramic images that capture the Montana landscape and lifestyle better than any photo I've ever seen in my life."

Brian Hurlbut

Author, "Falcon Guide to the Greater Yellowstone Region" Read More ...
"Hello Craig, First, thank you for the great photo of Three dollar Bridge that we gave to the Attorney General - he loves it. It is now proudly displayed in his office for everyone to see."

Craig Sharpe

Executive Director, Montana Wildlife Federation Read More ...
Hi Craig,

I received the poster that I ordered from your website.  It is breathtaking!!!  I expected it to be wonderful but it is so much more!  I look forward to enjoying it for years to come.  Makes me want to plan another visit to Bozeman!!! 
s so very much!  I appreciate you signing it too.  I love that touch!  You really do great work!
Read More ...
...We received the book yesterday, it is truly beautiful! As an Englishman who has spent a total of about 8 days in Montana in my entire life, it made me homesick for the place....


California Read More ...
...I ordered 4 of the Montana Panoramic books; one for each of my in-laws, my father, and my husband and I kept one for ourselves. I just wanted to let you know that everyone loved it, there is endless beauty on every page. I hope the book is doing well and please keep me posted on any new volumes that come out....


Wyoming Read More ...
Dear Craig,
I was jus
ing through your website and was awestruck by the beauty of your photos. I can’t wait to purchase my first image! It’s just so hard to decide! I live in Bozeman and am getting married at Roy’s Barn next July. I just wanted to tell you that your story is inspirational and you are a blessing to the Bozeman co Read More ...
"I am thrilled I found your website. The Madison is my husband's favorite river and we fished there on our honeymoon, so this will be a great anniversary present. Your work is beautiful and not only that, it's REAL. In my online search, I saw so many pictures of Montana that looked altered to the point that I wasn't interested in hanging them in Read More ...
...Viewing his 180-plus degree panoramas is as close as you can get to actually visiting scenic places such as the Bridger Range, Paradise Valley, and Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Hergert's ability to capture and highlight the diversity and grandiosity of landscapes makes the average Montana postcard look like a Kodak Instamatic snapshot. © "Montana Out Read More ...