The Big Sky Shootout film and photo festival returns

The community mobilizes to preserve and celebrate its mountain culture


BIG SKY – Electricity was in the air the night of April 16. The clouds gathered and danced eagerly around, circling Lone Peak and welcoming the prevailing winds that would soon come bringing the spring snow. The first snowflakes began to fall gently on the faces of eager onlookers gathered on the terrace of the Wilson Hotel in Town Center.

Moments before, they were engrossed in bottle throwing, drinking beer and listening to the melodic beats of DJ Missy O’Malley as she greeted festival-goers in the Shootout Lounge. But the familiar and fun feeling of the dew point dropping was unmistakable to those inside. The tribe instinctively stopped, turned and cast their gaze upwards, just as lightning split the sky, illuminating the clouds from deep within and revealing a stunning silhouette of the tram on top of a blazing mountain.

A moment later, as at the right time, the heavens opened up with falling bass and descended on the crowds with heavy snow pushing them inside. It was clear that winter had made its triumphant return and with it the return of the Big Sky Shootout Film & Photo Festival.

We all had a feeling it was probably going to rain that night, said Erik Morrison, festival producer and CEO of Second Season.

“Historically, Big Sky has delivered strong spring storms around the Shootout, hence all the classic powder segments like Higher Love and Snow Dreams that the festival has produced,” Morrison said. “It’s just that special combination of Lone Peak and the enthusiasm of that ski community that seems to draw him. We all come together to honor this tradition and celebrate the return of the festival… It was supposed to snow. Luckily for us, the storm was a motivation for people to come out and celebrate. We had over 400 people in attendance with the biggest and rowdiest crowd at 7pm, just as the lightning struck and the storm raged. You can’t make this up!

Created in 2014 by Lone Peak Cinema owners Scott and Sally Fisher, The Big Sky Shootout was a complete visual celebration of the Big Sky ski community. Open to everyone and focused on content exclusively shot at the Big Sky Resort over a week-long period, teams of six or fewer were invited to test their creativity and tell their story on the big screen. At showtime, the community would gather in daylight and denim for two sold-out shows, vote for their favorite festival films, and celebrate what makes Big Sky great. It was a centuries-old tradition and one that was sorely missed with the pandemic and the closure of Lone Peak Cinema.

Years passed and many wondered if the Shootout would ever return. In the spring of 2021, Morrison approached the Fishers about his interest in the second season working with them to bring the festival back.

Since the pandemic, we have seen significant changes here at Big Sky and across the West. “If we want to preserve our mountain traditions and culture, we have to keep creating it,” Morrison said. “It’s at the heart of the work we do at Second Season and why we felt compelled to take action. Once Scott and Sally gave us the go-ahead, we onboarded Shootout veterans Skylab Media and Peak Creative Designs to the production team. Community-minded businesses and organizations collaborated quickly to support us and breathe new life into the Shootout. A heartfelt and heartfelt thank you to all of those who stepped up .

Big fans of the Shootout tradition and never one to miss a great party, the team at Grizzly Outfitters pulled out all the stops and raised over $5,800 in cash and prizes. They invited GoPro to join in the fun and generously donated six Hero 10 Black camera kits complete with handling, Chesty, enduro and daytripper batteries; a dream package for any content creator. This, plus thousands of dollars in door prizes like skis, goggles, helmets and soft goods, made many festival-goers happy.

Events like the Big Sky Shootout give Grizzly Outfitters and our team the opportunity to thank the community that supports us, said Andrew Schreiner.

“The people are the heart and soul of Big Sky. Without them… Well, we’d be living in a pretty boring, stagnant community. This is our home and we will always support major local events that welcome and inspire outdoor activities and incredibly fun nights out like the Shootout. Keep up the good work Big Sky and thank you for all your years of support.

Many other collaborators who supported the Shootout were on hand with family and friends to celebrate and enjoy the show. Kevin Barton of Ace Big Sky, Beth Hoffman of Big Sky Build, Wes and Alex Hoeker of Two Pines Properties and others were in attendance, with some staying for multiple screenings. Beth was rewarded for her spirit when her ticket was drawn for the grand door prize later that evening.

It was so awesome to have the festival back this year, said Wes Hoecker. “I loved seeing all the movies,” he said. “Lots of friends and colleagues have contributed and made films. We love this community and are excited to be involved. I’m already thinking about Shootout 2023!

Thanks to this community support, the Second Season team was able to significantly increase production and expand the festival to include film and photography. With 10 eclectic shorts and 50 photos, it was the highest number of submissions in Shootout history. All film and photo submissions for the seventh annual Big Sky Shootout Film and Photo Festival will be available on later this week. More spotlight artists and their work will be featured over the next two weeks on Second Season’s Instagram and Facebook. Prizes were awarded in the following categories:



1st video: Master Bladers | “Group Masterbation”

2nd place video: Shootout veterans | “5 guys 1 line”

Video of the 3rd prize: Beetroot & Jojo | “The Dust Bag”


1st picture: INOAHphotographer

2nd picture: Content in kilograms

3rd picture: heather rapp


Video: Shootout veterans | “5 guys 1 line”

Photo: Tim Chamberlain


Video: Shootout veterans | “5 guys 1 line”

Photo: ice fox


Video: BSPN | “Here, Now and Pow”

Photo: Tim Chamberlain


Video: Bomb Snow | “Big Lies and Hash Browns”

Photo: heather rapp


Video: BSPN | “Here, Now and Pow”

Photo: INOAHphotographer


Video: Master Bladers | “Group Masterbation”

Photo: Content in kilograms

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