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Big Sky Vacations

Caitlin Moore

Known for its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, year-round activities, and a sense of peace unmatched

Big Sky is indeed worth visiting during either the winter or the summer season, so whatever your temperament calls out for you ll find an answer to here. If the cold weather is what gets you going, you ll be happy to know that the resort receives about 400 inches of annual snowfall and has 85 miles of ski runs that never lose their luster due to overcrowding. Take this opportunity to absorb yourself in skiing, or explore something new

If speeding downhill is a bit too much to handle, there s plenty more to do that will get you out there enjoying the winter wonderland. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even horseback riding and winter fly-fishing are all available. Cozy up with your honey in the back of a sleigh or ride the lifts just for fun, as long as you end your day with a cup of hot cocoa

Ski competitions, parties, festivals, and family-oriented activities add a celebratory touch to life at Big Sky, so check the calendar of events to plan your visit around something extra special. Nothing is better than bundling up, heading outside, and hearing the snow crunch beneath your feet when you ve been cooped up in a classroom or office all season, so get ready to acclimate yourself to a whole new environment and way of seeing the world.

If you re less ski-bunny and more fun-in-the-sun, a summertime Big Sky visit will satisfy your warm weather wanderlust. Hike, raft, play, fish you ll need several days to really soak it all in, so plan accordingly. Golf and tennis make for fun ways to burn some calories, but nothing compares to packing a lunch, some water, and heading out for a firsthand exploration of the Montana wilderness. Ten miles of mountain biking trails will challenge the adventurers in your group, and there s even a Freeride Park for the ultimate daredevils who get their kicks from jumps and ladders.

Disc golf and scenic lift rides continue to add to the fun, as do the tournaments and parties that give the summer months a bit more punch. There s always something going on, so bring lots of energy and a desire to be entertained and enveloped in all that Big Sky has to offer after the snow has melted.

An extensive array of spa offerings, facilities for large groups, and daycares are a few more details that will smooth the edges of this trip and make it above complaint. No need or want will go unanswered during this holiday, especially if you take the time to pick out accommodations of high quality, as well. Big Sky vacation rentals are a smart route to take, as each of these cabins, lodges, and condos are equipped not only to handle visitors, but to make you feel happy to be alive.

Imagine a log cabin that seems to exist in its own time and place, outfitted with modern conveniences yet stirring within you feelings of tradition, warmth, and family togetherness. With room for all the people you love plus conveniences like kitchen appliances, a washer and dryer, and even things like hot tubs and a piano, you ll want to return to this place for every future vacation.

If you think Big Sky has what it takes to qualify itself as being worthy of you and your family s attention, then sit up and start planning. The seasons are spinning

Visit HomeAway.com to explore a vast array of vacation rentals in location all over the world.

Player Piano: Kevin Pratt on museum design

ArtForum , Sept, 2004 by Kevin Pratt

WHILE ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS AT THE Harvard Design School are hardly shouting "The king is dead, long live the king!" a recent readjustment of architectural priorities within the tightly knit world of museum trustees and directors has had one obvious consequence: Rem Koolhaas is out; Renzo Piano is in. Just a few short years ago Koolhaas and his right-brain/left-brain sister offices OMA and AMO, backed by the critical muscle of the New York Times, were picking up American commissions at a prodigious rate. Alongside commissions for the new Central Library in Seattle, a campus center at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and multiple stores for Prada, Koolhaas proposed grandiose, expensive, and now-defunct schemes for expanding both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Working with Thomas Krens, he also made a quixotic attempt to catch the eye of Middle America by designing two Guggenheim satellites in Las Vegas, one of which closed in less than two years .

Gone, however, are the easy-money days of the millennium`s turning, and with them (for the moment) the museum world`s struggle to secure a place in the spectacular firmament of popular culture. To Koolhaas`s detriment, the great beneficiary of this shift has been Piano. His firm, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, is currently working on no fewer than six major museum projects in the United States. He has snatched both the Whitney and the LACMA commissions from OMA, his design for the expansion of the Morgan Library is under construction, and the Harvard University Art Museums, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Atlanta`s Robert W. Woodruff Arts Centre (which includes the High Museum of Art) have all hired him to renovate and expand their campuses. While this may be evidence of little more than a herd mentality among museum patrons, the result will be Piano putting more art under a roof of his own design than anyone since I.M. Pei was the establishment`s architect of the moment in the late `70s and early `80s.

Piano has long been a favorite of wealthy collectors wanting exquisite jewel boxes for their small and distinctive collections. Two of his previous museums, the Menil Collection in Houston and the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, are held in high regard by both architects and curators. Although Piano began his career by exploding the traditional relationship between the museum`s box and its contents with the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, in recent years he has built a portfolio of buildings that use technology in the service of exhibition spaces, as opposed to using technology as a means to augment the external spectacle of the buildings themselves. Unlike Yoshio Taniguchi, who has embraced a neohistorical modernism for his renovation of the Museum of Modern Art, Piano, in recent commissions like the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, has employed subtle natural lighting and simple materials to dramatic effect without falling into an easily definable stylistic box. His attention to the traditional issues of museum design--lighting, circulation, appropriately scaled galleries--may mark him as a conservative at a time when the baroque fantasies of Gehry and Libeskind dominate architectural headlines, but these interests dovetail nicely with those of museum directors hoping for a rappel a l`ordre after the excesses of the `90s. With the failures of the Guggenheim Las Vegas and Steven Holl`s Bellevue Art Museum in Washington State (both victims of architectural and institutional overreach) hanging heavy over the heads of trustees, Piano has become a kind of safe bet while still providing a bit of contemporary flair. Although his work promises little hope of replicating the now-famous Bilbao Effect, it is also unlikely to leave a client the bankrupt owner of an unusable white elephant.

Nevertheless, logic dictates that the Piano middle ground can`t be a universal solution. All the institutions now flocking to him have established collections, and none are dedicated exclusively to contemporary art. For unlucky museum directors without a distinctive collection or for those promoting new art, the spectacular may remain the only means of expanding their audience in the face of competition from casinos, theme parks, and tarted-up historical kitsch. The inevitability of such a "grow or die" mentality may be both cliched and unfortunate, but recent work by the architectural avant-garde proves that the dream of high-impact architecture still lingers. Peter Cook and Colin Fournier`s new Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, which resembles a neon-strangled stomach, and Zaha Hadid`s design for a mobilized (literally) Guggenheim in Taiwan suggest that museum design will continue to develop along lines laid down by the contingent demands of a neoliberal economy. Urban planners and local politicians h oping to revitalize failing industrial cities with a flood of tourist dollars realize that the subtle charms of Piano`s understated spaces offer little advantage in the noisy global market for luxury experience. But Koolhaas, who has devoted more energy than any other living architect to dissecting the minutiae of our consumerist ideology and its material consequences, remains well positioned to produce the next blockbuster building. He may be down, but barring worldwide social revolution, he won`t stay there for long.

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