Succeed in Big Sky: Big Sky Snowman

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By Mira Brody CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

BIG SKY – After landing in Big Sky with his wife, Carrie, and guiding whitewater for a summer, Mac Chapin pushed through the snow to earn a living for the first time. After that first season, plowing and shoveling through the harsh winter climate of southwestern Montana, the business owner asked Chapin if he wanted the business. And so, in 2008, armed with a snowplow truck, two machines and a team of three employees, Big Sky Snowman began.

Explore Big Sky sat down with Chapin to talk about the years since that first winter and the growth of Big Sky Snowman. The residential snow removal service has been running well for 15 years and just like winters don’t, they show no signs of stopping so people can do what they need to do when the snow piles up.

This series is part of a paid partnership with the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce. The following answers have been edited for brevity.

Explore Big Sky: LetLet’s start with some background information about you, when did you come to Big Sky and what brought you here?

Mac Chapin: My wife Carrie and I moved here in the summer of 2007 from northwestern Maine where we worked as recreational guides. During the winter of 2006, we had decided that we wanted to have children and that where we lived was not where we wanted to raise them. That spring, we rented our house, packed all our outdoor gear with our two dogs in our truck, and hit the road! About two months later we landed in Big Sky. I started working for Geyser Whitewater Expeditions and Carrie at Spanish Peaks [Mountain Club]. We never looked back and now we have two wonderful children: Marley is 12 and Grady is 9. As a family we are so lucky to call Big Sky our home and the kids love growing up here!

EBS: Tell me about the history of Big Sky Snowman: when was the company founded and

initially inspired you to start it?

CM: At the end of our first summer here, Eric Becker (the owner of Geyser) asked me if I wanted to move snow for his small snow maintenance business. After a long summer as a guide, I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to do for the winter, so I said yes. Eric had back surgery that winter, so along with another member of staff, we pretty much kept the business going. At the end of that season, Eric asked me if I wanted the company. After a few discussions with Carrie, we decided to give it a try. In 2008, with a snowplow truck, two machines and a crew of three, we launched Big Sky Snowman. We immediately realized there was a need for the service we provided and the way we provided it! Fifteen years later, we are stronger than ever as a company and as a team.

EBS: How big is your team ?

CM: For the 2022/23 season we will have 17 team members operating 14 pieces of equipment and four trucks.

EBS: Tell me about the different services offered by Big sky Snowman? How have these services changed and grown as the community has evolved?

CM: We mainly offer residential services: clearing driveways with a machine equipped with a blower at the front and a snowplow system at the rear. We also offer services for HOA roads and condominiums as well as commercial maintenance. The constant growth of this community has obviously added to the need for our business over the years, but the reality is that we just move the snow so people can do what they need to do!

There is no doubt that this growth has created additional challenges for us. When we started in 2008, we could pretty much drive our machines anywhere around Big Sky at any time of the day or night to get the job done. These days, we’ve had to get creative with where our equipment is, what our fuel is, and when we can physically send team members out to do their jobs. The amount of traffic and the sometimes lack of understanding from drivers on the road as to why one of our slow machines is there, has certainly created safety issues for our drivers and the equipment they use. This season we have had to set a time window for our guests as to when it is safe for us to be there due to these traffic issues.

EBS: What’s the best part about working at Big Sky Snowman?

CM: There are a lot of great things about working at Big Sky Snowman for me. There are two reasons that stand out the most. The first is our team. Over the past 15 years we have been fortunate to have many of them with us for so long. Currently, the average member of our team has been with us for four to 14 years. The support and commitment from these guys has been incredible, and I’m so grateful to each and every one of them! My second favorite part of working at this company is spending time with my kids in the summer. It’s so much fun watching them grow up here and enjoying all that Big Sky and Montana have to offer.

EBS: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

CM: Years ago, when I was guiding in Maine, my boss and the owner of this business told me never to call the people who came to our house clients, but that we should call them clients. To him, a customer was someone who came to your business, bought something, and left. A customer is someone who comes to you for a service that requires you to take the time to build a relationship with them, earn their respect, and do your best to meet their needs as they relate to your business. . He felt it was the best way to keep people coming back for more and to offer the prospect of earning that trust with more people in the future. In my eyes he was right and I will never forget the day he told me that. Thanks Chris!

EBS: Anything else you would like the Big Sky community to know?

CM: Well, as we enter our 15th year of business here at Big Sky, I would like to say thank you to all of our customers who have been with us for so long. I also want to thank all of our many friends here who have supported us, the team and our family over the years. You need a village and what a beautiful village it is to live there!

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