Photograph by Hillary Maybery

Dispatches from the Demented

Words by Ryan Waterfield 

Dr. Seuss seems as good of a place to start as any. I can’t really remember why, but when I was in college, I had this Dr. Seuss quote hanging over my desk: “Being crazy isn’t enough.” Thinking about that sentiment now sets my creaky little wheels to spinning. I think about the way many of us ended up living in (or wishing we lived in) our respective mountain towns.

Some of us were lucky enough to be born here. My husband. My children. Many of my friends. But I’m a transplant. Like many of you reading this for-real-life magazine (thank God for print), I moved out here and never looked back. Most of us packed our cars and headed West with no plan1 except to stop driving when we saw our first chairlift and the promise of snow. But we did that in our early 20s when we were blissfully free from the realities of health care and 401(k)s and tuition and mortgages, and2—you get it.

And we were crazy back then. Wonderfully crazy. The sort of crazy that would work any old job just to get that ski pass and log as many days on the hill or in the backcountry as possible.

But, as Dr. Seuss reminds us, “Being crazy isn’t enough.”

Living in mountain towns, many of which are home to resorts, it can be tempting to live a self-indulgent life. But the people who live in these towns will surprise you.

Most of us who packed up our cars long ago and headed out for this adventure have since left those seasonal jobs that served the essential purpose of scraping by just enough to play every day. Now, we own businesses, employ others, and give back to the community. Or we work for organizations that we believe in. Either way, we make a difference—by what we do or how we approach life—or both. We send our kids to school here; we volunteer; we find ways to make every day count. And the thing we love the most about our big lives here—we are in really good company.

What started as a local Sun Valley magazine called FOCUS has grown to be a Mountain West magazine with a new moniker that captures the spirit of the wider region. There are many unique aspects to each mountain town, but there are also unifying threads. We are here to explore both sides of the coin. We are here to unpack the full experience.

Welcome to BigLife Magazine, where crazy is a prerequisite, but not enough. This magazine is a living, breathing homage to all the things we love about life in the mountains and the engaging, vital people who live and visit here. This is our love letter to those of you who want a big life. A full life. A real life with adventure and toil, inspiration and meaning. Stick with us, you’ll see—the sky is bigger, the mountains are bigger, and life is bigger here.

1. That was not me. That was you other fools. Packing your car and heading West with no plan, what were you thinking?

2. God. Help. Me. Get. Off. This. Hamster. Wheel. Of. Doom.