Low-Cost Lineup

Quick, affordable winter activities.

Sometimes, life hinders recreation. If you’re short on time and dough, worry not; this is Bozeman, by God; fun things can be found around every corner. Here are a few outdoor activities for this winter that fit neatly into the tightest of schedules and budgets.

Morning | Nordic Skiing
To those who ski at Bridger 100 days a year, we salute you. To everyone else, we suggest a cheaper, more time-efficient substitute: Nordic skiing. If Nordic’s not your main activity, and you just want to ski close to town when time permits, purchase used skis at Nu2U or another pawn shop or second-hand store. The Bridger Ski Foundation offers a voluntary $50 trails pass and grooms four in-town ski areas. Bozeman Creek is a local favorite—this out-and-back trail is a scant 15-minute drive from downtown, so it’s convenient and customizable. It’s also the only BSF-maintained trail that allows dogs. Go before work to beat the rush.

Lunchtime | Running
The Bozeman running scene doesn’t stop during winter, and neither should you. The Main Street to the Mountains trail system is accessible throughout town; if you have an hour for lunch, hop on the nearest trail and jog. For a more natural setting, try the M, Bridger Foothills, Sypes Canyon, and Bozeman Creek trails, all of which are popular running spots year-round. To help hold you accountable, the Big Sky Wind Drinkers organize winter fun runs such as the Jingle Bell Jog, Fat Ass 50k, Froze Nose, Handicap Run, and Back from Bridger. Whatever you do, don’t find yourself gasping for breath below the M come springtime.

Afternoon | Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is relatively cheap and straightforward. A decent pair of snowshoes—brand new—is easy to find for less than $200, but it might save time and money to ask your friends and neighbors to check their garages. After that, pick a trail and go. Snowshoeing lends itself to the afternoon hours, because while Bozemanites flood the trails at this time after work, a snowshoer has the freedom to veer off-trail. No other winter activity so effectively honors the practice of meandering. You’ll just need to mind the setting sun to retrace your tracks; the Drinking Horse Mountain and Triple Tree trails both make for a quick jaunt. If you truly don’t have time to recreate before sunset, snowshoe in the early morning instead.

Evening | Ice Skating
Even if you leave for work before sunrise and come home after sunset, you can still go ice skating. The city builds and maintains three outdoor ice rinks at Bogert, Southside, and Beall parks. Once these rinks have opened for the season—normally in late December—they’re open until 10pm every day and boast a warming hut and bathroom. You’ll have to bring your own skates, but entry is free. The Haynes Pavilion rents skates for $5, plus a $5 entry fee.