Core Shots

Tips for winter stoke.

Are you new to town? Welcome to Bozeman! We have a long and storied ski culture, and while you may hail from Colorado or Utah or upstate New York, we do things a little differently here. Here are some tips for fitting in.

1. We love our ski patrol and strive to support them. They want the same things we do, like safe access to awesome terrain. Ducking under ropes or into closed areas puts all of us at risk, and is a buzzkill for everyone. Give your hard-working patrollers a high-five and a thank-you when you see them.

2. Raise your own bar. Bozeman is teeming with phenomenal athletes and super smart people. This can understandably lead to feelings of insecurity or competitiveness. But here’s another angle: set yourself up to take advantage of the expertise all around you. Take avy classes, hire a guide for a day or two, learn wilderness first aid, or join a race series or training program with the intent to learn and grow, rather than show up and impress everyone.

3. Want freshies? There are lots of places to find them. My husband likes to say, “You aren’t stuck in traffic. You are traffic.” Yes, we all want an empty parking lot and untracked pow all day long. And you can have these things if you’re willing to venture off the beaten path. We’re surrounded by thousands of acres of playground, but if you ride the most popular lifts at the most popular times, all while complaining that it’s too crowded, then you’re simply swimming upstream.

4. Be friendly. Most likely, one of the things that led you here in the first place is our collective zeal for the outdoor life. Now that you’re here, you have a major responsibility: to help us carry on this community-wide stoke. Say hi to people, wave people through on busy trails, be encouraging to your fellow snowsports enthusiasts. Doing these things will improve your day and brighten the experience for those around you.

5. We have excellent shopsuse them! Don’t you love Bozeman’s bustling downtown? These businesses thrive when we buy stuff there, rather than getting advice in the shop and then slinking off to buy the goods online. Shops full of lusty high-end gear will only exist as long as we bring our business there. Shop local and get to know your friendly shop employees.

6. Get snow tires. Slow down and spread out on slippery roads. Better yet, take the bus. You’ll save money and there will be less traffic. That’s called a win-win.

7. We are all rowing the same boat. There are two ways to perceive Bridger Bowl on a busy power day. One where everyone is in your way, or one where an entire community is participating, together, in our favorite sport. Take a moment from your mad dash to High Traverse to appreciate the folks who plowed the parking lot, are cheerfully bumping your chair, and who are teaching the next generation of shredders. We are all in this together, and that’s exactly why we love it here.

Karin Kirk is a snowsports instructor at Bridger Bowl.