The Bozeman Code

Rules to live by. 

Hey you! Howdy. Welcome to town. Obviously if you’re here, you know that Bozeman’s a pretty special place. We want to keep it that way, so there are a few things you should know about living here so it—and we—will survive.

1. Slow it down. Everything. There’s no need for road rage or impatience at the coffee shop. We’re all headed in the same direction and you’ll get there when you get there. A relaxed pace is a benefit of living here—don’t be an uptight ass.

2: Lend a hand. Forget the East Coast “What’s in it for me?” attitude. Here, we look out for one another. Hold that door, let that car into traffic, and if someone looks like they need help, ask. The next time you’re stuck in a ditch, we’ll surely return the favor.

3: Make eye contact. Nothing makes city-folk more uncomfortable than direct eye contact, but here, it’s worth something. If you can’t look us in the eye, you’ve got something to hide.

4: Buy local. For the love of all that is good and sweet and dear, don’t let Bozeman become like Colorado’s Front Range chain-store purgatory. Just because we have an Olive Garden doesn’t mean you should eat there.

5: Don’t take this place or its people for granted, ever. You’ll regret it when you’re (or it’s) gone.

6: Don’t kill yourself or anybody else on Saddle Peak this winter. You’re not gonna ski or ride out of that thing if it rips; you’re going to die. Straight up.

7: Learn about the history of this valley and its residents. More genuine badasses have graced these canyons than almost anywhere else, from Jim Bridger and John Colter to Jack Tackle and Alex Lowe. Emulate them.

8: Try something new every season. Hunt, fish, climb, bike, ski, ride—there’s always a new challenge.

9: Work harder than you play. But play pretty damn hard.

10: Enjoy every day in what many of us consider to be the greatest town, in the greatest state, in the greatest country in the world.

Wise Words 

In most areas of life, there are unspoken rules so widely accepted that they are upheld through generations—and perhaps none are more sacred around Bozeman than those of outdoor sport. But while this unspoken etiquette seems obvious for anyone raised around the culture, as a newcomer you may be oblivious. So learn ‘em here and now, and avoid a whole lot of trouble. —Cordelia Pryor

Don’t Ask: What fly are you using?
Do Ask: Wow, you’re killin’ it, got any tips?

Don’t Ask: Where’d you find those mushrooms?
Do Ask: Cool, where can I get some of those?

Don’t Ask: Where’d you get that elk?
Do Ask: Nice animal, was that around here?

Don’t Ask: Where exactly is that ski line?
Do Ask: Can I come along sometime?

Don’t Ask: Where were you fishing, exactly?
Do Ask: Which river were you on?

Don’t Ask: Did you win?
Do Ask: How’d the race go?

Don’t Ask: How much did your bike cost?
Do Ask: Enjoying your new bike?

Don’t Ask: How many ski days do you have this season?
Do Ask: Been enjoying the mountain? 

Don’t Ask: Did you catch any fish?
Do Ask: How was the day?

Don’t Ask: Did you kill anything?
Do Ask: Have a good hunt?