Our Endless Variety

I have a good friend who chides me mercilessly when I don’t ski enough. This year was particularly bad. “You’re the freakin’ editor of an outdoor magazine,” he cried, incredulous, “and you only skied 12 times this year? What the heck’s wrong with you?”

What indeed. Twelve lousy days—that’s a far cry from the 40+ I once enjoyed. But the more I think about it, the less it bothers me. You see, one of the things that makes southwest Montana such a great place is the enormous range of recreational options available to us. This ain’t no one-sport town. And if you’re like me, all of these activities hold some level of appeal. Having no trust fund means there’s only so much time for each sport. This past winter I played hockey, hit the Nordic trails, snowshoed, snowmobiled, and went winter camping. My skiing was bound to suffer.

Spring is arguably the most limited recreational season, and there’s still way more to do than there is time to do it. From fishing to rock climbing to whitewater paddling, Montana’s abundant outdoor world will keep you plenty busy these next few months. Other popular spring outings include mushroom hunting (see avid fungus-picker Peter Ponca’s article on page 80), spring skiing, and pseudo-winter camping—although Drew Pogge’s tale of misadventure deep in the still-snowy wilderness (page 78) may dissuade you from those particular activities.

Sometimes these post-winter activities require a bit of driving: Kira Stoops outlines a cool daytrip on page 74, while James Anderson makes a strong case (page 20) for the two- to three-hour drive to fish the Missouri and Bighorn rivers. Spring is also the best time to avoid the camera-toting hordes in Yellowstone Park (see page 54), and recreation-rich Paradise Valley is just a short hop over Bozeman Pass—see page 76 for a quick rundown of popular spring activities in Livingston’s big back yard.

Spring is also mud season, which lends itself to more time spent indoors, exploring some of our area’s equally impressive social and cultural opportunities. Marjorie Smith recounts the history of our esteemed Intermountain Opera on page 85, and look for a synopsis of Bozeman’s surprisingly vibrant dance scene on page 82. You can also use some of this moisture-induced down time to work on the house and yard—local landscaping guru Bill Halpin provides some tips on how to convert your lawn from a water-hog to a symbiotic swath of low-impact landscape (page 70).

Mud season also brings the usual cadre of cars stuck fender-deep in muck—many of which will be extricated by that powerhouse of four-wheel traction, the stalwart Subaru. That’s right, this issue kicks off round two of our ongoing Suby Tales contest. Check out the winning tales on page 36, and look for another crop of Subaru stories in the upcoming summer issue.

Finally, spring is the season of romance. Flowers are blooming, sun dresses are emerging, and our minds—young and old—naturally turn to thoughts of love. (Those of you holding your stomachs and running for the trash can right now, be honest with yourselves and at least admit to being hornier after a long winter.) With this in mind, we bring you the Outside Bozeman wedding guide. Mind you, this is no fruity foray into hackneyed, mindless melodrama; rather, it’s a fun and intoxicating look at Montana-style marriage and our decidedly outdoor-oriented approach to love and romance under the Big Sky.

So no matter what your recreational inclinations may be—indoor or outdoor, low-impact or extreme, domestic or far-flung—both Mother Nature and Outside Bozeman have you covered this season. Enjoy.