Bring on the Snow

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. –William Blake

In most parts of the country, people dread the winter season. Griping about the “God-awful weather,” their faces contort into stubborn scowls as they rush from one climate-controlled environment to the next. Freezing winds, icy streets, dead car batteries, snow all over the carpet… to them, it’s all just a big old suck-fest. From about Thanksgiving on, these unhappy endotherms bundle up, hunker down, and grumble their way through winter.

Not here. From the season’s first snowfall to the last big storm in April, we’re giddy as school kids heading out to recess. Bring on the snow and cold! Down coats and wool socks get yanked out of the closet as wide smiles light up our faces. The bracing cold enlivens both body and mind, and a happy, playful spirit permeates the air.

And why not? Winter in Bozeman is downright spectacular. From fun outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-skating to the unbridled beauty of snow-covered fields sparkling under a wide blue sky, there are just as many reasons to get outside as ever.

One of those reasons is Yellowstone Park. Ring a bell? It’s that two-million-acre national treasure that’s right down the road. We know, you didn’t go this summer because sharing the roads with hordes of tourists taking pictures of sagebrush from inside their 50-foot RVs wasn’t your idea of a good time. Well, things have changed: winter’s here, they’re gone, and Yellowstone’s all yours. Page 74 starts a rundown of top activities to enjoy in the Park this winter.

What about the main reason half of us live here in the first place? Yep, it’s ski season, and we’ve compiled a host of informative and entertaining articles about this Montana mainstay. Proper etiquette while hiking the Ridge, instructions on how to successfully huck a cliff, a pensive paternal tribute to skiing, a profile of three local female ski patrollers—with these stories and more, we’ve got your ski season covered.

If you’re headed into the backcountry this season—or the sidecountry at any of our local resorts—be sure to check out Jay Pape’s article about last year’s big slide on Saddle Peak (p. 24). With 21 people caught in avalanches in our area last year, it’s high time we all took this huge risk factor a little more seriously. Read up, gear up, and train up—and remember, the rule is the same one your parents taught you at age nine: better safe than sorry.

There are plenty of other ways to spend your days this winter: ice fishing, taking outdoor photos, playing outside with the dog, building stuff with old skis, and camping out in a Forest Service cabin. So don’t be like those sullen spoilsports elsewhere. Embrace the winter season with the same gusto as you would any other. Get outside, be safe, and have fun. We’ll see you out there.