Engage the Elements

Never are we more at the mercy of our warm-blooded physiology than in winter. You know the feeling: it’s Sunday morning in mid-January, cold enough to freeze nose hairs, and you’re simply NOT getting out of bed. You sledgehammer the alarm clock with a wild swing of your fist, stretch like a grizzly, and then shrink back into the covers for a few more hours of deep, mammalian slumber.

Yet this is precisely when you most need to get up and get out. When you do, when you fight off the need to hibernate and you lumber out into the frosty landscape, you find that winter has a way of stirring the senses. The biting wind, the stinging snow crystals, the deep cold that penetrates to the marrow: all these wintry effects arouse a restless energy and an acute awareness of the forces of nature upon you. You are alive! Before you know it you’re leaping out of bed in the morning, eager to strap on skis and tear up the powder for the tenth day in a row, snowshoe down the riverbank before breakfast, or throw on a pack and bag a frozen summit. You don’t care about frozen fingers or numb earlobes – you just want to get outside and encounter Mother Nature in her rawest, most unforgiving form, before instincts take over and send you diving back under the blankets.

This issue of Outside Bozeman is dedicated to just that: beating back the natural urge to insulate, learning to engage the elements rather than avoid them. We hope you’ll discover, if you don’t know already, that there’s no shortage of things to do in a Montana winter – the only limitations are our imaginations and our tolerance for the added discomfort that comes with snow and cold. So whether it be screaming down The Apron, ice climbing in Hyalite, watching wildlife in Yellowstone Park, fishing through a hole in the ice, soaking in an outdoor spring, or just strolling through the winter woods – getting out is what winter’s all about.