Winter 2020-21

Features

  • Outward Bound

    The backcountry beckons. We set out in search of untracked turns under bluebird skies, surrounded by sparkling snow on frosty firs, sharing smiles with our friends. No other experience matches the mysterious, exciting, and…
  • Supply & Demand

    As backcountry use booms in the Bozeman area, the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center has a lot to keep up with. Director Doug Chabot weighs in on how they’ve kept stride.With seven different mountain ranges less than…
  • Beware the Dragon

    Ten tips for avalanche awareness. More people than ever are heading into the backcountry this season to escape resort crowds and find fresh snow. With more people comes more risk. Avalanches are the most-talked-about…
  • Responsible Rankings

    Adding up actions in the backcountry. It’s easy to talk about making good decisions, but in the moment, walking the walk can prove easier said than done. Deep snow is known to keep skiers out longer than they were planning…
  • Revving It Up

    Snowmobiles surge in the Bozeman backcountry. The last few decades in Bozeman have seen some big changes, not least of which is an increased population. There are more people living in the valley and every winter, many of…

Departments

  • Time to Cowboy-Up

    Skin-thickening lotion hits the Montana market. Ever wish you were a little tougher? Specifically, do you ever wish that you didn’t have to suffer through an endless litany of blisters, burns, slivers, cuts, and abrasions—…
  • Magic Carpet Ride

    An epiphany in the winter woods. It’s Christmas season and the whole family is getting together. Like most years, the big event is Nordic skiing—when planning excursions for three generations, there’s not much else to…
  • Cold, Calm & Collected

    Tips on winter survival. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.—Benjamin Franklin These days, the word “adventure” gets tossed around so willy-nilly that it’s become marketing jargon for kids’ summer camps. But…
  • Fresh Tracks

    Winter brings healing. The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. —Aristotle When snow falls thick and heavy in the early evening dark, the world slows to three-…
  • Snares & Traps 101

    How to keep your dog from becoming a fur coat.People have been trapping in Montana for centuries. Early Native Americans trapped animals for their fur and to trade with explorers. Trapping continues today as a biologically…
  • Hidden Haunts

    Exploring Elkhorn's winter trails.Outside the old mining town of Elkhorn, winter lobs a sublime quirk, magical as rainbows after rain: following fresh snowfall, dreamy ski roads appear.Phantom miners? Railroad barons…
  • Two to Tango

    A great conjunction to winter's beginning.Winter begins officially on December 21 with the solstice, although in Montana’s climate it will have started somewhat earlier for all practical purposes. But this year’s…
  • Wading Through Winter

    Fly tying 101. Winter has come. It is the darkest, longest season of the year. It also happens to be the time of year when many anglers retreat to the hidden corners of their basements or workshops and begin the alchemy of…
  • Wider Coverage

    Snowmaking and other news from BSF.For many Bozemanites, in-town cross-country skiing is the secret to thriving in winter, or even the secret to sanity. Which is why the anticipation of a snowmaking system at Sunset Hills…
  • Snowy Roads

    Three winter getaways at Montana state parks.Whether you love it or dread it, winter has arrived. It’s a time of transition, as many people trade their road bikes and running shoes for skis and snowshoes. Perhaps now you’re…
  • Deck the Halls

    A guide to Christmas tree permits.For many families, venturing into the Custer Gallatin National Forest to cut a Christmas tree is a treasured tradition carried on for generations. For families creating new traditions, a…
  • It's in the Jeans

    The virtues in skiing in denim.These days, one would be hard-pressed to find a skier who isn’t wrapped in Gore-Tex like a shiny present on Christmas morning. Vivid hues dot the otherwise pristine landscape like multicolored…
  • New Kids on the Block

    A neighborhood for a forgotten way of life.We throw around the word “community” nonchalantly these days. The running community, the skiing community, the coalition of Co-op shoppers community—the list goes on. It seems like…
  • Dog Breath

    Dental care for canines.You awaken warm, snuggled up and comfy, only to find your face smeared in a puddle of smelly dog drool on the pillow.You return to the car after a brisk hike with your pup, only to have your nose…
  • The Way Snow Hits Water

    A damsel with a dulcimer in a vision I once saw.—Samuel Taylor Coleridge Lately we’ve been fishing dry flies in the snowstorms—those of us who still harbor a hope that trout are as smart as they are beautiful. I once saw a…
  • If the Shoe Fits

    Sky-shoeing takes off. People have used snowshoes to travel in deep snow for nearly 6,000 years. In that time, snowshoe design has been gradually refined, but their general purpose has remained fairly constant: walk more…
  • Code of the West

    Paying heed to the way of the cowboy.Many folks are moving to Montana through a great migration from cities and areas that are experiencing wildfires, riots, and hurricanes. If you are among the newbies, welcome. Please…
  • Snow Swank

    A guide to outdoor hipsters, part two.Another season, another hipster. In the fall, haute hunters ran wild, but this time of year we’re more likely to encounter a different Bozeman breed: the swanky skier. We’ve all had our…
  • If It's Broke, Fix It

    A guide to DIY ski repair. You’re carving a perfect turn through a nice swath of powder when, out of nowhere, a sharp rock bites the base of your ski. You turn it over to find plastic, metal, and fiberglass protruding at…
  • Hide, Ride, or Abide to Survive

    Breaking down animal behavior in winter.Montana winters are long, cold, snowy, long, windy, harsh, and long. The transition from fall to winter can be subtle or sudden, but is officially recognized once snow machines…
  • I Ski Therefore I Am

    Philosophical observations on Bridger's liveliest lines.The unexamined life is not worth living.—SocratesHiking the bootpack to the top of the Bridger Ridge provides just enough time to lose myself in thought. I climb step-…
  • Pond Hoppin'

    Outdoor skating in southwest Montana.Sharp blades scrape against hard ice as you push with one leg and glide with the other. Crisp air prickles your face. Sliding along a smooth, crystalline surface, it feels like you could…
  • Oddballs to the Wall

    Various ways to get a cold-air fix.Sometimes, Bozeman’s reputation as a ski town carries so much weight that we forget about all the other options in the winter. Indeed, snowfall limits our activity spread somewhat, but let…

Gear Reviews

  • Review: Outdoor Research Refuge Air

    Tired of changing layers every time you take a water break? The Refuge Air strikes a phenomenal balance between warmth and breathability, so you can enjoy the views while your partners wrestle with their backpacks in the…
  • Review: Gordini Relode X Goggles

    The Relode X goggles by Gordini are fitted with plush, comfortable foam, an anti-slip strap, and wide lenses for unrestricted peripheral vision. Each pair comes with two separate lenses for high- and low-light conditions,…
  • Review: Gordini DT Gauntlet Gloves

    Gloves are like socks: you can never have too many. With excellent heat retention, good dexterity, and waterproofing that rivals top brands in the industry, the Gordini DT Gauntlet is a great glove to have in my quiver. For…
  • Review: Flylow Baxter

    In an age of paper-thin garments that leave you SOL after getting snagged on a branch, Flylow took a different approach with the Baxter—a toasty down jacket designed with durable fabrics. The adjustable hood fits…
  • Review: FastStik Ski Wax

    Waxing for optimal glide can be difficult all year long—heck, even one day to the next. Which is where FastStik comes in. No more worrying about which color to use—or, for Nordic skiers, packing glide wax along for frequent…
  • Review: Arms of the Andes Socks

    I own a lot of different footwear—sometimes my friends call me Imelda of the Wild. When it comes to socks, the Arms of the Andes from Alpaca are off the chart. At first, they looked small, but when I tried them on, they…
  • Review: Battle Bars

    I thought protein bars had gone about as far as they could go—until a K-Bar from Battle Bars wound up in my pack. It’s got the usual virtues—natural ingredients, loads of protein and calories, non-GMO, et al—but the…
  • Review: Petzl Nomics

    The Petzl Nomics have set the standard for technical ice tools over the past decade. Simply put, this tool climbs steep ice more easily than any other. A supportive lower grip lets you swing with precision and saves you…
  • Review: Burch Barrel

    To say I’m obsessed with the Burch Barrel would be an understatement. This suspended barbecue has me constantly pondering new recipes, not to mention marveling at the features and functionality of this device. The barrel…
  • Review: Evo Snowshoe Kit

    It may be getting brown in town, but the high country's still covered in white—so when you set out for an early-spring scramble up a steep mountainside, it pays to pack along some snowshoes. For some really fancy footwork,…

Book Reviews

  • Book: The Man Behind the Maps

    Unfurl a trail map of your favorite ski area and let your mind wander through the possibilities of an epic ski day. Whether you’re looking for secret powder stashes in sparse glades, heart-pumping steep couloirs and gullies…
  • Book: Stalking the Wild Jerky

    After most hunting seasons, I make a batch or two of jerky, typically with elk (if I’m lucky enough to get one) and almost always flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve ground it, cut strips, dehydrated, and cooked it in the…
  • Book: Horseracing in America

    Sid Gustafson offers us a powerful glimpse into a unique and unfamiliar world in his new novel, Horseracing in America (Sleipnir Publishing, $17). Seen through the eyes of a female Native American woman, the reader is taken…

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