Winter 2013-14

Here in southwest Montana, we appreciate all seasons and all weather. Even when the frigid temperature takes our breath away and turns our extremities into blocks of ice, we'll still be out there plowing through powder at Bridger, slamming our ice axes on an ice climb in Hyalite, and bundling up the family for an afternoon of sledding. In our winter issue, we celebrate not only the winter culture around our region, but our 50th issue as we dig into the archives and pull out featured articles from 14 years worth of education, humor, and a vibe only our part of Montana can offer. 

 

 

Features

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Beiderman, Carl
By the time spring skiing wraps up, my mind’s wires fray and spark like a busted robot; I can no longer tolerate the haunting nightmares of being eviscerated by a tree’s gnarled branches or suffocating in a white tomb. I used to get excited to go skiing—now, I wake up and feel the sting of the... Details
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Irons, Joe
The powder in the hood of my jacket is falling down my neck—I need to clear it out, but I just can’t bring myself to stop long enough to do so. The sun is climbing on the horizon and each pass through the snowfield feels better then the last.I’ve been getting fresh tracks since sunrise: excessive... Details
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Pogge, Drew
At the crest of Woody Ridge, the wind is howling. It’s the kind of wind that shears through Gore-Tex like muslin and isolates people behind their hoods and goggles. Even if we wanted to talk, our words would be spirited away before leaving our lips. But when we drop onto the west side of the ridge... Details
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Josephson, Joe
A look at an ice-climbing Mecca.Every climbing area has a cardinal moment when someone first turns a corner and recognizes the potential. Of course, pioneers may push deeper into the periphery or bring an emerging vision or a new ability to previously known terrain. And in the process, they might “... Details

Departments

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Reuss, Dave
“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”—Nassim Nicholas TalebYour brain is lazy. Well, biochemically, it’s designed to work efficiently—wired to expend the least amount of energy necessary to complete a task. Think about your first time behind the wheel... Details
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Watts, Jennifer
I stared into my dog’s big, brown eyes. “I’m so sorry,” I said, fighting back tears. And then I threw her off a cliff.Three days earlier, a few friends and I had ventured out on a mid-winter ski trip up Mount Blackmore. When it was time to head back, we decided to traverse along the ridgeline and... Details
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England, Mike
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent... Details
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Gustafson, Sid
In your confounded struggleFor originality, nights lengthen.Snows flicker… drift… and fall…Heat departs the landscape, after all.Flurries list in; holding, cold.Spines of stone lace the snow.Lonely Peak gone to the skies,Saddled white, sloping bold.Dendrites pique my memory—Graupel stings your... Details
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Harrison, Melynda
Go to your bosom:Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.—William ShakespeareIt’s three months since I last visited the Lionhead area, and now, in the mid-December sunlight, snow sparkles around my skis like broken glass on the trail where there was only dusty dirt months before. The... Details
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Slepian, Maggie
It was a clear December afternoon when Linda took Daisy for a walk on a familiar trail. Daisy was sniffing around—off trail but within sight—when she leapt into the air, yelping, thrashing, and biting her front leg. It took Linda a moment to recognize the metal clamped around Daisy’s lower leg, and... Details
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Reuss, Dave
Twelve of us stood huddled by cameras on tripods under the cold sky, lenses aimed into the night. His breath coming out in clouds, our instructor Tom waded through the snow, popping an external flash onto the walls of the log cabin in front of us. As soon as our shutters snapped shut, everyone... Details
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Mazour, Meghan
The temperatures have dropped and the nights have taken over the days. Suddenly we’re inspired to find someone with whom to snuggle and drink a hot cocoa, and maybe even, but only in the most romantic of situations, share a double-chair as we head up the mountain. Ahh, romance in Bozeman.But where... Details
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When exercising indoors during the winter, Bozemanites fall into two camps: those cross-training to shred the slopes with more finesse, and those keeping their fitness high to attack their favorite summer activity once the snow melts. Either way, crowdsourcing your motivation is the best way to go... Details
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Krueger, Ryan
It’s the biggest debate around: Big Sky or Bridger Bowl? Does Lone Peak live up to its reputation, and does the mythical Ridge really hold buried treasures and powder turns long after the storm has passed? Hold onto your snorkels, zip up your one-piece, and pack an extra brew, because we’re digging... Details
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Smith, Marjorie
Remembering the early days at Bridger Bowl.Once upon a time, long, long ago—with the greatest chagrin I realize I’m talking a half-century here—a magic chariot would arrive at our house on winter Sunday mornings and whisk my brother and sister and me away to an enchanted wonderland where we... Details
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Harrison, Melynda
After more than an hour of skiing in the shaded, narrow Spring Creek Canyon, I slid into a patch of sunlight. The snow sparkled with promise of longer days, light reflecting off every crystal. My toes were still frozen and the sun on my boots didn’t help warm them. My hair iced up, blond braids... Details
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Dave Reuss
What happens when you mix a mountain bike, a monster truck, Barry White music, and a box of blush wine? You can find the answer rolling through downtown, at your favorite trailhead, or passing you at a local bike race. Over the last few years, fatbiking has rolled from the arctic fringe right to... Details
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Barnes, Alyssa
Hemingway once said, “Anyone can be a fisherman in May.” Fortunately for those of us in the Madison Valley, it’s pretty easy to be a fisherman the other 11 months of the year as well. Yes, even in January. All you need are a few simple tools, some warm clothes, and an open mind.Getting started is... Details
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Jones, Andrea
Stealthy, independent, and elusive predators, mountain lions (or cougars) are unique creatures. While highly adaptable to different environments, mountain lions can live just about everywhere in Montana. In 2013, mountain-lion sightings were reported several times on the outskirts of Bozeman and... Details
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Knight, Phil
As you cruise through Paradise Valley in winter, the ragged summits of the Absaroka Range hang high in the frosty air. Venture off the highway up the backroads and witness winter ice transforming burbling creeks into hushed, magical channels of ever-changing texture and form. On steeper terrain,... Details
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Overton, Mitch
In Bozeman, many of us not only look forward to the arrival of Old Man Winter, we spend months preparing by saving money for passes and gear, mentally planning Ridge runs, scheduling work vacations, taping hockey sticks—and just plain getting giddy. Here are a few new programs to look forward to... Details
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Slepian, Maggie
Tips for winter running.While enjoying the brisk air and snow-covered trails, it’s important to remember that colder temperatures, less daylight, and slick conditions make winter running is a whole different ballgame than your cheerful summer miles. Here are a few things to take into consideration... Details
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Stein, Becky
 Fatigued muscles from too many turns at Bridger Bowl? Have the doldrums from short cold days? How about relaxing, rejuvenating, and warming in up in one of Montana’s hot springs?Stripping to your shorts or suit can be daunting during Montana winters. However, if you can handle the initial chill, a... Details
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Manning, Jim
If provisions ran short on the journey west and a feller had to live off the land, chances are a jackrabbit or two eventually ended up in his pot. Widespread and fecund, they were plentiful and not bad eating; it shouldn’t be surprising that a representative of this ubiquitous family ended up in... Details
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Harrison, Melynda
We are fortunate to live in an area ripe with opportunities for outdoor winter adventures, and no sport gets you further outdoors in the snow than cross-country skiing. Along with the obvious benefits that come with getting children involved in sports, cross-country skiing can be a family bonding... Details
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Finding the Coldsmoke:On January 18, the Emerson Center buzzes with an energy that only winter mountain culture can create. Snowsports enthusiasts from around the Northwest gather for the Coldsmoke Awards, a one-night-only show where filmmakers, athletes, and presenters come together on stage to... Details
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Josephson, Joe
With plastic ice, legendary climbers, and unmatched camaraderie, our biggest and best Fest yet has come to a close. Now in its 17th year, the Bozeman Ice Fest brought ice aficionados together from around the globe. People couldn’t wait to sign up for our seven different clinics, crashing our... Details
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Gustafson, Sid
We watched the wolves patrol the river outside Bozeman that night a few days after the ice jam gave way. Their moonlit silhouettes shuffled rhythmically against the new-fallen snow. “It’s like a dream,” she said. “Such articulate connection, so rhythmic and real. I count a dozen. A pack like that... Details
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Bean, Anya
With bone-jarring hits, lightning-fast skating, and even faster flying pucks, hockey is a game played with the aggression of scrapping pit bulls. Even with helmets and pads, players routinely limp back to their cars after the game, eager to nurse their wounds with ibuprofen and a stiff drink. You’d... Details
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Sheets, Jenny
Once those little white flakes start falling from the sky, dreams of powder turns and face-shots begin as you wait for the little blue light atop the Hotel Baxter to start flashing, announcing fresh snow at Bridger Bowl. Your love of snow extends even beyond the boundaries of the ski resort as you... Details
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When the World Fell Awayby Liz Williams How did you feel when the world fell away?As the ground left your feet, did you know to disobey?Did you swim? Did you fight?Did you crawl toward the light?As the mountain swelled, and then waved,Did you feel violently betrayed?Did the sky peek through breaks... Details
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England, Mike
If you like the skiing around Cooke City in the wintertime, you’ll like it even more come spring, when backcountry enthusiasts from around the state converge on Cooke for the Sweet Corn Festival, a fun-filled weekend of skiing, snowmobiling, and general mountain-town revelry. Skin, sled, or get... Details
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Jenny Sheets
Around the holidays at any ski resort, you can bet your can of Montucky that a middle-aged Midwestern man wearing jeans and a Packers sweatshirt is going to come barreling out of the trees with three kids in tow yelling, “Oh sure, you betcha’—fresh tracks!” With his hair flapping around reflective... Details
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David Galliard
Bozeman's backyard beast, the lynx.Very few of us have ever seen a lynx in the wild. To do so you must be doubly lucky, because the lynx is both shy and rare. Like the mountain lion and bobcat, the lynx is silent and reclusive, but tends to live in higher-elevation forests farther from people.In... Details
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Pogge, Drew
Got snot? If you said no, you’re a liar. Snot—the stuff of mucus and boogers, not the awful California punk band—is a fact of life in the winter. Here in Montana, where the air is colder than a day-old dumpling and drier than a popcorn fart, snot happens. It happens a lot And just like bad luck, it... Details
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Knight, Phil
It’s a tale as old as time: the lifelong game of chaos and uncertainty called seasonal work. Since I started mowing lawns as a kid, I’ve worked the seasonal circuit, bouncing from landscaping jobs to waiting tables to trail maintenance to wetland restoration labor to conservation jobs. Lately, I’ve... Details
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Krueger, Ryan
Backcountry skiing is the best way to sample endless untracked powder—but when things get hairy, you can’t look to a ski patroller for help. People get hurt, break equipment, or get hypothermia, and without the right gear, the situation can escalate quickly. Before every trip to the backcountry,... Details
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Slepian, Maggie
Imagine a cross-country skier gliding through the backcountry with only the sound of his skis on the groomed trail—a peaceful afternoon in the winter woods. But building like thunder, the whine of engines gets louder until a swarm of snowmobiles slashes through the ski tracks and speeds past him... Details
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Lunden, Jason
Aside from protective gear like helmets and wrist guards, proper strength and conditioning is your number-one tool for staying healthy and safe on the slopes this winter. Here are some exercises to get you ready to shred and keep you on the mountain all season long. As an added bonus, all these... Details
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McPherson, John D.
Tying the ghost prince nymph.I started tying this pattern a few years ago for fishing the Gallatin in winter. When a nymph needs to grow, it has to shed its exoskeleton, and the nymph takes on an opaque, whitish color. As it hardens, it regains its normal color. Since they’re highly visible to the... Details
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Walter, Lou
Feeling a little frumpy since the warm days of summer? Despite your best efforts, has the weight accumulated like snow on tree branches? Depending on how frumpy we are talking, it may be a normal physiologic response to winter. No matter how advanced our technology becomes, like all mammals, our... Details
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Krueger, Ryan
For all you winter photographers, the mountain is your canvas—and when you finally come to a stop and decide to take the shot and capture the experience, here are some things to consider.Pre-visualizeRarely will you create the perfect image by chance. When you make the choice to create a photograph... Details
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Krueger, Ryan
How to be a dirtbag.The ski bum culture is on the fringe of acceptable lifestyles: accepted by those in the know and rejected by just about everyone else. Entire lifetimes have been spent figuring out the perfect arrangement of real-life obligations and a ceaseless gravity-fed addiction to wild and... Details

Gear Reviews

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England, Mike
From hunting marshy meadows to hiking in the snow, Montana’s outdoor activities demand a good high-top boot. There’s no shortage of options, but I like the Gen-Flex VGS 9” by Wood ‘N’ Stream. 200 grams of Thinsulate keep my toes toasty, a Gel Heel insert cushions my foot, and a flexible Gen-Flex... Details
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McCarthy, Danielle
From the late fall to early spring, running gets harder—your choices are running in the dark, finding a job that allows you to run during the day, or hitting the dreadmill. If the latter two options are out, pick up a GoMotion Reactor Lightvest. The powerful 100-lumen LED forward-facing light on... Details
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Mangels, Angie
If you want a good day on the mountain, clarity of vision is important and choice of eyewear essential—I’m glad I found the Doom goggles from Spy. I was worried about the frameless design covering half my face, but these helmet-compatible goggles let me see more of the slopes with their super-wide... Details
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Mangels, Angie
You’ll never have to worry about sudden snow flurries while wearing the Salida Hoody from OR. Thanks to the Alpin-wool Plus fabric, you’ll be well protected from finicky Montana weather. This heavyweight hoody is both wicking and quick-drying, and the wool/nylon ribs add a stylish new twist to an... Details
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Mangels, Angie
Whether you ice climb or ski, the Alpine Alibi II will cover your digits in comfort and style. Made of a softshell fabric that provides a great fit, and lined with a waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex insert, these gloves give you the freedom to grab anything while keeping you covered in all types of... Details
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Krueger, Ryan
Welcome to the future. Like it or not, technology is making its way into every facet of our lives—and that now includes your goggles. The HD Camera Goggle from Zeal Optics offers the ability to capture still images and video using an in-goggle viewfinder display and camera. With instant playback,... Details
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McCarthy, Chris
Wind, rain, snow, sunshine—weather is a huge determining factor when deciding how to dress for outdoor activities in the winter. If the activity is aerobic in nature, you want an outer layer that’s weather resistant and breathable. Outdoor Research’s Centrifuge Jacket is a great all-weather outer... Details
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Howlett, David
In my overflowing coat closet, one jacket stands out when I head for the ski hill—and no, it’s not because of the vivid color. (Marketing folks call it “clementine,” but “school-bus orange” seems more fitting to me.) Along with the striking color and sleek design, the Mission Shell Jacket from... Details
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England, Mike
Mother Nature knows what she’s doing, and wool is a great example—the original insulator is still the best. The Sierra Hood from IceBreaker kept me warm all hunting season: as an outer layer for cool mornings and evenings in early fall, and as a mid-layer when daily temps plummeted in November and... Details
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Lizer, Scott
The revolutionary idea behind NOW’s system for their Drive snowboard bindings was to mimic the action of skateboard trucks in edge-to-edge control by using a kingpin, hanger, and bushing system that transfers energy directly to the edge of your board. The first few turns were a little squirrely,... Details
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England, Mike
With all the shoes spikes on the market, there’s no need to slip around on the ice and provide all the other ice fisherman with hole-side entertainment. A great choice for ice fishing is the Stabilicers Maxx, a heavy-duty, slip-on oversole with full-length stability and excellent traction on slick... Details
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McCarthy, Chris
Determined to spend as few tortuous days running on a treadmill as possible this winter, I needed a good cold-weather running shoe. I also wanted a shoe that was water resistant yet breathable, and provided stable footing for changing conditions. After some research, I grabbed a pair of Scarpa... Details

Book Reviews

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Bean, Anya
One Frozen Lake (Minnesota Historical Publishing House, $15) is a children’s book that shows the relationship between grandfather and grandson through their experiences ice fishing. The story illustrates the traditions that accompany ice fishing, and does so in a beautiful, colorful way. One Frozen... Details
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Bean, Anya
Yellowstone Has Teeth (Riverbend Publishing, $15) is a memoir about the lives of the men and women who work in Yellowstone National Park. While the natural beauty of Yellowstone is unparalleled, author Marjane Ambler and her neighbors realized the perils of living in a wild national park that “has... Details
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Reuss, Dave
If there’s one thing that will forever remain recession-proof, it’s beer. Montana Beer: A Guide to Breweries in Big Sky Country (American Palate, $20) offers an intoxicating look at the microbrew industry that has bubbled up around the Big Sky state in the last 30 years. Alongside an in-depth... Details

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