Winter 2020-21

Features

skiing, skinning, touring, backcountry
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Jack Taylor
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 an hour’s drive from town, the opportunities for backcountry skiing around... Details
winter climbing, avalanche, backcountry
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Sam Magro
Avalanche considerations for early-season boot-packers.It’s early winter and avalanche season has been underway since late October. Among others, backcountry skiers and snowmobilers are poking around the slopes. Fortunately, both groups have sport-specific education opportunities in avalanche... Details
skiing, injuries, recovery, backcountry
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AJ Sobrilsky & Jason Lunden
Tips for an injury-free ski season.As we transition from stalking game to pursuing powder turns, it’s important to keep safety in mind so you can keep getting those turns all season long. Due to improved equipment and increased public awareness from social-media outlets, backcountry skiing and... Details
skiing, cooke city, backcountry
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the editors
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 daunting allure of trekking into the wilderness in the depth of winter. The... Details
avalanche, avy safety, education
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Drew Pogge
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 backcountry risk factor, but don’t forget that other objective hazards are also... Details
skiing, bell lake yurt, backcountry
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Corey Hockett
An in-depth look at avalanches in the backcountry.Nearly every outdoor activity carries its own fundamental risk. Each is a unique beast, that if tempted beyond tolerance, will sound the bell of mortality. With climbing, it is the perilous plunge of gravity; in whitewater kayaking, the... Details
emigrant peak, skiing, backcountry
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the editors
Top spots to earn your turns.When snow blankets the valley, our gazes—with eyes and mouths agape—look longingly out at our white-laden landscapes with one thing in mind: skiing. But between the dream state of imagining weightless turns through powder fields and the reality of actually getting to... Details
snowmobiling, sledding, snow conflicts
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Jimmy Lewis
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 them seek the same basic experience: blissful movements in untracked powder.... Details
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the editors
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, excitement alters our ability to think objectively, and the pressure from... Details

Departments

nordic skiing, elkhorn, trails
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Vaia Errett
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 seeking fortune? I’m all in for magic, but rainbows can be explained, and so can... Details
skiing, cooke city, fresh tracks
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Drew Pogge
Winter brings healing.The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. —AristotleWhen snow falls thick and heavy in the early evening dark, the world slows to three-quarter time and closes around us, quiet and peaceful, and calm. Everything slows.... Details
skiing, powder, chairlift
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Tessa Miller
All angels fly to the Bridgers.Begin the final waltz towards heaven’s gates.“Cast off your mortal coils” anddesert the stones weighing you downleave them at My base. Exhaust My indefinite boundariesclimb to the hole in the sky.When you arriveyou have already gone too far.No longer a visitor, but a... Details
food, backstraps, elk meat
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Topher Stritmatter
How to make hickory-seared elk tataki.It would be a damn shame to make a bad meal from an animal’s life, especially when you share it with family and friends. Elk tataki is a great meal, and a unique and meaningful way to tell the story.Ingredients6 oz. chunk elk backstrap, cleaned & trimmed1 1... Details
skiing, racing, bridger bowl
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Jessica McMurtry
A casual return to racing at Bridger.Ski racing is a tough sport—not one for the faint-hearted. It’s demanding, both mentally and physically, and exhilarating at the same time. You’re up against 4:30am wakeup calls, hard-ass coaches, and a skin-tight body suit—a battle in its own right. Injuries... Details
the way snow hits water, smoke monster
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Greg Keeler
A damsel with a dulcimer in a vision I once saw.—Samuel Taylor ColeridgeLately we’ve been fishing dry fliesin the snowstorms—those of uswho still harbor a hope that troutare as smart as they are beautiful.I once saw a televised image ofan Afghani girl playing in the dirtnext to a gun mount.Arthur... Details
cross country, nordic skiing, backcountry
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Corey Hockett
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 choose from. Our winter gathering commences outside of Gardiner—my aunt rents a... Details
kite skiing, oddballs, offbeat activities
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Cordelia Pryor
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 us not submit to the notion that we are simply a one-quiver town. Check out... Details
dog, dog teeth, pets
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Julie Oghigian & Tony Woodward
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 hairs burned to the roots by your dog’s foul breath as his heavy, happy panting... Details
pond hockey, frozen lake, winter
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Ann Vinciguerra
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 continue forever. From swirling in slow, lazy circles to informal pick-up... Details
co housing, lifestyle, commune
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Jack Taylor
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 we’ve lost touch with what really makes a community valuable: frequent... Details
skiing, bridger, the virtues, the ridge
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Nick Cusick
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-by-step, with peace of mind and admiration for the beauty around me—I think... Details
skiing, jeans, denim
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Jack Taylor
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 bulbs strung up on a fir tree. Yet every so often, you’ll catch a glimpse... Details
grizzly bear, winter, hibernation
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Vicki Sielaff
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 outnumber riding mowers, stacks of firewood sprout alongside empty geranium pots,... Details
christmas tree, harvest, tree permits
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Marna Daley
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 trip to the forest to cut their own Christmas tree may be a thrilling... Details
winter, cold weather tips, night fire
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Corey Hockett
Tips on winter survival.By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.—Benjamin FranklinThese days, the word “adventure” gets tossed around so willy-nilly that it’s become marketing jargon for kids’ summer camps. But what it used to mean—and what it still implies—is uncertainty, danger, and risk... Details
ski repair, damaged skis, diy
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Jack Taylor
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 jagged angles—bummer, man. Thankfully, skis are easy to fix at home with some... Details
snare, trap, trapping
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Tom Dickson
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 sustainable form of recreation, as well as a management tool for removing... Details
cross country skiing, Bannack state park
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Morgan Jacobsen
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 making space for a Christmas tree in your front room, or gazing out your... Details
winter camping, dream vs. reality, humor
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the editors
How great is it, actually?Rocky Mountain winters are both beautiful and brutal—and if there’s one way to prove you can embrace both, it’s by abandoning all modern amenities, venturing out into the unforgiving elements, and spending the night. If you can do that, then what can’t you do? What else do... Details
ski hipster, bro, ski bum
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the editors
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 run-ins—the earfuls on the chairlift, the fashion statements at the bar,... Details
snowmaking, groomer, cross country skiing
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Jenny White
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 has created a stir. The Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) just completed the... Details
fly tying, winter hobbies, fishing, fly fishing
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Kurt Dehmer
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 transforming fur, feathers, thread, glue, and hooks into flies that will... Details
cowboy up, skin thickening lotion
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Joe King
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—or, for that matter, criticism, differences of opinion, or slights real and... Details
cowgirls, code of the west,
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Courtney King
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 consider preserving the Montana lifestyle through the Code of the West. The... Details
star gazing, astronomy, jupiter, saturn
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Jim Manning
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 calendrical milestone is also marked by a rare conjunction of the greatest planets—or... Details
sky shoeing, big mountain snowshoeing
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Joe King
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 efficiently through powder snow, from point A to point B. Until now, snowshoes... Details
XC nordic cross country bozeman montana outside
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the editors
Breaking down southwest Montana's ski trails.On the surface, Nordic skiing may seem less involved than other backcountry endeavors, and for the most part, it is. But there’s still a lot to consider before setting off on a cross-country excursion. Is this your first time? Which style and technique... Details
georgetown lake, discovery, weekender, road trip
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Corey Hockett
The three-generation package of Georgetown Lake.West of Homestake Pass, I-90 careens off the Continental Divide, worms through Butte, and jogs north near the junction of Hwy. 1. Here, most folks continue straight at a cool 80mph on their way to Missoula or beyond. But if you take that left, follow... Details

Gear Reviews

Ice climbing, ice tools, Nomics
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Jack Taylor
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 from pumping out, while a robust upper grip helps you securely match hands on... Details
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Simon Peterson
The Mammut Barryvox S is hands-down the best avalanche beacon I’ve used. A redesign of the popular Pulse, the Barryvox S maintains supreme reliability while adding major enhancements in terms of usability and performance. It seems to process information much faster than the old Pulse, has a larger... Details
food, nutrition, k bar, battle bar
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Mike England
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 difference is in taste and texture. Not only is the K-Bar delicious, but it’s soft... Details
MSR Evo Snowshoe Kit
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Mike England
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, step up your game with MSR's Evo Snowshoe Kit. This clever kit contains... Details
socks, alpaca, arms of andes
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Leslie Gaines
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 were luxurious to the touch and seemed to magically conform to my foot. They... Details
gordini, goggles, relode x
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Jack Taylor
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, which are secured to the frame magnetically for effortless lens-swapping. The... Details
alphaburly, lacrosse, muck boot
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Jack Taylor
Why put up with cold feet? The Alphaburly Pro Insulated boots provide an impermeable barrier against the elements, whether you’re trudging through mud, creeks, or knee-deep snow. The rugged sole has great traction in any terrain, and a tough exterior with minimal seams will stand up to abrasion... Details
ski wax, faststik
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Mike England
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 re-application. FastStik goes on easy and stays on, way longer than... Details
burch barrel
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Chris McCarthy
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 features a pully system to raise the grill and access the coals. You can move... Details
trango ice cube gtx climbing boot
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Jack Taylor
The Trango Ice Cube GTX gives you everything you want in a lightweight climbing boot, without any extra frills. Their stiff midsole keeps your calves from getting pumped, while a flexible ankle cuff lets you pull out all the latest tricks on technical mixed climbs. A built-in gaiter keeps snowy... Details
refuge air jacket
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Jack Taylor
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 wind and flying snow. A thin layer of mesh insulation sits under an even... Details
flylow baxter jacket
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Jack Taylor
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 comfortably over a hat or ski helmet, and a removable powder skirt keeps warm air in... Details
alpaca pullover quarter zip
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Chris McCarthy
The battle for the best base layer has a new contender. The Alpacas of Montana Base Layer Quarter Zip uses a blend of alpaca wool and silk, so it’s extremely soft without any traditional wool-itch. Alpaca wool is warmer than other natural fibers, wicks moisture more efficiently, and is breathable.... Details
windlab stretch glove
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Mike England
For a waterproof, windproof, and surprisingly warm lightweight glove, check out the minimally designed (though cumbersomely named) WindLab Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Glove from Mountain Hardwear. Use it as a standalone for warmer days, or as a liner on chilly outings—either way, you’ll love the fit... Details
gastro gnome green chicken curry
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Simon Peterson
Weighing in at 760 calories with 47 grams of protein, Gastro Gnome’s Thai Green Chicken Curry is bursting with flavor and plenty satisfying for the hungry adventurer. Their recipe, derived from locally-sourced ingredients and first-hand culinary experience in Thailand, offers a smooth balance of... Details
gloves, winter, skiing, gordini
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Ian Roderer
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 skiing, I generally prefer a longer cuff, but the Gauntlets are still... Details

Book Reviews

horse racing in america, book, book review
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Corey Hockett
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 on a behind-the-scenes journey into the scandalous realm of horseracing.... Details
wild game recipes, jerky
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Corey Hockett
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 oven, but never have I felt like I’ve had a foolproof system. That is, until... Details
the man behind the maps
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Jack Taylor
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, or long, winding swaths of grippy corduroy, the trail map helps you plan... Details
last best ski montana
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Corey Hockett
We all know the value of a good guidebook. But Bryan Schaeffer brings a whole new concept to the table with the release of The Last Best Ski Montana (SINTR, $40). This 80-page illustrated handbook offers valuable information on skiing in southwest Montana, in a contemporary style and format.... Details

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