Ode to Montana

In the wide-open spaces of Montana, a busy day is a chance to catch your breath and the local gossip.
Ode to Montana tout

The blinking blue light atop the Baxter Hotel, Bozeman’s highest building, means one glorious thing to the residents of this southwest Montana town: powder day. Another lumbering highline storm has arrived to deposit that famous cold smoke on Bridger Bowl. As a listless college student in Bozeman, I’d watch it pulse through the darkness on my frigid walks home from one of Main Street’s fine drinking establishments. It would fill me with hope for a deep and lucid tomorrow, as my buddies and I struggled for clarity through all the bottom-shelf whiskey we’d just shot.

And because few things bring a mountain community together like a pow day, the whole town would descend on Bridger, 20 minutes north, and Big Sky, an hour south. Parking lots would fill. Lifties would begrudgingly drag out extra ropes for the queues. Anywhere else, you’d hate the madness, but here it’s a mild and temporary affliction, not a chronic infection like at Colorado and Utah resorts. In the wide-open spaces of Montana, a busy day is a chance to catch your breath and the local gossip. Everyone here is friends, and everyone’s riding the collective high of a place that’s radder than the Jacksons, Squaws, and Snowbirds of the world. Montana just doesn’t need to brag to about it.

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Ode to Eldora tout

Ode to Eldora

It was one of those unpredictable memory-making experiences that consistently happen when you’re a ski family.

Mary Jane Bumps

Ode to Mary Jane

Every week I limped my freshly ripped muscle fibers off the Eskimo Ski Club bus, then sometimes went straight to bed without dinner.

This old signpost stands at the top of the North and South bowls.

Backcountry Skiing in Montana

Montana offers backcountry skiing for everyone: from snowmobiling to skinning, there’s a world to explore. As always, don’t forget your beacon, shovel, and probe, and the know-how to use them.

Ode to Sugarloaf tout

Ode to the ’Loaf

I thought I won it for being fast, a misconception my father did not dispute even though it would cost him thousands in race gear and entry fees over the next decade.