MT Travel Guide
Get Into the Cold / Montana Travel / Ski Travel / Yellowstone National Park / National Parks / → All Tags
Trying to flee the freezing temperatures sweeping across the country is natural, but predictable. Instead, do what folks in these frigid destinations do—embrace it and Get INTO the Cold. The trick to staying toasty is chill-killing gear and lots of bone warming activity. So stop moping around waiting for summer to arrive and head to these five crazy cold places and get your winter wonderland on.
Cold Meter: Moderate:
Temps can drop into the teens around these parts and coupled with snow, it’s a ski and snowboarding nirvana. This college town (though largely homogenous) is an hour away from the pricey Big Sky area and the general mission is providing affordable winter fun for its active locals.
If you're already thinking about where to take the family on vacation next year and want a trip that includes adventure, giving back and activities everyone will enjoy, we may have found the perfect option. Adventures in Preservation, a non-profit group dedicated to saving the world’s architectural heritage, is planning its first hands-on building conservation workshop in which the entire family can participate. The workshop will be held in the historic mining town of Nevada City, Montana, June 20-26, 2010.
During the workshop, participants will learn and practice building preservation techniques and then put those skills to work. Activities include learning how to mix and apply historic exterior finishes as well as practicing chinking and daubing techniques that keep the wind from blowing through log walls.
Zip Lines / Ski Resorts / Ski Travel / Big Sky / → All Tags
No matter the location, zip lines make any travel experience that much cooler. That’s why we’re tingly all over to let you know about the latest and greatest. The newest “zip” takes flight in Big Sky, Montana and will definitely give you a break from hitting the slopes.
The three lines range in length between 350 and 500 feet, and will let you reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour while you are praying that the cable doesn’t snap. Speaking of breaking the cable, you’ll need to weigh in at under 300 pounds to take in the fun, so if your winter workout has consisted of chips on the couch—consider yourself warned. You’ll be whisked over the slopes, and the ride can likely help you get a sense of what runs you’ll want to ski when you return to the ground. Best of all, they’ll pick up your gear at the first zip line, and will have it ready and waiting for you when you finish with line number three.
Make sure you dress warmly as the wind is certainly going to be blowing as you zoom throughout the trees. This is the first ski resort to offer something like this in Montana, and with the whole experience takes about two hours—you’ll be back on the slopes in no time. So strap on a helmet, get cozy with that harness, and try your best to see some wildlife below.
For a video of the experience, go here.
Ski Resorts / Ski Travel / Skiing / Snowboarding / Big Sky / → All Tags
If you’re trying to fill up that US map on the back of the Winnebago with state stickers, you should head to Montana this winter. Besides getting to say you’ve been to Montana, there’s some pretty good skiing at the Big Sky Resort. The resort is only a 45-minute rental car disaster away from the Gallatin Airport in Bozeman. There’s daily service on most of the major airlines, and a couple of smaller ones as well, so you should be all set.
Allow us to savor a bit of schadenfreude with this news: The tony Yellowstone Club has filed for bankruptcy. The swanky, members-only resort outside of Big Sky, Montana--that counts former VP Dan Quayle, cyclist Greg LeMond and Bill Gates as members--couldn't seal a new investment deal and so has asked a federal court for protection from creditors as it reorganizes its finances.
The sprawling complex already boasts a golf course, private skiing and clusters of log-cabin style "residences," as well as three mountain lodges where--we imagine--Bart Bass-style captains of industry feast on ortolan and quaff centuries-old port.
Just weeks before US Treasury Secretary Paulson started handing out billions to banks, The Yellowstone Club was planning to add 450 additional condos, a spa and even more skiing. Needless to say, those plans are now on hold. Maybe if the resort goes out of business the rich will be stuck buying "cheap" $62-a-day lift tickets like the rest of us!
Before he made his triumphal entrance into the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama did a tour of Montana. But the city of Missoula got even more attention this week for being the site of a bizarre bear-bike hit-and-run incident.
This story has a happy ending because the bicyclist, middle-school science teacher Jim Litz, was picked up by his wife who happened to drive by the crash site. That's so romantic!
When we get married, we hope our spouses will rescue us from that moment when the bike hits the bear. Find that kind of collaborator at one of our hot spots:
Most of Montana's small towns are overlooked by travelers rushing to Yellowstone and the state's other Great Outdoors attractions. Lying right at the edge of the Flathead Valley, with Glacier National Park in the background, Whitefish is one small town that is worth stopping by.
If you're heading elsewhere in Montanta for Labor Day, the weather should be just about perfect this time of year to check out this quaint little valley town for a day. And why not? You've got that extra day. Here's what the Whitefish tourist board has to say about the place:
Ask about any Canadian in Southern Alberta and you'll get some kind of story about their adventure in Whitefish.
OK, not sure exactly what that means, but apparently Whitefish has become Montana's Tijuana. Count us in!
The powder paradise of Bridger Bowl Ski Area is but a twenty-minute drive from Bozeman, Montana. Even better, the town's nearest airport, Gallatin Field Airport, is just eight miles away.
Bridger's average annual snowfall of 350 inches buries the area's 71 trails, which are split pretty evenly between beginner, intermediate, advanced and extreme. If you feel like flexing that health insurance, hit up the extreme trails' 8,700-foot elevation, steep chutes and rocky cliffs. Or, if you enjoy skiing on trails that don't require the use of an avalanche transceiver, take one of Bridger's seven lifts to the area's less daunting pistes.
While Bridger can help guests find lodging, it's not the traditional resort. It's a non-profit mountain, so lift tickets are a reasonable $43 for a full day. You can also get in on some package deals. The PowderHound Package includes four days of skiing and four nights at one of the area's vacation rental homes for the price of three.
Urgh, how can we even think about traveling at a time like this? We've barely made it back to where we belong, but our need for celebrating goes unsated, and since travel's what we do, follow along on the Fall Festivals Map.
Nostalgic for the eras or latitudes where winter begins on Halloween and lasts until May Day? Hie thee to Bozeman, Montana for this weekend's Bozeman Ice Festival.
Kick off the ice climbing season (we bet you never knew there was a season) with demonstrations, master classes and, on Saturday, the Grivel North American Ice Breaker Climbing Competition. Compete for a $3,000 purse by climbing as many routes as possible, or attend an open climb to get some pointers from the pros.
Just promise us you won't forget to pack in layers--polypro or fleece, never cotton. And hand and toe warmers wouldn't be a bad investment either.
Jaunted tipsters in Montana spotted an R2-D2 mailbox, pulled over, shot it, and sent it.
We were just driving by Montana's University in the city of Missoula & we saw the R2-D2 mailbox.
· Star Wars Stamps Arrive [USPS]
Please take this online promotion to the next level. When we read on your tourism website that we could send a personalized message from the governor to any of our friends, our hearts jumped. We thought it was going to be like those Snakes on a Plane and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter promotions, where you could order up personalized calls from Samuel L. Jackson and Fabio, respectively. We would have loved nothing more than to surprise our hard-core urbanite friends with a cheesy greeting from the governor of the Treasure State. You could have even taken it to the next level and had the governor and his family do some singing and dancing. But this letter is a cop-out and no treasure at all. Please consult us next time you plan your digital marketing, and you could have a hit on your hands.
· Invite Your Friends To Montana [Visit Montana]
If you've ever driven cross-country and are a coffee aficionado, forget it. You will get midway and begin to see that coffee found on the road tends to be everything from weak to sour to too bitter to sludgy.
Next time, make sure you hit up Missoula, MT, home to U of Montana and also filled with coffee 'huts'. Apparently, these folks haven't yet sold out to Peet's, Starbucks or Au Bon Pain. They are still true individualists:
a gaggle of cheerful, idiosyncratic, free-standing coffee huts. We found them on side streets, in mall parking lots, next to gas stations and grocery stores. They had distinct personalities and funny names -- our local favorite was the Grizzly Bean, though on the road we were charmed by Pony Expresso. Some had been creatively converted from old rail cars or trailers, and they were decorated for Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas
No one there thinks anything of them, except they've got awesome, inexpensive coffee and are roadside convenient with a whole lot more character than your average barista.