by the editors
While skiing is no doubt the crowd favorite ‘round these parts, it isn’t the only thing to do come winter. There are plenty of cold-weather activities, no matter your inclination or experience. Here’s a list to get you started.
Who said tearing down a hill on a sled is just for kids? Some folks say it only gets better with age. Bottom line is that it’s quite the thrill for anyone with a pulse. As affordable as it is accessible, sledding is a Montana pastime, and Bozeman has a number of popular spots worth checking out: Snowfill Recreation Area, Peets Hill, Regional Park, and Langohr Campground up Hyalite are just a few. Really, any public land with a rising slope will do—just make sure the hill has a decent run-out.
If you can walk, chances are you can snowshoe—and have fun doing it. To get started, pick a trailhead. While new snow offers fresh tracks, your best bet is to veer off-trail and make your own path. One of the major joys of snowshoeing is finding solitude and serenity in the winter woods. A beginner setup (shoes and poles) runs about $200 brand-new; if you’re on a budget, pick up a pair of hand-me-downs and use your ski poles.
With the power of a snowmobile, there’s a lot you can see. Whether flying around the mountains of West Yellowstone, Big Sky, Paradise Valley, Cooke City, or Island Park, a high-speed adrenaline rush is hard to beat. There are a number of guide and rental services scattered throughout southwest Montana, and most places that rent snowmobiles supply snowsuits, helmets, and other accessories.
As we see year after year, avalanches are deadly. If this is an activity you want to pursue extensively, consider taking a snowmobile-specific avalanche-education course. Riders trigger as many slides as skiers, and more people are heading out into the backcountry every year—do your part in mitigating the risk for all.
Every winter, three outdoor ice rinks pop up at Bozeman parks: Bogert, Southside, and Beall. Once the ice sets up for the season—normally in late December—the rinks stay open until 10pm every day. Southside and Bogert have warming huts for cozy cups of hot chocolate and a comfortable abode to put on and take off skates. Additional skating is offered at the Haynes Pavilion, home of the local hockey league; they rent skates for $5, plus a $5 entry fee.
The great thing about Bozeman is that no matter your taste, there’s always something going on. Here are a few noteworthy events for you winter odd-ballers out there.
Learn to Skate – Bozeman. Get tips from the pros on how to slide smoothly on the ice. Classes offered for ages four and up, from beginner to advanced. gallatinice.org.
Hocktober Scramble – Bozeman. This fun hockey series gives players of all levels a chance to test their skills—and have a blast doing it—in competitive pickup games. bozemanhockey.org.
SNöFLINGA – Butte. There’s something for everyone here. We’re talking snowshoe tours, fatbike races, avalanche-awareness classes… the list goes on. snoflinga.org.
Wild West Winterfest – Island Park. Join cheery folk for a winter celebration complete with a parade of snowmobiles, sleigh rides, and a kids’ carnival. islandparkchamber.org.
Skijoring – Big Sky. If you don’t already know what skijoring is, you’re in for a treat. Head to Big Sky for an old-time wild-west showdown. bigskyskijoring.com.
Editor’s note: dates are subject to change. For the most updated information, visit outsidebozeman.com/events.