• Walter greets visitors with a zebra stuffed animal at his home in Billings. Photo by Casey Page

    Walter the St. Bernard: Top (Montana) dog

    Walter the St. Bernard left Billings for the Big Apple and got some time to shine this week at the Westminster dog show.

    The 178-pound Walter is from Billings – but judging from the Instagram photos gathered by the Billings Gazette, he did just fine as a city dog.

    During the show, he earned an award of merit.

    Walter the St. Bernard on Instagram. Courtesy photo

    Walter the St. Bernard on Instagram. Courtesy photo

    When he wasn’t in the arena, the 7-year-old male, owned by Mary Jo Burkholder, stopped by the office of the comedy website Funny Or Die for a little work.

    “Giving him an Award of Merit, it’s the judges’ way of saying, you’re not the best of breed today, but you’re a worthy competitor here,” Burkholder said.

    “He definitely knows what shows are about. He does this classic thing. When the judge walks by, just as he walks by, Walter turns his head and gives him a wink and a smile.”

    A few shows ago, Walter won best in show at a specialty event featuring more than 90 St. Bernards. The win boosted the dog’s arena credit to another level.

    See more photos of Walter here.

    – Jenna

  • YNP posted this photo of a scavenging grizzly on its Facebook page, giving photo credit to Angela Trinka.

    Nap time is over: Grizzlies emerging from dens around Montana

    It’s been an unseasonably warm February in many parts of Montana, and while it’s not yet spring, signs of spring are beginning to pop up around the state.

    Or, should we say, wake up.

    Grizzly bears must’ve felt the warmth lately, as bears have been spotted wide awake and wondering around places like Yellowstone National Park. As the Billings Gazette reported last week:

    With grizzly bears emerging from hibernation, hikers, skiers and snowshoers are advised to stay in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray. Courtesy of the Billings Gazette

    With grizzly bears emerging from hibernation, hikers, skiers and snowshoers are advised to stay in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray. Courtesy of the Billings Gazette

    The first confirmed report of grizzly bear activity in Yellowstone occurred on Monday. A grizzly bear was observed late in the afternoon, scavenging on a bison carcass in the central portion of the park.

    With bears emerging from hibernation, hikers, skiers and snowshoers are advised to stay in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray. The same advice goes for those taking guided snowmobile trips in Yellowstone.

    Bears begin looking for food soon after they emerge from their dens. They are attracted to elk and bison that have died during the winter. Carcasses are an important enough food source that bears will sometimes react aggressively when surprised while feeding on them.

    That point was proven with the above photo from Yellowstone of a big bear feeding a bison carcass. Yellowstone National Park posted the photo on its Facebook page, crediting Angela Trinka for the photo.

    Park officials noted the warm weather in a press release about the grizzlies. The release shared safety rules about watching bears in the park and noted that anyone who spots a bear should alert park officials ASAP.

    Jenna

  • Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle. AP photo

    Two Griz greats set to meet for an out-of-state, on-court battle

    They’re two names Montana sports fans know well: Wayne Tinkle and Larry Krystkowiak .

    As Missoulian sports editor Bob Meseroll writes, their relationship has been evolved in plenty of ways in the past years as they’ve made their mark on men’s basketball program at the University of Montana.

    To that list describing the relationship between Wayne Tinkle and Larry Krystkowiak add this: adversaries.

    That will be the nature of their relationship for at least 40 minutes Thursday night when the former Montana Griz players and coaches will face each other from opposite benches for the first time – Tinkle as coach of the Oregon State Beavers and Krystkowiak as the head man of the ninth-ranked Runnin’ Utes of Utah.

    Both coaches told Meseroll about the mutual respect they have for each other and the programs they run. Thursday will be the only time the two meet on the court this regular season.

    Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak. AP photo

    Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak. AP photo

    Utah and Oregon State will play just once in the regular season in the Pac-12’s unbalanced schedule. This year Tinkle gets the Utes in Corvallis, where the Beavers have yet to lose.

    Both insist it will not be awkward. Each has had prior experience with the dynamic, Tinkle when he faced former colleague and good friend Brad Huse, who coached Montana State for eight seasons, and Krysko when he squared off with his college coach Montgomery at Cal.

    “There’s this time of the week when you might have to do an interview or two and there’s a little additional storyline before the game starts, but after that it’s normal stuff,” Krystkowiak said.

    “With Larry, I have such a deeper history,” Tinkle said. “We played together, we were friends and I wouldn’t say combatants, but we were playing the same position. Shoot, I had a lot of lessons to learn and he was more than willing to hand out the lessons. We went at each other a lot. He taught me a lot about what it took to be a successful Division I player, the toughness and work ethic.

    Best of luck to both Montana greats!

    Jenna

  • A sculpture of Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea stands next to the Missouri River on the trail system between Black Eagle Falls and Giant Springs State Park.  Photo by Tom Bauer

    Montana to play large role in HBO series on Lewis & Clark

    It’s been in the works for awhile, and filming for the HBO miniseries about the the famous duo’s journey across the country – much of which took place in Montana – is just about to begin.

    However, as Missoulian reporter Kim Briggeman found out, although much of the story take place in Montana, there won’t be much filming going on under Big Sky Country.

    A Calgary Herald report in January quoted a source close to the production who said the project will be primarily shot in southern Alberta, with pre-production beginning in mid-February and production set to start this summer.

    “Thanks for checking in. We have no new information to share at this time,” an HBO spokeswoman said by email Friday.

    Casey Affleck. Photo courtesy of IMBD

    Casey Affleck. Photo courtesy of IMBD

    The series will star some big names, including Casey Affleck, and is being produced by some even heavier Hollywood hitters like Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks.

    Although much of filming will take place in Canada, there’s still a lot of Montana to the story.

    “We’ve been dealing with this for seven years,” said Deny Staggs, film commissioner for the Montana Film Office in Helena. “They’ve been talking about Oregon, Michigan, Montana, Alberta, British Columbia, Atlanta …

    “At this point we don’t know where exactly the primary principal photography will take place. What we do know is that they’ll be shooting a significant amount of second-unit and plate shots in the state of Montana, so Montana will be on the screen in the miniseries.”

    Staggs said his office is discussing with the state’s Office of Tourism ways to capitalize on “Lewis and Clark,” no matter where it’s shot.

    “Nobody’s going to Canada to see the Lewis and Clark trail,” he said. “We feel real strongly that with our knowledge and with the growth of marketing through digital and social platforms that we’ll be able to leverage the Lewis and Clark trail whether it’s shot in Montana or in Canada.”

    There’s also a chance some Montanans will be cast to play parts in the series.

    The series is based on the book “Undaunted Courage” and is set to air on HBO in 2016.

    Jenna

  • Me and My Ol Man is the story of Zach Pallister and his Ol Man.

    A whole lotta love, Montana style

    What better day to show off our Love Letters to Montana than Valentine’s Day?

    Recently, we got one of the sweetest Montana love stories yet, when reader Willena Burton sent in her story about Queenie the missing terrier.

    Queenie

    Queenie

    Burton was a kids when she her beloved dog Queenie got lost while hunting rabbits one winter. 

    It’s a touching story – one of many we’ve gotten telling us why it’s so easy to love Montana.

    Other love letters we think you should read:

    Here’s hoping you enjoyed our Montana-style dose of love this Valentine’s Day.

    Do you have Montana Love Letters you’d like to share? Email editor@montanamagazine.com. Need even more reasons to love Montana? Subscribe today!

    Jenna

     

  • Anna Boltz, 8, an Alaskan with spina bifida skis using a Hands-On Concept chair Sunday at Red Lodge Mountain. Photo by Hannah Potes, Billings Gazette

    Special kind of skiing helps everyone experience Montana slopes

    There was a special kind of skiing taking place at Red Lodge Mountain Ski Resort last weekend. A kind of skiing that didn’t discriminate. 

    As Chris Cioffi of the Billings Gazette tells us, it was a day where despite being born with spina bifida, 8-year-old Anna Boltz hit the slopes.

    The 8-year-old was not testing out an ordinary pair of skis; she was riding a Hands On Concepts bi-ski chair.

    The adaptive technology is specially designed for people in wheelchairs to hit the slopes.

    Boltz was born with spina bifida and has been either in a wheelchair or on crutches since she was born. The birth defect occurs when a baby’s spinal column does not close all the way around the spinal cord. It can cause paralysis in extremities below the underdeveloped vertebrae.

    Anna has been involved in skiing since the age of 2, said her mother, Leah Boltz. “When we first started, her legs didn’t reach the seat so we had her duct taped and foamed inside.”

    Leah Boltz, an only child herself, was born to parents employed by the U.S. Forest Service in West Yellowstone and began skiing at Big Sky as a young child.

    sit skier 1

    Boltz skis using a Hands-On Concept, or HOC, chair with Eagle Mount Instructor Kim Reeves, right, at Red Lodge. Photo by Hannah Potes, Billings Gazette

    Boltz was taking part in the Eagle Mount program, which provides outdoors recreation opportunities for disabled children and adults.

    All in all, it was a good day for Anna, as Cioffi writes:

    After stopping briefly to get rebalanced at the top of the training hill known as the magic carpet, the second-grader was ready to get back on the slopes.

    “Come on, time to go everybody,” Anna said. 

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      Swans help create a beautiful scene near Kalispell. Photo courtesy of Whispering Peaks Photography

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      Geese keep cool in the winter fog near Kalispell. Photo courtesy of Whispering Peaks Photography

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      Sheep gather on a warm winter day near Hogeland. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch

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      Bohemian waxwings near Polson. Photo courtesy of Whispering Peaks Photography

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      A mountain grouse hunkers down near Cooke City. Photo courtesy of Soda Butte Lodge

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      Elk on the Gardiner River. Photo courtesy of Mark LaRowe

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      Battle of the bighorns. Photo courtesy of Whispering Peaks Photography

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      Moose in downtown Libby. Photo couresty of Yvonne Moe Resch

    • 10959405_1015652085116726_7566031374819619256_n

      Horses as sunset near Shepherd. Photo courtesy of Jullie Powell

    Wild winter: Wildlife enjoy the coldest of seasons

    Our Facebook friends often share images of Montana animals with us. And now that’s it’s mid-February, we’ve got a pretty good batch of photos showing how critters handle the cold.

    It doesn’t seem to hard on them. In fact – the waterfowl especially – seem to be enjoying themselves. Others seems to be enjoying themselves on the more mild winter days we’ve had so far.

    We hope you enjoy our Wild Winter gallery. Don’t forget, we’ve got pages of premiere photography in our print issues. Subscribe today so you don’t miss a shot.

    Do you have images of Montana wildlife to share? Email images to editor@montanamagazine.com.

    Jenna

     

  • Where will our Jan/Feb issue take you? All over Montana

    Map of Montana roads_editedCircle. Bigfork. Billings. Swan Mountains. Ovando.

    We explore plenty of places inside each issue of Montana magazine. Now, we can show you all the place with an interactive Where in Montana map that takes you across Montana to see the Jan/Feb issue. Just roll over the dots across the map and click to read the preview of each feature.

    We’ll take you yurt skiing in the Swan Mountain Range and introduce you to the woodpecker men who keep a unique tradition alive in Ryegate. Also, have you ever been to the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival? Our Where in Montana map will show you were it all happens and then tell you a good story.

    Some bonuses: get to know a little more about our Glimpses feature in each issue, and more about our Instagram account.

    Want Montana delivered to your door? Subscribe today!

    Jenna

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