• Photo by Robin K. Hao

    Wintertime favorites: Montana traditions in the snow

    Old Man Winter has settled in across Montana. The hills and mountains are filling with snow and whether you like to get outside and explore or enjoy the scenery from inside, there’s plenty to love about winter. It seems like everyone has their favorite winter pastime.

    We asked our friends on Facebook to share their favorite winter tradition with us. Here’s what a couple had to say:

    Julie Fink-Brantley: When growing up in Livingston in the late 50s and 60s, Livingston would cordon off the north side of C Street with hay bales so we kids could sled down on our inner tubes. The snow back then was DEEP and often we’d simply walk the streets in the deep ruts of the tire tracks…Now my adult children with their children sled and come to “Grama’s” for hot chocolate and a warm-up sit and snuggle on my lap.

    Lisa Radcliffe Wallace: Going into the woods to our super-secret sledding spot, starting a fire, and then sledding to our hearts content while sipping hot cocoa (with a splash of Rumple Mintz) and cooking hot dogs over the fire!

    Beach Kowgirl: Just standing outside as the snow falls listening to the quietness and trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue! Who says you have to grow up?!

    Photo courtesy of Meagan Thompson

    Photo courtesy of Meagan Thompson

    Lisa M. Jankowski: Snowshoeing while looking for the PERFECT Christmas tree, with the snow falling gently.

    Sherry Wright Neighbors: Searching for the “perfect” Christmas tree in the forest, and then sipping hot chocolate on the tailgate!

    Roger Crabtree: Staying warm and drinking cocoa.

    See the full Facebook Friend Feedback story in our January/February issue by subscribing today.


  • A Yurtski yurt in the Swan Mountains. Courtesy of Yurtski

    Yurts help skiers access private powder

    It’s one thing to head up to the ski hill to find some Montana snow – but more and more these days the skiers are heading to the backcountry to what writer and photographer Aaron Theisen calls the Holy Grail of winter sports: A mountain all to themselves.

    Theisen’s story, Riding the White Swan, introduces readers to a company that’s using ancient structures to help backcountry skiers stay in remote places like the Swan Mountains, where crowds are never a problem.

    Courtesy of Yurtski

    Courtesy of Yurtski

    Yurtski has two yurts that it rents each winter to skiers looking for private powder.

    Every December, Missoula’s Carl Sievers and Adam Simon coordinate a barn-raising of sorts. Except that the buildings perch at nearly 7,000 feet on a steep, snow-clad peak in the Swan Mountain Range.

    And the structures will house skiers, not swine.

    Read the preview story here; find the full story in this month’s issue.

    But what exactly is a yurt? 

    According to Missoula-based yurt manufacturer Shelter Designs, yurt consists of a round wall and roof system that is free standing using a tension ring at the wall and a compression ring where the roof rafters tie together. These versatile structures have been around for at least 2,500 years. Traditionally, yurts were used in central Asia by nomadic herding groups and tribes. Recently, the yurt (or “ger” as it is traditionally called) has been imported to North America and Europe. Modern design changes, such as using steel fasteners and architectural fabric coverings, have been incorporated. Three types of yurts are predominant in the world today. The fabric yurt is a portable, fabric covered yurt based on the Mongonlian ger. A frame-panel yurt is a permanent structure built of wood with a yurt-style roof. Lastly is the traditionally ger from central Asia.

    Learn more at Shelter Designs’ site.


    • 1452362_1522822421312432_1684741520762559876_n

      A frozen Fresno Reservoir, by Kelly Sullivan

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      Hoarfrost near Shepherd, by Jullie Powell +

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      A cabin near Big Sheep Creek, by Travis Scott

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      September Snow in Glacier National Park, by Lori Gunter

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      New lights on Missoula's footbridge, by Mike Williams

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      Snowy Mission Mountains, by Kelly Sullivan

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      Turkeys near Libby, By Catherine Dotson

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      A frozen Flathead River, by Robin K Ha'o

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      Mountain grouse, by Soda Butte Lodge

    A snowy slideshow: Winter arrives in Montana

    It’s hard to beat the winter scenes Montana produces as we move deeper into winter.

    And lucky for us, our Facebook friends have been out and about capturing the beauty. Here’s a few examples of the images they’ve captured.

    Thanks to everyone who shared photos on our Facebook page. Have photos of Montana you’d like to share? Email them, along with a short description and photographer information to editor@montanamagazine.com.



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      Where's Shasta? By Debbie Perryman

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      Louis after a frosty run on the river trail, from Kate Nittinger.

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      Lily and Dodger loving the snow, from Tricia Hanson.

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      Ta-Da! Snow face, from Meagan Thompson.

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      Kadie, originally from Georgia, has adapted well to Montana snow, from Beach Kowgirl.

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      "Hi guys!" from Laura Mayer.

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      Baby Eero, from Carol Kosovich Anderson

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      Putting on the brakes by Kat G. Grubbs.

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      Bean at Bear Creek, from Ken Barnedt.

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      Zeke breaking a trail at Stemple Pass, from Denis Roth Barber.

    Snowy dogs from across Montana

    After the recent dump of snow we had in western Montana and the white winter they’ve had in eastern Montana, we couldn’t resist putting out a call to our Facebook friends asking for photos of their snowy dogs.

    As you can see, they really delivered. Special thanks to Denise Roth Barber, Carol Kosovich Anderson, Beach Kowgirl, Meagan Thompson, Laura Mayer, Kat Grubbs, Tricia Hanson, Ken Barnedt, Debbie Perryman and Kate Nittinger (and their pups!) for sharing photos.

    We hope you enjoy watching our slideshow as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

    - Jenna