• Steve Fuller poses at Canyon Village at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on Feb. 5. Fuller has been the winter keeper at Canyon Village for 42 years. AP photo

    One man, one wintry Yellowstone village

    Snow is the most abundant thing in Steve Fuller’s life each winter.

    The Yellowstone National Park resident has been the “winter keeper” at Canyon Village. It’s a job that comes with plenty of tasks, but not much company. Here’s the story from the Associated Press:

    He was hired in 1973 and now works full time at Canyon for Xanterra Parks and Resorts Inc. “I’ve lived at Canyon year-round ever since,” Fuller said. “Seems like last week.”

    His nearest neighbors — 16 miles to the south at Yellowstone Lake — are National Park Service rangers and the only other winter keeper in the park keeping an eye on the facilities at Lake Village.

    Originally, he was hired only to remove snow from roofs, but more duties came when he was named maintenance manager 30 years ago, such as summer project planning, preparing for contractors and hiring employees, Fuller said.

    Still, snow remains a chief component in his world, especially when it’s measured by the foot.

    Fuller raised two daughters in the park. Today, he keeps busy fending off snow and bears, among other things, while living in a 100-year-old home.

    Fuller’s house of 42 years is at least 100 years old. It may date back to the 19th century.

    “Certainly 1910, no doubt about that,” he said.

    The place is a bit off the beaten path, a mile south of Canyon Village. From his front porch, the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River are little more than a stone’s throw away. From a picture window, snow-softened hills highlighted with pine seem to undulate to infinity.

    The moon and sun backlight the falls’ vapor plume. Fuller can hear the Upper Falls.

    “It’s like a megaphone pointed at my front step,” Fuller said.

    What a cool life. And even better?

    “Never felt lonely — ever,” Fuller 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

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      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

     

  • 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.

    Jenna

  • Photo Kurt Wilson

    Many Glacier’s winter keepers fight weather, find solace

    Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park is a lonely place during the winter.

    Besides a few hearty animals – wolves, sheep and birds among them – the most abundant thing is snow.

    But the historic hotel isn’t completely abandoned, as Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney found in his story “Winter Keepers,” a beautiful tale about the couple the lives at Many Glacier through the harsh winter months.

    Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Six months ago, David and Rebecca Wilson would have been on the wait list to get a room at Many Glacier Hotel.

    Today when they show up, gray jays and bighorn sheep come out to greet them. The black bear under the employee dormitory doesn’t bother to wake. They still struggle to get in, but now it’s snowdrifts and 70 mph winds blocking the way instead of throngs of tourists.

    But, as Chaney explains, the job isn’t as lonely these days, as the Wilson’s blog about the job,  mghwinterkeeper.com, is getting plenty of online traffic.

    “We just did it for fun, to see if people noticed,” David Wilson said of the mghwinterkeeper.com blog the couple have maintained since October. “I had no idea so many people would find it, just by word of mouth. On a good day, we get 500 hits on the blog. People are always interested in what the weather’s doing up here.”

    Want to see for yourself? Check out a gallery of wintry images from Many Glacier.

    Need even more stories about Montana? Subscribe to Montana Magazine today – just $60 for three years.

    Jenna

  • Cover image by Leland Howard

    Sneak peak: Eastern Montana takes center stage in our Nov/Dec issue

    We’ve focused our sights on the East in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Montana Magazine, which should be arriving in mailboxes across the country later this week.

    We probably don’t need to remind you that Eastern Montana is a big place. And, as we show off in our latest issue, its a beautiful and diverse place that produces stories like that of our cover star, Riley Jones. The image of Riley and her dad, Ryan, was made by photographer Leland Howard. Riley first sat on a horse at age 2, and was riding on her own by age 4.

    Along with the image of Riley, we’ve got a beautiful lineup of images from Howard, who traveled 10,000 miles across the eastern part of Montana to make images for the new book Eastern Montana. We used a sampling of those images for our Portfolio and for the cover image. It’s a Portfolio worth seeing.

    Don’t think we’ve forgotten that with the fall and early winter comes hunting season – a time in Montana that has created some of the most storied and longstanding traditions. In that spirit, we’ve got an essay from writer Jack Ballard, whose family has hunted from the same elk camp for more than 5o years.

    We’ve also got a feature on an up-and-coming knife maker from Missoula, who is provided hunters with some new tools to aid in their adventures.

    One more teaser for one about a story about a hunter who, as he battles colon cancer, is giving back in a big way to his hometown of Glasgow. Skip Erickson has donated an almost unbelievable collection of animal trophies to the Children’s Museum of Northeast Montana – a place that can now transport kids from all over the Hi-Line across the world as they look through the rooms of Erickson’s animals.

    There’s more too, of course, so keep a lookout for more teasers on our Facebook (fb.com/montanamagazine) and Twitter (@montanamagazine). We’ll have our preview content from the Nov/Dec issue up at  montanamagazine.com later this week.

    Ready to subscribe? Here’s how.

    Enjoy!

    Jenna 

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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

     

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      Sunset over the Kootenai River. By Yvonne Moe Resch

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      Ice on Holter Dam. By Drew Thomas

    • The road to Ross. By Mark LaRowe

      The road to Ross. By Mark LaRowe

    • An old barn outside Hot Springs. By Robin Hao Gonzalez

      An old barn outside Hot Springs. By Robin Hao Gonzalez

    • Sunset over Mount Vaught in Glacier National Park. By John D. Harwood

      Sunset over Mount Vaught in Glacier National Park. By John D. Harwood

    • Centennial School outside Glendive. By Alisa Doolan

      Centennial School outside Glendive. By Alisa Doolan

    Frosty photos: Readers share winter images from across Montana

    No matter the season in Montana, there always seems to be something beautiful to look at.

    We’ve had quite a few frosty photos submitted to us via our Facebook page recently and thought we’d feature a couple here for you to enjoy on this mid-winter Monday.

    A BIG thanks to our readers for sharing all the beautiful photos, especially Alisa Doolan (Centennial School), Yvonne Moe Resch (Kootenai River), John D. Harwood (Mount Vaught), Drew Thomas (Holter Dam), Robin Hao Gonzalez (Hot Springs barn) and Mark LaRowe (road to Ross).

    - Jenna

    • Sunset over Mount Harding near Ronan, by John D. Harwood

      Sunset over Mount Harding near Ronan, by John D. Harwood

    • The foothills of the Bridger Mountains, by Mark LaRowe.

      The foothills of the Bridger Mountains, by Mark LaRowe.

    • A red barn near Ronan, by Robin Hao Gonzalez.

      A red barn near Ronan, by Robin Hao Gonzalez.

    • The North Shore Trail from the Ryan Dam near Great Falls, by Alfonso Martinez.

      The North Shore Trail from the Ryan Dam near Great Falls, by Alfonso Martinez.

    • The viewing center pond at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, by B In the Bitterroot Photography.

      The viewing center pond at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, by B In the Bitterroot Photography.

    2013 MT winter scenes: The best of our reader submitted photos

    Believe it or not it’s almost 2014.

    We did a quick look back from some of our favorite 2013 reader submitted photos (posted to our Facebook page) and – of course – found more than a few amazing shots. 

    As we head into 2014, here are some of the awesome shots shared with us. Big thanks to all our reader contributors, especially, Mark LaRowe (pink sunset), John D. Harwood (foothills of the Bridgers),  Robin Hao Gonzalez (red barn), Alfonso Martinez (Ryan Dam near Great Falls), and B in the Bitterroot Photography (Lee Metcalf viewing pond).

    From the Montana Magazine Team – Happy New Year!!