Enjoying Montana’s winter wonderland
By Hookemharry

Posted: February 13, 2008

There’s beauty and much to love about the changing of the seasons in Montana. This year, I have really enjoyed Montana’s winter wonderland.

The best thing about the fun I have been having is that it’s coming in the form of one-day trips. I don’t know why, but when you head out early and return in the early evening after spending a day in the outdoors, it always seems like you were gone a lot longer than just one day.

This winter, my girlfriend and I have taken our snowmobiles to Lolo Hot Springs and rode for a day. Then, our friend Rod Dietz joined us for a trip up in the beautiful Seeley Lake area for a day in some nice powder with a firm base.

It was, as the veteran snowmobiler Dietz commented, “Probably the best all around day that we have spent on the snowmobiles.” The temperature averaged around 35 degrees and the snow conditions were ideal. We only got the machines stuck a couple of times which made it nice riding as we put just over 60 miles on our sleds for the day.

That may seem like a lot of miles, but as snowmobilers know, that only scratches the surfaces of covering the many trails that the Seeley Lake area and Montana have to offer.

The ski resorts have also been a great place to spend the day.

Montana Snowbowl is very convenient for us since we live in Missoula. The conditions have been good and Pat McKay, who I call the “Mountain Man,” and his crew have certainly kept the mountain in great shape.

William, my six-year-old son, and Maris, my nine-year-old, started to ski this year and we introduced them to the sport with a lesson at the Snowbowl ski school. The prices were very reasonable with an hour private lesson and ski rental starting at $24.

Discovery Basin was our next destination for family skiing as Berny and her 16-year-old daughter Marias, along with William and Maris and I, made the 90 minute trip to the mountain just a few minutes from Philipsburg and Georgetown Lake.

William went to a full day of ski lessons from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a lunch break around noon. That cost of that was $47 dollars and included the ski rentals.

Maris and Marias took an hour and half ski and snowboard lesson respectively. After their lesson, Marias skied with her Mom and Maris was good enough to go on the two main chair lifts and ski with me until William finished his lesson.

I then was able to ski with William on the little hill chair lift for an hour after his finished his lesson.

Discovery Basin is a great place to give your kids a chance to learn how to ski with their ski programs and beginner slopes. The next week Berny and I headed for Lost Trail Ski Resort and found the best snow conditions to date with over 80 inches of packed snow. Montana is the last best place and this winter my family and I are discovering why first-hand.