Montanafest Destiny

Trains, bars, and some damn fine snow

“After skiing crusty snow off the chair on a warm day last February, I find myself standing in the rain in the Turner parking lot, drinking Coors Lights and smoking cigars with alum from the Libby High class of ’78. The wet weather eventually forces everyone to head down the hill to Red Dog, the nearby watering hole. I hop in an oversized truck with a man named Frank, a big red-headed, bearded construction worker who learned to ski at Turner but now lives in Helena. As we approach a hairpin turn, Frank, with a cigar dangling from his mouth and a beer in his cup-holder, looks at me and says, ‘Watch this.’ Then he spins his steering wheel as hard as he can. We make a 350-degree rotation on the ice-covered road, laugh, then straighten out and drive to the bar.”

That’s part of my story, called “Montanafest Destiny: Finding the true meaning of skiing at the small ski areas of Montana.” A double-chair, family-owned ski area tour of the Treasure State, it was probably the most fun assignment I’ve ever been on. Here’s some GoPro footage I took to offer another glimpse of the whirlwind trip. You can also read the rest of the story in our November issue. Find the magazine on newsstands or buy the digital version.

Add a comment

  • SoaringEagle_5000

    The video doesn’t work. Please stay out of Montana, or visit for 1.5 days, spend tons of money, and leave. If you’d like to attend one of my clinics, to behold a true visionary, to have hope brought to your life, and to witness a small collection of natives lay waste to the landscape, please let me know. But most of all remember one thing – TheEagleFliesAtDawn.

    • WizardsRape

      If anybody really wants to have fabulous skiing, culture, get tons of box/sausage, depending on your personal orientation (I don’t care), have people admire and respect you, don’t visit or live in Montana. Instead, move to the promised lands of Utah and Colorado. The most intelligent, heart warming, respectful, and giving people live in those locations. Montana is dump – I know it very well but really all of you should be living in Utah and Colorado. If you’re really cool and rad that’s just where have to be to advance every facet of your life. Montana sucks – the hunting, fishing, skiing, access to public lands, etc has been degraded for decades. Those activities still live strong as the dickens in Utah and Colorado. If you really want to make it big in life, then pack your bags, squaddle your earnings away, and get down to Colorado and/or Utah while the gettin’s good my friends. You will become a better skier in Colorado or Utah – never Montana. Keep that in mind when trying to select your next destination or place to live. Once you’re in Colorado or Utah you’ll never want to leave – ever.

  • snowfan

    Whitefish Mountain Resort is a ‘family owned’ ski area? Uh…I think not. MMM…ColoRADo!

    • Muffinator

      Hell yeah ColoRRRRRAAAADDDDDOOOOO is the kitten’s mittens son!!!! Whoop whoop!! Remember when WMR was Big Mountain and real baller skiers ownerized hard with no one watching and giving a shit? And a lift ticket cost $28, that was if you paid for one or just pretended to have a pass and not hear the lifties question you pass availability? I like it better now with all the corporate hogwash and indiscriminate butter-butt loving married milfs bored off their round hineys cheering me on while I crush the life out that foggy muffinbox, all the while knowing the Heinz Corporation is milking the eternal soul, cultural, and economic sustainability right out of the greater Flathead area. What a time to be alive! You won’t find such fallacies in CO or UT, you’re right WizardsRape – only SOUL, SOUL, SOUL, and undying prosperity exist in the true lands of bright future and promise!. Yeeeeehhhhhaaaawwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Terrance

    I took a roadtrip through Montana one winter. They honestly get about 250″ of snow on a good year and it alternates between being cold as balls or raining to 10,000′ in January. The entire state of Vermont has also apparently relocated themselves and their advanced intermediate skiing to Montana. Self-aggrandizing behavior, people driving poorly in Subaru’s, massive base damage, moguls and getting vibed out by the “locals” in Big Sky seemed to be pretty standard. Saving my money next time, and just going to Jackson.

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