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Photo by Patrick Colleran
Jan 19 2018

34 Ways to Love Winter

Our Wild Winter Offerings make it easy to explore Montana's best places all winter long

Exploring Montana, Featured

There are two ways you can spend a Montana winter. The first option is to sit inside next to the woodstove, drinking hot toddies and watching movies until your eyes bleed. The second and far superior option is to get outside and revel in winter by joining MWA on one of our Wild Winter Offerings.  

Taking place across the state, from south-central Montana’s Pryor Mountains to the Yaak in the state's northwestern corner, the 34 Wild Winter Offerings provide an incredible way to experience a side of Montana that many people don’t get to see.

Adventuring out into winter wildlands can be intimidating - it’s usually cold, often windy, and access can be tough, making a snowshoe or cross-country ski excursion a bit more intense than a similar summer hike through wildflower meadows and dappled forests. Joining up with one of these outings is a great way to overcome those initial barriers and open up a whole world of snowy exploration. There are outings catering to adventurers of every skill levels, and every outing is led by an experienced volunteer (often two). Gear is often provided, and the camaraderie that comes from tramping along through snowghost pines, soaking in the solitude, and sharing chocolate bars with your fellow explorers is tough to beat. 

Wild Winter Offerings provide a whole lot more than a chance to explore Montana’s stunning snow-covered wildlands. This year, we designed large parts of the program to provide educational and skill-building opportunities like avalanche awareness, winter ecology, survival skills, orienteering, tracking, and more. So wherever you are, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to build a winter fire, analyze the safety of the snowpack, spot the signs of winter wildlife, and navigate your way out of a sticky situation. 

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The camaraderie that comes from tramping along through snowghost pines, soaking in the solitude, and sharing chocolate bars with your fellow explorers is tough to beat.

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You’ll be in good company, too. Last year, over 1,000 people visited 150 landscapes across Montana, continuing the tradition of public outings started by MWA founders Ken and Florence Baldwin nearly 60 years ago. 

And we’ll be honest, just like the first outing in 1960, today’s Wild Winter Outings are about more than just a good time. We hope that getting up close and personal with the majesty, solitude, and beauty of our wild and wonderful public lands will inspire you to protect them. Because, after all, while hot toddies and movies by the woodstove are nice, they’re not a part of Montana’s heritage quite like solitude, wilderness, and rugged adventure. 

To learn more about Wild Winter Offerings in your area and to sign up, visit the Wilderness Walks page. 

We’ll see you out on the trail.

- Amanda Hagerty, MWA eduation and outreach manager