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Ski Kind

Helping Montana grow more Montanans

Ski Kind is a new campaign but an old concept in Bozeman and Gallatin County. Our wonderful winter community has been practicing this ethos for 100 years. Early reports document locals making six-foot-long wooden skis and buying their first bindings at the old McCay’s Hardware Store in the early 1920s. It’s enlightening to look back at a column by Kay Widmer that ran in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle from 1941-1954 titled “Dope from the Slope.” Adventures of the brave people exploring Bear Canyon and Pine Hill, where a rope tow made out of a Cadillac engine assisted folks up the slope, were shared by Widmer. Included in her colorful articles are requests for courtesy and community support around the emerging winter recreation areas. Here are a few gems. Plea for Ski Club Loyalty (January 3, 1942): Let us all make a special effort to pay the $1.00 membership dues to the Bozeman Ski Club [BSF today]…The Club…is depending solely on memberships to pay its share of the new road to the Bear Canyon Area. Good Manners on the Hill (February 26, 1942): The word “Track” is used only when passing someone on a narrow trail… At any rate, the cry never gives you the right to ski wild. Second, if you should see someone who is obviously out of control, stand still. Don’t try to dodge him, because you both might dodge in the same direction…Third, try not to step on someone else’s skis; and if you do, you could make a good impression by apologizing. Today, the language has changed a bit but the same underlying values hold. Here is a sample of what we find from Bridger Ski Foundation and other Outside Kind Alliance members focusing on Ski Kind for our community. Time to get your Community Nordic Trails Pass (BSF Newsletter September 30, 2022): These voluntary passes provide essential funds for grooming over 70 KM of winter trails. BSF is at a critical juncture this year, where we need more skiers to participate in this voluntary trail pass model in order to continue regular grooming on these trails and snowmaking at Sunset Hills. You Plow Hyalite (, accessed October 10, 2022): Hyalite Canyon is the only place in the country where a local government plows a Forest Service road purely for recreational access…You plow Hyalite by donating to Friends of Hyalite so that we can reach our annual goal and uphold our piece of the road plowing agreement. By donating to Friends of Hyalite you help keep the road open so that everybody can access and enjoy Hyalite in the winter. Winter Wildland Alliance has been working with Friends of Hyalite and other Outside Kind members to share the following: “To Ski Kind means to lead with your best self in the skin track, around the parking lot, up on your local mountain, or wherever you find yourself gliding over snow.” Winter Wildlands Ski Kind Code [possible side bar?]: Ski No Trace: Take only photos, leave only tracks. Keep our water clean. Pack out your poop (and your dog’s poop). Don’t trash the backcountry. Ski Self-Reliant: Carry what you need. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Practice rescues. Don’t put yourself where you can’t get out. Ski Inclusive: Share it. Everyone’s welcome. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Acknowledge native stewardship. Be a positive part of the community. Ski Aware: Avalanches ruin lives. Get educated. Understand snowpack, terrain and conditions. Know the forecast. Be aware of other people. Have a plan. Be prepared to change it. Keep your eyes and mind open. Ski Respectful: Be nice. Make space. Park appropriately. Respect closures, guidelines and other users. Ski Smart: Know your gear. Know your limits. Keep skills sharp. Check beacons. Dig pits. Avoid risky terrain and conditions. Live to ski another day. Ski Kind: Do right by others. Be a good neighbor. Help out. The Ski Kind ethos runs deep in our community—let’s work hard to keep it that way! Outside Kind is led by One Montana, a nonprofit working to sustain Montana’s culture and character. Learn more about Ski Kind, Hunt Kind, Ride Kind, Hike Kind, Fish Kind, Trot Kind, Run Kind, and Wag Kind and get involved at *Interested in learning more about the history of skiing in Gallatin County? Check out Cold Smoke: Skiers Remember Montana’s Bear Canyon and Bridger Bowl, edited by Edna Berg and Annie Cicale (Mountain Press, Missoula MT).