Can't get much better than untracked powder.

Earn Your Turns

Skiing the Bozeman backcountry.

by Jay Pape

Tired of buying lift tickets and skiing laps at the resort? Are you up for a winter adventure with the opportunity to explore some untracked lines? Then backcountry skiing should be high your list of must-do winter activities.

In its purest form backcountry skiing simply involves getting up some hill under your own power and skiing down. Think of it as “earning your turns”. You can find a snow-covered slope next to the road and hike up as many times as your legs will carry you; or you may choose to pend most of the days climbing some far-away peak just to make a single, glorious run all the way back to the car. Either way, backcountry skiing is about getting out and enjoying some of Montana’s wildest places in winter. And the climb up is at least half the fun.

Can't get much better than untracked powder.

Reaping the rewards..

Sure, you can strap regular alpine ski gear to your pack and lug it up some hill. But to truly enjoy the climb you will need either alpine touring (AT) or telemark equipment. Lighter in weight, this gear allows you to walk up a hill with skis that pivot at the toe. The use of fuzzy climbing skins attached to the bottom of your skis will keep you from sliding backwards. Once on top you shed the climbing skins, point your tips downhill and drop in that bowl of untracked bliss.

Resting before getting some well earned turns.

Even if there isn’t powder, the views are well worth it..

Oh yea, before you head to the hills in search of powder, you need to become familiar with something called an avalanche. Yes, they are real and they can kill you. Avalanches occur on slopes between 30-45 degrees in steepness—and that is exactly the type of slopes we like to ski on. So before you put you or buddies in danger, take an avalanche safety course and always carry an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel. If you don’t have these three things, you will not be able to locate and dig out your buried partner.

Safety first.

Safety first.

If hard work and the thought of being buried in an avalanche have not scared you away, earning your turn just might be the latest addition to your quiver of winter activities in the mountains surrounding Bozeman.

More backcountry skiing info here:


Battling the Blues

Where to find help for depression.

by Bridget Wermer

Depression is a reality. Every year more than 15 million people in the United States are affected by the illness and contrary to general belief, it is not a result of having a weak mind—anyone can fall victim to depression. I remember when I first realized I was depressed—I was sad, lonely, and overwhelmed, but had no clue what to do or where to turn for help. Googling things like “help me,” “help centers,” and “depression help,” proved unfruitful. Then I moved to Bozeman.  Suddenly I found several resources to choose from, each with their own specialties and areas of expertise—no one has to feel alone and without help in this town. Here’s a local roundup of some help centers in the area that will fit just about anyone’s needs.

Montana State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is located right on campus, providing counseling to both students and faculty. This confidential, comfortable, and safe establishment helps over 1,500 individuals annually and serves a variety of problems including family struggles, school stress, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, grief, and trauma. CPS also offers a broad range of group classes to help those who would rather find support from their peers. Oh, and did I mention that CPS is free?

Comfy quarters

Comfy quarters at MSU’s Counseling & Psychological Services

Located on the south side of campus, Psychiatry Associates (PA) offers advanced treatment and therapy including psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and psychotherapy. PA treats emotional and behavioral disorders by focusing on prevention, early detection, and support. Their trained psychiatrists provide each patient with the best treatment option—no case has the same treatment process here. I personally worked with PA and found them to be extremely attentive to the unique characteristics in my case; I would recommend them to just about anyone.

Psychiatric Associates buidling

Psychiatry Associates building

The Hope House (HH) treats extreme cases, providing 24-hour monitoring for people over 18 with critical mental illness. HH maintains a safe, therapeutic environment where patients can feel protected and cared for. They even have an onsite nurse who administers medications and provides medical attention when needed. Although HH offers individual, group, and family therapy,  they specialize in emergency situations—when it feels like you can’t get through the day without harming yourself or others, please search for help here.

Hope House common area

Hope House common area

Remember, depression is normal—it happens to 1 in 10 people. If you’re feeling depressed, get help right away. It will save you a lot of pain and suffering and with all the options in Bozeman, there’s no reason not to.

In the event of an emergency, call CPS at 994-4531 (during office hours),  campus police at 994-2121,  the Bozeman Help Center at 586-3333, or 911.