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Second-Hand School

College lessons learned while second-hand shopping.

by Emma Nord

In the hunt for an affordable coffee table for my apartment, I meander through Nu2u, a thrift store on N. 7th, with my attention scattered across all its treasures. A baby blue Trek bike catches my eye; I wander past the furniture and closer to more things I don’t need: funky leggings, fur jackets, and far-out attire. I forget why I’m here. As I try some Halloween costume combinations and snap some photos, I glimpse an antique walnut coffee table—reminding me why I came thrift shopping in the first place. Hours could be spent exploring all the second-hand stores around Bozeman—examining all the nooks and crannies, taking some fun pictures, and buying stuff. But thrifting—and college—can be so much more than that.


Both college and thrifting are places to go when you’re hung over—spending money, wasting time, getting distracted. But if we have intention, and still allocate time to explore, we’re sure to leave with far more value than you thought possible.

Whether you’re on a journey to find a table for your apartment, or you just began college, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to get distracted by all the great stuff—the outdoor activities, the clubs, the parties, or the items at the thrift stores to outfit these events. If you arrive at either place without an agenda, your time and your money will wither away quickly. College is a great experience, and in Bozeman, there’s never a shortage of fun—but do you really want to be a freshman forever? If you have some goals in mind—such as getting a biology degree, running for student government, or interning for Outside Bozeman—do what you came here to do, and do the difficult things first.


Don’t Get Distracted
To limit some of the abounding distractions, get the stuff you need right away. After completing the tedious tasks, you will feel more accomplished and likely have some extra time to enjoy yourself. If you can get those chemistry courses done early, you may only have to take nine units your senior year. And when you have an impending graduation, an unpaid internship, and friends who are finished with school, you won’t want to be in a chemistry lab for six hours stressing about being “off the payroll” in a month.

Pay Attention
Even though it’s important to have goals in mind, it’s also good to pay attention to your surroundings and seek new experiences. If your schedule opens up for that film class you’ve been curious about—even if your major is biology—you may find a purposeful connection between the two and discover your niche. Students who have tunnel vision may miss out on opportunities to discover their true purpose.

Advocate for Yourself
Now that you’ve found a table—and a really great lab coat—bargain a bit. Thrift stores are one of the last bastions of bartering, where you can dicker for a better deal. Though you can’t negotiate the price of tuition, professors can be bargained with when it comes to grades. If you’re friendly and speak up at the start, most people will want to help you out. And remember, you’re not entitled to a cheaper price or a better grade, so don’t get surly.

Neither college nor thrift stores are places to waste time and money. If you set intentions, do the difficult things early, and look for ways to make the most out of the experience, you’re sure to get far more out of it than a few drunk photos and a dirty lab coat.

Some thrift stores to test out:

East Main Trading Co.
702 E. Main St.
Look for: wool blankets, cast-iron skillets, paintings

First National Pawn
1052 N. 7th Ave.
Look for: backpacks and camping supplies

Nu2u Thrift Superstore
431 N. 7th Ave.
Look for: Halloween costumes, furniture, instruments, bikes

Rethink Thrift
2630 W. Main St.
Look for: books, movies, dorm decorations

Second Wind Sports
15 W. Olive St.
Look for: outdoor gear (skiing, hiking, climbing, camping,  backpacking, etc.)

Sacks Thrift Ave.
138 W. Mendenhall St.
Look for: kitchen appliances and clothing


Whoa, Bro

Vocab to avoid this semester—and beyond.

By the editors of Outside Bozeman

Lingo can be a good thing. It can be a fun part of any culture and a time-saving linguistic device. But it can also be super, super douchey. Here’s a smattering of Bozeman slang to avoid at all costs—unless you’re playing in the douchebag Olympics. Review the inane idioms below and add up your points.

Pulling Down: Climbing
Example: “Wanna hit Spire and pull down tonight?”
5 points

Conrad/Connie: Conrad Anker (local climber, quasi-celebrity, do-gooder, and all-around nice guy)
Example: “I was pulling down at Practice and saw Connie killin’ it on Cardiac Arête. He gave me beta on the crux of Theoretically—I totally sent it!”
3 Points

Ill/Sick: An expression used to denote a quality experience
Example: “Dude, Big Timber Creek is so ill right now—I was throwing Brown Claws every chance I got, it was sick!”
5 points

Brown Claw: A hand gesture (which ironically represents holding a bag of fresh “brown” or human feces) recognized in kayaking circles as a symbol of stoke
Example: See above
10 points

The White Stuff: Snow
Example: “I can’t wait to shred the white stuff tomorrow. Saddle’s gonna be sick! Pow-pow gnar-gnar, bitches!)”
5 points

Pow-Pow/Gnar-Gnar: Snow
Example: See above
10 points

’Za: Pizza
Example: “I’m famished, bro… wanna grab some ’za at Tarantino’s?”
3 points

The ’Stone: Yellowstone River
Example: “Let’s float the ’Stone, then chow some ’za at the Murray.”
5 points

Ripping Lip: Catching fish
Example: “Brody and me were rippin’ lip like crazy on the ’Stone. It was so sick!”
10 points

Bozeman Blight: A section of town in northeast Bozeman that, despite home prices rising above $300,000 for tiny, rundown fixer-uppers, retains a hipster reputation for “authenticity,” and encourages chicken coops in un-zoned alleys
Example: “We totally scored a sick house in the Blight for only $315,000; like, 850 square feet with room for a compost bin out back.”
5 points

1-10 points: You are susceptible to the douche virus, but preventive treatment can still save you. Call your doctor or talk to a Filling Station bartender.
11-20 points: You’re getting douchey. Stay inside and try not to speak.
21-30 points: You’re a raging douchebag and should be quarantined immediately.
More than 30 points: You have a terminal case of douchitits. Sorry. Stay away from other humans, lest you spread your venal plague.


Rock & Rule

Safety guidelines for climbers.

by Chris Naumann

College students are known for being impulsive and thrifty, but sometimes—when rock climbing, for example—it pays to slow down and invest in your safety. Here are three simple things to think about: properly threading top anchors, doubling back your harness, and replacing old, worn-out gear. And, of course, don’t forget to wear a helmet.

Threading Top Anchors
Most climbing accidents occur at the top of a climb or during the descent. At the top of most sport-climbing routes in southwest Montana, you will find double-chain anchors (always consult a guidebook for specific anchor information). Once you’ve reached the anchors, clip in with a 24-inch sling girth-hitched to your belay loop, or two quick-draws for redundancy. Make sure that you clip into one of the bolt hangers or a chain-link other than the bottom ones, which you need to reserve for re-threading the rope.

Illustration by Emily Harrington

After you’re securely clipped into and weighting the anchor, call for slack and take up about four or five feet of rope. Tie an overhand or figure-eight knot in the rope and clip this to your belay loop. This important step prevents you from accidentally dropping the rope after you untie your lead knot. (Dangling from the rock 50 feet up with no way down makes for an embarrassing call to Search & Rescue.)

Illustration by Emily Harrington

Now you can untie your original lead knot and thread the rope end through the last two links of the anchor chains. Next, simply tie back into the end of the rope with the same knot you used for leading. Unclip and untie the knot securing the rope, and call to your belayer to take up the slack. Once you feel tension on the rope from your belayer, unclip the quick-draws and call to be lowered.

Illustration Emily Harrington

Doubling Back
Many climbing accidents occur because climbers fail to double-back through their harness buckles properly. Most buckles require the user to thread the waistbelt webbing completely through the buckle once and then back through again to lock the system. Always check your harness buckle—make it part of your tie-in routine. After tying in to the sharp end of the rope, take a second to assess the knot and confirm that your harness is doubled back. When belaying, always ask your partner if she is doubled back as part of your verbal routine.

When it’s time to replace your old harness, consider upgrading to a rig that utilizes a two-piece speed-locking buckle, which does not require the user to double back.

Replacing Old Gear
Though well-used gear may feel as comfortable as broken-in blue jeans, retiring hammered or old gear boils down to safety. There are two simple guidelines to follow. First, replace any piece of equipment that shows visible signs of damage: a crack in a helmet, frayed rope sheath, a grooved belay device. But most climbing gear will eventually need to be replaced even without explicit signs of wear. Which brings us to the second guideline: if you have any doubts about a piece of equipment, retire it.


Although buying new climbing gear stings the wallet, the cost is nothing compared to a visit to the emergency room.

This article first appeared in Outside Bozeman in the Summer of 2016. Chris Naumann is a lifelong climber and former owner of Barrel Mountaineering.

High up South Cottonwood

Trial by Trail

Go-to mountain-bike trails. 

by David Tucker

Whether you’re new to biking or you’ve been ripping singletrack for years, Bozeman has something to offer. Here are a few classics to try out.

Mystic Lake: Choose Your Adventure
The beauty of the Mystic Lake trail is its variety; you can ride mellow Forest Service road and gnarly singletrack, all in one ride. If you’re just starting out, pace yourself with an out-and-back, anywhere from two to 18 miles up and down the dirt road. If you’re up for more of a challenge, make the ride a loop by adding the Wall of Death, a white-knuckle stretch of exposed singletrack.

South Cottonwood: Get in the Flow
If Bozeman has one trail that feels like it was built for biking, it’s South Cottonwood. Mellow climbs, flowy cross-country sections, and gentle descents make this a must-ride. Like Mystic Lake, it’s an out-and-back, so you can go for a short jaunt or an all-day epic. South Cottonwood also connects to History Rock, meaning you can add even more vertical to your ride if you shuttle. If you opt for this ride, we suggest starting from the Hyalite / History Rock side.

The colors of Chestnut

The colors of Chestnut.

Chestnut Mountain: Beginners Beware
Just east of town off I-90 is the trailhead for Chestnut, one of Bozeman’s more grueling climbs. Switchback after switchback, you’ll ascend to the top of a wildflower-covered ridge with incredible views of the Absarokas and Crazies. This ride is definitely for those in good shape, or those looking for punishment. Another out-and-back, the trail eventually connects to several other options; so again, as with many things in Bozeman, the size of the adventure depends only on your ambition.

GSI Outdoors Ultralight Camp Table

Camp Comforts

Items for backpacking season. 

by the editors

Minus a few extreme eventualities – snow, swarms of skeeters, a hungry griz sniffing around the tent – backcountry camping in the summer is a good time no matter what gear you’ve got. But a few small comforts and conveniences can go a long way. Here are a few items we haul into the woods with us these days. 

GSI Outdoors Ultralight Camp Table
Flat, smooth surfaces are always a commodity at a backcountry campsite, especially clean ones. Avoid grit on your spoon and enhance your outdoor kitchen with this featherweight table, which folds in half length-wise and packs into a slim sleeve that can be stuffed almost anywhere. Just a few extra ounces on your back keeps cooking items off the ground and organized, making the entire experience that much more enjoyable. This sucker’s surprisingly stout given its small size, and while snapping the legs into place takes a little trial and error the first time around, one use and you’ll be glad you brought this thing along. $35;







GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist Cook Set
Compact and light is the name of the game, and integrated systems are the modern standard. One of the best setups I’ve used is the Pinnacle Dualist, which, as the name implies, has everything you need for two people: boiling pot with lid, bowls, mugs, utensils, and room for stove and fuel, all of which fits together in a single stack, kinda like those nested Chinese boxes. Wrap it up in the stuff sack and voila, your entire kitchen (sans table above, of course) comprises less space and weight than your sleeping bag. $65;









Wild Tinder Fire Pellets
A campfire is a primal experience, connecting us to our ancestors all the way back to neolithic times, as they gradually rose above the other animals. Fire played no small part in our development, so why not honor that heritage by keeping your fire-starting primal, too? We’re not talking about a sweat-inducing bow drill, but rather, wait for it… moose poop! Yep, cowboys fed fires with buffalo dung and you can start a campfire with ungulate crap, thanks to Wild Tinder Fire Pellets, which is moose scat dipped in parrafin wax – so it’s all-natural to boot. Made in Livingston. $10;



Cheap Eats

Chowin’ for Cheap.

by Nora Mabie

Bozeman is packed with tasty places to eat. Sadly, your wallet isn’t as full as you’d like your stomach to be. Here’s how to chow on the cheap. 


Bagelworks: Breakfast sandwiches are under four bucks. You can also stock up for the week with a baker’s dozen for only $8.55.

Bamboo Garden & Panda Express: Chinese food by the bucketful, so get two meals for the price of one.

Bridger Brewing: between 11:30am and 4pm, you can get a big slice for $2.75.

Pickle Barrel: An MSU standby, the Pickle Barrel knows how to craft a budget-sensitive hoagie, and with a modest appetite, half a sub equals a complete lunch and half a dinner for under $10.

Eagles Bar: Friday night is Bingo & Burgers night. Burgers are $5.50 and come with beans or a salad.



Car Trouble

Transportation got you in a bind?

by the editors

Having a car on campus might seem like a blessing, but before you know it, you’re fighting for parking, waiting in traffic, and paying an arm and a leg for gas. With that in mind, we suggest utilizing alternative forms of transportation. Here are some examples.

While Bozeman has a long way to go before it’s the bike-friendly Mecca it claims to be, riding around town does have its perks—exercise, for one. Plus, routine repairs are cheaper than gas and exploring by bike is a good way to discover a new town.

The free Streamline bus system (that’s right, free) can take you anywhere in town as well as to Belgrade, Four Corners, and Livingston, and up to Bridger on weekends in the winter. Buses start at the Strand Union around 7:30am on weekdays and carry on late into the night Thursday through Saturday. Visit for specific routes and times.

Carpooling isn’t just convenient, it’s economical, and a good way to make friends. It’s also practically required on weekends and powder days at Bridger Bowl. If you don’t have cash on you for gas, make sure you’re buying post-outing pizza.

The Main Street to the Mountains trail system, which started in 1991, is a great way to get around while avoiding busier routes. Pick up a map at the Gallatin Valley Land Trust office or at businesses around town more info on these convenient corridors.


King of the Hills

Pray for snow.

by David Tucker

If you’re at MSU, odds are you’re aware of Bozeman’s endless powder possibilities. But where to start? Here’s a rundown of the area’s best downhill, Nordic, and backcountry options.

Ski the cold smoke.

Ski the cold smoke.

Downhill Dreamland
Closest to campus, and to many Bozemanites’ hearts, Bridger Bowl is the epitome of challenging ridgeline skiing. While it doesn’t feature the biggest vertical relief around, the tight chutes, deep powder, and down-home atmosphere more than make up for it. Bridger’s abundant “cold smoke” powder is legendary, but the mountain is more than just waist-deep stashes. Improved facilities mean beginners are welcome, so if you’re new to the downhill game, don’t shy away—before you know it, you’ll be hiking the Ridge with the rest of us.

Not to be outdone, Big Sky, just over an hour down Gallatin Canyon, offers world-class skiing and riding, with a larger variety of terrain for those seeking a little of everything. Or a lot of everything—with the recent addition of Moonlight Basin and the Spanish Peaks Resort, Big Sky is bigger than ever, and has the options to prove it. Forty-plus-degree slopes, gladed tree runs, endless groomers—you name it, Big Sky’s got it. Most days, your legs will quit long before the chairlifts.

If you’re looking to go a little further afield, but still want the convenience of lift-access skiing, don’t neglect any number of small-town hills within a three-hour drive. Red Lodge, Maverick Mountain, Teton Pass, Lost Trail, and Discovery all make for awesome road-trips that harken back to simpler—and cheaper—times.


Bozeman is laden with cross-country trails.

Nordic Nirvana
Not into the downhill? Fear not—Bozeman has more cross-country trails than you could cover in a lifetime, let alone four (five?) years. Start with the in-town trails, many of which are groomed by the Bridger Ski Foundation, a local nonprofit. Make your way from the Highland Glen Nature Preserve’s mellow groomers up to the labyrinthine network in Hyalite. As with all things outdoors in Bozeman, there’s a trail for every skill level, so start easy and work your way up.

For a more formal outing, head to Bohart Ranch in Bridger Canyon. Here you’ll find one of Bozeman’s most storied outdoor institutions and over 30k of groomed trail, less than 20 minutes from campus. Want to make a weekend of it? Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky and the Rendezvous ski trails in West Yellowstone are great options for a close-to-home getaway.

Can't get much better than untracked powder.

Can’t get much better than untracked powder.

Backcountry Bliss
If crowds aren’t your thing, or you need an adventure that goes beyond the lift line, southwest Montana will still deliver. Now, part of the backcountry experience is finding secret stashes on your own, so we aren’t going to point you to any specific location, but rather remind you of some importance considerations to make before heading out. First off, get educated. ASMSU offers excellent avalanche-safety courses on the cheap, so there’s no excuse for ignorance. Secondly, respect begets respect. There’s nowhere you’re going to go that hasn’t been skied before, by folks who are much more “rad,” “epic,” and “gnarly” than you are; understand your history and venerate your predecessors. Finally, take advantage of your access. We’re surrounded by outstanding ski terrain and it’s all free for the taking—so get out there and explore.

Ten Minutes, Landscape, Night Sky, Stars, Colors

Ten Minutes a Day

The importance of taking time.

by Corey Hockett

As we move further into the 21st century, distractions historically deemed outrageous, are now becoming the norm. It is custom to check Facebook every 15 minutes, watch Netflix on the daily, and not leave without a phone charger. Rapid interruptions are now routine. News outlets are altering the way they publish information due to shortened human attention spans.  Sensory bombardment is higher than it’s ever been and it’s changing the way we live.

StudentLife05 (600x384)

Time management isn’t easy, especially in college. Juggling schedules, meeting deadlines, figuring out when and where to eat — where does it all fit? Assignments pile up and dates arrive faster than expected. And with the increase in tempo, stress levels elevate as well.

Thus, I propose a challenge: ten minutes a day. This year and here forward, devote ten minutes a day, everyday, entirely to yourself. And I don’t mean brush aside homework so you can burn one and play Pokémon Go. Forget the vibrating rectangle in your pocket. Free yourself of screen, social circles, and work. You’ll be surprised what it offers. You may become inspired or remember something you forgot. Modern day has taught us to switch our brains every few seconds, so ten minutes without disruption may seem like an eternity. But it’s not long at all.

Landscape, Perspective, Mountains, Backcountry, Adventure

The other day I was run down. My workload from three different jobs was overwhelming and I had family issues to deal with. I couldn’t focus and my mind told me there wasn’t enough time to get everything done. But after work, I went straight to one of my favorite spots on the Gallatin. I didn’t walk half-a-mile before I was out-of-sight of all human activity and when I found a good area, I sat facing the river against a blown down tree. I watched and listened, and within five minutes, everything was clear. Suddenly, my schedule didn’t seem that packed and my issues weren’t as big as I initially made them out to be — everything was fine. But what had changed? In the literal sense, nothing, but in my outlook, everything. I eased off the  gas for a mere moment and that was all it took for my perspective to relax.

Ten minutes. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat will be there when you’re done, but for those ten minutes, simplify.  Instead of dedicating unnecessary concern to a frenzied world of cyberspace, let nature play in front of you. Give yourself a chance to have a thought you otherwise wouldn’t, or don’t think at all. Focus on the elements we so often take for granted — the westward wind, a chirping chickadee, your own heartbeat.


I’ve since been back to that spot on the Gallatin multiple times, each occasion erasing my stresses. But it doesn’t have to be a river, it can be as easy as laying on a field outside your dorm room, whatever works for you, just take the time.

Everyday traffic isn’t going to slow down and social realms will forever be easy to join. Filter your sensory and remember what’s important. Don’t forget to step back once-in-a-while. If you want to find yourself, you’ve got to hang out with yourself. Take ten. You’ll thank yourself down the line.


Powerhouse Profs

Learn from the best. 

by Lea Brayton

Students at Montana State hail from far and wide, gathering under the Big Sky to learn from decorated faculty whose achievements, research, and talents are tough to beat. Don’t miss the chance to study under one of these memorable mentors this year.

William WyckoffProfessor of Geography, Earth Sciences


According to Wyckoff, landscapes are great teachers—and he would know, as he wrote the book on it. His latest publication, How to Read the American West: A Field Guide, focuses on the changing geography of the West. His philosophy stresses that people and place are cohesive, jointly transforming their environment. In his newest project, he follows the footsteps of Arizona state employee Norman Wallace to recreate landscape images from over 70 years ago.

Wyckoff is known for clarity of presentation and his articulate, passionate rhetoric. Kyla Jewel, junior at MSU, says his class was one of her most memorable: “Geography’s not always the most thrilling subject, but I liked that Professor Wyckoff was always enthusiastic about the material and that translated to the whole class.”

Wyckoff’s professorship is one to admire. He inspires true educational growth, teaching that “Learning about geography should ultimately take you out of your classroom, beyond your computer, even away from your books, and into the larger world which tends to be much more complicated, interesting, and unpredictable.”


Whitney HinshawDirector of Group Exercise, Recreational Sports & Fitness


Athlete, coach, instructor, and director Whitney Hinshaw has always been involved in the world of athletics. With a dietetics degree giving her a strong health background and a master’s in higher education, Hinshaw is one of the lucky few who have successfully coupled passion and profession.

Relatively new to MSU, Hinshaw is focused and encourages her students to move outside their comfort zones. Her courses are informative and instructive; her stories of her own competitive experiences often relatable and humorous; and her spin classes likely to be difficult and invigorating. As an educator, she believes in something she calls transferable heart skills, which her wellness philosophy explains: “If you can train heart and mind for a trail race, you can train for anything educational, professional, etc. It’s all the same skillset. Training requires grit, persistence, discipline, self-control, and emotional intelligence—so does preparing for the professional world.”

Hinshaw is working toward her own personal goal of “50 by 50”—completing a half-marathon or similar competition in every state by age 50 (she’s currently in her 20s). So far she has seven states checked off. Run at the chance to learn and train with her this year.


Selena AhmedAssistant Professor, Health & Human Development


With 17 different courses on record and teaching experience at six major universities, Montana State’s powerful “rising star” Selena Ahmed is bringing much-deserved attention to the Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems (SFBS) program. Her complex research looks at variations in agro-ecosystems—such as economic, environmental, and human factors—to discover better management practices and more sustainable solutions.

Ahmed is a big-time contributor to MSU’s research community, and she’s continuously heading up groundbreaking global projects. She has spearheaded research in nine countries and is distinguished for her work examining tea production, which she calls “a diverse and elegant system.” She’s currently studying local food choices in on the Flathead Reservation and the Tibetan Plateau.

Working closely with students, Ahmed encourages collaboration across disciplines and involvement in research. Recent SFBS graduate, Cory Babb, remembers the opportunity: “Her class was my first chance to actually take part in publishing research.” Keep an eye out for this inspiring intellectual on campus this year.