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Rachel's Top 10

From Rachel Pohl

GETTING TO MONTANA IS EASIER THAN EVER

1. Downhill Skiing

As an avid skier, I love trying new places. Montana has plenty to offer—and without the crowds. For the big mountain experience, you can’t beat Big Sky, Bridger Bowl and Whitefish Mountain. Then there are the many hidden gem ski areas like Showdown in Neihart and Great Divide in Helena.
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2. Art Galleries

Painting is my passion, so when I’m not skiing or spending time outdoors, I enjoy stopping in the many galleries Montana has to offer. You really can’t find a more diverse collection of art and artists. From classic, old western and Native American to modern art, every gallery is like a glimpse into Montana’s past or present. A few of my favorites are Altitude in Bozeman, Archie Bray in Helena, Sunti World in Missoula and Art Center in Great Falls.
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3. Hot Springs

Montana is a hotbed for hot springs pools, which I must say, pairs nicely with a day on the slopes. Our state is one of the few places on the planet where you can find these underground springs—and many are conveniently located at lodges and resorts. You never know when you’ll stumble upon one, so it’s wise to always have a swim suit and towel in your backpack.
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4. National Parks

We’re fortunate to have two of the most beautiful national parks in Yellowstone and Glacier—and they’re just as magical in the winter. After spending the day going up and down snow-packed mountains, it’s a nice reprieve to experience the winter wonderland of Yellowstone National Park in the comfort of a heated and roomy snowcoach. The West Yellowstone tour, which travels to Old Faithful, is on my list.
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5. Cross-Country Skiing

When I’m not downhill skiing, I enjoy the cross-country variety. Montana is packed with millions of acres of trails that take you deep into the backcountry, if you let them. The views are amazing and the trails are easy to find and get to. Many are connected to resorts, or within driving distance. If you’re up near Whitefish, make sure to ski through Glacier National Park.
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6. Ice Climbing

Okay, this one is not for everyone, but it’s on my list of favorite winter activities. Just south of Bozeman, there’s a place called Hyalite Canyon that offers breathtaking views and plenty of thrills. Large ice walls hundreds of feet off the ground provide climbing enthusiasts an experience you just can’t get anywhere else. The Mountain Project, a climbing workout facility in Bozeman, is a great place to find guides and get prepped.
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7. Great Food

One of the things I like best about Montana are the charming restaurants and local must-eat specialties. Beyond great steaks and desserts made with fresh huckleberries, every town has its signature dishes and it makes the journey from town to town all the more enjoyable. Butte has its Pasty, Billings, the famous Burger Bar, and in Philipsburg, it’s Friday Night Pizza all the way.
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8. Exploring

You don’t have to have skis to enjoy the vast wilderness of Montana in winter. Sometimes a good pair of winter boots or snowshoes and a map can do the trick. I love to explore new places and towns—and even though I’ve lived here all my life, I feel like I’m always discovering. Although there is endless terrain to hike, I enjoy heading southeast to Red Lodge, a gateway to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. The view of Granite Peak is spectacular.
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9. Snowmobiling

When I’m ski touring with friends around Montana, I try to make a point to take a day to rent a snowmobile and go where no other motorized vehicles can go. It’s an opportunity to go deep into the backcountry and witness a different, even more serene side of Montana. Nearly every town you go to has snowmobile rentals and there are thousands of miles of groomed and ungroomed trails. Play it safe by always checking on avalanche conditions.
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10. Winter Road Trips

Hitting the open road can be as much fun in the winter as it is in the summer—weather permitting, of course. There’s nothing like taking a trip up from Bozeman to Glacier Country. I often stop at the towns along the way to hit up a gallery or do some shopping. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of Montana in the winter. Making it all the way up to Flathead is an adventure, but it’s worth the trip.
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About Rachel Pohl

I’m an avid skier and painter.  I’ve been around the world, seen many places and experienced many different cultures, but for me, there’s no place like Montana. The beauty, the people, the amazing adventures—they’re all an inspiration for me to keep going and live my life, my way. As an artist living in Bozeman, I thrive on bringing my experiences into my paintings. Montana’s community of artists and outdoor enthusiasts share a common bond, and it’s through this group of people that I’ve had the privilege of participating in some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. There’s something about standing on top of a mountain and feeling like you’re on top of the world. That’s Montana for me.