There has been a huge influx of transplants to Bozeman these past few years, many from warm states like California and Texas. They come here for a variety of reasons - more space, quality of life, urban flight and don't think too much about the winter. It's all fun and games until the snow starts falling in October! If you are new to Bozeman and this is your first experience with winter, we have some tips for you on how to survive a winter in Montana.
The first snow can be magical to even the biggest skeptics. The fresh layer of snow on the mountains against our bright blue sky can really take your breath away. Especially if it's your first time seeing it. Kids bundle up to build snowmen and the skiers get excited. It’s important at this point to find a way to maintain that positive attitude for the many months ahead, you will need it come spring when it's still snowing (and occasionally into summer).
Now is the time to buy a snow shovel or snow blower if you haven’t already. The city requires snow to be removed from the sidewalks within 24 hours of snowfall. You’ll find that just because it snows, people in Montana do not stop running outside or walking their dogs so be a good neighbor and keep those sidewalks cleaned up!
Driving on snow and ice takes some time to learn so if you’ve never experienced it, give yourself some extra time to get the feel of it. It will take you longer to get anywhere because everyone is going slower, so be patient! Clean all the snow off your car and scrape your windows so you can see and remember it takes longer to stop, start, and turn. Put some extra space between yourself and other vehicles. Having 4WD, AWD, or snow tires will make the adjustment much easier. And, it probably wouldn’t hurt to get rid of your California plates asap so no one judges your winter driving. And, did we mention slow down?!
Yes, you are going to need a lot of winter gear now. When you live in Montana it means having good coats, hats, gloves, boots, ski pants, etc. to keep you warm. We know there can be a stigma with the “Patagucci” comments, but you will want to invest in quality when it comes to winter gear and Patagonia is good. Plus, we are lucky enough to have the outlet store in Dillon. If you don’t want to break the bank check out Second Wind Sports, Play it again, or Recouture for your gear. They always end up with plenty from people that couldn’t hack it.
Winters in Montana can be long and brutal, but they are also pretty special. If you ski, you’ve clearly come to the right place. If you don’t, there are plenty of winter activities to keep you busy through the many months. Winter hiking, ice skating, ice fishing, events, the museum, hot springing… to name a few. Find some winter activities and embrace our 9-months of winter in Montana!
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