The Simplest thing we can do to improve our physical & mental health for ourselves, our family and the planet is to exercise outdoors in nature every day.
This Podcast is getting outside and offline with accomplished skiers, hikers, runners and mountain bikers.
With expert tips on fitness, planning, gear and how to have the best experiences exploring year-round trails - this is your trailhead to adventure. Join us as we explore the thriving communities within these life-long sports.
Big Sky Resort opens its lifts for mountain biking on Saturday!
Mountain Sports Director Christine Baker talks about what’s new for this season.
Learn about the progression of downhill riding in one of only three lift-accessed mountain biking centers in Montana.
Pre-order The Last Best BIKE book and Ready to Ride kit on Kickstarter now.
Bike into your best self with Bozeman’s head NICA coach Heidi Makoutz.
If you have ever been around Sunset Hills trails in the summer or the winter, you might recognize Heidi. She is the Masters Coach for the Bridger Ski Foundation and Bozeman’s head coach of the NICA mountain biking program. Learn about the upcoming third season of Bozeman's National Interscholastic Cycling Association for high school riders.
Pre-order limited firsts-edition The Last Best BIKE Books and more on Kickstarter this June only.
The Gallatin Valley Land Trust's Mainstreet to Mountains trails connect Bozeman to local mountain biking adventures right from town.
Join us as Associate Director EJ Porth describes how land trusts work and plans for future connections in the valley.
See how many fundraising miles you can rack up this month on GVLT trails on June's Summer Trails Challenge!
The Last Best BIKE Kickstarter is live! Pre-order your copy today here.
Bozeman Youth Cycling started as a few family groups riding Lindley Park and grew in to the thriving program it is today. Join us a s Executive Director Molly Bowman talks about the development of the program and what makes Bozeman cycling communities so special.
Bozeman Youth Cycling
The Last Best BIKE Book
Tami has authored books including Hiking the Wonderland trail and Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail Washington and many others.
My wife and I were fortunate to go backpacking in the Cascades a few seasons back with Tami. Her vast experience in Through Hiking and enthusiasm for photography and writing make her a great source of inspiration and information in pursuing your own trail adventures.
Join us as Tami shares her latest long hiking adventures, The Arizona Trail and The Continental Divide Trail.
Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/tamiasars/
“Being in nature can restore connections in your brain and unload stress and help you recenter and refocus. Research would indicate we are hard wired for that. The trifecta is physical exercise with other people in nature. Those of us who experienced that at an early age are maybe more aware of it because we have seen the benefit of the difference it makes. If you want peak performance, to be able to operate at a peak level you have to understand what are the mechanisms that help your brain recover its energy and restore itself. Physical exercise is the most important thing for the brain outside of getting good sleep.”
You can learn more about Hannah and her work at: multipliersale.com. Visit: TheLastBestSKI.com for more information about the book and endurance sport communities in the Bozeman area. Check out TheLastBestBike.com for the new book coming out in the summer of 2021. Until next time. Happy Trails!
Learn more, read: The Joy of Movement, Born to Run and Visit The Healthy Minds Platter.
"Bozeman and the Greater Yellowstone Region is very close to my heart.
Yellowstone is a place for most Americans that is this iconic place of wilderness. It is a zone that really represents wilderness in the American ideology. That is something really powerful. It is an idea that drives a lot of people to form a relationship with wild spaces. The ideals created by our forefathers of the American wilderness and the American West. I love that it is so deeply ingrained in what it means to be American.
The mountain ranges extending from every direction of the Yellowstone ecosystem, if you are interested in climbing in wilderness in the lower 48, those are the best places to go. That’s where it’s at. Where you aren’t going to see people, you are going to be climbing on large mountains with very technical aspects, and whether or not you are making first ascents or you are repeating things, you are going to be having an adventure."
To learn how you can help to Protect Our Winters visit www.protectourwinters.org and come back to www.TheLastBestSKI.com for the scoop on skiing SW Montana. Until next time happy (ski) trails!
Yellowstone Club ski instructor Cory Birkenbuel grew up shredding the slopes at Maverick Mountain. His school project dubbed Montana’s Sweet 16 made him the first Montanan to ski each ski resort in Montana on consecutive days. Cory shares his love of skiing and SW Montana. Cory and I grew up skiing through the little skiers program to impromptu ski days with our boisterous crews in high school.
Man, I’ll tell you what - walking in boots, you can tell something about somebody right away. How they walk in their boots little kids to older people, if their shins are slammed up against the boot and they are walking like that you can already see what they need to work on. With true progression its those little steps from the boots, take one ski across the parking lot. Put both skis on, start walking on them. Teach it on the flat ground first. You want to build up confidence and that’s what skiing is; confidence.
Jim & Claudia Schaeffer (my folks) spent winters in the late 70s working at the new Big Sky Resort and off hours exploring Yellowstone National Park on backcountry skis. The meadows and ski basins along corridor from Big Sky to Yellowstone have a timeless feel, not having changed much over all those years.
"I like the quietness. The snow conditions are great, it’s dry snow, easy to wax. I like being able to see critters running around. There’s buffalo; we have seen wolves driving through Lamar (Valley) in the wintertime. And the lack of people in the wintertime. A lot of the stuff that’s really busy in the summertime turns in to a defacto wilderness, so it’s a totally different experience in the winter."
- Jim Schaeffer former Forest Ranger Gallatin, Beaverhead and Bighorn Mountains
Outdoor Sports Photo Journalist Bob Allen spends a lot of time up high in the mountains perfecting his craft. Bob shares his background in the sport and safety recommendations for protective gear to help us lengthen our days and years enjoying the slopes.
Visit http://boballenimages.com/ for ski photography and 360 tour of Big Sky resort.
Photo editor of Outside Bozeman Magazine and Backcountry Skier Simon Peterson shares why he’s not good about keeping secrets about great ski lines in the mountains around Bozeman.
"There shouldn’t be any secrets. We need the user days to progress the sport, to keep the accesses open. We are getting more people, the sport is getting more popular. All you have to do is drive 15 more minutes and you are going to find a spot where there is nobody. I don’t like the secretive, hush, hush; how did you learn about it? You learned about it from somebody. Teach the next person, maybe, just maybe they will become your friend. Maybe they are a great skier and fun to ski with. I’m not good about keeping secrets about that stuff.
I had my priorities straight. I moved here for the skiing and school second.
Doing some progression where you learn the fundamentals before you are diving into extreme terrain is huge."
- Simon Peterson
Photo Editor Outside Bozeman Magazine
Doug Chabot talks about adventuring with the late great Alex Lowe and his ongoing work with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.
Visit https://www.mtavalanche.com for more information and come back to the last best ski to get the scoop on skiing in SW Montana.
The Fundamentals Don’t change. It’s not minutia it’s the basics; it’s the foundational things that we can never forget about. Decisions are based on information. Where people get into trouble, whether you are a beginner, or you have been backcountry skiing for 30 years if you don’t take in good relevant new information to make your decision, you are hamstrung. Our job at the avalanche center is to give people good, new relevant information.
Former BSF Freestyle Coach and Vice President of Outdoor Pursuits at Yellowstone Club - Dan Lakatos schools us on the progression of freestyle skiing and Montana’s special place in the Yellowstone Corridor.
From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.
Giving members and guests a transformative experience through skiing. Guests and visitors see globally how beautiful and unique the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is.
Yellowstone Club is a huge economic driver for Montana.
- Dan Lakatos
Vice President of Outdoor Pursuits at Yellowstone Club
Right next to Bridger Bowl. Let’s talk Crosscut Mountain Sports Center’s big plans with Nordic Center Director Fay Johnson.
"Our enthusiasm and optimism is the community's response and interest in Crosscut.
They recognize the fact that cross-country Skiing is a great alternative in these troubled times because you can distance so easily.
We are instituting a new online system where people can purchase day tickets as well as reserve rental gear and book lessons."
- Fay Johnson Nordic Center Director
After missing the Olympics, by one spot, Nick Michaud turned his focus to coaching a diverse population of Nordic skiers including the US Paralympic Team partnered with Crosscut.
Yeah, I think skiing is for everyone—it just requires some collaborative, creative pooling of organizations & resources. People from all backgrounds are coming here. We have a couple of the best sit skiers in the world as part of our program and we have athletes that have just learned to ski this year. There are all these unique stories in a sport that is less widely unique. That is a huge motivation for me and the other staff. It makes our sport more special. We are bringing in more people; it makes it more accessible. Our goal as the paralympic team is for the sport to keep growing from the bottom up. They are thriving in that community.
Asking questions, questions, questions, good coaching is good coaching. In an ego-free way, let’s learn together. Meeting people where they are at to help them become the best version of themselves.
At some level we are all adaptive.
- Nick Michaud
US Paralympic Ski Team Crosscut Mountain Sports Center
Splitboarder and Doctor of Physical Therapy, Jason Lunden, shares how to be physically ready for the ski season and safely find powder stashes.
Talk to ski patrol. Ideally going with someone that can show you is the best way to safely find powder stashes on the ridge. Avalanche safety and awareness of avalanche terrain is the biggest thing.
I think it is important you know how to use your gear before you go out in the backcountry. Bring your splitboard and see how it rides off the lift as well as practice converting from skin mode to ride mode and back. You don’t want to be that person there at the trailhead with your friends and your stuff doesn’t work.
- Jason Lunden Excel Physical Therapy
Visit excelptmt.com for ski-specific physical therapy and come back to TheLastBestSKI.com for more interviews and the scoop on skiing SW Montana. Until next time. Happy Trails!
Bridger Bowl Snowsports School Director Shannon Griffin shares her love for Bridger, gives us some great ideas on where to go exploring at different skill levels and some new changes for this season.
There is easy beginner terrain to steep technical chutes, trees and cliffs. Everything you could want is accessible and it’s right there only 20—30 minutes away from town.
The spirit at Bridger has really stayed as being a community area it’s our backyard. It’s where we get to go play.
With the Bridgers being a north to south range, primary winds move west to east. The Bridgers catch the air masses forming a long cloud that hangs over the range known as the (BBC) Bridger Bowl Cloud. Any snow storms that come through start dumping straight down leaving Bridger’s famous cold smoke Powder.
Bridger Bowl Snowsports School Director
I’m in Bozeman grabbing coffee with Nordic skier and North Face mountain athlete Erika Flowers. Erika shares her transition from pro athlete to making the balance training, racing, and working full time and having a blast in the mountains. And her amazing attitude.
"The access here is probably some of the best cross-country skiing access in the world. Just the fact that there is so much access here makes it a really ideal spot for a skier growing up."
Author of The Bozeman and Big Sky Backcountry Ski Guide - Ben Werner shares how he got into skiing, some of his favorite repeat locations and why he loves backcountry skiing in SW Montana.
#1 Take an avalanche course before you do anything. That is going to be your best intro. There certainly can be a lot of specialized gear associated with backcountry skiing, but I think if you take an avalanche course first, it is a good way to learn what the essentials are that you need.”
- Ben Werner
Bozeman has played a prominent role in avalanche safety in the United States.
Before working for the National Avalanche Center Karl Birkeland founded the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center in 1990.
Avalanches kill more people on Forest Service Lands than any other natural hazard.
Bozeman is the place where we have people not only doing active avalanche research, we also have the National Avalanche Center, we have the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, Big Sky, Bridger, Yellowstone Club, all of us also coordinate with some of the other ski areas in our area.
For an area of strong academics and practitioners, there’s nothing quite like Bozeman.
-Karl Birkeland National Avalanche Center, Director, Forest Service
The Director of Mountain Sports School at Big Sky Christine Baker lets us in on the changes and opportunities skiing at Big Sky this season.
“We have 5,800 acres that is a lot of space, it creates good skiing. If there isn’t good snow on one side of the mountain, you know there is good snow on the other side of the mountain.
This is such an opportunity to consider why we are doing things. This is the time to take the step and make improvements into the future beyond Covid.”
Director Mountain Sports School
Big Sky Resort
Purchase your tickets in advance at BigSkyResort.com and come back to TheLastBestSKI.com for your scoop on skiing SW Montana Yellowstone Region. Until next time happy (ski) trials!
I’m speaking with co-founder of The Montana Endurance Academy Dragan Danevski about developing new Nordic ski trails at the Gallatin Regional Park in Bozeman.
“In the beginning I had a very small group of people who were supportive, we tried to work little by little to convince the community that what we were doing was beneficial not just for a small Nordic team but for the community. People can use those trails and be part of the program or not be part of the program. That was my vision. We were working to make cross country skiing a year-round sport. If you are doing other endurance sports through the year, you will feel better and be more fit to do cross country skiing in the winter. If your fitness, strength, agility, coordination and balance is good you can enjoy cross country skiing more.
The regional park is a great idea. It is another option for this (growing) town. It is a place to go with the family or during lunch time. For intensity or just go get out on skis. I see potential with help from community businesses to build hills, maybe a snow making system. I think this town will have the ability to support more than just one ski area. Not just Sunset Hills, but something like this regional park.”
We will continue work with the community in all levels, private businesses, local government improving the trails system for skiing, running and all other activities.”
- Dragan Danevski Co-founder Montana Endurance Academy
To learn more about The Montana Endurance Academy programs visit www.montanaenduranceacademy.org and come back to TheLastBestSKI.com for the scoop on skiing SW Montana.
Until next time happy (ski) trails!
"This is my favorite type of book because it gets to the point." It's really the best of both worlds - beautifully illustrated book and you get the digital world if you want it. It's always great to have a reference guide to get you started."
Nordic ski racers are some of the fittest athletes in the world. With off-the-charts VO2 Max, the ability to maintain speed over long distances in varied terrain, the strength to climb steep hills and technical skills to descend at high speeds in tight packs - all while saving just enough for the final full body sprint to the finish. This sport takes preparation building fitness, technical skills and mental stamina.
I am here in Bozeman, MT grabbing a coffee with 4-time Nordic Ski Olympian Andy Newell.
I wanted to get some insights into Andy’s background and what he sees developing in this ski community as I write and illustrate the next Discover Montana Treasures book The Last Best SKI Montana - Bozeman, Big Sky & Beyond.
Learn about how he approaches the ski season, developing mental/physical resiliency as an all round winter athlete and what to look forward to in the future.