Interview with Jessica: Winter Activities

We think conversation is one of the most fun parts of language learning. On Thursdays, we switch languages and ask each other questions to learn more about Tuesday’s topic. Today, Rober interviews Jessica about Montana winters and options for getting outside even when it’s snowing. You can read Jessica’s original post about cross-country skiing here.

Rober: As we learned in your post, the winter can last as much as 6 months in your area, but how much time is there usually snow on the ground? How is life with such a long winter?

Jessica: My first year living in Montana, it snowed on the last day of school in June! It didn’t stick of course. While it’s common for there to be snows in early November and late April, it’s rare for it to feel like winter the whole time in between. A few weekends ago, it was warm enough to read on the porch for several hours during the day, and there are usually only a few weeks where getting outside really requires bundling up. Otherwise it’s easy to at least walk or run outside. So, life with a longish winter isn’t so bad. We usually have a solid 3-4 months with snow on the ground, where it doesn’t melt in between snowfalls.

The first snow this winter in early November

R: What other activities can you enjoy in the snow? Which of them have you done before?

J: Pretty much anything snow-related is a possibility here. Like I mentioned skiing, both downhill and cross country, are really popular. Snowshoeing is also a great way to get out into the mountains. When I was younger, did a lot of ice skating and sledding. There was a hill across the street where I lived as a high schooler that was fun when you just wanted to get outside, and a quick drive would get you to a bigger hill with more options for sledding. And while it’s not exactly a snow activity, I really like walking/running in the winter. Actually, in our very first post for this blog, I talked about running at the equestrian park across from my parents’ house.

One of my winter walks at the equestrian park

R: Are there ski resorts in Missoula or do you usually ski in the countryside?

J: There are several ski resorts in Montana, and we have one downhill ski area near Missoula. I haven’t been there yet. I’ve heard that there are not a lot of routes for beginners, so I guess that has deterred me a little bit, but it’s only about half an hour from town, so it’s too close to pass up forever. So far I’ve only cross country skiied on groomed trails, but my brother was telling me about renting back country skis last year and exploring in Glacier National Park, so there are a lot of options, both at established areas and in the wilderness. Of course, going off the beaten path takes more preparation and in some cases, more knowledge and safety training.

Lubrecht ski area, about 35 minutes from Missoula

R: Are there other activities you can do at or around Lolo Pass?

J: When we finished skiing there a few weeks ago, we headed to a hot springs a little farther down the road. You take about a 20 minute hike from the parking area, and then you start seeing pools scattered along the edge of the river. There were several people there the day we went, but we managed to find a little pool of our own. I think it was a cooler than the main pool, but we were able to dig away some of the sand around the spring and warm it up. It was a perfect end to skiing, minus the fact that I forgot the towels and putting on damp clothes in the snow is never nice!  

View of the snowy river on our way to the hot springs.

R: Did you miss the snow and the Montana winter when you were in San Francisco, or did you prefer its mild winters?

J: I didn’t miss the snow at all, but I’m loving it now that I’m back. I really liked San Francisco weather, because you so rarely had to think about it. I just always brought a jacket with me. But seasons are pretty fun, and so far, I’m not tired of winter. Ask me again in a month!

The last of the snow last winter in April.


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