Your Day on the Mountain

by Jay Allen | July 31, 2017

If you read ATG Q2Cast Preview: Your Day on the River, you’ve probably already realized that you need to get up pretty early in the morning to eat your lunch by 8:30 am.

For those attendees that would like to experience part of their first full day in Missoula by waking up at a more reasonable hour, we offer you an afternoon at Snowbowl, a ski resort about a 25- to 30-minute bus ride from Missoula. The first bus will depart the Holiday Inn at about 11 am and return at the top of each hour (departures from Snowbowl are every hour on the half-hour).

I’d like to say I was chosen to shepherd the Snowbowl team because of my four decades in Montana and my astute leadership skills, but I was recently mockingly made aware that I was picked because I don’t work on client projects and I had the most leathery skin in the office. But you didn’t know that, so go ahead and assume I’m a qualified outdoorsman.

Here are the planned activities for Your Day on the Mountain:

Not for the faint of heart. It’s a 3-mile vertical drop in 4 seconds. Wear a shower cap or the g-force will rip your hair out by the roots. Not really – I just made that up. It’s probably fun.

Chairlift Rides
You can go up the mountain and hike down, or you can hike up and ride down, or you can ride it up then back down the mountain. Regardless, I’ll be waiting in the lodge for you.

It’s like walking, but more dangerous and with no real destination in mind.

Mountain Biking
It’s like hiking, but you’re sitting down with a helmet on.

Beer Tasting
You get to try a bunch of different beers and pretend they taste differently. Generally the prelude to Zip-lining.

Throwin’ Stuff
Typically, this one is for the fellas. It starts small, but eventually turns into a competition to see who can trigger an avalanche.

BBQ Lunch
Come high noon, we’ll be enjoying a delicious meal just like the pioneers that came before us – by eating with our hands.

Friendship Circle
While we eat our lunch, the group will form a giant Friendship Circle. We’ll hold hands and sing 70’s rock classics, then pass around the ‘Talking Stick’ and allow each person to tell the others which companies could most help their company.

For those more adventurous souls, you may want to consider going ‘off-menu’ for one of your activities.

  • Buffalo Hunt – This is strictly off the books and probably a federal crime, so you’ll need to bring your own horse and spear. If you have trouble getting those items through airport security, come armed with a strong back, good shoes, and a low IQ.
  • Ride the Rope Tow – if you’re afraid of heights like I am, this is the way to go. It’s not likely we’ll have any snow, so, really, you’ll just be dragged up the hill for a couple hundred yards, but it sure beats walking – especially if you were looking to wind up at the top of that particular hill.
  • Paintball – we’re really excited about this one. We don’t have any real paintball equipment, so we’re just going to dunk tennis balls in buckets of paint and throw them at each other and any visible wildlife. Should be a real hootenanny.

Now, you’re probably wondering what clothes to pack and other items to bring. Remember, you’re in Montana now. You’ve left civilized society behind. You should rely on the trusted advice of those who know. Alas, they were all busy and smooth-skinned, so you got me.

Up here, we like to dress in seasonal layers. This is a phrase you’ll probably hear a lot while you’re in Montana, especially if a lot of people read this post.

Your base layer should be typical summer attire – shorts, t-shirt, sensible shoes. On top of that should be your Montana Autumn layer, which would be head-to-toe flannel of varying patterns and colors. Finally, your outer layer should address the possibility of rapid-onset winter and include a hoodie, some deodorant, a Bowie knife, and a beret, worn slightly askew. You can peel off layers as needed, but you might consider keeping the beret.

Finally, here’s a helpful checklist of other items you should consider bringing for your trip to Snowbowl:

  • A keen eye, an adventurous spirit, and a heightened sense of survival
  • A helmet – I don’t like to brag but I have a bike helmet for riding my bike, and a motorcycle helmet to wear when I’m just walking around
  • Sunscreen – so you don’t get leathery
  • Gum – because I like gum and if I see you I’ll ask you for gum
  • Flare gun – nothing says ‘outdoor adventure’ quite like a flare gun
  • Extra flannel shirts in case we decide to harvest some timber
  • Beard – everyone in Montana has a beard, even the children. You should too.
  • Basket – if you’re a vegetarian, use the basket to gather sticks, bark, and pine cones to snack on. The whole mountain is your buffet. If you’re not a vegetarian, the basket will look super cool attached to the front of your mountain bike.
  • A big rock or large stick – in Montana, you only eat what you kill
  • Skinning knife – you can use critter pelts just like currency back in Missoula
  • Jar of mayonnaise – because I’ll dare you to eat a whole jar of mayonnaise
  • Plenty of cash – you’ll need it to bribe the zip line guy so you can use the ‘safe’ equipment
  • Extra clothes – I like to bring three changes of underwear to Snowbowl – one for the zip line, one for the chairlift, and one for if a stranger speaks to me
  • A shovel – to bury our fallen

There you have it. Follow these instructions to the letter to guarantee you limp away from this experience full of wonder and pride. Travel safely – we’ll see everybody soon.
May 30, 2019

I learned that a 30-minute conversation on a mountain sipping a glass of wine or a mug of frosty root beer is worth a thousand emails, and that an hour or two spent mountain biking, zip-lining, or hiking with your peers, clients, or partners is…
July 16, 2018

ATG’s Quote 2 Cast Summit begins in Missoula on August 1st, and we know there are still a few folks on the fence wondering whether they should attend. There are a handful of seats left ahead of next week’s registration deadline, so we thought we might try to sway you with a some hard-to-resist reasons you need to be here in Big Sky Country.