Get out and explore Montana's great outdoors

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joe C. Gandolfi
  • 341st Missile Wings Plans and Programs

Bored? Follow this simple expression: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." For many, Malmstrom is the new Rome. Great Falls, Montana, is in the heart of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. You may have to get out of your comfort zone to see and experience it though. There are far too many activities to mention or talk about that could become your new interests or hobbies. Examples: fishing, hunting, boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, snow skiing/boarding, cycling, backpacking, swimming, tennis... Some are seasonal while others are year-round.

I enjoy doing all of these and more as much as possible. One area of interest I would recommend to get you out on a new adventure would be snow skiing/boarding. After all, it is winter right now so take advantage of a new sport while you can. There are 15+ areas around Montana that are available to visit for skiing/boarding, Showdown being the closest to Great Falls. Visit some different ski areas and enjoy Montana for what it has to offer. Trying a new sport can be scary but don't let that hold you back. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you get and the more enjoyable it will become to you.

I have been a snow boarder for about six years. Each year I get more and more out of the sport. It is a rush to be diving down steep terrain on a black or double black diamond slope. Floating through fresh powder, dodging trees (most of the time) or just flying down some groomed trails is exciting. Fresh powder can be so smooth you don't even feel the board beneath your feet. I've had the opportunity to introduce this sport to people age 15 to 45. Though not an expert, it is a great experience being able to teaching others something they thought they would never do. Once they got the hang of it, they were hooked just like I was.

Hanging out with someone on a chair lift gives you time to really get to know someone as well. I've met and talked with people from all over the United States and even some people from out of our country. After all, you are stuck there with the person for 15 minutes or so and they can't leave. It's hard not to say hi and strike up a conversation. One guy I met on the slopes was 87 years old and he still gets out on the slopes. He said it gives him something to do with his son and he loves every minute of it. Even though he was a skier, not a boarder, I had the greatest respect for him to be still out there doing what he loved. I hope I will still be boarding at that age.

Whether it's snowboarding or skiing, I encourage you to give it a try and encourage your co-workers and subordinates to go along with you. It's a great "wingman" opportunity as everything we do doesn't have to evolve around work, plus it's fun to watch your friends flop all over the hill the first few times down the mountain as well. It's ok. Everyone starts out that way. You will get better. Don't let cost keep you from trying this sport. A couple of sites you can visit to get you started are and Look these sites over to see how you want to get started. There are even ways to try this sport for free.

Whatever you decide, don't let your stay here at Malmstrom be all work. Get out and play, enjoy a new sport or recreational activity and make the most of what this area has to offer. Hope to see you on the slopes.