You might have heard that Bozeman in Montana is beautiful during winter. It is located close to the Rocky Mountains, even though you cannot see them as well when the weather decides to act up. It is typically covered in snow from the start of winter in November or April. Even though the winter can be longer than other places in the United States, you are still encouraged to visit even when the temperature drops. So, what is Bozeman like in the winter?
It is a Different Kind of Cold
Bozeman gets cold in the winter, but it is not what you might expect. Many people refer to it as dry cold, which does not feel as bad as a humid cold. The town gets about 300 days of sunshine every year, so its skies are often clear and bright, even on cold days.
When visiting, bring warm clothing, including boots with extra traction. Cotton is not the warmest fabric, so wear wool or synthetic blends that absorb moisture while keeping you warm. Additionally, mittens are generally warmer than gloves, so wear them. A scarf can also make a significant difference.
Also, remember to pack a few warm blankets. Weather can change quickly in South West Montana and temperatures can drop fast too. A couple of extra blankets can be a lifesaver if you are stranded for a long period.
Dining Options Can Be Limited
While it does not have a slow season like you might expect if you have visited other mountain towns, the winter can get tricky if you are trying to find something to eat. Most restaurants close early in the winter, so it’s best to plan. If you can, make a reservation on the weekends because the area is busy at that time.
Breakfast is always a big deal in the town, but you will not find a quick breakfast before visiting the ski hill. Although there are several places to eat breakfast, all of them are popular. So, you typically have to wait a few minutes to get a table.
If you are in a hurry, several restaurants and food trucks serve breakfast burritos or sandwiches in the area. You can go online to find ones that are popular, but you can also ask a local and they will direct you to a great one.
Hotels Are Often Fully Booked
Bozeman is a highly desired destination for outdoor winter sports enthusiasts, which makes the holiday season particularly busy. Additionally, Southwest Airlines attracts numerous visitors who frequently stay overnight to catch their flight. As a result, it is advisable to book accommodations in advance.
If you can, plan on staying at an Airbnb for an intimate experience. There are several in the area, but they do not always have the views you get when you stay at a hotel.
Safety is Crucial in the Winter
When it slows, the roads can get slick, and it can be difficult to see where you are going. It is best to drive slowly, even when the traffic signs say you should be going much faster. Slowing down when visibility is a few feet or non-existent will keep you and other road users safe.
With the weather changing rapidly, you might battle a lot of snow after a snowstorm. For this reason, consider driving a four-wheel drive vehicle or renting one when visiting in the winter. This type of vehicle will be handy whether driving around town or along one of its canyons.
Also, always check your vehicle for snow and ice before leaving. A good ice scraper can help, so have one in the car before leaving. The aim is to ensure you can see outside and behind you on all mirrors and windows.
Turn off cruise control when it snows in Bozeman or when the roads are covered in snow or ice. The reason is that the car will try to spin faster to keep the same speed if the car skids. You might then lose control and end up hitting a barrier, going over, or injuring other road users.
You Need an Emergency Kit
While Bozeman is not too dangerous even in the winter, it is always a good idea to create a travel emergency bag. The bag should contain everything needed to manage and treat injuries including cuts, burns, bruises, and scrapes. Accidents can happen at any time, which is why having one is always best.
Before creating one, list everything you are likely to need. If you do not know what you need, you can download a list online. The list will likely be a PDF, so you will need to convert the PDF to Word to edit it and add anything not included in it. You can use a document conversion tool for this, after which you can store the file on your computer or phone for easy access.
Apart from emergency tools and medication, your emergency bag should also contain a battery pack. Even though it is difficult to be lost where someone will not find you in Bozeman, having a separate power source can be handy if you are stuck somewhere at night or for long periods.
The Ice is Always Calling
Bozeman’s residents already know that the best way to enjoy winter is by indulging in outdoor activities. The town offers three outdoor rinks and they are all well-maintained.
Additionally, Gallatin Ice at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds provides two indoor rinks with open skating times. If you are interested in hockey, you can also catch live games at the venue. You might also see people ice skating outside at different places. It is polite to ask them if you can join but only do so if you can skate outdoors. They will likely let you join them until everyone has to head in for a warm beverage.
Apart from skating, there is much more to do in Bozeman. Downtown has many specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, and coffee shops, and everything is within walking distance. You can also visit the Museum of the Rockies, the American Robotics Museum, and the Gallatin History Museum, which are all fascinating and suitable for all age groups. The Montana Grizzly Encounter is an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with grizzly bears while learning about them.
Road Safety is Not Always a Concern
Bozeman is very safe and has few traffic incidents even in the winter. The SAFE plan put in place to protect all road users is working as expected because accidents and injuries have been reduced since it was enacted.
However, you must protect yourself when driving on the town’s roads. Basics like keeping your high beams on, keeping your distance, and using the right tires in the winter will help, as will knowing what to watch out for and avoid.
Bozeman is an interesting win in South West Montana, which is always welcoming. It comes alive in the winter as skin enthusiasts visit. If you wish to visit at this time, you need to plan for things like travel, accommodation, and where to eat because the large number of people might make accessing these basics challenging. Enjoy the sights and outdoor activities when you visit or stay to enjoy the weather the rest of the year.