Letter from the Editor: First Frost

First frost comes on like regret. I stand in the tall grass that is hardened with an icebox layer of frozen crystals and notice the sun comes up so late now. Summer is long gone. Fall too brief. I know what lies ahead and I’m not sure if I’m ready.

The air is cold and thin. A deep breath awakens the muscle memory of days when the air seems to freeze in my lungs, when white will blanket the ground and the prospect of skiing or snowshoeing, sledding or ice skating must warm my days. I break out the down jacket, hat and gloves. Winter is coming.

With a shiver I recall that I’ve been cautioned by a trusted fellow editor not to write too much about the seasons for risk of sounding like a weather girl. But, let’s be real. Winter lasts six months here; it’s hard not to fixate on it. Six months.

If I were younger maybe I’d take another stance? I’d not lament another season’s passing as the mark of another year gone. Instead I’d say things in August like my teenage daughter, who came into the house on a 98-degree day, grabbed a popsicle from the freezer and declared with exasperation over the heat, “I can’t wait for winter. I can’t wait for snow and ski season!”

If I were younger, maybe I could take for granted those fleeting days of high sun and long shadows. In my youth I could always long for winter in the heat of things and not feel regret.

In place of youth, I have the lens of winter-love gifted to me by our contributors in this annual issue that will linger on your table through these next long months. Celebrating 20 years of winter in the Northern Rockies, we’re showcasing editor’s picks for adventures in this rare country (The Big Sky List). We soar into the season on the tails of Montana native Heather McPhie as she prepares for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi (Local Knowledge). Photographer Craig Hergert and journalist Brian Hurlbut take us to Whitefish Mountain Resort in an excerpt from their new book, Montana: Skiing the Last Best Place (pg 84). We also remember the thoughtful writing of deceased contributor, Sam Curtis in “Race to the Sky.”

All of Big Sky Journal’s contributors bring us the season’s beauty and show us what we have to look forward to in the many months to come.

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