Winter 2009 Round Up

That’s a Load of Candels! Glacier National Park’s Centennial [1910-2010]

Oy! We should all look so good when we hit 100…. That’s right, way back in 1910, U.S. President William Howard Taft signed the bill that established Glacier National Park as the 10th National Park. And since then, millions of visitors have come away feeling nothing less than awed by the sheer, enormous grandeur of the place.

The park has been gearing up for the landmark year with various scheduled activities throughout 2010, including benefit events for charities, contests that test people’s artistic skills, performances at Wolf Trap, and art and historical exhibits. And on December 31, 2009, at Belton Chalet in West Glacier, a big ’ol New Year’s Eve Celebration will usher in the big year in a big way.

In addition to all this festivity, the park is in the midst of a super-size fundraiser, the Centennial Legacy Campaign, money from which will go toward supporting Glacier in a number of ways, from helping to maintain its 730 miles of trails, viewing platforms, and fire lookouts, to supporting historical and cultural research and preservation, and the free education program used by 8,000 children who visit the park each year. For information about contributing to the Centennial legacy Campaign, visit:

And be sure to drop by for a full calendar of events, more history of this stunning park, information about upcoming contests, photos of recent centennial events, tips on how you can help Glacier celebrate its centennial up close and personal, and lots more. If you’ve never been to Glacier National Park, 2010 is the perfect time to remedy that sad fact. It’s set to be a big year full of big parties — and you’re invited, so don’t miss out!

Session Defies Gravity

In September, Teton Gravity Research (TGR), a Wyoming-based think tank for extreme sports entertainment (think skiers without inhibitions), released Re:Session, its newest feature-length ski film shot in 16mm and HD that promises the viewer a front-row seat to “the true wealth of the mountain experience.”

It does that and more, documenting the fantastic flights of the assembled ski bums, young men all (I pity their knees — and their dependents … ), as they not so much ski but careen down raw, half-rock crags that goats don’t even bother with. How do they get up there? Ample use of helicopters. And those same choppers carry the camerafolks, allowing TGR to capture descents no one has the right to survive. But they do, then they go back for more.

While Re:Session is, to the bone, a ski film, the quality of the undertaking leaves competitors snowplowing on the bunny slopes. The cinematography offers everything from wide-open vistas to ratcheting, in-your-face helmet-cam action, and manages to capture some of the most jaw-dropping scenery and savage descents you’re likely to find on film. Marry that with cutting-edge editing, just enough filmic trickery to keep the viewer saying, “Now that was cool …”, and a hip soundtrack of propulsive tunes varying enough in style — from hip-hop to neo-ska to metal — that viewers’ ears can’t grow bored, and you have the penultimate powder-caked package.

Any attempt at a plot (“Economy? Bah!”) unraveled pretty quickly, save for the fact that our intrepid band of skiers manages to globe trot (Alaska, Washington, Italy, Slovakia, Poland, British Columbia, etc.) with skis in tow. Nice work if you can get it.

Oh, and I learned a new verb: tomahawking. It involves a human body whipping unintentionally end-over-end. I can’t imagine it felt too slick, but it makes for damn good cinema. If you tire of rewinding those scenes, check out more than two hours of extras, including solid tutorials on avalanche awareness, a making-of featurette, a “Crash Segment,” and more. I’m not too old to shake my head in disbelief at these hijinks. But try it myself? Not when I have a remote control.

The award-winning, talented — and slightly off-the-beam — folks at TGR seem to be crafting the future of action sports entertainment. Grab yourself a copy of Re: Session ($27.95), and all the other gnarly releases from TGR, at But be sure to buckle your helmet. It’s a monster ride….

Yellowstone Grizzlies: Back on the List

On September 21, 2009, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition won a lawsuit in federal court that resulted in overturning the 2007 decision to remove Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population from the Endangered Species List. It reinstates Yellowstone’s 600-plus grizzly bears to the national protected lists in part because the conservation strategies put in place by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proved insufficient. Other factors that contributed to the relisting have to do with the negative effects of global warming on a primary — and dwindling — food source of the grizzlies, the whitebark pine nut. For more grizzly news, visit

From the Almanac

•    Women in Wyoming are committing a crime if they stand within 5 feet of a bar whilst imbibing.

•    Forget to close a private gate in Wyoming? That faux pas could cost you up to $750.

•    Sundays are not the day for riding merry-go-rounds in Idaho. Unless you’re lookin’ for a trip to the hoosegow …

•    Anyone found raising pet rats in Billings is engaged in a criminal act. Okay, Ratman, you know who you are…

Northern Rockies Wisdom

“When they were turned to a nice golden brown and the steaks were hot and dripping and the sliced lupine roots were sizzling in a platter of fat and the coffee was steaming, Sam looked up at the sky, for this was his way of saying grace before a meal. Every time he feasted he thanked the Giver of the earth’s fantastic abundance.”

— Mountain Man, by Idaho author Vardis Fisher, 1965

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