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  Comments (0) Total Friday Apr. 25, 2014
Enjoy the Wonders of Wintertime
COMMUNITY: Lakeside / Somers
The old saying, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” certainly applies to making the most of the winter season around Somers and Lakeside.

Whether it’s enjoying ice skating when the ice freezes solid on Somers Bay, or skiing at Blacktail Mountain, there are plenty of opportunities to make winter a bit more fun.

Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
In case you haven’t noticed, the winter ski season is well underway. Even on a dreary weekday morning, you may have noticed “confused commuters” heading in the wrong direction toward Lakeside (instead of the more typical direction toward Kalispell or south toward Polson).

But if you look closely, you’re bound to notice skis on a roof rack or a snowboard in the backseat – all likely destined for the Blacktail Mountain Ski Area, one of the best, right here in our own backyard.

And if making the drive up the mountain has kept you away, now there are two shuttle bus services available to handle the driving for you.

Brown Bear Charters can get you to Blacktail Mountain from as far away as Columbia Falls and Whitefish, and points in between. For details about rates and routes, please call (406) 892-9822 or visit brownbearcharters.com.

Likewise, Slope Coach Ski Bus can get you up the mountain from as nearby as the Best Western Flathead Lake Inn and Suites at the intersection of Highway 93 and Highway 82 or as far away as Ronan, Pablo, Polson, Bigfork, and points in between. Please call (406) 253-0405 or (406) 212-6093 or visit slopecoach.com for more details.

More Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Trails
Not everyone going up the mountain is heading for the ski area, especially since the North Shore Nordic Club has put some finishing touches on the Blacktail Mountain Nordic Ski Trail System. Now there are even more miles of both groomed and un-groomed trails for nordic skiing or snowshoeing thanks to their partnership with the U.S. Forest Service (Swan Lake Ranger District).

The North Shore Nordic Club – an all volunteer, all donation project – maintains many trails along Blacktail Mountain for all to enjoy. Visit its website for information about grooming and trail conditions.

To learn more about the North Shore Nordic Club, please contact Dave Hadden (406) 837-0783 or Don Bauder (406) 837-2142.

Winter Wildlife & Weather
While there are plenty of activities to be had at the ski area or along the nordic ski trails, “heading up the mountain” offers opportunities to view wildlife and weather in amazing winter settings. Winter tracking can make finding wildlife a bit easier, and there is something about the solace of snow-covered trees or an empty bay for viewing or photographing wildlife and weather.

For example, taking in the effects of a winter temperature inversion from above in the mountains (where the air is clear, and the ground below is cloudy), is a rare and awe-inspiring experience. So is experiencing and photographing hoar frost, particularly along the various backdrops along the lake shore in Somers. Even just enjoying a winter sunrise or sunset can be rejuvenating.

And no matter what your plans are for winter fun, please be sure to be safe and take precautions, such as letting others know where you plan to go, the times you plan to be afield, and keep aware of your surroundings.

Now get out there and enjoy the wonders of winter – right here in Somers and Lakeside!
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Kellyn Brown
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@hike734 Thanks, Jake!
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