By Jesse Vernuccio

Whether we mean it sarcastically or not, the best part of “living the dream” in the service/freelance/side hustle industry, is that at any given time we can get out of town if we feel the need. Many of us take any available opportunity to do just that, hit the road in search of adventure.

Earlier this winter, it felt time to visit old friends in Bozeman, Montana. Even with a lack of recent snowfall I knew I had a few free skiable days lefts at both Bridger Bowl and Big Sky, and with no real reason not to go I tossed my pal Newman reluctantly in the truck and set out before sunrise.

Scenic overlook is an understatement right here

Scenic overlook is an understatement right here

The beauty of living and driving to destinations all over the west is that depending on where you’re going, you may never have to take the same route twice. This time around, I chose to take Highway 20 to Idaho Falls through Craters of the Moon, catching a pretty unbelievable sunrise before dropping down into Fairfield. I love it when a great photo op and pee break for my dog coincide.

Backside of the Gallatin Range

Backside of the Gallatin Range

Having only heard rumors of how great the fishing was on the Madison River, I wanted to get a peak before heading back in June for some concerts in Missoula, so I cruised up along the Madison towards Ennis. Every time I visit I am blown away at how beautiful and wild our neighboring Montana is.

Montana brews some incredibly tasty beer (Payette Brewing is still the champ), so naturally a happy hour brew tour was the first thing we decided to do when I rolled into Bozeman. Map Brewing is the only one I had been to before but the beer and food is excellent and the views are among the best I’ve ever seen at a microbrewery. These guys have an unreal location sitting lakeside looking directly at the Bridger Range.


The next morning we headed up to Bridger Bowl ski area. I had only been up to the Bridgers in the summer at this point but man are they beautiful and surprisingly close to town. This is my kind of ski area through and through; low key vibes, big time terrain, and super friendly, hardcore skiers. How can you not love a place that has terrain so extreme yet accessible that they require you to wear a beacon in-bounds. We kept it mellow until the sun warmed the snow enough to basically ride spring corn. No complaints here.


After two days skiing Bridger and some good times catching up with old friends, it was time to split. The drive home took me directly through Big Sky so naturally I had to put my Ikon Pass (don’t hate me) to use for a few hours. Anyone who knows about Big Sky understands that all of the skiing is based around Lone Peak, a pretty gnarly single peak jutting into the sky. I’m a pretty confident rider but waiting in the tram line, which disappeared into the clouds 100 feet from the terminal is vertigo inducing for sure.


I didn’t see ideal weather this time around but that last look at Lone Peak on the way out was enough to get me thinking about a return trip as soon as I can, whether I bring my snowboard or mountain bike with me.