Winter marks a slow-down in Montana’s event calendar. My guess: people are far too busy skiing to bother with events. However, there are still some very exciting things happening in Montana this next month, I’m going to highlight a few, and be sure to check out the whole list at: virtualmontana.com/events/
With snowshoeing, skiing, and winter fests galore, Glacier Country embraces winter. Whitefish hosts the 7th annual World Skijoring Championship again this year (Jan. 23-25), with free admission and $5 parking. This wild, western event is sure to entertain. A month after the skijoring championships, Kalispell is hosting a massive pond hockey tournament (Feb, 20). Although only in its second year, the Montana Pond Hockey Classic promises to become a staple of Montana winters for years to come.
It goes without saying that Yellowstone Country is in full swing during the winter months. After all, you don’t get to claim the biggest skiing in America by staying inside all day. But even in Big Sky the ski lifts shut down at night, and you need something to do. Enter the Big Sky Bluegrass Festival (Feb. 4-8). Featuring some of the best bluegrass bands in the Northern Rockies, festival activities make an ideal end to a day of powder.
Winter is a time of snowy adventure and classy culture. This year the Choteau County Performing Arts Series has an almost-Valentine’s Day special: PEAR, the Canadian Country Music Duo of the year in 2012 and 2013. With a sweet yet gritty style, PEAR blends country, pop, and alternative music into a sound that makes dancing a necessity. PEAR plays at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton on Feb. 13.
Question: does an event called “Celebrating Chocolate” need more description to sound exciting? Not really, but the description makes it that much better. Celebrating Chocolate, in the MonDak Center in Sidney “features a selection of chocolates, hors-d’oeuvres and wine while enjoying an evening of musical entertainment.” (Feb. 7) This year’s musical entertainment is the supremely talented band Tumbledown House, which describes itself “gritty saloon jazz.” The band bio on the website starts with the line “Gambling. Murder. Booze. Bicycles.”
SouthWest Montana also loves winter, and events and festivities abound. Race to the Sky (Feb. 13-17), in Helena, is one of the Northwest’s premier dog sledding races, and an Iditarod qualifying race. With several different lengths of races, Race to the Sky usually brings in around 20 sled teams, and is an excellent way to celebrate, and get introduced to, the unique winter sport of dogsledding.
If you are feeling extremely classy, then Billings is the place to be this winter. On January 24, the Billings Symphony is performing Peter and the Wolf, which, though geared toward families, is sure to be an excellent evening for just about anyone. The Billings Symphony will also perform Symphonic Fantasy on February 7, which features a marvelous line up of pieces.