As the dregs of winter settle over the Flathead Valley, the grip of post-hibernal purgatory has seized the legions of powder-drunk locals fresh off a three-week skiing bender, holding their spirits captive while the vernal equinox casts its witchy spells of weather.
Delivering a range of atmospheric phenomena, from monsoonal melt-water and slate-gray skies to spring sunshine and creamy groomer runs, the shoulder season’s slushy bouts of manic depression can easily erode our daily resolve, tempting us to wile away the weekends indoors, reading and basking in the glow of a happy light.
To escape the melting miasma, we might reminisce about winter’s glorious streak of recent powder days while reorganizing the gear room, which has been distressed by a four-month flurry of skis, poles, misplaced goggle lenses, soggy base layers, orphaned mittens, fossilized ski socks, and boot-liners that smell like boiled muskrat.
Or we stave off the shoulder season’s rigor mortis through travel, jet setting off to warmer climes or road-tripping to the desert.
But as we wait for winter’s bounty to transform into the spring green of leaves, there’s a heap of opportunities in our backyard.
Fly-fishing guides are offering early-season floats while passing the evening hours tying emerger patterns in the shop. Nurseries are prepping for spring by re-planting petunias and bagging peat moss. Local hoteliers are offering deals on accommodations to those on the lookout for a stay-cation.
Because we all ride out the seasonal fluctuations together, the Beacon has compiled a guide to surviving the shoulder season, featuring suggestions on how to indulge your outdoor-recreation needs, showcasing a suite of must-do events, and offering advice on how to ready yourself for spring’s glorious arrival. -Tristan Scott
Four Spring Getaways
Leave the gray days of winter behind with these unique hideaways
By Justin Franz
Winter has a way of making us stay put. Sure we drive to work, to the grocery store and to the ski hill, but bad roads usually mean traveling long distances is out of the question. Celebrate the arrival of more mild weather with these four great getaways. READ MORE>>>
At Lakestream Fly Shop, fly-tying night promotes camaraderie, fills fly boxes and helps mend the shoulder season blues
By Tristan Scott
There’s an old fly-tying adage instructing anglers to create at least three of a kind before moving on to the next pattern — one for the rocks, one for the trees and one for the fish.
On any given Thursday night at Lakestream Fly Shop in Whitefish, that piscatorial proverb could just as easily serve as a toast for the devoted clutch of fly fishers who gather to tie flies, tell lies, swap patterns, and sip beer. READ MORE>>>
Plant nursery prepares for major crowds seeking color after a long winter
By Molly Priddy
The smell of warm earth and green leaves filled the production room at Hooper’s Garden Center on Highway 35, where a replanting machine plucked thousands of fledgling petunias from their seedling pads and into the new plastic six-packs in which they will be sold to eager customers seeking color after a long winter. READ MORE>>>
Get active this spring and enjoy the season indoors and outdoors
By Dillon Tabish
Just because summer is still a few months away doesn’t mean the Flathead Valley is dull or boring. There’s a ton of activities and events slated for the coming weeks and months. READ MORE>>>
Five Outside Activities
Celebrate the underrated pre-summer season by enjoying these outdoor pursuits
By Dillon Tabish
Biking, golfing and geocaching. Locals know that the best time of the year to explore the bounty of Northwest Montana is in the spring. READ MORE>>>
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