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Old 10-27-2012   #11
 
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Sylva, Western North Carolina
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Go to Bozeman. I lived in Billings for a while.

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Old 10-27-2012   #12
 
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Sylva, Western North Carolina
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Or go to Boise. I lived there too, prefer it to Billings.
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Old 10-27-2012   #13
 
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Waha, Ida'maho
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I dont know if its just me but does it seem like most or all later in life boaters end up moving to boise?
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Old 10-27-2012   #14
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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I dont know if its just me but does it seem like most or all later in life boaters end up moving to boise?
Boise or Salida
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Old 10-27-2012   #15
 
Missoula, Montana
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Lived in Bozeman and Missoula and IMHO bozeman beats out missoula for skiing and mountain biking. As for paddling, as stated before its a toss up. But missoula does have brennan's wave which is a sweet two feature playpark downtown that runs all year. I think caspermike works at the barn in bozeman, who is owned by the garcia bros dad, mike. give him a visit at the shop and if hes not in front he might be out back giving the garcia bros handjobs for LL hand me-downs. But either way he will help you get into the bozo paddling community. Also, missoula is also a close drive by MT standards.
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Old 10-27-2012   #16
 
Yopal, Colombia
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I grew up in the Flathead, 2 hours north of Missoula, and I love that place. Never heard much good about Billings, and my dad lived there for something like 4 years. I sadly didn't learn to boat until after I left MT, so I don't know much about the WW opportunities, but there are pretty dedicated biking and skiing communities up that way. Plenty of backcountry opportunities in the winter, and Big Mountain *ahem* Whitefish Mountain, is 20 minutes from the town of Whitefish. Glacier Nat'l is at your back door. I haven't been back in something like 6 years, but I'm pretty sure cost of living is lower up that way. Columbia Falls is pretty much small town working class, Whitefish is a tourist town and a bit swanky, and Kalispell is the "metropolitan" area.
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Old 10-30-2012   #17
 
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Boise/Hokitika (New Zealand), Idaho
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I actually live in Billings

So I actually live in Billings... and probably are on the same way length as you...

So Billings as a city: Not where I'm gonna be long term. Lack of a sense community, lame night life, lot's of blue collar folks who have never even been to the beartooth mountains. Do not get me wrong there are some beautiful spots in Billings along the Rims. While there are some good folks around, the per capita the type of progressive or outdoor minded folk I prefer to hang with... the concentration is pretty small and disappointing. Art scene... negligible. Music... hope you like hick cover bands that can't fathom original music. The town just doesn't feel young, fresh, or alive most of the time.

Boating: I'm creeking mostly and I actually would argue access to class V is pretty good in Billings and often overlooked by Bozeman folk. this past season I got 7-9 laps down the woodbine section of the Stillwater and mostly after work (here's some video of after work stillwater this year: ). There's the west stillwater as well as the pots sections. The rock creek and rosebud drainages are right there too... more laps than I can count on those 5 separate runs. Then we get over to the Clarks Fork area as well... honeymoon, day stretch, lower clark's, crandall creek, sunlight creek.. and of course: the box. You go a little farther you get... the Boulder River, Big Timber. Most of this is within an 1.5 hrs of Billings and it's only 2 hrs of to Boz town. The paddling community is small... there only a couple of us "locals" trying to get after it and admittedly I'm in/near red lodge 90% of the paddling season. All in all, I count more than 10 IV-V creeking opportunities within an hour of here!

If you are looking for playboating... thin pickings. I have yet to find something worth getting on somewhat nearby. High quality stuff is only around for a short time and hard to access. It's pretty frustrating in a playboating sense.

Mtn Biking: Good shit right in town.... lots of sandstone slick rock. Plenty of stuff for me to take some good diggers on. Decent bike community around here for sure. The entire Rim for miles has Mtn Bkiing trails snaking all over it.

Skiing: If you are looking for resort skiing... stay out of Billings. While red lodge is a great little resort with a small town feel and support. Those who want the big resort feel and amenities should go to Bozeman. But then again you do your fair share of yuppie dodging over there. That being said, that's not what I want. However, the backcountry access from Billings is good. I'll be on my snowmobile getting after laps in cooke city most weekends and come spring... Bozeman folk flock to the Beartooth pass in Red Lodge... was skiing laps till 4th of July up there two seasons ago. So if you want backcountry skiing... it's amazing, but requires a sled.

Ice and Rock Climbing: Some of the best ice in the world is in Cody, WY... only 2 hrs from here. Lot's of ice climbers in Billings who get out and get after it. Tight little community. Rock climbing is in town and real good bouldering... but poor quality sandstone. Lot's of folks make the drive to Tensleep for sport climbing abound!!! There is alpine trad and first ascent to be had in the beartooths for sure!

Thankfully, you have a wife...which makes Billings even more tolerable. the women out here: they leave a lot left to be desired...

So as one of the few Buzzards living in Billings currently... that my two cents in the matter. Happy to answer more questions...
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Old 10-30-2012   #18
 
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Cody, Wyoming
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Mark give me a call and I can give you some details !
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Old 10-31-2012   #19
 
Red lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1987
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So how do you really feel Burgess...I actually ran into Mark and his wife after you left the Taproom the other eve and gave him a bit of the scoop...small world. Good luck with your choice Mark
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Old 10-31-2012   #20
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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I grew up in Great Falls, went to school at MT State (Bozeman), and have lived in Missoula and Kalispell.

Sadly, I didn't take up boating until after I'd left Bozeman.

Great Falls, like Billings, is an industrial town. It's a good place to be "from".

Bozeman has better skiing and a lot more creeking opportunities. Your wife will enjoy the Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone.

Missoula has so-so skiing (I hate SnowBowl, and Lost Trail is a 1.5hr drive). The Selway and Lochsa are a 2 hour drive. Missoula has a lot better sense of community than Bozeman, IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glenn View Post
Montana is all about driving large distances. A 4 hour drive is not considered long by most Montanan's. While many goods can be had in under a 4 hour drive from Billings it's worth considering. Billings is 2 hours from Bozeman and Cody which both have vastly better opportunities for outdoors activities. If you make friends in these towns I think you can do alright with weekends crashing on couches.
All true!

Quote:
Originally Posted by acb5 View Post
I grew up in the Flathead, 2 hours north of Missoula, and I love that place. Never heard much good about Billings, and my dad lived there for something like 4 years. I sadly didn't learn to boat until after I left MT, so I don't know much about the WW opportunities, but there are pretty dedicated biking and skiing communities up that way. Plenty of backcountry opportunities in the winter, and Big Mountain *ahem* Whitefish Mountain, is 20 minutes from the town of Whitefish. Glacier Nat'l is at your back door. I haven't been back in something like 6 years, but I'm pretty sure cost of living is lower up that way. Columbia Falls is pretty much small town working class, Whitefish is a tourist town and a bit swanky, and Kalispell is the "metropolitan" area.
A lot less jobs here. Also not much Class IV that his wife might enjoy. The North Fork is a gorgeous II, and the Middle Fork Flathead is a really great III. The Yaak is supposed to be pretty decent for a IV+, otherwise you'll be driving to/through Missoula to get her on challenging water for her. If you want an after-work Class V, look no farther than the Swan River (wild mile) in Bigfork.


Could you handle a commute? Live in Red Lodge and commute to Billings?
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