Chester Fox, an alpine ski instructor at Big Sky Resort in Bozeman, recently fell in love with the art of alpine carving and now hopes to return as a carving instructor at future Montucky Clear CUT events.
Photo by Sean Martin
by Stacy Bender
The name “Montucky” was given to a group of Montana carvers by another group from Cleveland during a gathering several years back. “Clear” refers to the event’s no-passing rule, the downhill rider always having the right of way and preventing interruption for those riding by distraction from above.”CUT” refers simply to the technique of alpine riding – carving the slopes, leaving pencil-thin cuts behind.
This elite niche of alpine carvers uses a technique which tilts their board high on edge as they lean into the turn, forearms skimming the slope as they ride. It is often described as what seems the purest way to ride a snowboard, similar to surfing. The G-force experienced a large part of the draw.
2021 marked the 3rd Annual carving event held at Turner Mountain. “The two objectives we hold steadfast are to support Turner Mountain with fundraising and to promote tourism while holding a carving event on a private mountain,” shared founder and Libby native, David Redman. “We did it again! I am just amazed at how much momentum this event is gathering. Seeing new faces along with old friends each year and watching the sport grow a little more, too… we hope this event and the smiles that go with it will continue for years to come.”
Despite COVID restrictions which kept many at bay, just under 60 riders – 60% of those first-time Clear CUT participants – arrived on scene to take full advantage of the mountain and a number of clinics which serve as a unique opportunity for people to advance their carving skills alongside a large number of fellow carvers. “You might run in to an alpine carver here or there. But this is amazing, I’ve never seen this many carvers in one spot,” shared Chester Fox, a seasoned ski instructor who has now fallen for the art of alpine carving and plans to return as an instructor at future Clear CUT events.
“I did go to an intermediate clinic,” wrote Joshua Gabriel of Allentown, Pa., in a follow-up email this past weekend. “The only instruction I ever had prior to the event was watching videos online and trying to mimic what I saw. For the advance riders to explain and to see it in real life was incredible. They were giving me pointers and telling me information that you just don’t get from a screen.”
Former World Cup racers, Rob Berney and Manny Mendoza, joined the already strong roster of clinicians to bring racing tips and techniques to Turner this year. The buzz across the country now soundly anchored here in Lincoln County has excited many. Warren Miller film crews were spotted working on-site and a clip from the 2021 Montucky Clear CUT is expected to be quite possible in next fall’s big movie release.
“We are seeing growth in the sport,” shared Redman. “Sean Martin of Donek Snowboards reported they have sold more beginner carving equipment than any other year in 2020-21. On the Alpine Snowboard Forum we are also seeing many new carvers logging in. We had two teenagers and more people in their 20’s and 30’s than ever before at Turner this year – though most of us are still a bit more experienced and gray. It should be noted, we highly recommend that riders come to this event with solid intermediate skills in general snowboarding, given Turner’s advanced terrain.”
Terrain which serves as the very draw for an optimal and advanced alpine carving experience. Terrain which Turner has boasted in reputation since 1960, long before carvers were a ‘thing.’ When Redman designed this event, he knew it would be a win-win situation. Bring carvers to the very spot which inspired him to start riding and simultaneously garner sound monetary support for the non-profit gem of Lincoln County.
In 2019 and 2020, the Montucky Clear CUT event raised over $51,000 collectively in mountain rental, raffle drawings and straight donation to the Turner Mountain Ski Patrol.
Tax Season Opens: Montana offers QuickFile Option
MT Department of Revenue
The Montana Department of Revenue has begun accepting 2020 individual state income tax returns, and Montanans with simple taxes can file their state returns online, quickly, and for free.
MT QuickFile is now available for Montanans who:
- Were full-year MT residents in 2020;
- Only have income documented on W-2, 1099-DIV or 1099-INT forms;
- Do not have unemployment income;
- Are filing as single, head of household, or married filing jointly;
- Are taking the standard deduction;
- Are not claiming any tax credits (other than the Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit.)
Montanans who meet all these criteria should check if they can use MT QuickFile. Just go to MTRevenue.gov/FilingOptions and complete the short questionnaire. Those unable to file with MT QuickFile can find links to other approved tax software.
Electronic filing is the safest and fastest way to file your return and get your refund as quickly as possible.
The department also reminds those who worked remotely in Montana for part of 2020 that wages earned while working in the state are taxable in Montana.
Montana and federal individual income tax returns are due April 15.
For more information, visit MTRevenue.gov.
Dog Sledding: its origin and a local opportunity to explore
by Brian Baxter
A mushing team from Ulsamer’s Dog Sledding Adventures in Olney, Mont., navigates their way through the backcountry landscapes of Norther Lincoln County. (Courtesy Photo )
When “Old Man Winter” kicks into high gear with low temperatures, blustery winds and heavy snows, visions of fictional characters may come to mind. To some, it might be Sergeant Preston of the Yukon who began his late 1950’s black and white television show with his command, “Mush you huskies!” Or maybe it is writer Jack London’s characters, such as those in his tales of the Gold Rush in the Klondike.
In some of London’s most famous works including The Call of the Wild and White Fang, his descriptions of the brutality of winter life in the wildlands were unmatched, as was his portrayal of the unnamed main character in the story, To Build A Fire. London described to the reader winter battling human types which included the Malamute Kid and Sitka Charlie.
In London’s real life, he had sailed to join the Klondike Gold Rush on July 12, 1897, at 21 years of age. His stories, although fictional, had a basis in truth. In the reality of winter in northwest Montana, there are a special breed of hard-core individualists that enjoy dog sledding as a form of winter re-creation with close bonds to both earth and its coldest season.
Musher is a term used for the person driving a dog team. Some mushers have drawn inspiration from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Since 1973 they have challenged themselves in a race that is often called “The Last Great Race on Earth.” Drivers and their teams race each March from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. At approximately one-thousand total miles, the terrain includes mountain ranges, relatively flat tundra, and Alaska coastal areas.
This challenge is given to one person, one sled, one dog team, and usually takes participants about 16-21 days. The route that most of the race follows is a trail that was created long before the race began. Initially utilized by Native Alaskans for hunting and transport to numerous villages, the Iditarod Trail was cleared of brush and blow-down by government employees in 1908.
It was not until the 1910 gold discoveries in Iditarod, Ruby, Ophir, Flat, Nome, and Elim that the trail became regularly used as a supply route. One must keep in mind, before the yellow metal that drives some humankind crazy was discovered in the area, Alaskan Natives had been using dog teams as a way of life and for an existence that depended on hunters, gatherers, and fishers to provide food supplies.
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