By Tracy McNew
Lane Lindstrom, editor of SnoWest Magazine reached out to Glacier Country Tourism with interest in doing a snowmobiling story in Western Montana and he was referred to Libby.
Glacier Country promotes tourism in 75 western Montana communities and they sponsored Lindstrom’s visit to Libby on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 6, 7 and 8.
Glacier Country worked closely with the Libby Chamber of Commerce and Lincoln County SnoKats Club to showcase snowmobiling opportunities in the Libby area for a SnoWest article.
The visit was organized in just one week, said Joe Miller, owner of Libby Kwik Lube and SnowKats Club member. “It was amazing how many people were able to participate. People closed down their businesses and took time off of work for this important opportunity.” Miller said.
Despite the short notice, Libby seems to have lived up to expectations. The first day’s ride offered what Lindstrom called, the “hat trick of western snowmobiling:” plenty of snow, sun and mountains.
Locals came together to provide Lindstrom with a welcome to Libby gift basket, a room at the Evergreen Motel, and a twelve snowmobile guided tour to the Big Creek Baldy warming hut and lookout tower. On his second riding day, he and a group explored the Quartz Mountain area.
In an email, Glacier Country’s Lucy Guthrie Beighle said, “The places he stayed, ate and sledded needed to be representative of what would be good for a snowmobiling tourist, and Amber at the Chamber and the SnoKat Club helped me tremendously.”
The goal was to showcase what is special and unique about Libby said Amber Holm of the Libby Chamber of Commerce.
“This was a great opportunity to promote winter tourism in Libby, and we had a well rounded group of Libby-loving representatives to do it. I think we did a good job showcasing what the area has to offer,” said Holm.
Jeff Forster was one of the SnoKat Club members who participated in the Big Creek Baldy ride. He said, “It was really cool to collaborate with so many people in the community. Even competitors in business came together. Snowmobiling is a great sport, we take care of each other.”
Forster was referring to Dream Marine owner, Andy Remp and Northwest Motorsports owner Brian Gilmore when he mentioned competitors in business.
Gilmore sells Artic Cat snowmobiles and Remp sells Ski-Doo snowmobiles, but both participated in hosting Lindstrom and both were happy to discuss their experience with The Montanian last Friday.
Gilmore said that promoting tourism is extremely important for Libby and for his business that is winter-based and relies on snowmobile tourism.
“It’s nice to work together with business competitors without a sour attitude,” he said. “More tourism will only help both businesses.” Remp said that he’s happy to work together too, to make Libby a better place to recreate.
“Tourism brings progress for the community, and that’s good for all businesses,” Remp continued. He also added that these opportunities to shine a positive spotlight on Libby will help the town work towards a brighter future and overcome the fears of asbestos exposure that used to dominate conversations and deter tourists.
Holm said that some easy ways for all of us to keep this positive light shining include supporting local events, promoting local assets and working collaboratively to achieve our goals.
Nobody expects the SnoWest coverage to instantly transform Libby’s winter tourism industry, but everyone The Montanian interviewed agreed that it will probably help.
According to Forster a small boost rather than instant transformation is what Libby needs anyway. “We need to grow slowly,” he said, “we wouldn’t have the infrastructure to support a sudden influx of snowmobile tourists right now. It takes time to grow.”
SnoWest has already posted two short articles about Libby along with several photos on their website. A full-length feature article is expected to appear in the print edition of SnoWest this fall.
Check out Livin’ Large in Libby, Montana and Two out of Three Ain’t Bad online at snowest.com.