Winter took its sweet time getting here, but it has finally arrived. Thanks to El Nino, Montana has had a mild winter for 2023/2024. We recently got a taste of the snow and cold we would expect from a typical winter. Other than the extreme arctic blast we experienced, temperatures have warmed up slightly making for perfect conditions for winter fun. Ski hills across Montana had been struggling to open due to the lack of snow. But, thanks to the recent episode of winter weather, people are flocking to the hills for some downhill winter fun.

What if I were to tell you that you could take one of your favorite summertime activities and transform it into one of your new favorite winter activities?

Just take one look at any Montana fishing access site on a warm spring day, and you will see what appears to be a parking lot full of boat trailers. Montanans love getting out on the water. You can't go anywhere in the Bitterroot Valley without seeing someone with a raft. As someone who has been considering buying my own raft, I feel it is a lot like buying a motorcycle. You get to play with it for a few short months and then you have to pack it up and just look at it for the entire winter. Well, not anymore!

Nick Coulter/YouTube
Nick Coulter/YouTube

A popular trend in Norway, snow rafting has become a new fun winter event. Ski resorts all over Norway have created special snow rafting runs for thrill seekers looking for the excitement of tubing but with friends and family. Runs consist of snowbanks along each side of the path, to keep the raft from sliding off course. 6 people pile into a river raft and navigate their way downhill at speed. Ski resorts use snowmobiles or even rope tows to carry the boats and riders back to the top of the run.

I guarantee that this has been done before here in Montana. There have got to be winter thrill seekers who have practiced this before on a Montana mountain. But, why is it not a thing at Montana ski resorts?

Judging by the smiles on people's faces after doing some downhill snow rafting, I may have made my decision to buy a raft so that I could enjoy year-round fun.

LOOK: Biggest snowfalls recorded in Montana history

Stacker compiled a list of the biggest 1-day snowfalls in Montana using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

Montana's Top 10 Record-Setting Wild Weather Events

Montana is named Big Sky Country for several reasons, not only grandiose Sunsets but impressive weather events as well! Ask any Montana resident who has scoffed at the idea of tossing a blanket or snow shovel in the trunk of the car ” just in case”. Here is a list of Montana's Top 10 Record-Setting Wild Weather Events

Gallery Credit: Brian Lee

More From Alt 95.7