What do you really know about Montana? A recent Gallup Poll claims it’s the best state to live in across the U.S.A., which makes it sound pretty swell. Sure, the guidebooks say it’s the home of world-class fly fishing, the nation’s most scenic park, and more elk, pronghorn antelope, and bald eagles than you can possibly eat … but when we left Montana bars off our list of top mountain-town drinking establishments, we were shocked to learn from our neighbors up north that, despite rumors to the contrary, there are some serious downsides to what we thought was basically a state-sized version of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
“There is a limit to 1.5% alcohol in MT; and there is no snow projected for next year. Don’t waste your time coming here. It is also filled with a bunch of crazie [sic] gun-toting outlaws, and cannot be considered safe. I would stay wherever you come from.”
“MT only has dirt roads with high tolls. And hurricanes.”
“MT is full”
“Yes, Montana is very full…..so full in fact that the snow has already melted, there are rabid hillbillies everywhere. The chairlifts are all run down, some even fall apart and I hear that next year the whole state will be dry (as in no booze at all), best not to even think about coming to MT.”
Say what? We’d only heard great things until now, but after the Montana Dive Bar Militia came a-calling, we started to wonder: is it even worth visiting The Slightly Lesser White North Just South of The Great White North? After getting the dirt from some honest-to-goodness Montana folks, we came up with this rather disappointing list:
Ski Montana claims there are as many as 15 resorts in the state, but we’ve since been told there’s only one (Big Sky), and that it’s always cold and windy because it’s basically a big ice cube with a gondola at the top. Also, while (the clearly fictitious) Whitefish Resort quotes an average snowfall of 300 inches, apparently the wind blows all the snow away.
We’ve seen pictures of people enjoying warm, sunny weather in Montana, but we’ve since been informed these were all Photoshopped. The average July temperature in Montana hovers around negative 12 degrees Fahrenheit, and in January it dips to 0 Kelvin, stopping all cellular activity at the molecular level.
Nobody wants to look at, much less walk around on, a big hunk of ice, but Montana has ’em in spades. Locals advise you wait a few years until the planet has warmed up a few degrees, at which point you’ll be able to enjoy Glacier National Park without all of those pesky glaciers getting in your way.
Don’t try to count all the craft breweries in Montana, because by the time you’re finished, ten more will have opened up. It’s as though they’re all trying to win some sort of prestigious medal or something. Or maybe it’s two medals? Can’t remember after all these beers.
We may be misinterpreting the actual letter of the law, but it seems Montana is the only state where “open container” means you are actually required to have an open beer in your hand at all times, especially when operating heavy machinery.
Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states, and while it is a well-known fact that they eat mostly fish and berries, a little-known fact is that the fish and berries generally come from inside humans who ate fish and berries earlier.
The people will. Everybody in Montana is armed to the teeth and pissed off that A. there are now speed limits and B. Montana bars weren’t included in the Backcountry.com list of Best Mountain Town Dive Bars.
Vegetarians, beware. Thanks to the prevalence of cattle ranching as the state’s biggest industry, prairie oysters—a.k.a. bull balls, a.k.a. cowboy caviar—are the only form of sustenance allowed within Montana state lines.
According to U.S. Census data, 46 of 56 counties in Montana currently qualify as “frontier counties” with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile. Just try finding a Starbucks.
Pretty sure about this but we are checking our sources.