No Snow, No Go for Epic Montana Winter Event
Normally at this point of the winter participants in one of the biggest sporting events of the year are excitedly checking gear and getting ready to hit some of the most spectacular country in the Northern Rockies.
But that's not happening in 2024, as this winter's "snow drought" forces the cancelation of the Trans-Montana Charity Ride.
The news is not only disappointing for snowmobile riders, many of whom travel thousands of miles to take part but also for efforts to help improve mental health in Montana.
Montana's premier snowmobile event
Over several days, the riders on the tour will cover hundreds of miles of the Treasure State's best trails, riding as much as 50 or 60 miles each day before loading up and moving to the next day's ride.
Organizers work with local snowmobile clubs to find the best ride spots and conditions, rotating each year among epic destinations. This year's stops were to have included Georgetown, Skalkaho, Wise River, Butte, and West Yellowstone. Riders come from all over the U.S.
"Snow drought" stop in 2024
Just like the "Race to the Sky" sled dog races, which had to be canceled last week, the lack of snow is forcing the statewide ride to be canceled because riding conditions aren't consistent enough for a multi-day ride.
MSA organizers had hoped to have some riding on trails around Butte, but that was also canceled because of the warm weather. However, riders will attend the banquet and awards dinner on Saturday, February 3rd at the Copper King Hotel and Convention Center. The gathering is sponsored by the Mining City Trail Riders and the Jackpine Savages with tickets available online.
Hope generosity boosts the ride's main purpose
The main objective of the Trans-Montana is to raise money for NAMI Montana, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, helping people of all ages.
Last year, the ride generated more than $30,000 for NAMI. Organizers are still encouraging riders to donate by attending the banquet, or by donating online.
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Gallery Credit: Brian Lee