By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

This winter was a gift to outdoor enthusiasts in southwest Montana. Big snowstorms and cold temps made the alpine and Nordic skiing conditions some of the best in years.

Big Sky Resort, Lone Mountain Ranch and Bridger Bowl all had banner snow years, and we’re feeling pretty lucky right now to have access to such world-class recreation opportunities.

As winter turns the corner into spring, backcountry skiers will take advantage of the long days and deep snow to explore the high country. Boaters and fishermen are gazing at the mountains to provide a long and bountiful season on the rivers. The rest of us anticipate sunny days to finally expose our sheltered skin.

Taking time to appreciate the stunning surroundings we work and play in, it seems fitting also to honor the people and organizations that give so much back to this region.

There are many fine places to live in this country, but the sense of community in southwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone is what truly sets it apart.

In this, our second Guide to Giving issue, we offered our advertisers an opportunity to support a nonprofit of their choice, highlighting the tireless work they do to make our lives better.

Giving is contagious and Mother Nature sure set the bar high this winter.