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‘Town Crier’ newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 1/7/20

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Amish backcountry skiers, ‘most devoted’

This winter, Powder Magazine writer Clare Menzel ventured into the Mission Range of northwestern Montana seeking the state’s “most devoted” backcountry skiers, those unlikely skiers found in the St. Ignatius Amish settlement located on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Some 850 people live there, abiding by the strict cultural practices of Amish living including no driving, cell phones, voting or listening to secular music. For the residents of St. Ignatius, school ends after eighth grade. Fortunately, the people there are permitted the use of avalanche beacons because they don’t connect to the internet—and they need them when they ski the virtually untapped couloirs of Kakache, a “blocky 8,575-foot mountain [that] sits between Missoula and Whitefish, Montana, within the Confederated Salish and Kootenay Tribes’ Mission Mountains Wilderness,” writes Menzel. Up there, she discovered, the young Amish skiers find a potent connection to God where divine power is visible, tangible. Menzel lauded their authenticity, versus the hollow “sermons of the blissed-out bros who proclaim skiing is their religion.” 

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