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New West Daily Roundup for June 27, 2016

Photo courtesy of Ed Gilliland, Glacier Photography

Today in New West news: Whitefish photographer preserving Montana history through negatives, Vail’s $25M investment reaping rewards, and an update on Arch Coal.

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New West Daily Roundup for June 24, 2016

Jackson WY 2011

Today in New West news: Jackson Hole tops “most economically unequal area in America” list, BYU-Idaho students design exhibit for Teton Geotourism Center, Utah Business’ 2016 Outstanding Directors Awards, and an update on Sports Authority.

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New West Daily Roundup for June 21, 2016

Photo credit: Kristie Wolfe

Today in New West news: Hobbit Hole in eastern Washington, Wyoming Gov. weighs in on wind tax, what Boise can learn from Denver’s transit system, and an update on Chipotle.

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New West Daily Roundup for May 24, 2016

Dana Armstrong/Courtesy: Thinktank

Today in New West news: proposal to expand Bozeman’s Lark Hotel approved, an “energy bulletin” from the Cowboy State, and Utah’s outdoor recreation industry takes side in public lands debate.

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New West Daily Roundup for Apr. 12, 2016

Butte_Montana by Tracy

Today in New West news: virtual reality in Butte, Marathon Oil sells $950M in Colorado, Wyoming assets; and Nasdaq halts trading of Boulder biotech shares.

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Old School Skiing, Low Pricing at Idaho’s Soldier Mountain

Skiing Soldier Mountain near Fairfield, Idaho, feels sort of like a guilty pleasure. The economy in the tank, it’s no doubt wrong to celebrate parking next to the lodge and zero lift-line wait time. But great snow, meticulously groomed runs and bright sunshine are reasons to celebrate any ski experience, and Soldier delivers in spades. Situated less than an hour southwest of Sun Valley, Soldier has all of the famous resort’s Central Idaho scenery, but none of Sun Valley’s shi-shi-la-la. No reason to hurt yourself rubber-necking at glamorous movie stars – the Humvee limos don’t bother traveling through the countryside to get to this modest resort. Instead, the mountain that opened in 1948 draws mainly from the small surrounding agricultural communities and residents of nearby Mountain Home and Mountain Home Air Force Base, thanks to a deep discount for military members. Even without a military discount, Peggy Freisinger is gripping her credit card receipt with a big grin. A resident of Albuquerque, Freisinger is visiting Idaho relatives for the holidays. “I just bought lift tickets for all three kids for 57 bucks,” she beams, marveling at the half-day youth prices. The Freisingers typically ski at Taos, where the bill for the family tops $400, she says.

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Christmas in Montana’s Choteau County Is an Old Tradition Not to be Missed

ChoteauChristmas2010_200x160

Choteau County Christmas happens the first weekend in December in the heart of Montana's farm and ranch country, between Fort Benton and Big Sandy. Along that 37-mile stretch of Highway 87 are the towns of Loma, population 93, which is near Decision Point, where the Marias & Missouri Rivers converge, and where Lewis and Clark nearly took the wrong fork. Also there: Virgelle, official population 2, a remote and tiny town consisting of the General Mercantile and an abandoned grain elevator. These communities, as well as Geraldine, Montana, celebrate Choteau County Country Christmas with craft fairs, bake sales, parades, dances and food bizarres. Shoppers flock from Great Falls and Havre and lots of other places to be a part of an old-fashioned welcoming of the holiday. Santa's there too, of course, along with the Parade of Lights, the Christmas Church Tour, a live nativity scene and the White Christmas Dance in an old community hall in Loma.

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Cheap Thrills in Las Vegas

I’m not a big Vegas guy. The soul-sucking bombast of the Strip leaves me cold, and the only gambling I do these days is when I sit on the toilet to drop a deuce before I check to see if there’s paper. But on a recent trip to visit family in Sin City, I discovered an attraction that got me as excited as a martial arts fan who opens the front door to find Jean-Claude Van Damme delivering his pizza. It’s the Pinball Hall of Fame, the world’s biggest collection of classic, fully functional pinball machines.

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How to Ski the West’s Luxe Resorts Affordably

If you love to ski but are intimidated by the high costs of large destination resorts, hold on – there's good news. Nearly all major ski resorts in the West offer ways to make skiing less expensive:

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The Muskies of Minaki

Beware of Muskie Fever. It can ruin the life of a perfectly normal fishaholic. And contagious? You betcha. I caught it even before I went anywhere near water where the mighty muskellunge lurks. Then, last year, I finally had my first chance at a muskie, and what an introduction! Six long days and 8,600 casts without a single hook-up. (Click here to read the gory details.) But even such a royal butt kicking can't come close to curing Muskie Fever. Instead of giving up and going back to trout, I couldn't wait to go back for another beating. Catching a muskie was high on my life list, so it had to happen. All I needed was a better time and place, eh?

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