As University of Montana students return for spring semester, campus is blanketed in deep winter — but that doesn’t mean Grizzlies hibernate. The first day of UM’s spring semester begins Tuesday, Jan. 18, and a host of winter activities will welcome students.
Events such as ice skating, skiing and fire pit gatherings will celebrate the best of the season and foster community among students. The activities are organized by UM staff within the University Center, Facilities Services and the Office of New Student Success.
“As we begin the third year of the pandemic, just as another variant is gripping the nation, UM is thinking about safe ways to foster community and engagement for our students,” said Sarah Swager, UM vice provost for student success. “Winter is a beautiful time on campus, with lots of ways for students recreate, meet friends and enjoy the beginning of the semester together.”
UM’s iconic ice-skating rink returns again to the Oval this month. Students and the public are welcome to skate on the self-monitored, pond-style campus rink. UM’s Gaming Den rents skates for $5 on a first-come, first-served basis. Students and community members also are welcome to reserve the ice rink for private use by calling UM Events and Conference Services at 406-243-4119. To warm up after a skate, UM hosts several propane fire pits with Adirondack chairs, which also are available for group reservations. The fire pits will be on for students during designated times during the semester.
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UM’s Campus Recreation and Outdoor Program offers several trips and skill classes that include Nordic skiing, avalanche training, ski and snowboard maintenance, an overnight trip in Glacier National Park, and backpacking and mountaineering instruction in advance of spring break. The UM Golf Course is free and open to the public and is groomed for classic and skate skiing, and Outdoor Recreation rents winter gear to students and community members for a fee.
UM also is within driving distance to several alpine ski resorts, including 14 miles from Montana Snowbowl, which offers a shuttle bus on weekends in front of UM’s Campus Rec Center for a $3 fee. Additionally, UM alumni-owned Discovery Ski Area is 90 miles from Missoula near Phillipsburg, Lost Trail Powder Mountain is 94 miles from Missoula near Sula, and Lookout Pass is 104 miles from Missoula near the Montana-Idaho border. UM Recreation offers discount tickets for Lookout Pass and Lost Trail Powder Mountain.
UM’s new Griz hockey team also continues their regular season through February with $5 tickets for students.
Next month, UM will host WinterFest on the Oval Tuesday, Feb. 1, during the third week of classes to kick off the spring 2022 semester with winter-themed student engagement. To learn more about this event and other student events visit Griz Hub.