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5 reasons to plan a snowcation this year

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(BPT) - As the mercury in the thermometer drops, and people start to bundle up in scarves and warm layers, you might be ready to take a vacation. No, we’re not talking about running away to the desert or a crowded beach. There’s a better way to enjoy winter — a way that lets you really get at the heart of the season.

From skiing to sledding, snowmobiling to sleigh rides, there’s just too much that winter has to offer. This year, you and your family should take what’s known as a snowcation.

One of the best places to do this — and indeed, one of winter’s hidden treasures — is Billings, Montana. A bustling western city, Billings serves as the trailhead for countless western excursions, and is the ideal place to launch your snowcation.

1. Hit the slopes and experience some mountain magic

In Montana, mountains are in our name and skiing is in our blood. Red Lodge Mountain, which is just an hour’s drive away from Billings, offers the complete mountain experience. Breathtaking runs, fresh powder and a cool ski town at the base are all part of this alpine paradise. And, with no long lift lines and affordable prices, it’s the perfect place to bring the whole family to ski!

2. Take a walking brewery tour

Most cities and towns across the country have one or more local breweries, but Billings is unique in that it boasts Montana's only walkable “brewery” district. Composed of six breweries, two distilleries and a cider house, this district includes a 1.5-mile loop where you can take in the town, enjoy world-class beverages and get some exercise.

3. Stay out late and live large

Billings is full of things to do from sun up until sundown, so forget sleeping in (though the beds are so comfy, you’ll be tempted to.) During the day, you’ll discover plenty of family activities, from art walks to plays, indoor climbing walls to ZooMontana, and by night you’ll find the live music scene to be one of the best in the west. Hey, you can always sleep at home!

4. See what life was like on the frontier

We don’t need to tell you how stunning and beautiful southeast Montana is; that’s self-evident. Rich with natural and national heritage, popular Montana day trips include Pictograph Cave State Park, Pompey’s Pillar or Little Bighorn Battlefield. These are great places to visit year-round, but a layer of snow gives them a surreal beauty.

5. Replenish those calories

With so much running around, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Lucky for you, Billings has a tradition of great culinary delights. What would you expect from a city that once played a key role in the famed western cattle drives? Today, you can get your fill of ribs, chops, brisket and plenty of other fine dining options as well.

A few inches of snow can open up a whole new world of possibilities. To make the most of this season, and to create some unforgettable memories, visit http://winter-in-montana.com.