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Montana State Bobcats VS. The Montana Grizzlies

The Montana–Montana State football rivalry is an annual college football rivalry game between the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State University Bobcats. Primarily known as Cat-Griz, it is also referred to as Griz-Cat and the Brawl of the Wild, the winner receives the Great Divide Trophy.

The rivalry began in 1897, making it the 31st oldest in NCAA Division I and the 11th oldest west of the Mississippi River, as well as the fourth-oldest Football Championship Subdivision rivalry and the oldest FCS rivalry west of the Mississippi. Montana leads the series 72–37–5, but that margin is considerably smaller since Montana State joined the NCAA in 1957 at 32–26. The game, especially of late, has major implications on the Big Sky Conference championship and its automatic bid to the Division I FCS tournament.



The rivalry began on November 26, 1897 when the two teams played in Bozeman, home of Montana State, with Montana prevailing by the score of 18–6. At the time, Montana State was known as Montana State College, while Montana was known as Montana State University. The rivalry is the 31st oldest among active rivalries in NCAA Division I and of those is the eleventh oldest west of the Mississippi River. It is also the fourth oldest active rivalry in the FCS and the oldest west of the Mississippi River.

The series has three distinct periods. From 1897 to 1916, Montana State did not belong to a conference, while Montana was in the Northwest Intercollegiate Athletic Association. In addition to Montana, the Northwest Conference included Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Idaho, and Whitman College. At times they would play twice per year. Early seasons had seven games or less with one season seeing the Grizzlies play just one game. Four of the five ties in the series came during this era. Montana won 12 games to Montana State’s 7.

Montana State joined the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 1917 and Montana joined the Pacific Coast Conference (today’s Pac-12 Conference in 1924. The RMAC included several teams that later became Mountain West members. When MSU joined the RMAC included Colorado, Colorado State, Utah, Utah State, and Brigham Young. When UM joined the PCC included Stanford, California, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, and Idaho. The Bobcats remained in the RMAC, which dropped down to the NAIA in 1938, through 1956, while the Grizzlies remained in the PCC through 1949 and joined the Skyline (aka Mountain States) Conference,which included Colorado, Utah State, Denver, Utah, Colorado State, Brigham Young, New Mexico and Wyoming, from 1951–1961. MSU was independent from 1957–1962 and UM was independent in 1950 and 1962. During this period UM enjoyed a 30–8–1 edge in Cat-Griz games, while MSU won the NAIA national title in 1956.

Both schools entered the Big Sky Conference as charter members in 1963 with Montana holding a 43–15–2 series lead. Prior to that UM was in conferences with what are now FBS and BCS schools, while MSU was either not in a conference or in a NAIA conference, for all but 30 of the 59 games played. UM holds a 22–5–3 record in those games.

In the first 23 years in the Big Sky Conference, Montana State enjoyed its most successful period of the Cat-Griz rivalry with a 17–6 win-loss record and won two national titles. A new period began in 1986, often known in Montana as “The Streak,” in which Montana won sixteen straight games in the series. A few of these games were close, but most of them gave a strong indication that the two football programs were going in very different directions. Montana won two NCAA Division I-AA championships during “The Streak”, while Montana State had one season where it failed to win a single game. Montana State finally snapped “The Streak” in 2002, winning at Montana, and the post-Streak record stands at 7–5 in favor of Montana. The Big Sky era shows Montana with a 30–22 lead. Since both teams joined the NCAA in 1957, UM holds a 32–26 lead.

While UM holds a sizable lead in the all-time series, Montana State has won more conference championships (20) and more national championships (3). UM has won 18 league titles and two national titles.

  • Montana was penalized by the NCAA on July 26, 2013 and forced to vacate its last five wins of the 2011 season. One win was against Montana State.

Great Divide Trophy

The Great Divide Trophy was created in 2001 by Dave Samuelson. The trophy was made possible by numerous donations. The winner of each game will possess the trophy for one year. The school with the most wins at the end of the 21st century will hold the trophy forever.

Montana was the first school to receive the trophy following their victory in the 2001 game. Since then the trophy has since changed hands eight times. As of 2015, the trophy is in the possession of Montana. Montana holds a 9–5 series lead since the trophy was introduced to the rivalry.

Skiing in Montana and Avalanche Safety

By Brian Handwerk, for National Geographic News

An avalanche gathers force as it sweeps downhill.
An avalanche sweeps downhill in the Vallee de la Sionne in southern Switzerland on February 17, 2005.
Six snowboarders and skiers were buried, and five of them killed, in a massive avalanche near Colorado’s famed Loveland Pass on Saturday, April 20. It was the deadliest single Colorado avalanche in 50 years, but unfortunately avalanche fatalities themselves are not rare—Colorado alone has suffered 11 this year—and they have been increasing along with a growth in backcountry travel.

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Saturday’s victims were well-equipped, experienced backcountry snowboarders and skiers, snow-industry employees, and even a climbing guide certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). The group was taking part in the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash, an event meant to promote backcountry safety and raise funds for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, even before the tragic turn.

While even the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals are at some risk in avalanche terrain, there are ways to increase your odds of survival (see more avalanche safety videos). Read on for five tips to help you stay safe in snow country.

1. Get Smart

“I really stress that the best way to survive an avalanche is not to be in one,” said Jeff Lane, a Snow Ranger at the Mount Washington Avalanche Center in New Hampshire. “Once that happens, you’re basically hoping for the best.”

Educate yourself with professional avalanche instruction and practice what you learn. “I think the experience is really critical,” Lane said. “It’s a long-term process, and it’s hard to take a two- or three-day course and know all there is to know to keep yourself safe.”

Instructors can teach you how precipitation, wind, and temperature play roles in snow stability, and how terrain factors like slope steepness, orientation, and underlying rock affect conditions. You’ll learn to dig pits and perform other tests of snowpack stability, and be trained on the types of routes to avoid. Assessing all these risk factors can help you make decisions that can keep you out of avalanches.

Classes also teach the use of classic safety equipment, like beacons, probes, and shovels, that are used to locate buried victims and dig them out when the worst occurs.

2. Know It Can Happen to You

About 150 people are killed each year in avalanches, a number that’s uncomfortably high considering the relatively small numbers who regularly venture into avalanche terrain. Ninety percent of such incidents are triggered by the victim or someone in their party, and most of those people are experienced skiers, snowboarders, or snowmobilers with some level of avalanche awareness under their belts.

Having the knowledge to make good decisions doesn’t help unless you put it to use. Conditions may change throughout the day and so should your evaluations. Be realistic and be ready to back off no matter how tempting a line, persuasive a partner, or pressing outside concerns—like the last chance for turns at the end of an epic trip—may seem.

Respect slackcountry and sidecountry dangers. These increasingly popular unpatrolled areas, no matter how easily accessible they may be from a ski resort, can harbor the same avalanche hazards as the backcountry. Treat them with respect and don’t relax your evaluations because many people are around or help seems relatively close at hand.

“I do think there is often a false sense of security in knowing that ski patrol is on the other side of the mountain,” Lane said.

3. Know Before You Go

Checking local avalanche forecasts, available from the American Avalanche Association, is a great place to start but only one piece of the puzzle. Pay attention to recent weather and avoid avalanche terrain within 24 hours of a storm that brings a foot (30 centimeters) or more of fresh snow, which is when slides are most common.

Avalanche danger starts on the climb up, so stick to low-angle ridges or dense trees when possible. Move from one safe terrain area to another and, if you must cross “avy terrain,” spread your party out so not everyone is exposed to danger at the same time. When it’s time to make turns, use the same evaluation skills to identify safer areas and head down one at a time—while watching your partners carefully.

And do some homework on your route, Lane cautioned. “Are there likely slide paths or terrain traps? What are the consequences of a slide? Is there a clean runout or is there a cliff below you, or are you going to get strained through trees that can kill you or break a femur? Earlier this month a Utah Department of Transportation Snow and Avalanche Program forecaster was killed in an eight-inch-deep (20-centimeter-deep) slide that was 45 feet (14 meters) wide because it carried him over two cliffs.”

(Related: Unleash an Avalanche Interactive.)

4. Gear Up

Don’t venture into avy terrain, even for “just one run,” without the proper tools. Carry a beacon, probe, and shovel and know how to use them. Make sure your partners also know how to use them so they can find you and help if disaster strikes.

These tools are tried and true, but more modern gear is also helping to decrease the chances of injury or death. Wearable avalanche airbag systems are designed to keep people on top of a slide rather than buried in it, which increases the odds of survival significantly. AvaLung systems have breathing mouthpieces that can stave off asphyxiation for buried victims and buy more time for rescue.

And don’t forget that most basic piece of equipment—a helmet. “I think the focus is on death by suffocation, but that is only one of the bad consequences,” Lane said. “This equipment can also help to prevent injury once an avalanche occurs.”

5. Swim, Reach, Hope for Help

It takes only a few seconds for sliding snow to reach 80 miles (130 kilometers) an hour. If worse comes to worse and you are caught in a slide, try to escape to the side, grab a tree, or “swim” hard to try to stay near the surface—but realize you’re most likely at the mercy of the avalanche’s massive force, Lane said.

When a slide stops it will quickly settle like concrete, so try to clear air space to breathe around your face and stick a hand upward and out of the snow if possible.

If dug out within 15 minutes victims have a 90 percent chance of survival—if they’ve not been killed by trauma in the fall. After that the odds drop quickly. Only 20 percent of buried victims are still alive after 45 minutes, and beyond two hours few ever survive.

Jeff Lane stresses that even those fortunate enough to be dug out aren’t home free. They are often miles from roads and hours from the arrival of any help. “Lots of people practice with beacons and then stop when they find the beacon,” he said. “In the big picture that’s a small part of avalanche rescue.”

Teams should have an evacuation plan and be equipped for winter travel with warm clothes, food, medical supplies, and other gear that can help them stay safe until help arrives. “It might be five hours before rescuers get to you. That little thermos of hot chocolate isn’t going to be enough.”

Despite the dangers, the lure of fresh turns and promise of backcountry solitude will continue to draw people into avalanche terrain. Know that these rewards never come without risk.

“You can do everything right and still be caught in an avalanche,” Lane said. “Educate yourself [and] make good decisions—but if you’re going to ski or climb or travel in avalanche terrain, you’ll have to accept that you can’t be 100 percent right all the time.”

Skiing in Whitefish Montana

Some fun facts and info of the Big Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish, MT


The area currently has 11 chairlifts: 3 high-speed detachable quads and 6 fixed grip (2 quads and 4 triples). There are also threesurface lifts: two T-bars and a magic carpet. Of these, 9 lifts operate regularly, including one T-bar which is normally only open on weekends.[1]

The mountain is separated into three faces. The front side is primarily serviced by the Chair One high speed quad and has the most skiable terrain. Chair 2, which also runs on the front side was replaced with a high speed quad in 2007. The front side has 7 of the mountain’s 9 chairlifts. The back side of the mountain is serviced by Chair 7, also a high speed quad. The back side has more tree skiing terrain, and additional terrain can be accessed by T-Bar 2 on weekends and during select holiday periods. The western aspect of the mountain contains the Hell Roaring basin. Serviced by Chair 8, a fixed grip triple chair, Hell Roaring basin is the most advanced skiing on the mountain with cliffs, vertical chutes, and tight tree skiing. The intermediate Hellfire trail is the longest on the mountain; it runs 3.3 miles (5.3 km) from the summit to the base of Chair 8.

The vertical drop of the ski area is 2,353 feet (717 m), with a summit elevation of 6,817 ft (2,078 m) and a base of 4,464 ft (1,361 m). The average annual snowfall is 300 inches (760 cm).[2]

The ski area is about 19 miles (31 km) north of Glacier Park International Airport and 35 miles (56 km) south of the Canadian border.


Winter Sports, Inc. (WSI) formed in 1947 as a public company of community shareholders, opened The Big Mountain on December 14, 1947, and hosted the 1949 U.S. Alpine Championships.[3] The mountain originally had a single T-bar, which was replaced bychairlifts installed in 1960 and 1968. In June 2007, the resort was renamed “Whitefish Mountain Resort.” By then the mountain had expanded to include 10 chairlifts.

Olympic champion Tommy Moe learned to ski and race at the mountain, where his father was on the ski patrol.[4] Moe won the gold medal in the Downhill[5] and silver in the Super-G [6] at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

The mountain again hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in 2001.[3] That event is remembered for the failed comeback attempt, and life-altering crash, of 1984 Olympic Downhill champion Bill Johnson.

Whitefish Mountain is located in Montana

Whitefish Mountain
Whitefish Mountain

location of Whitefish Mountain Resort, near Whitefish

In May 2004, WSI conducted a 150-for-one reverse stock split. Its stated purpose was to lower expense by reducing the number of shareholders to below the threshold that imposed public reporting requirements. At the time the transaction was proposed, 664 shareholders, or 72% of investors in the company, each separately held less than 150 shares. In total, these investors held a 2.5% equity (and voting) stake. The board expressed concern that the transaction might be viewed as coercive, but after review and outside consultation decided the transaction was fair to the affected shareholders.[7][8]

In December 2006, WSI conducted a 15-for-one reverse stock split, further reducing to about 50 remaining shareholders in order to provide a tax advantage as a Subchapter S corporation. Again, all shareholders without enough shares to exchange for a post split share were required to cash-out their stock.[9] WSI’s handling of the reverse split was criticized and resulted in animosity within the local community, where there were objections to the timing of the related announcements and the loss of a community connection to the resort by the local residents.[10] [11]

In 2008, an avalanche occurred in the Flathead National Forest, within hiking distance of the back side of The Big Mountain and killed two skiers on January 13, 2008.[12] Later that year, the resort discontinued summer lift access for winter season pass holders,[13]granting several free lift tickets instead.[14][15] In September of that same year, the resort reversed the decision and announced that 2008-09 winter season passes would again convey unlimited foot-passenger lift access for summer 2009.[16]

Whitefish Farmers Market

Enjoy the bounty of summer every Tuesday from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m., from May 26 through September 29 at the Whitefish Downtown Farmers Market where local farmers and craftsmen showcase their products at the North end of Central Avenue. Live music, prepared food, and the season’s freshest products are featured.

Unlike corporate agriculture, family farms are run by people who live on the land and care deeply about it. They protect the soil because it sustains them. Tomatoes are grown for flavor, not shelf life. Energy is saved when you buy food that was shipped a few miles, not a few thousand miles to the market. You, as a consumer, have a powerful voice in preserving Flathead Valley agriculture.

June Events:

tuesdays in june

june 2 • 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Live music by: Dan Brua
Music sponsored by: TBA

june 9 • 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Live music by: Luke Dowler
Music sponsored by: TBA

june 16 • 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Live music by: Spring Wagon String Band
Music sponsored by: TBA

june 23 • 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Live music by: Craig Wickham
Music sponsored by: TBA

june 30 • 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Live music by: Kelly West
Music sponsored by: TBA


Clean the Fish, Keeping Whitefish Nice!

“Clean The Fish” – Glacier Bank

Date: May 2, 2015 Time: 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Event Description8:30am
Breakfast will be served to all of the community “litter gitters” at the Glacier
Bank parking lot located at 319 E. Second St. Whitefish.
Trash bags and gloves will be provided
We’ll help direct you to areas to clean if you don’t have a location in mind.
Be sure to get your tickets during breakfast for the GRAND prize drawings that will be held during the BBQ lunch

Head out to your cleaning areas
We have designated drivers & trucks to pick up the trash bags and items too big for trash bags that the ‘litter gitters’ will be leaving along the road. 
Large trash containers will also be available at the Glacier Bank parking lot for those that wish to bring trash here.

You’re invited to join us back at the bank for a barbeque lunch
Prizes will be drawn during the BBQ

Kids Grand prize – for children ages 18 and under – Mountain bike
Compliments of Glacier Bank of Whitefish and Glacier Cyclery

Adults Grand prize – for the adults – Gift Card
Compliments of Glacier Bank of Whitefish

You must be present to be eligible to win the prizes.

Effective Panning by Jason Lengstorf

The Art of Effective Planning: Avoid Wasted Time and Stress

I have a lot of good reasons to get my work done quickly:

  • I work remotely, so the faster I get my tasks done, the faster I can call my workday over;
  • I’m a digital nomad, so having more time to explore means a more complete experience of the places I’m staying;
  • I’m constantly staring down a long list of things I want to work on, so getting things done quickly allows me to tackle my passion projects without burning the candle at both ends.

In the past, my approach was to throw myself headlong into a new project — working furiously for as long as I could manage, hacking and slashing toward the finish line.

These days, I slow down, take a breath, and make a plan for my work day. Then when I go hard, I go hard. And then I’m done for the day and I go to lunch.

Failures don't plan to fail; they fail to plan. – Harvey Mackay

Do You Know the Risks of Poor Planning?

Without a plan, you’re hoping. You hope you understood what your boss wanted. You hope this feature is necessary. You hope this is what the client meant by “make it pop”. You hope you’ll find a way to wrap up this article coherently.

Hope — for all the good it brings — is a terrible thing to rely on when you have deadlines to meet.

You don’t want to hope you’re getting it right. You want to know you’re getting it right.

Lack of Direction Can Cause Lack of Motivation

If the project isn’t explicitly laid out, it’s easy to spin your wheels or procrastinate.

There’s no clear first step, and that makes it hard to know if you’re starting the right way.

Moving from “to do” to “in progress” is a big mental barrier, and poor planning can make it even bigger.

Work Ends Up Wasted

If you do a bunch of work under incorrect assumptions, you’ll end up doing that work over again.

A murky understanding of a project’s end goals means you’re likely to spend effort in the wrong areas, wasting time and energy unnecessarily.

You End Up Chasing a Moving Target

Working without planning is an excellent way to waste hours. It doesn’t mean that you don’t plan at all, it just means you’re forced to plan at the same time you’re working.

Bad plans cause wasted time.
If you don’t have a plan, you will end up wasting time. Guaranteed.

In addition to the whole thing where humans are terrible at multitasking, planning on the fly means hoping that the completed work meets all the requirements — even the ones that aren’t clear yet.

Defining goals late in the production schedule almost always results in wasted or duplicated efforts, and it’s a great way to paint yourself into a deadline corner.

Interruptions Are Guaranteed

Whenever I work on a project where I don’t have a clear understanding of the goals, I’m frequently forced to stop and fire off an email asking for clarification.

On a web design, I might know that I need to build a home page, but I have to stop and ask if the main focus of the home page is to highlight the newsletter list or to drive readers to the blog. That’s vital to the project’s outcome — if I don’t have that information beforehand, I’m hamstrung until I hear back from the decision makers.

The same holds true for self-directed projects: if I have to stop working to think about the strategy, I’m context switching and adding unnecessary mental fatigue.

How to Make Projects Easier, Faster, and Less Frustrating

Proper planning doesn’t need to involve hours of meetings, flowcharts, or Post-It notes. It really just boils down to defining what “success” means — in quantifiable terms — before work begins on a project.

Make the Project’s Goals Easy to Measure and Hard to Misinterpret


Imagine you’re helping prepare for a party, and the host asks, “Hey, can you order pizza?”

In theory, that’s enough information to move forward and complete the task.

However, without more information, you’ll have to make a lot of assumptions.

For example, how many people are coming? Is anyone vegetarian or lactose intolerant? Are we still doing the gluten-free thing? Anyone who doesn’t eat pork products?

To improve, set clear goals: get enough pizza for 20 people, including vegetarian options. Also, order cheese sticks.1

The original goal — order pizza — was hard to measure. A single slice technically meets the requirements. No one’s happy, but, hey! you told me to order pizza — not pizzas — so this is clearly not my fault.

The second goal is easy to measure and has far less room for misinterpretation: were all 20 people fed? Did the vegetarians have pizza to eat? Did I get my cheese sticks?

And this is just pizza — on bigger projects, there are dozens more clarifications needed before work starts.

Defining clear goals with easily measurable outcomes is good for everyone. For the boss or client, it provides the security of being sure the person doing the job is fully aware of what’s required in order to call the project a success. This alleviates the need for micromanagement, freeing up time for other tasks.

For the person doing the work, measurable goals eliminate ambiguity. It gives well-defined targets to shoot for, and creates simple check boxes that instantly measure whether or not the project is completed.

As a bonus, it requires the boss or client2 to fully consider their idea and provide clear direction — this avoids the “I’ll know it when I see it” dilemma by removing that option as a possible outcome.

Write Down the Goals and Post Them for Everyone on the Project

In agency speak, this is a “scope of work” — a document that details everything expected of everyone involved, agreed upon by everyone involved, to show that everyone A) agrees on what “done” looks like, and B) feels confident that they have what they need in order to do the job well.

Share plans with the whole team.
Post plans in a public place. No secrets on a team. Original photo by Steve Jurvetson (modified).

Write down everything required before the project is considered complete, and make sure the whole team has reviewed and approved it.

Emphasize to the decision makers that anything not on the list of goals will not be done, so the list needs to be complete.3 Emphasize to the doers that they need to prove that tasks are completed, so the list needs to have quantifiable tasks.

This is extremely easy to blow past in early meetings, but trust me: I’ve never — never — worked on a project without a clear scope that didn’t run up against some kind of confusion, delay, tension, or (most commonly) all of the above.

Take the time to do a thorough job on the scope, and everyone will be happier.

Make a Todo List from the Goals

After you have a clear scope, you can break a project down into a series of yes-or-no questions that act as your project roadmap and todo list.

Going back to the pizza example, the project becomes three todo items:

  • Order enough pizza to feed 20 people
  • Make sure there are vegetarian options
  • Order cheese sticks

This is incredibly clear, and — I hope — impossible to fuck up.

Did you order seven or eight pizzas? Yes. Check.

Did you make sure three or four don’t have meat? Yes. Check.

Did you order cheese sticks? Yes. Check.

Boom. This project is measurably complete. If this isn’t what the requester wanted, it’s because the project was improperly defined.

This is incredibly freeing as the person doing the work: creating a todo list from the project goals builds a map to completion and adds an obvious indication of progress.

The same benefits exist for clients, managers, and bosses: the project is either done according to the plan or it isn’t; no micromanagement or office policing required.

Use Low-Cost Prototypes when Necessary

If a project is complex enough, hashing out the details may require a prototype or working draft for review.

If work is required to flesh out an idea, keep it simple and low-cost.

At my job, we use an approach called the Shitty First Draft to allow for rapid, lo-fi creation of “real” prototypes that give the whole team a feel for how something will work, but without any polish or unnecessary effort. We build something quick and dirty, and that’s usually enough to work out the rest of the details.

A Few Hours of Planning Can Avoid Weeks of Wasted Time

Laying out a solid plan is vital for a project to be completed on schedule, on budget, and without unnecessary stress.

Stated more plainly, planning is not optional. I’ve ignored this advice in the past, and it’s always proven to be a source of pain later in the process.

On the flip side, I’ve never once put together a project plan and thought later, “Dang, I sure wish I hadn’t planned so well.”

It doesn’t take much more than asking questions and writing things down. You’ll spend a couple (potentially boring) hours doing it.

Plan well to make sure you have time off.
I saw this sunset in Costa Rica because I planned well and got my projects done on time.

But you know what you’ll gain?

You’ll gain weekends of relaxation because you’re not scrambling to complete a late-stage feature that has to launch Monday.

You’ll gain evenings off because you aren’t staying late after spending the whole day in meetings trying to get guidance for features instead of working on them.

You’ll gain camaraderie with your team and clients because there’s no misunderstanding to cause resentment or tension.

Most importantly, you’ll gain all the benefits that come from completing projects on time, on budget, and without huge hassles or setbacks.

Solving Hard Problems by Jason Lengstorf

Rocketships and Bicycles

I spend a lot of time with my head in the clouds. To me, the best ideas are the ones unhindered by trifles like logistics. Or reality.

The question I always start with is: If I had unlimited time, capital, and resources, what would I build?

It’s impractical, sure, but to me it removes a critical barrier in my planning process. Instead of asking, “What am I capable of?” I ask, “What’s possible?”

Aim high when setting goals.
Dream big.

Start with What’s Possible, Not What’s Practical

If I want to get from Point A to Point B, I have a problem to solve.

When I start designing a solution, I’m not thinking about what I’ve built before, or what I think I might be able to build with my current level of knowledge; I’m only thinking of what — given unlimited resources in a perfect world — I would ideally like to see built.

To travel from Point A to Point B, I’m going to build a rocketship.

Once the actual process of planning the rocketship build gets underway, I’ll start worrying about practicalities. Features will be stripped away until the solution becomes feasible, and often times my rocketship will become nothing more than a simple bicycle.

A Real-Life Example of Setting Ideal Outcomes

I recently kicked off an experiment in permanent travel and digital nomadism.

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a number of theories about productivity, work-life balance, and overall happiness that fundamentally changed the way I look at the world. Ultimately, these theories led to me selling off my possessions and wandering off to see the world, bringing only what I could fit in a carry-on suitcase.

I think these theories can be helpful to people other than myself, and I want to share them. But I don’t have a big audience, or any favors to call in with big influencers. So how do I get the word out?

This is the problem I need to solve.

Ignoring time restraints, lack of connections, and my ignorance with respect to how to actually make any of this happen, I defined my rocketship:

  1. Write a book on the subject, and get it picked up by a major publisher.
  2. Launch a media onslaught by publishing guest articles everywhere.
  3. Speak at conferences around the world to share my theories.
  4. Continue to publish on my blog and grow my newsletter list.

This combined effort will put my theories in front of millions of people, and — with a little luck — help improve lives around the world. This is my “perfect world” outcome.

As I put the work in and figure out what’s possible and practical, the goals will get progressively more and more modest.

At the end, it may turn out that what I actually do is more along these lines:

  1. I read all the research I can to back up my theories with hard data.
  2. I write one or two articles on my blog sharing the data in a useful way.
  3. A few hundred people read what I wrote.
  4. One person uses the information as a catalyst for real, positive change.

This would be my bicycle.

Will it change the world? Probably not.

But did it accomplish my original goal: to communicate what I’ve learned in a clear and well-researched fashion to as many people as possible?

Yes. Even if “as many people as possible” turns out to be a smaller number than I’d hoped.

Setting Goals: A Bicycle Is Almost as Good as a Rocketship
A bicycle may not be a perfect solution, but progress is progress.

And while I wouldn’t expect the bicycle outcome to result in a biopic about me, I also wouldn’t consider it in any way a failure.

A bicycle is not a rocketship. But a bicycle is progress.

How Are You Defining Failure?

But if I designed a rocketship and only built a bicycle, haven’t I missed my goal and failed?

If failure to you is “any outcome that doesn’t exactly match the initial plan”, then sure, the bicycle is a failure.

The problem, however, isn’t with the plan or the design; the problem is an inaccurate definition of failure.

The rocketship isn’t the goal. The rocketship is a proposed solution. The goal is to get from Point A to Point B.

From this perspective, any progress is progress. By thinking big and editing along the way, you’ll probably still get further than you would have been if you aim low.

If you design a rocketship and end up with a bicycle, you came up short of your ideal solution — but you have a viable, practical means of getting from Point A to Point B.

In other words, even though you didn’t build the rocketship, you still accomplished the original goal.

Hedging bets can lead to impractical solutions. Photo by Cary Lee.

But if you hedge your bets and design a bicycle, you don’t have any wiggle room in your proposed solution. If you end up with a unicycle (or maybe just a wheel), you either have an impractical means of getting yourself around — unicycles are difficult to learn to ride, after all — or, worse, a concept that theoretically moves you from Point A to Point B, but lacks some of the required equipment to make it usable.

How the Definition of Failure Works in Reality

I have choices when I think about sharing my experiment.

On the one hand, I could look at the goal as “get a book published” — this is a lofty goal, and very specific.

It’s also only part of what I was originally setting out to do.

On the other hand, I could look at the goal as “tell as many people as possible about my ideas for improving our quality of life” — this is what I originally wanted to accomplish.

If I do the work and manage to get a book published, I’ve made an enormous amount of progress toward sharing my findings with as many people as possible.

However, if I do everything else on my rocketship list except publishing a book — guest posts, speaking gigs, and all — but I’m looking at the rocketship as the goal and not the means to that goal, I would still feel like a failure because the book didn’t get published.

This is a counterproductive way to look at things, because if I can do four of the five things on my rocketship list, a huge amount of people will be exposed to my ideas. Just because I didn’t tick all the boxes shouldn’t — and doesn’t — mean all of my efforts were in vain.

If I lose sight of what I’m trying to do in favor of how I’m going to do it, I risk setting an impossible standard and feeling like a failure, despite otherwise making good progress.

Drifting car
Start simple and upgrade over time. Photo by SuperCar-RoadTrip

Use Constant Improvement to Start Fast and Steadily Get Faster

Comparatively, a rocketship will complete the goal much faster than a bicycle, so it can feel hopeless to only have a bicycle.

Fortunately, if the bicycle you’ve built is reliable, it ceases to be something you have to worry about. You no longer need to design the solution; you only need to spend time on maintenance.

This leaves you free to build improvements.

Knowing that progress — albeit slow — is being made, you can add new features. A motor. Chassis. Wings. Autopilot. Espresso machine.

A bicycle doesn’t have to remain a bicycle. And in many cases, it shouldn’t.

Over time, the bicycle can become a motorcycle, which can become a race car, then a plane, and — eventually — a goddamn rocketship.

Each of these solutions is better than the one from which it evolved: a motorcycle is fast; a plane is faster.

It may be tempting to say, “Well, fine: I can’t build a rocketship. But I will build a race car, because I know I can do that, and altogether skip the part where I have that slow bicycle!”

The catch is that a bicycle might take a month to build, where a race car may take a year. How much would the slow progress of the bicycle add up in the eleven months between?

And how much of a delay would it cause to start with a bicycle, then improve it to become a race car?

Starting with a simple solution creates a Progress Snowball. The solution allows you to quickly start making slow progress, and each subsequent improvement improves the speed, bit by bit.

Progress Snowball in Goal Setting
The Progress Snowball: At first it feels painfully slow, and then — suddenly — everything changes.

A Practical Example of Steady Improvement

When I initially started planning for my experiment, I wanted to do it all at once: launch a huge number of guest posts simultaneously, push a ton of content out on my blog, kick off a targeted social media campaign, hit the conference circuits hard as a speaker, and send off my book manuscript to publishers while the online buzz was in full swing.

This would have been, if not a rocketship, at least a race car.

But when I looked at it objectively, it was too much for me to take on. I couldn’t abandon my blog for months to work on this material, and I didn’t want to spread myself thin by committing to writing for my blog and keeping up with my day job and writing a book-length work plus additional articles. After all, my whole message is to avoid working long hours, and I want to make sure I’m able to succeed while practicing what I intend to preach.

My race car design also would have required convincing a bunch of sites who don’t know me at all to both publish a guest post from me and to run it on a timeframe that was to my benefit.

I knew I’d be unhappy if I lost momentum on my blog, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get all — or any — of the guest blogs accepted if I didn’t have at least a little bit of supporting material up beforehand.

So I chose a bicycle: regular posts on my own blog, a few things on Medium, and a concentrated effort to keep up my social media accounts in a way that was engaging and mostly on-message.

This created the slow progress that I’m seeing now, while I work on researching and creating material for the book, for guest posts, and for speaking engagements.

Since creating the bicycle, I’ve been able to book a few speaking gigs on the topic, and opened up conversations with a few of the sites I’m hoping to guest blog for.

It’s still not a race car, but it might pass for a moped.

And I’m a long way from done.

What’s Your Rocketship?

When you look at your current goals, how are you planning to achieve them? Are you paralyzed, feeling that the goal is beyond your grasp? Are you tentative, making modest plans that feel safe? Are you feeling hopeless, creating impossible standards for yourself?

Trust yourself, and to keep working on a solution.


  1. Plan as if anything is possible.
  2. Remember that any progress is good progress.
  3. Never stop thinking of ways to improve your progress.

You may find yourself on a bicycle to start, but before long you’ll find yourself further along than you ever thought possible.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Norman Vincent Peale

History of the Whitefish Winter Carnival

Once upon a time, there lived a god named Ullr who reigned over winter activities in the Nordic regions. Aiding him were his Prime Minister and Queen, who were skilled in creating the beauties of winter.

As time went by, however, his subjects become engrossed in exploring the world and its oceans, and they paid less homage to their god-king and the festivities of their winter season, so Ullr became a god all-but-forgotten, except in dim tradition.

After centuries of brooding and searching the world for a place to rest, ullr and his two remaining subjects came to the Flathead Valley. So struck were they by its beauty that they decided to settle there and selected the Big Mountain as their adopted home.

Their rest was short-lived as they soon found their home was also the abode of a fierce band of snowmen called Yetis, who attempted to  kidnap their Queen. However, Ullr and his followers  being more agile and resourceful, prevailed and learned to live with only occasional skirmishes with the Yetis.

Eventually, man invaded the valley with axes, guns and wagons. Ullr, his followers and the Yetis observed these men as they civilized the valley and were alarmed these men began to invade their homes.

Ullr found these men were not aware of his presence, and as he continued to observe these men, he found they not only enjoyed the sports of winter, but referred to Ullr himself as a patron saint of their small celebrations and revelries.

Seeing his chance after centuries of loneliness and self-banishment, Ullr assumed the garb of these men and went among them. The Yetis, however, would have nothing to do with these men  except for attempts to drive them away.

Ullr aided the men in subduing the harassment of the yetis, became their true hero and Kind, and it was proclaimed that there would be an annual fete at which Ullr and his court would be given the full homage due them.

Now each year the in town of Whitefish, known as Holiday Village, the Yetis, bolder tan ever, try to steal the Queen, harass the Prime Minister and interfere with the festivities to assert their right to Big Mountain.

Ullr and his growing band of followers subdue them and send them fleeing back to their haven in the high valleys beyond the Big Mountain, where they plan their next raid. Ullr again reigns as master of winter sports and frolics along with his Queen and Prime Minister, beloved in the hearts of his loyal subjects.

The Whitefish Winter Carnival and Skijoring

A history of Ski Joring in Whitefish

As reported in the London Independent, Pamplona may have its running of the bulls, St Mortiz its tobogganing maniacs and Warren Miller its cast of crazies but Ski Joring has been part of the Whitefish Winter Carnival since the 1960’s.


Founding Father of the Carnival, Norm Kurtz, challenged local ski legends of the Big Mountain Ski Resort, Martin Hale, Dale Evenson, Gordy Taylor, Dick Maddox and others to take part in the high speed event. He also recruited Mountain Trails Saddle Club horsemen, Elmer Smith, Herb Knuth, the Morris brothers, Doc Kauffman and others to saddle up their fastest broomtails to pull the skiers. There was no cowboy chic to it–just get the rope around the horn and go!!


Fifty years ago, it was wild, out of control and an absolute blast!


The event was held downtown on Central Avenue in the early years but after local businessman Russ Street was nearly thrown through the window of the Toggery clothing store and a crowd of spectators was parted by a couple of runaway horses, the event moved to the fenced Mountain Trails Saddle Club, on Wisconsin Avenue, (where the Stumptown Ice Den now stands).


Reckless abandon and great fun continued every year until the mid 1970’s when, due to injuries, the Whitefish Winter Carnival organizing committee could no longer place insurance (somehow, a great visual charicature of that year’s organizing committee comes to mind).


As a result, street broom hockey, snowmobile jumps on Central Avenue, the Great Bar-to-Bar Snowshoe Race and Ski Joring were all dropped from the Winter Carnival venue.


But in 2003 local businessman Scott Ping spearheaded a successful campaign to bring this exciting event back as part of the Whitefish Winter Carnival. With continued improvement each year, it has become more exciting than ever to both watch and compete.


The Whitefish event has become known as the premiere event in skijoring and the World Ski Joring Championships now features the biggest cash purse (approximately $20,000 plus awards), solid entertaining competition, and for spectators, the biggest party on snow.


Home improvements Tips

  • Save those fake pre-approved credit cards you get in the mail — you can use them as glue spreaders or shims.
  • When driving screws into dense hardwoods, lubricate them with wax or soap to prevent stripping the hole.
  • Double-sided carpet tape works great for temporarily fastening templates without leaving screw or nail holes.
  • If you happen to ding your wood in the course of a project, use a wet cloth and a clothes iron to steam out the dent.
  • Save that old electric carving knife. It’s the perfect foam saw for upholstery projects.

Tips from Karl Champley, co-host of DIY to the Rescue.

  • When painting a surface that needs to be primed – new drywall or wood – tint the primer to match the finish coat, reducing your painting project from three coats to two.
  • Sand the face of the hammer head with sandpaper to help the hammer grip the nail and prevent the nail head from slipping.
  • Wrap paint rollers and brushes in a plastic bag between coats to keep them full of paint and prevent them from drying out.
  • Don’t try to work with electrical or plumbing projects you are not confident about. It often costs more to repair later and can be dangerous.
  • When drilling though ceramic tile or natural stone, place masking tape on the surface. This makes marking the tile easier and helps the drill bit stay in one place.
  • When building or renovating your home, always print a budget breakdown. If you’re not sure how to do one, invest in a professional estimator or quantity surveyor to do it for you. The printout will show you the cost of every trade, nail and screw, giving you an accurate figure to base your budget on. This information is great for comparing quotes as you will have done the homework and know the costs!


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