Let it Be: Sir Paul to play Missoula

By Jim Stanford on May 1, 2014

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Paul McCartney is one of the two surviving Beatles, along with drummer Ringo Starr.

Beatlemania is coming to Montana this summer, as Paul McCartney brings his Out There tour to Missoula on Aug. 5.

The Beatles bassist will play Washington-Grizzly Stadium at the University of Montana. Tickets go on sale May 9.

The rock legend will turn 72 in June, but that hasn’t stopped him from playing three-hour shows spanning his career and heavy on Beatles hits.

Sir Paul also will perform indoors Aug. 7 in Salt Lake City, giving Jackson Hole fans two options to see him within a five- or six-hour drive.

When it comes to ticket prices, however, McCartney may as well be the Taxman, charging up to $250 for premium seats. Tickets for Missoula start at $49.50, available at griztix.com or by calling 888-MONTANA.

The Big Sky State’s scenic beauty and a good recommendation from Mick Jagger helped lure McCartney to Missoula. The Rolling Stones played the outdoor football stadium, which has a capacity of 25,000, in 2006.

In other music news, the Teton Valley Foundation has released its lineup for Music on Main. The free concert series will feature James McMurtry, Young Dubliners, Paper Bird, The Motet and Elephant Revival, as well as local bands.

Concerts take place on Thursday nights in Victor City Park beginning June 26.

(Photo via Wikimedia)

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looking back on 1988 Yellowstone fires

By Jim Stanford on August 25, 2013

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A bull elk surveys a burned area.

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Yellowstone fires hit their peak. Nearly 800,000 acres, or 36 percent of the park, burned that summer in a series of blazes, some caused by humans and others by storms. Winds of up to 80 mph fanned the flames, creating a conflagration beyond control.

Aug. 20, 1988, was dubbed “Black Saturday,” when the fires doubled in size, consuming more acres than all other fires in the park’s history combined.

Last year, when the Little Horsethief Fire burned up the back of Snow King and east Jackson was under an evacuation advisory, residents got a taste of fear. But watching those flames lick at the ridge above Cache Creek pales in comparison to firsthand accounts of the Yellowstone blazes.

The late Theo Meiners landed on one of the firefighting support crews in the summer of 1988 and kept a journal of his experiences. Focus Productions published excerpts in Jackson Hole Skier magazine that winter and has re-posted them for the 25th anniversary. The short essay is worth a read.

Of the Mink Creek Fire in the Teton Wilderness, Meiners wrote:

By mid-July winds had whipped this conflagration into gargantuan proportions; a column of smoke rose to over 30,000 feet, visible from Salt Lake City. The Black Rock Ranger Station became a base camp city of 1,200 firefighters. There was every kind of helicopter imaginable. Cargo planes and bombers were everywhere. The FAA even sent out flight controllers. This was war.

Read More…

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still winter in the high country

By Jim Stanford on June 20, 2011

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Beartooth Pass in northern Wyoming on June 16.

Tomorrow is the solstice, which marks the first day of summer — or, if you really want to depress yourself, the beginning of a long slide back toward winter.

Up on Beartooth Pass, it appears winter may last all summer long. This photo was shot Thursday on the Wyoming side of the pass, which rises to 10,947 feet. Connecting Cooke City and Red Lodge, Mont., the pass is a popular spring/ summer skiing destination once U.S. Highway 212 is cleared.

The highway opened June 10, about two weeks later than usual because of the massive snowpack. It has been closed periodically since then due to storms.

If Woody’s forecast holds, the solstice may usher in some sunshine to Wyoming’s eternal winter wonderland. Skiers, good luck climbing those banks.

(Photo by Matt Johnston, via Q2 News)

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where the buffalo roam, by convertible

By Jim Stanford on March 9, 2011

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Anyone up for a cruise down Antelope Flats?

I know, more contenders for a future Darwin Award. I guess you can get away with this sort of thing up in Canada, eh?

But I’ll take these loving folks over the insanity of the Park Service, which has rounded up about 550 wild bison in Yellowstone and is ready to slaughter them. On our dime. If only some GOP budget cutters were aware of this.

Kurt Repanshek weighs the merit of a park hunt as an alternative strategy.

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tornado rips through Billings

By Jim Stanford on June 21, 2010

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And we thought yesterday’s microburst on the Snake River was bad.

The rare Montana twister ripped off most of the roof of the Metra Park sports arena and damaged roads and buildings.

Microbursts that blew through Grand Teton National Park on Saturday and Sunday packed gusts of nearly 50 mph and snapped trees north of Moose, but otherwise did not do anything so dramatic as to merit video.

From this clip, amateur videographers should note that most point-and-shoot cameras do not automatically adjust when turned vertical.

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