There are a lot of great winter experiences across Montana. But none will warm your heart and make you smile like the Special Olympics.

For 4-decades, athletes from all over West Central Montana have trekked to the top of Lost Trail Pass where their enthusiasm overcomes all challenges. Even blizzards.

And the call is out now for more volunteers to help, and experience, this special slice of a Montana winter.

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Games a little later in '24

This year the Bitterroot Winter Games are being held a few weeks later, to accommodate the operating schedule at Lost Trail Powder Mountain, on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 5th and 6th. And organizers say there's a place for everyone to help.

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

"You don't need any winter sports skills because a lot of the help that we need is helping the athletes to put on either their skis or their snow shoes. And we need people for to line athletes up, people to do timing and that that sort of stuff," Carla Christofferson explains. "Just to help organize each event so that when it's time to race three people we have them all ready to go."

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

That could involve a lot of cheering

"Absolutely, You won't be busy the whole entire time you're up there," Carla notes. "So when you have some downtime, I have a tote full of cowbells and we encourage people to go out and cheer on the athletes because that helps them race a little better."

RELATED: Special Olympics Polar Plunge this weekend

Another option if time is tight

If you can't make the drive up to Lost Trail, Carla says you might want to volunteer in Hamilton.

"Sometimes we need help down at the Bitterroot River Inn where we hold our banquet and our dance. And that is on Tuesday between 4:00 and 9:00 when we'd be needing volunteers for that. So someone doesn't want to drive all the way up to Lost Trail."

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

Service with a smile

For many of the organizers and volunteers, their involvement with the games goes back decades. That's because it's an incredible day on the slopes with some incredible people.

"Once they come, they want to come back," Carla says. "You can pick whichever day works for you. If you want to come up both days, that's awesome. But once you come, I can guarantee you you're going to want to come down."

To help at the Bitterroot Winter Special Olympics, contact volunteer coordinator Anna Turner at 406-213-5991. There's more information on the event's Facebook page and new website.

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