What does minus 38 degrees look like (-38) in Montana?

My wife and I have spent the previous four days in Whitefish, MT, with old ski patrol buddies from Spokane.  There, the temperature hit a low of -14 degrees, and with a breeze dropping the wind chill to about -30, skiing was cancelled and we worked to stay inside, eat, drink and catch up!  Yesterday, we drove south in Montana, past Bozeman, Big Sky and into West Yellowstone, MT, for the night.  It was about -10 degrees when we parked our car at our motel at 7 PM.

This morning, at the continental breakfast at our motel, the attendant noted the temps had dropped to -40 overnight.  Sure, we thought, must be exaggerating!


It took 20 minutes for hot coffee left in the car to freeze solid, at -38!


Montana is a scenic place, this photo taken when it was only -10!

When your dash monitor registers -38, you can assume starting may be a chore; and I had Bob Dylan turned off!

The snow coach was running to take guests into the Old Faithful area, but they waited until the temps hit a balmy -25!

Ice crystals hanging in the -35 degree air gave W. Yellowstone a surreal air!

Then, at 7:20 AM, I tried to start my car parked in front of the motel.  It would barely crank, and, after 40 seconds that almost killed my battery, I looked at the outside temperature, -38.  Yow; within two minutes, I was literally frozen.  We called AAA for a jump, and it took about an hour-plus to arrive.  I left my hot coffee in the car; when I returned in 20 minutes to get it, it was frozen solid as a rock.  Outside in West Yellowstone, light snow crystals hung in the air, giving the town a surreal look.

Once we got the car started, it took about 20 minutes for it to warm up.  We decided to curtail our planned trip down to Jackson Hole, and headed for the warmer climes of S. Idaho.  Climbing the pass out of W. Yellowstone at about 10 AM, the temps again dropped into the -35 degree range.  Lovely to look at, but only from a warm seat, indoors.

I asked both the motel attendant and the AAA driver “what do you do to avoid such a non-start?”; they both answered “park you car inside”!  We can’t wait to get back to California’s “winter of 60 degrees”!

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