If you live in Bozeman, MT and start from the Montana State campus: go down college street, hook a left on 19th street and take it all the way up out of town. From there, look for Hyalite canyon road, turn left there, and head up the canyon. After that it's a straight shot, if you reach the reservoir you’ve gone to far. Down a hill you’ll notice some parking spaces by a stream and a patch of open hillside- this is the zero zone, a collaborative hike park built for the ski and snowboard community of Bozeman Montana.
And if you're more of an audio/visual type person, it's located roughly here:
The zero zone started out as an idea back during covid-19, many ski resorts operated under a reservation system with limited spots available to the public, and because of this many of us were often left unable to ski at our local resorts on busy days and the weekends. So we did what freeskiers naturally do when our access to skiing is limited: we went out and created it ourselves. The first zero zone was created in a shady patch of hyalite canyon, initially just being a couple of rails and a janky quarter pipe. But as the season went on we noticed more skiers and snowboarders showing up to the spot, some had been following the build progress all season, while others had just stumbled across it while just looking for somewhere to ride. We quickly realized that establishing a public hike park near town would be very beneficial to the local community, and we set out to create a place that new and veteran riders alike would appreciate. That’s when the idea for the zero zone was born: to create a free, public hike park for local riders to collaboratively build and enjoy. For the rest of the winter we spent time building jumps, rails, pump tracks and other features for the local community to enjoy. Ultimately however, the original spot was turned into a private driveway later that spring, and we had to set out to create a new zero zone.
Then as fate would have it, in 2021 @Twig and @katrina graciously used leftover company budget to create the Newschoolers stimulus project, a cash fund that was distributed to help fuel independent projects within skiing. The zero zone was one of the projects selected to receive funding; we were the only project selected that is not specifically a film or video series, as it's more so a grassroots project to organically grow the local ski and snowboard scene within Montana. After the funding was secured we began to scout spots, build features, and acquire tools and other materials needed to make zero zone happen. But then 2021 season saw abysmally low snowpack and injuries plagued the core crew of zero zone, so we decided to hold off until the 2022 season. Over the course of spring and summer we spent our time researching, building and scouring the land for jib-able materials to build with. By the time the season kicked off here in Montana we had an entire fleet of hand built and locally donated features ready, with even more on the way.
(Zero Zone engineer @ReturnToMonkey gives one of the boxes a final look over before it gets transported up to the zone, and that's real HDPE plastic mind you)
But before I go any further, I’d like to thank everyone who's stopped by the zone and helped out or enjoyed a sesh so far, without y’all zero zone would just be an abstract idea, and a lonely hill. So a big shoutout to everyone who’s helped organize, build, transport, promote, and enjoyed the zero zone. So far at every sesh I’ve had people thank me for putting all of this on, but the truth is I owe all of y’all a thank you because the community is the backbone of this entire operation, we appreciate all the hype and support y’all have given us so far, but there’s still even more to come so tell your friends cause we’ll be here all season.
(Local riders putting the finishing touches on a tube and enjoying the fresh snow,
Photos shot by Frazer Hillard)
October 23rd saw our first day of operations and a great turnout. Dozens of local skiers and snowboarders made the pilgrimage up hyalite canyon to enjoy some of the first snowfall of the season and by the afternoon the parking lots were overflowing with people and cars. Features were set up, old friends reconnected for the season, and tricks were thrown down left and right. Throughout the day over 50 people stopped by and enjoyed the sesh with about half a dozen or so features being setup. Frequent snow farming and rebuild breaks organized by the riders kept things fresh and enjoyable for everyone, with a variety of features ranging from tubes, boxes, parking barriers and barrels being setup throughout the afternoon. It was great to see the local community come together and make something that we can all enjoy. Additionally, once more snow falls we'll have more features like jumps and pump tracks, everything the contemporary shredder needs for a good time. But even with the present early season conditions we still have some great features setup and a great crew keeping things going, so come stop by and check it out sometime.
(Local riders Sam Tritle and Josh Lucas throwing down on the parking barrier,
photos shot by Frazer Hillard)
So how do you get involved? Are you part of a local crew that wants to get clips? Or maybe you're just a regular joe or jolene and want to help out and shred? Just show up to the zone and say "waddup". We're up there building every weekend but people go up and ride all the time during the week too, just head on up.
But before you pack up the car and wrangle all of your friends together, read through the zero zone basics below:
(They aren't rules really, more what you'd call "guidelines"...)
Bring a shovel: none of this gets built by itself, grab an avy shovel or whatever you use to clear your driveway before you head up. If you don’t have a shovel you can still help water the lips or sideslip snow into the landings, just be helpful!
Bring down your stuff after a sesh: look, real talk here, the last thing we need is the forest service up our ass. Make sure you get all your cans, trash or anything else you brought up with you before leaving. Keeping the environment clean is cool and all but we really don’t want to get booted from our spot!
There’s no bad riders at the zero zone: We don’t care if you’ve been shredding park your whole life or if you’re just learning to slide your first rail, and we certainly don't care what type of plank you prefer to strap to your feet while you ride. Just have a good attitude and remember the core terrain park rule- "respect gets respect". If you are new to riding in the park just remember to wait your turn to drop, don't interrupt the flow of other riders, and clear the landings when you stop or crash.
Zero zone is for everyone: We love that people enjoy bringing and building their own features, but always check with other riders at the zone before removing, remodeling or changing any features that people are currently using. This is a collaborative project so be a collaborative person!
Other than that, there's really nothing else you need to know! We always encourage people to bring their own features to ad to the park, but if you have nothing to bring you're still always welcome to show up and shred anyways- just bring a shovel and help out with the building.
We have a lot of fun stuff planned up for this season so follow @zerozone.mt on Instagram to follow along as we build new stuff and post content. If you want to collaborate or have any questions about the zero zone feel free to shoot us a dm on Instagram. We’re excited to show y’all some fun DIY skiing and build some great parks this year.
More features, content, park setups and other stuff on the way, so stay tuned!
( @Jems in his natural habitat,
Photo shot by Frazer Hillard )