MISSOULA – This winter felt brutal in Western Montana. Snow kept falling and piling up, and it never warmed enough to melt away. But now that it is finally starting to feel like spring, a new season of sports can start swinging.
We’re not seeing lingering effects from the harsh winter in Missoula. Grass around the Garden City has already started to turn green. Larchmont Golf Course will open Tuesday, even though the greens and fairways spent most of the previous three months under snow.
Superintendent Scott Wandler explained that this year’s dry snow didn’t hurt his course, because they thankfully avoided ice, which has caused past winterkill in Missoula.
“The grass came up relatively well for as long as it was under the snow,” said Wandler, who admitted he has been pleasantly surprised with the conditions the past couple of weeks. “And I think the difference is we didn’t have that warm up that we usually have. It seems like January we get into the 40s and it melts a bunch of snow. And we just didn’t have the ice buildup that we had previous years.”
The driving range at Larchmont was open Monday, and many golfers came out of hibernation to start working the rust out of their swing. Linda Vista is already open, and many other courses in the area will start taking tee times very soon.
The diamonds are also open for business around the city. When winter finally left us, it left softball and baseball fields in amazingly good shape. Missoula’s Parks and Recreation department expects to open fields at McCormick Park and other locations on schedule in April.
And Little League has already started practicing at Playfair Park. The last big snow storm put a scare into the schedule, but it didn’t delay a single pitch.
“We got that six to seven inches that Thursday night right before tryouts were going to go out on Saturday,” said Little League Senior softball coach Brent Weisgram. “I thought that there was no way we were going to be able to squeeze them in, but Mother Nature opened a window. Come Saturday morning the snow was gone, and we were able to sneak it in. Once the snow melted we realized it wasn’t as bad condition as we thought. As you can see, there is even some green starting to pop up.”
Many kids have already taken the field, but there is still time to sign up for Little League baseball and softball. Click here to find out more information.