Missoulians enjoy outdoor recreation in warmer-than-average January


MISSOULA, Mont. - Above-average temperatures are making this an unusual January, and it seems people are taking advantage of the break in normally frigid conditions. The average high in January is 30 degrees, but so far this month Missoula has seen temperatures reach into the 40s several days in a row. Alex Gallego has owned Missoula Bicycle Works for 13 years and he tells us this January has been the most lucrative. "Just looking back the last five or six years at our records, I've never seen a January like this," says Gallego. "We've seen a noticeable increase in sales and a noticeable increase in the work the mechanics are doing at this time of year." Gallego says not only are sales up, but they've seen a noticeable increase in people stopping by the store to browse. "Usually January is a pretty lonely place and we get kind of tired of each other around here, but you know folks are coming back in making it the social place we like to see here," smiles Gallego. We checked in with managers at the Linda Vista Golf Course, on Lower Miller Creek Road, and learned they've already opened their driving range. It's the same with the Ranch Club off Mullan Road -- they've opened their driving range as well. Managers at the Linda Vista Golf Course and Ranch Club say the ranges would not normally open until March. NBC Montana stopped at Caras Park to see if anyone was recreating near the river, and we saw one Missoula resident, already on his board, surfing the river. As for cyclists, Gallego tells us even the most avid of cyclists don't usually come until February. "Rarely are people getting out on a regular basis in January," Gallegos explains. "This year there've been several group rides already starting on the weekends." Gallego, a cyclist himself, says it's been great to be able to get outside and ride on dry roads without the worry of slipping on ice. "Everyone is just getting off the skis and getting on their bikes," he says. 11 of 21 days this month Missoula's temperature climbed into the 40s. Our meteorologists say it's a pattern they've started seeing more over the past few years.