Montana is chockfull of fun adventures year round but the winter months offer something really special—especially in Whitefish, Montana. This charming little mountain town is obsessed with playing outside and they’ve found a plethora of ways to make winters not only endurable but also the best part of the year.
Fly into Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, which is a stone’s throw from the downtown Whitefish community. Multiple cities have direct flights into Kalispell, year round and seasonal. Or you can kick it old school and arrive via Amtrak’s Empire Builder, which stops in East Glacier, West Glacier and Whitefish.
If you only have a weekend, definitely put Glacier National Park on your to-do list. Glacier Adventure Guides can help you optimize your limited time by taking you on guided adventures through the park. Think: snowshoeing, ice climbing, winter camping and cross country skiing. My family went on a four mile roundtrip hike, with a stop at Lake McDonald and McDonald Falls, which was incredible. To see the park, and walk on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, with no other visitors around, was something we will never forget. Montana is a feral kid paradise-they get to explore in the elements, play with sticks and snow, throw rocks and be their true adventurer selves.
Spend a full day skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Check out the ski school and available lessons. When I was in High School I had a terrible accident where I tore my ACL—it was a mic drop moment for me; I never skied again. Flash forward, twenty years, and there I was, skiing again! I owe it to taking it slow and getting a refresher lesson at the Whitefish Mountain Resort. My kids, ages 10, 8 and 6, also skied for the very first time during our visit and they loved it and can’t wait to go back. My husband, a decent skier, also had a blast tackling more difficult terrain—the ski resort offered something for every age and ability.
Other cool adventures to be sure to squeeze in are sleigh rides at Bar W Guest Ranch, fat bike riding at Whitefish Bike Retreat and on the Whitefish Trail and boutique shopping in the downtown Whitefish area.
For fine dining, creative menus and a mountain atmosphere, check out Café Kandahar, located at Kandahar Lodge; for the best sweet and savory crepes you’ll ever eat, go to Amazing Crepes; for excellent espresso (take some home with you too!) pop in at Montana Coffee Traders and for a nice glass of wine by a cozy fireplace, check out Boat Club Lounge at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake.
The Lodge at Whitefish Lake offers lodge, luxury homes and condo accommodations right on the Whitefish Lake. We enjoyed morning views of ice fishermen and deer making their way across the lake; nighttime soaks in the outdoor hot tub; and easy access to the mountain as well as the town.
Kandahar Lodge was quiet and charming and had a lovely complimentary breakfast each morning. The stone fireplace was the perfect place to rest our trotters after a day of adventuring. There’s an outdoor hot tub that was great for star gazing and relaxing. And, there’s a ski closet to store your gear.
Getting outside, every day, exploring and reveling in nature, filled my cup and heart. I think it’s important to make time for not only your family but also for yourself to breathe fresh air, slow down and enjoy the quiet, and give your eyes a chance to adjust to complete darkness—only then, can you truly see.