While Montana has a nice summer season, if you blink you might miss it. What we’re really known for is outdoor recreation opportunities in the Montana winter months. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite winter activities.
Glacier National Park
While the main pass in Glacier is closed during the winter months, outdoor enthusiasts love to visit the park for winter camping, skiing, snowshoeing, and ice climbing. Book a guided snowshoeing trip with a Ranger in Glacier National Park on Saturdays and Sundays and you’ll learn more about the sport and the mountains as you snowshoe through the woods.
Although it’s a 45-minute drive south through the Flathead Valley, it’s well worth the trip for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Mark Schurke comes from a long line of professional dogsledders, training with his uncle who was in the first successful expedition to reach the North Pole by dogsled. With a huge respect for the culture and breed, Mark is the proud owner of 17 Inuit dogs. These pups were the original explorers of the Arctic and Antarctica and love to guide guests through their exclusive trails. Mark specializes in a “hands-on” approach, allowing you to be as involved as you’d like for the whole process. With packages ranging from half-day excursions all the way up to overnight winter camping trips, you can find exactly what works for you. If you’re traveling with a larger group, check out their “Day with the Dogs” package, a customized experience that ensures everyone gets a chance to tour the open terrain and trails by dogsled, while the rest of your party enjoys a cozy campfire, hot beverages, smores, and the chance to try cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Hit the Slopes
Whitefish Mountain Resort is located just 4 miles outside of town, providing guests an excellent opportunity to take full advantage of the powdery slopes without wasting a day in the car. Offering ski lessons for all levels and even a Kids Center that provides care for non-skiing children age 6 months to 6 years, truly the whole family will have an amazing time up on the Big Mountain. Try a little skiing at night; ski under the lights on Friday and Saturday nights at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Downhill skiing and cross-country skiing aren’t the only winter activities you can take part in during the frosty winter months here in Whitefish. Try snowboarding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling.
Snow mobiles. They’re noisy, and you either love them or hate them. But they sure can be fun! Head to the Swan Mountains and book a guided snowmobiling tour. You can enjoy the fast, fun ride and let someone else worry about keeping you on the right trails. Glacier Snowmobiling, Whitefish Marine, and Swan Mountain Snowmobiling are just a few local shops with gear and snowmobile rentals, tours, and everything you’ll need.
If you’ve got great balance, are into speed and love to zip down snowy mountain slopes, then snowboarding may be for you. Leave those wimpy skis and poles behind, strap both feet down onto your board, and then throw yourself down the mountain. It’s a little like skateboarding and surfing combined and just as much fun as both. Whitefish Mountain Resort and Blacktail Mountain are both great spots to try your skills. Sportsman & Ski Haus is just one snowboarding provider for your snowboard adventures.
It’s like stepping into an old-fashioned Christmas card! There’s not a more wintery experience than a horse-drawn sleigh ride through beautiful alpine forests on snowy mountain trails. Book your sleigh ride for a family afternoon ride, or try a quiet, romantic ride under the stars for you and your partner. Cuddle under warm blankets, gliding through the forest, with just the sound the horses’ sleigh bells jingling as they pull you through the snow. Several sleigh companies to consider are the Bar W Ranch or Tamarack Carriage in Whitefish, and Cripple Creek Horse Ranch in Trego (just over 30 minutes from Whitefish).
Fat Tire Bike Rides
If you love mountain biking along the trails here in Whitefish and thought once the snow came your biking days are over, think again! Fat tire bikes have extra wide tires that make them perfect for riding along snowy trails. It’s like you’re floating on the snow! Bring your own bike or rent one from Whitefish Bike Retreat or one of the other local bike shops. Beaver Lake Recreation Area, Whitefish Bike Retreat, The Whitefish Trail and Round Meadow are just a few spots for trying out this new, popular winter sport.
If ever there was a way to truly experience the brisk fresh air of Montana Winter in all of its glory, it’s on the ice. Spending time alone with your thoughts in the great outdoors gives you a firsthand look at the wild west in its snow-covered glory. And if luck has anything to do with it, you could also get an up-close look at some of slipperiest wildlife found in these parts. Yellow perch, kokanee salmon, crappie, northern pike, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout are all caught regularly. Contact Flathead Lake Charters, who will gladly meet you at Whitefish Mountain Resort before taking you by snowmobile to your ice fishing shelter. Contact us!