I recently had some friends from Texas visit me in Whitefish, Montana, and when I asked what they wanted to do while here, they had no clue how to answer aside from skiing. While I curated a fun visit for them, both indoors and outdoors, it made me realize that not everyone knows “what to do” in and around the Flathead Valley in the wintertime. So, without further ado, let me suggest other, lesser known (but just as fun!) winter activities in Western Montana’s Flathead Valley.
Editor’s Note: Living in the breathtaking landscapes of Northwest Montana, the winter season transforms the region into a magical wonderland. Although it is magic, let’s be real as some days are just cold and cloudy. it is important for me to remember to stay active whether it be an adventure outdoors or staying inside on those really cold days!
Whitefish Mountain Resort
Skiing & Snowboarding
Whitefish Mountain Resort is renowned for its world-class skiing and snowboarding. The resort boasts over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, offering something for every skill level. Even if you just ski greens or want to get above the inversion to catch some sun, it is a great place to adventure. In addition to daytime vertical, there is also Night Skiing, when the slopes are illuminated for a unique and enchanting winter adventure.
Enjoy The Panoramic Views
Not interested in skiing but want to experience the resort? Take a scenic chairlift ride to the summit for awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and pristine snow-covered landscapes. At the summit, enjoy a hot cocoa or pony up to the bar for something stronger. It’s cozy up there, with a lot of great energy.
For more details on Whitefish Mountain Resort, click HERE.
Cross Country / Nordic Skiing
The Flathead Valley boasts endless trails for cross country skiing, a few of my favorites include:
Whitefish Lake Golf Course
Located on the picturesque Whitefish Lake Golf Course, enjoy over 12K of trails groomed for both skate and classic skiing, 3K of which are lit for night skiing (dusk until 10:00PM). After your session, consider grabbing a drink or dinner at the Whitefish Lake Restaurant, a fantastic dining experience at the course (and one of my favorite restaurants in Whitefish!).
Big Mountain Trails
With a trailhead halfway up Big Mountain Road (on the way to the resort), you’ll find 25K of trails, weaving and winding through lush cedar forests with incredible views to Whitefish Lake and the surrounding valley. Many of the upper trails are challenging with steep ascents and fast, fun descents.
Meadow Lake Trails
Located on Meadow Lake Golf Course in Columbia Falls, you’ll find 9K of flat and gently rolling terrain that accommodates skiers of all ages and abilities.
Round Meadow Trails
Just outside of Whitefish, off the picturesque Farm to Market and Star Meadow Roads, you’ll find the Round Meadow Trailhead, a dog friendly 9K of flat and gently rolling terrain perfect for all ages and ability levels.
For grooming reports and more details on local trails, click HERE.
Immerse yourself in the magic of winter with a dog sledding excursion just outside of Whitefish in Olney, Montana. Glide through snowy landscapes led by a team of energetic and friendly sled dogs. Oftentimes these trips book out far in advance, so if you’re curious about the experience, give Dog Sled Adventures a call today!
VIP Igloo Experience
Clydesdale Outpost, located on the outskirts of Whitefish, creates magic moments as a lodge and gathering space and features gorgeous Clydesdale horses. Their private igloo accommodates 6 people and features an electric fireplace, fun furniture and an electric s’more maker. Of course, before or after your night, make sure to stop by and visit with the horses! More details HERE.
Whitefish Winter Carnival
Don’t miss the annual Winter Carnival in Whitefish, featuring a lively parade, ice sculptures, and festive activities for the whole family. The parade kicks off February 3rd at 3:00PM and runs right through downtown Whitefish. More details HERE.
Western Montana is home to several incredible hot springs resorts, many of which are within a day’s drive from the Flathead Valley. My favorite, however, is Quinn’s Hot Springs, located in a town just 108 miles from Whitefish called Paradise, Montana. Unwind in several pools of hot springs to soothe tired muscles and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the snowy surroundings. You can just go for the day (they sell day passes); however, if you stay the night, the restaurant is outstanding.
Indoor Golf Simulators
I have found 2 indoor golf simulators to help me practice my New Year goal before hitting the greens this summer. The Golfers Getaway (you need to bring your own clubs) and The Clubhouse Lounge (you can rent clubs for $20 and they offer food and drinks) are both located in downtown Kalispell and are so much fun!
Winter in Northwest Montana beckons adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re carving down the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort, or enjoying the various winter activities like nordic skiing or dog sledding, the Flathead Valley promises an unforgettable winter experience. Embrace the magic of the season and create lasting memories. Did I miss sharing your favorite wintertime activity? Let me know so I can give it a try!