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10 Ways to Maximize Winter Fun in Whitefish, Montana

Located in Northwest Montana, Whitefish is a winter paradise. Hit the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort, snowshoe in Glacier National Park, go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or a dogsledding adventure, or sample the culinary and cultural treats.

Presented by Whitefish Mountain Resort January 22, 2018

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Downtown Whitefish Mountain with views of Whitefish Mountain Resort.

1. Grab a mountaintop lunch with views of Glacier National Park. The Summit House at Whitefish Mountain Resort is open daily for both skiers and foot passengers, and offers menu items like Pho, a yellow curry Bahama bowl, and burrito bar.

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Whitefish Mountain Resort offers incredible views in every direction.

2. Tear up the slopes. Whitefish Mountain Resort was named a “Top 10 Ski Resort” by Ski Magazine and it’s no surprise. 3,000 acres of bowls, glades, and corduroy and views of nearby Glacier National Park. 

Insider’s Tip: Ski under the lights! Night skiing happens Friday and Saturday nights through early March, and is a great way to extend the ski day. On-hill restaurants are open later for some post skiing grub and hot drinks.

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Glacier National Park offers a unique experience in winter.

Image: Glacier NPS

3. Snowshoe in Glacier National Park. Winter is the quiet season in Glacier National Park, but no less spectacular. Numerous snowshoe and cross country trails are maintained for a scenic journey to take in the snow-capped peaks and peaceful forest floor.

Insider’s Tip: Join in a Ranger-led snowshoe hike Saturdays and Sundays January through mid-March for an intimate view of the Park, looking for signs of wildlife and discovering plants and animals that linger through the winter.

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Anyone can learn to ski or snowboard at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Image: Noah Clayton

4. Learn to ski or snowboard. If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, Whitefish Mountain Resort is the place to try. For just $82 you get two half-day lessons, 2-days of equipment rentals, and a 2-day beginner area lift ticket.

Insider’s Tip: Once you graduate from your 2 days of lessons, you’ll receive a graduate voucher good for discounted lift tickets, half price group lessons and half price rentals for the rest of the ski season.

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Sleigh Rides at Bar W Guest Ranch are fun for couple or the whole family.

Image: Brian Schott

5. Cozy up on a Horse-Drawn Sleigh. Enjoy the magic of a sleigh drawn by gentle draft horses while snuggling up with friends and loved ones. Sit back and enjoy the fresh air on a sleigh ride at the Bar W Guest Ranch. Afterward, warm up with a hot chocolate and cookies.

Insider’s Tip: Get the full dude ranch treatment with a homecooked chili dinner in the warm lodge after the ride.

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Hop off the train and onto the SNOW Bus.

Image: Brian Schott

6. Take the Ski Train. Sometimes the journey is just as fun as the destination. Amtrak’s Empire Builder leaves Portland in the late afternoon and arrives in Whitefish early enough to grab breakfast and make first chair.  After a few days (or longer) of fun, hop back on the train in the evening and be back at your desk before lunch the next day.

Insider’s Tip: Many hotels are within walking distance of the train station and will let you store your bags while you grab the free SNOW Bus to get in a full day of skiing before checking in!

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Just because there’s snow doesn’t mean the biking has to stop.

7. Hit the trails on a Fat Bike. Fat bikes have become a popular option for cycling enthusiasts wanting to extend the cycling season. If you know how to ride a bicycle, you can ride a fat bike. The Whitefish Bike Retreat has groomed trails or adventure on The Whitefish Trail for endless miles of winter paradise.

Insider’s Tip: Rent a bike at The Whitefish Bike Retreat and follow the groomed trails over to The Whitefish Trail

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Spotted Bear Spirits serves up homemade small-batch spirits and locally-inspired cocktails.

8. Stroll Through Downtown Whitefish on a Self-Guided Walking Tour. Whether it’s a piece of fine jewelry, small batch spirits or delicious craft beer, Whitefish is full of local artisans. Stop by Spotted Bear Spirits and sip on a signature cocktail (a local favorite is “The Snowghost”) and continue down Central Avenue poking into the numerous art galleries and shops.

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Sample varieties of coffee from all over the world.

9. Tour a Coffee Roastery. Local coffee roaster Montana Coffee Traders offers tours every Friday at 10am (call to reserve a spot). Learn about the origin of coffee and taste coffees from around the world while nibbling on freshly naked goods.

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Huckleberry Elk Tenderloin? Yes, please!

10. Feast on Unique Cuisine. When it comes to dinner, using local ingredients makes a memorable meal. Pescado Blanco serves up "Mountain Mexican" with Elk Chorizo tacos, Tupelo Grille features Elk Meatloaf, Logan’s Grill prepares Rocky Mountain Rainbow Trout, and of course, huckleberry products made with the “Montana gold” can be found at just about every business in town!