Tag Archives: Snowmobiling

Warren Miller + Montana = A Match Made in Winter Heaven

Being a born and raised Montana girl, I know that winter here is pretty special. But I also know that not everyone thinks of Big Sky Country as a winter travel destination, especially when there are so many other places that have great ski scenes, solid snow and multiple resorts to choose from. But I do know that there’s at least one guy who knows that winter in Montana is pretty rad: Warren Miller.

A skier catches air in Western Montana's Glacier Country. Photo: Noah Couser

A skier catches air in Western Montana’s Glacier Country. Photo: Noah Couser

At 90+ years old, Warren is known as one of the most recognizable people in the ski and snow industry and to be honest, he’s got a lot of feathers in his winter-loving hat: he founded Warren Miller Entertainment in 1949, he’s been a filmmaker for 60+ years and he made films for WME for 40+ years. After a several-year hiatus from making films with Warren Miller Entertainment, Warren Miller himself is appearing in this year’s 67th feature film, “Here, There & Everywhere.” And while it’s pretty incredible to have Warren in this year’s movie, what makes it even sweeter is that Montana is one of the locations featured in this year’s film. 

The Montana segment of the movie—which was filmed at Turner Mountain, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Martin City and Seeley Lake—features ski athletes Tyler Ceccanti (read more about Tyler’s love for Montana snow here) and Collin Collins, as well as Montana native and snowmobile athlete Keith Curtis. And from some of the photos the boys sent me from filming in Montana last winter, it looks like they had a blast.

Take a look…

Taking in the view over the Kootenai River near Libby. Photo: WME

Taking in the view over the Kootenai River near Libby. Photo: WME

Night skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Photo: WME

Night skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Photo: WME

Skiing on trails in the backcountry of the Swan Mountains. Photo: WME

Skiing on trails in the backcountry of the Swan Mountains with YurtSki. Photo: WME

Keith Curtis catching air near Seeley Lake. Photo: WME

Keith Curtis riding near Seeley Lake. Photo: WME

This year, Montana is one of the main sponsors of the movie tour which means if you attend one of the movie’s domestic premieres, you can enter to win a customized winter trip for four to Western Montana’s Glacier Country. The film tour will be making various premiere stops in Utah, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, California, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Maryland, Ohio, Maine, Vermont and Alaska. Check out the full schedule here.

And, just in case you can’t make one of the movie’s premiers, you can also enter to win monthly prizes (including a Whitefish Mountain Resort weekend getaway) weekend stay and play package here from October 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017.


7 Things to do during Winter in Montana if you don’t ski

Let’s face it: downhill skiing and snowboarding are two of Montana’s favorite winter pastimes. Heck, just in Western Montana’s Glacier Country alone there are six ski areas that have more than 7,000 acres of terrain.

Skiing with a view at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy Brian Schott

Skiing with a view at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Photo: Brian Schott

But while that’s true, in no way do I want you to think that you have to ski when you come to Montana. Because you guys, even though our tree-lined powder-filled runs are awesome, there’s so much more to winter in Big Sky Country.

And in case skiing and snowboarding are not your cup of tea, I’ve rounded up 7 things to do in Western Montana for non-skiers and boarders.

1. Snowmobile on groomed trails. 
While I’m a snowboarder (sidenote: not a great one, although I can sometimes get off the chair lift without crashing now…baby steps, people) and love hitting the mountain for some runs, my true winter love is snowmobiling. To ride the amazing powder in the Swan Mountains, book a tour with Rich Ranch. Or if you’re basing your winter trip out of the Flathead Valley, take a guided tour with Swan Mountain Snowmobiling. Swan Mountain Snowmobiling does tours from a few different trailheads around the valley, but my personal favorite is Canyon Creek.

Snowmobiling north of Columbia Falls, Montana.

Snowmobiling north of Columbia Falls, Montana.

2. Travel at the speed of dog.
There’s nothing quite like dog sledding, especially when you’re cruising across a frozen lake. To try your own hand at yelling “mush,” try a dog sledding tour with Base Camp Bigfork in Bigfork or Dog Sled Adventures and Winter Woods Dog Sled Tours, both in Whitefish.

Dog sledding on Swan Lake.

Dog sledding on Swan Lake.

3. Soak in hot springs. 
My love of hot springs is no secret (read more about one of my favorite hot springs destinations here) and Western Montana’s Glacier Country has a few hot springs that are ideal to visit during the cold winter months. Located in Paradise (I promise that’s the town’s real name), Quinn’s Hot Springs sits along the Clark Fork River on the St. Regis-Paradise Scenic Byway and has a variety of lodging options, including lodge rooms and cabins. Located a bit north of Paradise is Symes Hot Springs Hotel & Mineral Baths in—yep, you guessed it—the community of Hot Springs.

Hello, Paradise.

Hello, Paradise.

4. Take a sleigh ride.
One of the coziest winter activities in Montana is a sleigh ride. Glide across the snow on a sleigh ride at Double Arrow Lodge in Seeley Lake, Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish or Black Diamond Guest Ranch in De Borgia.

Take me for a sleigh ride.

A sleigh ride at Bar W Guest Ranch. 

5. Snowshoe in Glacier National Park. 
One of the biggest misconceptions about Montana’s Glacier National Park is that it’s closed during the winter. I’m happy to tell you that the park is open year-round and is a wonderful place to snowshoe. On weekends in late January, February and March, the National Park Service offers ranger-led guided snowshoe walks, while visitors are welcome to snowshoe anytime. Popular places include the shore of Lake McDonald (you can read more about my unforgettable snowshoe and close encounter with a bald eagle in the park here), the trails at Marias Pass and the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Snowshoeing near Marias Pass in Glacier National Park.

Snowshoeing near Marias Pass in Glacier National Park.

6. Ride a fat bike. 
A winter activity that’s growing in popularity, fat biking include riding a bike with oversized tires that make it easy for the rider to move across the snow. One of the best places in the Flathead Valley to tackle fat biking is at Whitefish Bike Retreat. Situated along the Whitefish Trail, the bike retreat also has lodging options. Meanwhile in the southern end of Glacier Country, Missoula Bicycle Works has a variety of fat bikes for rent with plenty of riding destinations, including Blue Mountain Recreation Area.

Fat biking along Whitefish Lake. Photo courtesy Jessica Downing

Fat biking along Whitefish Lake. Photo: Jessica Downing

7. Take a brewery tour. 
Western Montana’s brewery industry continues to grow and the region is now home to 22 breweries. Tap Room Tours offers guided brewery tours in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley.

A behind-the-scenes peek into Montana's breweries.

A behind-the-scenes peek into Montana’s breweries.

Happy winter, you little snow bunnies!


The Top 5 Winter Activities in Montana

I’m just going to say it: winter in Montana is the stuff that powder-lovin’ dreams are made of. Not only are we situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, but four Montana ski resorts recently ranked among the “Top 10 Deepest Snowpacks in the US” list. Combine that with sunshine, cute towns and some of the most epic terrain in the continental U.S., and it’s no wonder winter is one of Montana’s most fun-filled seasons.

To help you take advantage of winter fun in Western Montana’s Glacier Country, I rounded up the top five winter activities to do this year.

Ski or Snowboard
Montana’s Glacier Country is home to six downhill ski areas. And while I don’t think I can pick a favorite (that would be like making my mama pick her favorite kid), I am particularly fond of snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain Resort and Lookout Pass. The views from Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain in Whitefish are seriously stunning and I love the laid-back atmosphere at Lookout.

The view from the summit of Big Mountain, looking into Glacier National Park.

The view from the summit of Big Mountain, looking into Glacier National Park.

My favorite run at Lookout Pass, solely because its name.

My favorite run at Lookout Pass, solely because its name.

Shred (or Snowshoe) Backcountry Powder
One of my most memorable winter trips ever was a backcountry adventure into a yurt in the Swan Mountains. We rode snowmobiles from the Rich Ranch to the yurt and spent two days taking in the untouched terrain and incredible powder, and of course trying to keep the wood stove burning. Because I’m a little bit of a baby and not great on skis (I’ve only snowboarded in recent years), I opted to snowshoe up and down and it was incredible.

The terrain outside of the yurt. Photo courtesy of my pal, Brody Leven.

The terrain outside of Yurtski in the Swan Mountains. Photo courtesy of my pal, Brody Leven.

Soak in a Hot Springs
Montana’s hot springs are the best. Glacier Country is home to a handful of hot springs: Lolo Hot Springs, Symes Hot Springs and Quinn’s Hot Springs. My advice? Hit the ski trails at Lookout Pass and then head over to Quinn’s Hot Springs to spend the night and soak in their pools. Also, hands down, Quinn’s is one of the best places (and I’m not even kidding) for dinner in Montana. If you haven’t eaten there, do yourself a favor and make plans to venture there for dinner. (Just be sure to stop and pick me up first. You need a Montana friend, right?)

Serenity found at Quinn's Hot Springs in Paradise.

Serenity found at Quinn’s Hot Springs in Paradise.

Literally, snowmobiling in my all-time favorite winter activity. Sure, it’s not as heart-healthy as cross-country skiing or snowboarding, but I just love it. How much do I love it? So much that I already have two snowmobiling trips booked for this winter.

If you haven’t snowmobiled before, I’d recommend taking a guided trip with either Swan Mountain Snowmobiling in the Flathead Valley or Rich Ranch in Seeley Lake. Going with a guide helps alleviate some safety concerns and having one there (especially if the guide is cute), always makes me feel better.

One of the views on the Canyon Creek Trail near Whitefish/Columbia Falls.

One of the views on the Canyon Creek Trail near Whitefish/Columbia Falls.

Take a Road Trip
Let’s be honest: winter driving in Montana can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re not used to driving on snowy roads. However, Montana has some of the best road crews in the nation and they do a great job keeping our roads clear and drivable. The one thing to keep in mind: drive according to the road conditions. Sure, it make take you a tad longer to get somewhere, but not only will you arrive safely, you’re going to see some of the most gorgeous scenery along the way.

Cruising I-90 west of Missoula.

Cruising I-90 west of Missoula.

A perfect winter scene along a Montana backroad.

A perfect winter scene along a Montana backroad.

My favorite winter road trips destinations include the Bitterroot Valley, Missoula, Paradise and Whitefish.

Your turn: What are your top picks for winter fun in Montana?


Winter in Montana: It’s Here

Well you guys, I hate/love to say it but…winter is here. I awoke this week to the first official snowfall in my neck of the woods. And to be honest, I greeted it a little hesitantly. Why was I hesitant? Well, it’s just that this fall was so gorgeous that I wanted to soak up every last drop possible.

Fall in Montana. Hubba, hubba.

Fall in Montana. Hubba, hubba.

But now that that’s out of my system, onward we go toward winter. During the last few years, my love for winter has been reignited, thanks to my return to snowboarding and the steamy love affair I now have with snowmobiling. Those two things have almost single-handedly helped me fall back in love with Old Man Winter.

As for this year, here are a few snapshots of what I’m most looking forward to…

A winter road trip.

A winter road trip.

Snowmobiling with Swan Mountain Outfitters.

Snowmobiling with Swan Mountain Outfitters.

A soak in one of Western Montana's hot spring pools.

A soak in one of Western Montana’s hot spring pools.

Hitting the slopes and (not so) gracefully riding my board.

Hitting the slopes and (not so) gracefully riding my board.

Bring it on, winter.

PS: Check out these sweet travel deals to Western Montana’s Glacier Country and come play with me.

Be a Winter Warrior (and win cool stuff)

We’re saying it: Happy winter! While the first official day of winter isn’t until December 21, around these parts we get pumped for winter early. How pumped, you ask? Very pumped.

In fact, this year we’re so excited about winter that we’re celebrating it and spreading the good word about winter in Montana with our Winter Warrior campaign.

Catching air at Lookout Pass last February. (Photo by Glacier Country Tourism)

As part of the campaign, we’re encouraging folks near and far to sign up to become a Winter Warrior and to learn more about their favorite winter-geared activity of choice in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.

The best part, besides finding out all the info you need to shred, sled and play in Western Montana this winter, is that after you sign up you’re automatically entered into our weekly giveaways.  And boy howdy, we’ve got some good swag to give away!

Here’s a list of the goodness we’re giving away every week, all winter long. Drumroll, please…

Now that you’ve made it through this list (pretty sweet stuff, right?), be sure to head over and sign up to become a Winter Warrior.  After all, winter is rad.

And winter in Montana? Well, it’s even radder.

Bonus: When you order your Winter Warrior packet, we’ll send you one of these cool stickers.

Happy shredding,

Living on Montana Time

I like to go for drives. Sometimes there’s a specific destination in mind, while other times I’ll jump in the car and see where the road takes me, just for the fun of it.

Last week, I grabbed my partner in crime and we headed up Highway 12 toward Lolo Pass. The goal? To see what we could see. And we saw a lot.

Lolo Pass Visitor Center

Welcome to Montana.

A modern-day explorer with Lewis & Clark.

A bronze of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe.

Snowmobilers at Lolo Pass. (I was REALLY tempted to jump on the back of one of their sleds).

Lolo Hot Springs. A winter soak, anyone?

One of the coolest bars in Montana: The Jack.

Here’s to many more adventures.


Get Winter While the Getting’s Good

While we’ve had a touch of snow this week, we’ve also had something else that’s pretty great…sunshine and warmer weather! Which is creating a beautiful backdrop for hitting the slopes and trails of Western Montana.

Since winter is here for a few more weeks, we’ve decided to do a roundup of winter activities for your consideration. After all, you’ve got to get it while the getting is good.

1) Mush Those Pups. Dog sledding is a “kick in the pants” way to try a new winter activity and hop on a sled behind a team of well-trained dogs. Dog Sled Adventures near Olney offer great, exhilarating trips. Call them at 406.881.2275.

2) Hit The Slopes! Western Montana has six ski resorts ranging from mom & pop ski hills to a world-class resort. From Lost Trail Powder Mountain near Sula to Turner Mountain near Libby and Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, there is a ski area that wants to spend quality time with you.

Skiing at Snowbowl near Missoula. photo by larry turner

3) Rev Those Snowmobile Engines. Hands down, snowmobiling is one of my favorite winter activities. And our region has fun trails and great guides to take you on a snowmachine excursion. For guided snowmobiling in Seeley Lake, call Rich Ranch at 800.532.4350. Or rent a sled from Seeley Sports Rental, 406.677.3680. And new this year, Swan Mountain Snowmobiling offers guided trip to Desert Mountain. For more information, call 406.387.4203.

Riding the trails & enjoying the sites.

4) Pump Up Your Heart. Strap on those cross-country or skate skis and hit the groomed trails, found all around Western Montana’s Glacier Country. Try the 10km of trails at Glacier Outdoor Center in West Glacier or 33km of trails at The Izaak Walton Inn in Essex. And if you’re staying in Seeley Lake, take to the 15 miles of trails around Double Arrow Lodge.

Relaxing on the trails near Glacier National Park.

5) Scoop Up A Deal. Check out our vacation deals here.

Happy Winter!


Winter Blues – No Thank You

I’m going to be straight with you…sometimes winter in Montana can be long. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic season, but every once in a while I find myself looking at the falling snow and dreaming of a time that will bring plenty of sunshine and open-toed shoes.

So it’s at times like these that I remind myself that winter is fun…because it REALLY is.

Within our little corner of paradise, you can go skiing or snowboarding at SIX ski areas. The icing on that cake? No lift lines, affordable lift tickets and untracked powder virtually every day. That basically rocks.

The backside at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

And while I dig snowboarding, I LOVE snowmobiling. There is nothing like it. It’s exhilarating, easy to do and it takes you to stunning places and locations deep in the heart of Montana. My tip: Rent your own sled. Sure, riding double is cute but you deserve to experience it atop your own machine.

Snowmobiling with the Rich Ranch in the Swan Mountains Range.

And lastly, this time of year lets me bundle up with my sugar and relax on a quiet sleigh ride behind a team of horses. Don’t mind if I do.

Hello, cowboy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some serious playing to do.

Dear Montana…

Last week you were good to me. Oh so good. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to woo me.

I spent a solid amount of the week exploring and experiencing some of what you offer during winter. I’ve heard rumors of your winters scaring people, but not me. I know you’re just a big softy.

My explorations had me bunking in a yurt, backcountry skiing, snowmobiling near Olney (with races across Upper Whitefish Lake – it was frozen, I checked), dining on a delicious meal topped off by creme brule in Kalispell and spending ALL DAY (which was awesome!) snowmobiling in the Swan Mountains.

Snowmobiling with Ben and Jack of Rich Ranch in Seeley Lake.

Snowmobiling with Ben and Jack of Rich Ranch in Seeley Lake.

On the side, I soaked in a hot tub here, met some characters here, bought some earrings (locally crafted) here and even made a side jaunt to the Crown of the Continent.

Trixi's in Ovando. Larry Turner photo

Trixi\’s in Ovando. Larry Turner photo

Snowmobiling near Seeley Lake and Ovando. Larry Turner photo

Snowmobiling near Seeley Lake and Ovando. Larry Turner photo

Glacier National Park West Entrance

Glacier National Park West Entrance

So to you my dear state, I tip my hat to you. I’ll be back outside again soon…especially since the sun is shining!