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Bigfork, Montana Area Chamber of Commerce

Let it Snow!

Winter in Bigfork and Montana’s Flathead Valley is simply gorgeous.  Underneath a cozy blanket of snow, this part of Northwest Montana tends to have mild temperatures relative to the rest of the state. People who like to play in the snow have a myriad of options: downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and ice fishing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and of course, relaxing in front of a crackling fire.

For more than 60 years, Whitefish Mountain Resort has offered some of the best downhill skiing in the northwest.  There are 67 runs on 3,000 skiable acres.  The resort is family-friendly with lodging and a wide variety of activities including snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowcat adventures, lessons, restaurants, nature center and even a day spa. www.skiwhitefish.com

On Blacktail Mountain Ski Area west of Lakeside they say that “everything starts on top.” This top-down hill offers more than 1000 acres of national forest land and 1440’ of vertical elevation. Skiers will enjoy some of the most spectacular views of Flathead Lake, the Swan Mountains and the Flathead Valley. www.blacktailmountain.com.

Snowmobiling is a wonderful way to explore the backcountry and the Flathead Valley is fast becoming a new destination for snowmobile enthusiasts. A favorite tour travels the Canyon Creek trail, an 80-mile loop that leads up and over The Big Mountain Ski resort. For the experts, there are deep powder bowls leading to mountainous ridges overlooking awesome peaks and glacially sculpted lakes.  Beginners can enjoy this kind of scenery from a groomed trail which also accesses several un-groomed play areas such as Kimmerly Basin, a favorite for high marking, climbing and playing in the powder fields. Trails range in elevation from 3,600′ to 7,600′, and are designed to expose riders of varying abilities to the remarkable views and terrain of northwest Montana.

If you’d like to take a slower approach to your winter sightseeing, try a winter horseback ride, sleigh ride or take your place behind a dog team.  There are numerous trails for cross-country skiing as well as snow-shoeing. Just outside Bigfork, the Swan River Nature Trail is perfect for a quick afternoon adventure on skis or shoes.

Some of the members of the Bigfork Area Chamber specialize in introducing our visitors to winter fun. Visit www.bigfork.org for a full list of members and recreational activities.

Bar W Guest Ranch: Slow down and enjoy a western winter.  The Bar W features sleigh rides, horseback riding, square dances, snow shoeing and ice skating.  Conveniently located near Whitefish in the northern part of the valley.  Close to Whitefish Mountain Resort. www.barwguestranch.com

Base Camp Bigfork: The folks at Base Camp Bigfork believe in letting you be as “hands on” as you’d like.  You can harness, drive and care for your own team or leave it to the experts. Take part of a day, a full day or longer and enjoy the company of these beautiful Inuit Sled Dogs. Try winter camping or a cozy mountain cabin. www.basecampbigfork.com

Swan Mountain Outfitters: This beautiful ranch south of Bigfork becomes a cross-country ski ranch in winter. They also offer a wide range of guided snowmobile tours including full and half-day offerings. Try “Cook While You Ride” which provides a hot meal cooked by your snowmobile out on the trail. www.swanmountainoutfitters.com

Winter Wonderland Sports: Winter Wonderland can provide safe, reliable equipment for your snowmobile adventure. Knowledgeable guides are available to take snowmobilers on selected groomed and un-groomed trails. Ask about their overnight trips in forest service cabins. www.winterwonderlandsports.com


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