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Epic Skiing in Whitefish Montana

Jesus Statue Whitefish Mountain Resort

If you haven’t skied or snowboarded in Whitefish Montana, then you might not know why it is so special.

Jesus Statue Whitefish Mountain Resort

(Photo: Ed’s Run Jesus Statue view from the top – Chair #2)

I grew up in northern Michigan skiing short, groomed runs that by mid-day would either be icy or full of moguls.  Not much different from places like Vermont and New Hampshire which I was also lucky enough to experience.  Later, I moved to Oregon and loved boarding at Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood.  Both uniquely different but that is where I started to understand the difference on how regions can make on snow conditions.  Mt. Bachelor sees a lot more sun on the daily and Mt. Hood can be absolutely haunting after a lot of snow.  That drive up to the main lodge is an experience in itself.  With 20-foot snowdrift walls surrounding your drive, it does look a lot like the movie The Shining (which is where they filmed parts of the movie).

In my twenties and thirties, I found myself in northern California.  Skiing in Lake Tahoe was a whole different experience. More built up “resorts” with ski villages, shops and condos.  If Tahoe receives a fresh snow dump, then it can be magical but the snow can be very heavy (often called Sierra cement) and a lot of work to move through.  It also gets tracked out very quickly.  You really need to be on the slopes at opening time and plan to be done around noon.  Unless of course you don’t care too much about conditions.  Then, there are the very long lines.  I am hearing from several skiers across the nation (and worldwide) that lift lines are just too much basically everywhere.  That was my experience in both California and in Steamboat Springs, Colorado when I visited.

Fast forward to Whitefish Montana and my first experience skiing here, which was very different than anywhere else.  Whitefish Mountain Resort is so fun to just drive up to and see even if you don’t ski.  I have never been to the Swiss Alps, but some of the views you see make me think of what I imagine the Swiss Alps to look like.  I am told from visitors who stay with us from Switzerland that the Alps have less trees as the mountain peaks are made up of a lot of rock versus our lush pines.  If you are lucky enough to catch it on a blue-sky day, I highly recommend you take Chair 1 to the Summit.   The views are 360 degrees and are breathtaking.  Snow covered Rocky Mountain peaks surround you and go as far as the eye can see.  If you do not ski and just want to ride the lift up to check it out, you can purchase a Scenic Lift Ticket in both Winter or Summer for less cost than a daily lift ticket (which is roughly $85-90).

Whitefish Mountain Resort Ski 2020

Here are some stats about Whitefish Mountain Resort:

Summit elevation: 6,817 feet

113 named trails spanning roughly 3,000 acres (and lots of tree skiing)

Longest Run: Hell Fire – intermediate trail stretching 2.52 miles 

I recently sent a newsletter to our followers describing the many different conditions that I’ve encountered up at Whitefish Mountain Resort.  If you are a local and ski Big Mountain (aka Whitefish Mountain Resort) regularly, one thing you can count on is fog and low visibility.  So having a lens for your ski goggles that provides higher contrast is a must.  Fortunately, the mountain has so many different tree skiing options for escaping the fog with the added bonus of finding powder stashes.  Some of my favorite spots are Flower Point (Chair #11) and under the new high-speed six-man chair lift Snow Ghost Express (Chair #4).

Other conditions worth noting: Inversion.  Inversion is something that occurs when the thick clouds can be seen down in the town below but the ski slopes are above the clouds with perfect visibility.

A sample photo of Inversion

Rime – ever heard of it?  I had never until I skied here in Whitefish.  Be sure to bring a credit card with you in the case that Rime occurs.  It is basically this coating of ice that can build up on your goggle making it really hard to see unless you scrape it off.

Below 0 temps – this does happen, although not frequently.  If it falls below -10 or the windchill falls much below that, the resort may choose to close the lifts for safety purposes.  Particularly if it is windy.  Luckily temps like this don’t typically hang for more than a day or two, so when it does just be educated on how to stay warm.  We will go out sledding or ice skating (indoors at the Stumptown Ice Den) or you can choose to spend that day cozied up next to the fire.  There are high risks with frostbite, so make sure that if you do go outside, you keep your skin covered.  Invest is a thin hat to go under your helmet and a good neck warmer is key.  If the lifts are running and it’s very cold, we don’t to plan to stay out for too long as we take lots of fun hot cocoa breaks.  The snow tends to be very light and fluffy on colder days, so still worth getting out and experiencing it.

Snow Ghosts – these beautiful and unusual snowy ghosts develop from snow collecting on the large pines up near the Summit.  Just ride chair #1 up the top and get your camera ready.  They are a huge part of the beautiful snowy landscape, and we love them!

snow ghost

There is another major perk to skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort – the lack of lines waiting to jump onto a lift.  It is still something that blows my mind.  Back to my earlier days skiing in Michigan and we are talking 20+ years ago, I remember the lines being really long.  In California, same long lines.  Sometimes it would take me 2 hours just to take my first run!  I experienced the same in Colorado and I hear many resorts are just like this now.  With exception to busy short-lived moments that can take place on weekends or holidays, the lift lines are practically nonexistent.  I tend to zip up to the resort (which is only a 15 drive from our Bed & Breakfast) and can get 10 runs in under 3 hours.  It is awesome.  With no one in chairs like 2, 5, 4 and 11 – you can feel like you own the mountain.  It is so freeing, humbling and magical.

Other perks:

-There is a free S.N.O.W. bus that will shuttle you from Good Medicine Lodge (stop is right out front) up to Whitefish Mountain Resort – runs approximately every 30-40 minutes.

-The food is actually pretty good and reasonably priced.  You can check out Hellroaring Saloon, Ed & Mully’s, Base Lodge, Summit House or The Bierstube for lunch options.

-Daily Lift Tickets – are very reasonably priced at around $85 – 90 (call us if interested in discounted lift tickets – we sell them onsite)

There is so much good stuff to share about this resort, I could go on and on.  If you have any questions or want to learn more, feel free to call us and we are happy to help you plan your trip.

Check out our Things To Do page for ski rental vendors and other fun winter activities.


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Your Guide To Exploring Whitefish, Montana 

Whitefish Montana Field Sunrise

Planning your trip to Northwestern, Montana can feel overwhelming if you have never visited before. The region is spread out over the Rocky Mountain Range and is quite vast. This stunning area is home to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, The Bison Range and so much more. With all the driving to and from our stunning surroundings, it is typical for guests to plan to stay close to home at least for a couple of days during their trip.  Guests ask us what we recommend for Things To Do in our charming ski town of Whitefish, Montana.  There is so much to choose from during all seasons that I thought I would list them here as a reference point that you can help you plan your next trip: 

  1.  Whitefish Mountain Resort – our town is so lucky to have its very own first-rate ski resort.  Ski Magazine rates it #9 in this year’s, “The 30 Best Ski Resorts in the West.” In the winter, they offer reasonably priced lift tickets for downhill skiing, snowboarding and side country options.  In the Summer, the resort runs their main chairlift/gondola for scenic chair lift rides or to haul full suspension bikes up for awesome downhill runs.  They also have tree ropes courses, zipline, alpine slides and tubing.  The resort also has an award-winning hiking trail called the Danny On.  Most people will hike to the top (3.8 miles one way) and choose to ride the scenic lift down.  The views in both Summer and Winter from the top of Big Mountain is absolutely breathtaking.Whitefish Mountain Resort Ski 2020
  2.   Paddleboarding or Kayaking – at either Whitefish River or Whitefish Lake.  There are several access points for the river, and you can float upriver to the Lake for a spectacular view of City Beach and Big Mountain.  The river is relaxing with a center bridge where you will spot many local kids jumping off when the water levels are high.
  3. Hiking & Biking – in addition to the downhill bike scene and hiking trails up at the resort, there are also endless hiking and biking trails surrounding our town along with access to several other fire roads and single track deep in our wooded areas up in the mountains.   If you are an expert rider and can handle the climbing, we can point you in the right direction along with the help of Trail Forks App, bear awareness and plenty of water.  Or if you are more of a novice rider, renting bikes or walking around town on our town’s paved bike/walking path can be a nice way to explore the area.   
  4. Cross Country/Nordic Skiing/Snowshoeing – You can choose to check out the Haskill Basin Trailhead that eventually connects up with the Big Mountain Trailhead or you can take the easier approach with less hills down at the Whitefish Golf Course.  They have Nordic skis for rent either classic or skate.  It’s a great way to enjoy the snow as a beginner or any level.  If you have never tried them before, the golf course has just a few small hills that you need to navigate.   Consider taking a lesson and learn to classic ski with some beautiful surrounding landscape.   
  5. Restaurants, Breweries and Bars – our town is probably one of the more buzzing areas for its eateries and nightlife.  We have several options to choose from in Whitefish.   For a complete list, check out Dining in Whitefish from our website. In the peak summer season and during holidays, reservations are highly recommended, or you can possibly experience long wait times.  
  6. Ax Throwing – Hank’s Hatchets is just one of those unique places that you must do.  It’s a great place for date night or for a group.  You can even BYOB!   
  7. Horse Back Riding – there are several options for this activity throughout our great state.  If you are looking for an option within Whitefish city limits, then we recommend checking out the Bar W Guest Ranch 
  8. Spas or Salons – Reecia’s Salon and Spa offers Aveda products and services.  This happens to be my favorite place in our town.  The service is wonderful, and the facials are really heaven!  If you are wanting massage, then Natural Elements Massage and Spa has what you need.  If you are wanting the ambiance of a typical day spa you are most likely going to want to visit The Spa at Whitefish Lake.   
  9. Golfing at Whitefish Lake Golf Club – reasonably priced and you can choose from two courses.  Their restaurant would be a great place to grab a steak for dinner in the evening as well.   
  10. Live Music or Performances – many of our local bars and restaurants offer live music throughout the week. You can visit Explore Whitefish’s calendar of events to see dates. Our town is very lucky to also have a couple performance venues to see live music and plays. Check out Alpine Theatre Project for more information.   
  11. Beach or Boating – City Beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset, to launch a boat rental or to take the kids so they can play in the sand. Les Mason is another public beach setting with a rocky shoreline that offers a little smaller, rustic wooded beach vibe. For boat rentals, check out Whitefish MarineGood Medicine Lodge City Beach Paddle Boarding
  12. Ice Skating – Stumptown Ice Den is open year-round and offers public skating hours often (see their posted calendar for schedule). They play fun music, disco lights and assisted gliders for total beginners to help slide across the ice without falling. It is a really fun and inexpensive way to spend a couple hours with your family and friends.  
  13. Fishing with a guide on Whitefish Lake – the only way to catch fish (so I am told) on Whitefish Lake is with a boat and with the help of a guide. They know the lucky spots. You can call one of the following guides who can help out with gear, tips and licensing questions.  
  14. Shopping – our downtown has several stores worth checking out. Many products are locally made. It’s a great way to get to see our community at work. A few of our favorites are Axehead – meet the super friendly owners who handmake all their highly crafted leather goods. The Toggery, where you can find really nice mountain clothing and gear.  The Montana Scene – for locally made trucker hats and tees.  Big Sky Antiques – items come from all over the world but it’s a fun shop to explore, nevertheless.   Our town has several incredible art galleries as well.  
  15. Farmer’s Market and Gallery Nights Art Walk – Each week on Tuesday evenings (Summer only), we have a Farmer’s Market in Depot Park with live music, food trucks, artists and farmer’s stands. Gallery Night’s Art Walk is another weekly event that allows visitors to sip wine and stroll through the various art galleries to check out the local talent.  
  16. Festivals – our town hosts several festivals throughout the year. We have a Christmas Stroll in December and the Winter Carnival with ice sculpting contests, skijoring cowboys, penguin plunge and more. In the Summer, we have Under the Big Sky Music Festival, Whitefish Arts Festival, Huckleberry Days, Whitefish Songwriter Festival, and Oktoberfest.  

Hike and Bike Trails Whitefish Legacy As you can see, there really is so much to explore right here in our quaint town.  Keep all of this in mind when planning your next Northwestern Montana trip.  With Amtrak station centered in our town, the ski resort as a backdrop and everything right at your fingertips, you might want to add another day or two onto your vacation planning.   

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How to Spend the Day in Whitefish, MT, Downtown

friends in whitefish mt downtown

There’s something special about the mountain towns that are scattered throughout the country, especially Whitefish, Montana. Even in peak season, it’s not crowded like most others. It’s bustling with energy, but you can still enjoy its quaint nature and local feel. Good Medicine Lodge is located in the heart of Whitefish, MT, downtown. Here’s what you need to know! 

5 of the Best Things to Do in Whitefish, MT, Downtown

1. Indulge in Some Retail Therapy

There’s nothing better than shopping local! Whitefish, MT, downtown is full of locally-owned shops and galleries. It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir to remember your trip by or a gift for a loved one back home. You can also find unique clothing, jewelry, and art that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Many of our guests love shopping for artisan jewelry made with Montana-native gems, homemade skincare, and huckleberry products. We even use local products at our inn such as Sage and Cedar handcrafted toiletries! 

2. Grab a Bite

If you’re exploring Whitefish, you’re sure to get hungry! Luckily for you, we have plenty of restaurants to enjoy. Our downtown eateries offer a variety of cuisine– you can choose from anything from Italian to sushi. Please don’t hesitate to ask us about our favorite restaurants during your stay at Good Medicine Lodge. 

3. Sip on a Drink

Vacation is all about relaxation, and sometimes, the best way to relax is with a drink in your hand. Whether you’re looking to après ski in the winter or need a refreshing beverage in the summer, there’s something here for you! The brewery scene is very popular here, and there is even a brewery right next door to Good Medicine Lodge. 

4. Browse a Gallery

Montana is so beautiful that it is no wonder that it has inspired countless artists. There are many art galleries that you can browse and purchase a unique piece to bring home. Some of our favorites include the Dick Idol Signature Gallery, Sunti World Art Gallery, and The Purple Pomegranate.

5. Pedal Around Town

When the weather is nice, we love to bike! Not only are there some great bike trails in the area, it’s also an excellent way to explore the town. Good Medicine Lodge is close to everything, so a bike is all you need to travel from place to place during your stay. Window shop as you ride and pick your next stop!

Book Your Getaway Today

Big Horn Room Good Medicine Lodge Bed and Breakfast Whitefish Montana 01
Big Horn

Are you ready for your mountain getaway? Good Medicine Lodge has everything you need for the perfect stay. From outstanding amenities to cozy accommodations, you’ll love staying at our lodge. Plus, it’s located right in Whitefish, MT, downtown. You’re close to everything! Book your stay today– we can’t wait to host you.

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Dog Sledding In Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana, Dog Sledding

dogWhere to Go Whitefish, Montana, Dog Sledding

Winter in Whitefish, Montana, is magical. A soft blanket of snow covers the town, and the ice-covered trees glisten like crystals in the sun. From skiing to snowshoeing, there are so many things to do here in the winter. One of our favorite activities is Whitefish, Montana, dog sledding. See the beauty of our mountain town in a unique way! 

Dog Sled Adventures

Dog Sled Adventures has been giving dog sledding tours for more than 40 years! This family-owned company is home to almost 130 Alaskan huskies that pull their sleds. Bundle up on their comfy sleds and let them take you through the stunning Stillwater State Forest. You’ll get to see the beautiful trees covered in snow, and many times, rare wildlife is present. Afterward, you’ll head back to their cabin to warm up by the fire as you sip on hot cocoa and reminisce about your adventure. 

Base Camp

Located in Big Fork, Montana, Base Camp is known for a wide range of winter activities and tours. They offer everything from snowshoeing to dog sledding! We love to go dog sledding with Base Camp because they offer a hands-on experience. You can even harness the dogs and drive your own team if you’d like! Each trip is customized to your wants and needs. Whether you’re looking to sit back and relax or get in on the action, you’ll be in good hands with Base Camp. 


Winter Woods Dog Sled Tour

This is a smaller “mom and pop” tour group that have about 25 huskies ready to pull!  Winter Woods Dog Sled Tour is located in Whitefish.

What to Wear 

It’s best to be prepared when going Whitefish, Montana, dog sledding. You’ll be rushing through the snowy wilderness, so you’ll need to keep warm! We recommend wearing something similar to what you’d wear skiing. Avoid fabrics like cotton that get wet and try to wear as much waterproof gear as possible. Here’s what we recommend: 

  • A warm hat that will cover your ears 
  • A warm, waterproof winter jacket 
  • Long underwear and warm undergarments to add an extra layer and keep you toasty 
  • Waterproof pants or ski pants
  • Thick, waterproof wool socks
  • Waterproof, insulated winter boots 
  • A scarf that can cover your face and neck
  • Warm, insulated gloves or mittens
  • A ski mask to protect your eyes from the snow
  • Sunscreen and lip protection
  • Your camera– you’ll want to remember these moments forever!

Book Your Winter Getaway Today

Aspen Room Good Medicine Lodge Bed and Breakfast Whitefish Montana 03

Are you ready for some Whitefish, Montana, dog sledding? Join us in our winter wonderland! There are so many snowy adventures to be had during your stay at Good Medicine Lodge. We’re just moments away from the slopes, and the S.N.O.W. Bus stops right in front of our inn to take you there. Then, you can warm up with some hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies from our hot cocoa bar before taking a dip in our hot tub! Browse our accommodations to start planning today. We can’t wait to host you!

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See why Whitefish is the destination for Skiing?

There’s no place like Whitefish, especially when it comes to skiing. The crisp mountain air and award-winning terrain attract countless skiers year after year! Plus, unlike many other popular ski destinations, it’s very rare that you’ll have to wait in line to go down the mountain. Here’s what you need to know about Whitefish, Montana, skiing!

Where to Ski

Whitefish Mountain Resort is our Whitefish ski destination. Our beautiful mountain is different than many of the big-name mountains you might be used to. It’s one of the last mountains of its caliber that hasn’t been completely commercialized, so it’s something special. Even though it’s one of the biggest mountains with some of the best runs in the state, it’s much less crowded than other resorts of its size. More often than not, you’ll be one of the only ones on the run. Take this time to enjoy yourself and take in the views! Keep an eye out for “snow ghosts.” This famous sighting is just trees encased with rime, but it’s beautiful. 

One of the best parts is that Whitefish Mountain Resort has one of the best grooming teams we’ve ever seen. This way, the mountain can open sooner and be kept open longer! 

Getting There

When you stay at Good Medicine Lodge, you’re just a quick bus ride away from the slopes! The S.N.O.W. Bus stops right in front of Good Medicine Lodge and will take you right to Whitefish Mountain Resort. Check the schedule or keep an eye on the live S.N.O.W. Bus tracker to make sure you don’t miss it.

Lift Tickets

You’ll be surprised to find how cost effective our lift tickets are at Whitefish Mountain Resort! An adult ticket is just $83 for the day or $76 a day for two or more days. Teen and junior tickets are even less at $72 for the day and $66 a day for two or more days. Children under 6 years of age are free! Check out lift pricing for the most accurate rates. 

At the Summit

Local tip: hang out for a bit before you make your way down the mountain! The Summit House Restaurant & Bar is located on the top of the mountain. Ride the lift up, grab a drink and a few bites, then go on your run. You’ll love the 360-degree views of the Northern Rockies and peaks of Glacier National Park. 

Book Your Ski Getaway Today

Snow Good Medicine Lodge Bed and Breakfast Whitefhish MontanaYou’ll need a home base for all that Whitefish, Montana, skiing! Warm up in front of the fire at Good Medicine Lodge. Our hot chocolate bar is a welcomed sight after a day out on the mountain, and our hot tub is exactly what you need to escape the cold! Browse our rooms and suites, then book your ski getaway. We can’t wait to host you!