Posted on

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.


Posted on

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.   

Posted on

For the Love of Sourdough

Good Medicine Lodge Sourdough Bread

By, Ryan Grenier

When we purchased the Good Medicine Lodge back in late October of 2019, good friends Pat and Katie Miller, whom I respect immensely, gifted me a book called Tartine along with a dehydrated sourdough starter. I genuinely thought that this was a such a thoughtful gift and was so touched that they thought I had it in me to pull this sort of stuff off.

I hate to admit this… when we took over the B&B I did not do much cooking for the business. We had a staff that needed to be consistent with the dishes, Sara and I alternated days working and when I did work I was busy chatting it up with guests, and doing a bunch of random things around the inn. What free time I did have I was busy exploring the area. Biking, Nordic skiing, Snowboarding and adventuring with kids. Whitefish, Montana is such a magical place. To be able to share my passion for adventure with my two little guys has been such a gift!

Once the “stay at home” orders were set into motion and the lodge closed I had more time around the house. Keep in mind this time around the house was not really ideal for tackling projects and yard work. With a two year old and a seven year old, it was a matter of managing the non-stop screaming, pillow fights, throwing things, tears, and just getting into things they should not be getting into. For the most part I was able to get the kids outside but Spring in north west Montana can be a bit unforgiving with cooler temperatures and rain.

While one of us is working (mostly Sara, she is amazing at managing projects and her vision of Good Medicine is something everyone should experience) the other is managing the kiddos. With so much time around the house, I finally decide to tackle baking bread. I found a bread maker in the garage that came with the inn. I pulled it out and figured I would give it a try. It was pretty easy, and I was loving the idea of having fresh bread for the family with no preservatives. Then I wanted to see if I could use my dehydrated starter I had been storing in the fridge. I added water and flour to the starter and let the bread machine do the work. That worked pretty well and the bread was pretty good.  I was on a roll!


At this point I was ready to tackle the “no kneed sourdough”. As I was mentally preparing/digesting the steps of the baking process, I joined a Facebook group called “Perfect Sourdough”. I have to say that this was EXTREMELY helpful. Other beginners were posting questions and videos were posted from professionals giving me the confidence to tackle my first loaf.  Ok, I’m ready to rock! But my starter is not… It took 14 days of feedings twice a day to get my starters up to speed.

As I was waiting for my starter to come to life I was experimenting with pancakes, crumpets and pouring over all the fun things you can do with sourdough.

The cookbook I’m using is named “Tartine”. Its from a famous eatery in San Francisco. There are so many great resources out there and finding your own path and recipe is part of the fun. Not only is the process of baking fun, the health benefits of this bread are pretty amazing. Just a quick google search will have you diving down the rabbit hole of this amazing ancient bread. The finished product is so rewarding! Once I cut into the loaf and I took my first taste, I was flooded with memories of my time in the bay. Zuni Café, market street, foggy summer afternoons in SF and friendships formed around the dinner table. It is like I could almost smell the wood burning pizza oven (most likely just a campfire that was close by). The process of making this was more than just putting food on the table. It was a step back to a time where we had no children. Sara and I were living in the bay area experiencing all the culinary offerings northern California was known for. I was there…

Being able to share this with my family has brought so much joy as well. Knowing that my two kids are forming their own memories waking up to the smell of fresh baked sourdough. Watching them devour it is comforting knowing that I am actively playing a part in their health and teaching them what quality food is.

Now that Spring has sprung here in Whitefish, Montana and the first phase of the pandemic is coming to an end, Sara and I are developing our new Summer breakfast menu for Good Medicine Lodge. We are so excited to share the experience and new found love of sourdough with our guests, helping all who visit us to form their own experiences and memories.

Posted on

Here Are the Best Places For a Drink in Whitefish, MT

beer at a Whitefish, MT, Brewery

Did you know that Whitefish, Montana, is full of places to stop and get a drink? We have multiple hot spots for a cocktail, beer or glass of wine scattered throughout town! Whether you’re looking for a drink after a day on the ski slopes or a refreshing beverage after a hike, we have the perfect Whitefish, MT, spot for you. One is even right next door to us at Good Medicine Lodge! 

Here Are the Best Places for a Drink in Whitefish, MT

Bonsai Brewing Project  (closed in Winter months)

Directions to Bonsai Brewing Project 

Bonsai Brewing Project is conveniently located right next to Good Medicine Lodge! You can easily walk over and enjoy a handcrafted beer in the Summer months. They offer a variety of rotating local brews on tap. This small brewery specializes in IPAs, barrel-aged delights, wild ale sours, and everything in between! Plus, you can hang out with the locals at one of their live music, vinyl nights or other local events.  Their outdoor beer garden is very popular during the Summer.  They even allow dogs, so you can get your fill if you had to leave your loveable K-9 back at home. 

Unleashed Winery

Directions to Unleashed Winery

If you want to stay in Whitefish and like the vibe wine bars offer, try Unleashed Winery.  Located right in downtown, they offer wine tastings, small bites and a comfortable environment for you to lay back and sip!  Their wine is a full production Montana wine-making using Central California grapes.  

Spotted Bear Spirits

Directions to Spotted Bear Spirits

Spotted Bear Spirits is the very best distillery! The liquors distilled here are all inspired by Montana’s mountain landscape and fresh air, and it comes through in their products. When you visit their tasting room, you can enjoy local cocktails and liquor tastings. Then, you can purchase a bottle of your favorite spirit to take home as a souvenir! 


The Montana Tap House

Directions to The Montana Tap House

Located just a few minute’s walk from us, The Montana Tap House is a large restaurant bar that offers over 50 beers on tap included several local varieties.   They offer a full menu with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.  Many skiers and bikers stop by The Montana Tap House after all day adventuring at Whitefish Mountain Resort for a relaxed beer and pizza.  


Great Northern Bar and Grill

Directions to The Great Northern Bar and Grill

The Great Northern Bar and Grill is located downtown Whitefish adjacent to Depot Park, which is our town’s open space park where the Farmer’s Market, Huckleberry Days Festival and many more events are located.  The Great Northern Bar and Grill features live music often, food, billiards and other games and is open until 2am.  They welcome children until 9pm and have a lovely outdoor garden area in the Summer.  


Jalisco Cantina

Directions to Jalisco Cantina

Jalisco Cantina is conveniently located right across the street from us.  They are a full-service restaurant with truly the best Baja-style Mexican.  Everything is made fresh, even their handmade tortillas and chips.  The reason I mention it here is because beyond their incredible food they serve the very best margarita I have ever had.  They know tequila and wine being from Southern California and it shows because both their tequila list and wine list is top notch!  

Other bars in Whitefish worth mentioning: Remington Bar & Casino, Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery (located up at Whitefish Mountain Resort), Casey’s, Bulldog Saloon, and many more…

Kalispell and Columbia Falls also have several breweries, distilleries and wineries that are worth checking out and they are located only 20 minutes from Whitefish.  For a complete list of wineries and breweries, visit our Things To Do Page and see dropdown menu: Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries.

Book Your Getaway to Whitefish, Montana, Today!

Flathead Room Good Medicine Lodge Bed and Breakfast Whitefish Montana 01Come enjoy all our mountain town has to offer when you stay with us at Good Medicine Lodge! From your pick of Whitefish, MT, breweries to countless outdoor activities, the charm of our area will make you want to come back over and over again. Plus, our lodge is conveniently located in the center of all the action. Browse our accommodations to pick your favorite, then book your stay today!