50 Things to do During a Montana Winter

February 4th, 2016 by julia

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Winters in northwestern Montana may be long, but there’s no shortage of fun. Plan your stay at the Historic Tamarack Lodge & Cabins around some of these 50 riotously fun activities:

1. Go skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort or Blacktail Mountain.
2. Have a dog sled adventure.

Winter activities at The Historic Tamarack Lodge and Cabins
3. Head out backcountry skiing in the Flathead National Forest.
4. Get cozy with a yeti at the Whitefish Winter Carnival.
5. Buckle up for barstool ski races at Cabin Fever Days.
6. Follow along on a guided Snowshoe Walk in Glacier National Park
7. Take a snowmobile excursion with Swan Mountain Snowmobiling. 
8. Drink hot chocolate or coffee by the fire.
9. Cross country ski in Glacier National Park.
10. Savor a delicious dinner at Oso’s Smokin’ BBQ.
11. Build a snowman.
12. Have a snowball fight.
13. Make snow angels.
14. Make a snow throne and pretend to be royalty.
15. Make homemade snow cones.
16. Shop boutique shops in downtown Whitefish.
17. Enjoy a whiskey tasting at Glacier Distilling.
18. Hunt for the Northern Lights.
19. See the parade at Night of Lights in Columbia Falls.
20. Catch Ski Joring in Whitefish.
21. Enter the Dummy Derby at the Winter Brewfest.
22. Search for the best sledding hill.
23. Go ice skating.
24. Beat the vertical record at the mountain.
25. Cook over the fire like a pioneer.

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26. Take a day for ice fishing.
27. Make a snow maze or snow fort.
28. Turn out for Seeley Lake Winterfest.
29. Relax and unwind at the Hot Springs.
30. Check out a hockey game with the Missoula Maulers.
31. Strip down to your skivvies for a polar plunge for charity.
32. Hitch up the horses for a sleigh ride.
33. Sip on local wines at a wine tasting.
34. Explore local artists at Going to the Sun Gallery.
35. Pick the most photogenic peak in Glacier National Park.
36. Set out on a scavenger hunt to find the biggest icicles.
37. Go on a snowcoach tour.
38. Search for animal tracks in the snow.

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39. Taste seasonal brews from local breweries.
40. Watch a biathlon (or train for one!)
41. Capture stunning photos of snow ghosts.
42. See dramatic inversions from above.
43. Catch a show at the Alpine Theatre Project.
44. Paint pottery at Stumptown Art Studio.
45. Get the best cappuccino in Montana at Off the Beaten Path.
46. Take a spa day.
47. Participate in a snow safety course with Flathead Avalanche Center.
48. Pay a visit to Star the Llama.

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49. Go square dancing at the Bar W Guest Ranch.
50. Check out live music at the Great Northern.

Cabin Fever Days 2016

January 27th, 2016 by julia

This photo speaks for itself.

This photo speaks for itself.

What do you get when you cross adult beverages with barstools on skis, tons of live music, and fundraising? Cabin Fever Days, of course! This year’s festivities are fast approaching, with ample opportunity for fun and friendly competition.

An uninitiated cabin fever-ite may have heard only rumors of mythical barstool ski races and get out of jail buttons, which photos certainly don’t do justice – you have to be there to appreciate it.

But where logistics are concerned, here’s the breakdown of all you’ll need to have an awesome time!

What on Earth?

Fundraising winter festival and general get-out-of-the-house debauchery with plenty of family friendly activities thrown in.

Where in the Heck?

Event locations range through the whole canyon from Hungry Horse to the Dew Drop Inn, with a free shuttle included with your admission button.

When Exactly? 

Saturday, February 13, 12:00pm – 2:00am
Sunday, February 14, 12:00pm – 8:00pm

How does this work? 

Buy a button and snag the shuttle up the trapline, with stops along the way for sustenance and libation, not to mention a barstool race or two…

Dirty Details:

Pick up your $3 Cabin Fever Days buttons and $5 Get out of Jail buttons at Stonefly Lounge, Packers Roost, Southfork Saloon, Deerlick Saloon, Dam Town Tavern, or Dew Drop Inn.

For complete details, parking information, and a schedule for the weekend, click here.

Flathead Valley Cross Country Ski Getaway!

January 24th, 2016 by julia

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We’ve written about Glacier National Park ski and snowshoe trails before, but there are miles more options in the National Forest right off our back step at the lodge.

The Flathead National Forest includes the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Great Bear Wilderness, and the Scapegoat Wilderness under its umbrella. In that forest complex, you can find endless opportunity for snowy adventure to keep you entertained season after season.

Cross country (or Nordic) skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy scenic northwestern Montana in winter, with miles of ski trails to choose from and some of the best snow coverage in the continental United States.

Of course, ungroomed trail systems are never ending with so many miles of National Forest in our backyard. But for the groomed action, check out these three convenient spots for classic and skate skiing.

Izaak Walton Inn

Situated between West Glacier and East Glacier, the Izaak Walton Inn maintains 20 miles of cross country trails behind the property in the Great Bear Wilderness, running alongside icy streams and up rolling hills. Trails mix of easy, intermediate, and difficult levels. With rentals and lessons offered right onsite, head out for a day of skiing on a whim.

Click here to get directions to Izaak Walton from the lodge.

Bigfork Community Nordic Center

With nearly 5 miles of gentle terrain, the Bigfork Community Nordic Center makes a great location to get a start free-heeling. Bring your skis and Montana Recreational Use license and hit the tracks for a day skating in one of the area’s scenic small towns.

Click here for directions to North Shore Nordic from the lodge.

Glacier Nordic

Nordic trails crisscross Whitefish, from the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort to the tracks groomed by the Glacier Nordic Club in town, on the mountain, and up the road in Round Meadows. With 43 miles of trails in the immediate vicinity, the snow will get your blood pumping. Rentals and lessons are also available at most Whitefish-area locations.

Click here for directions to Glacier Nordic from the lodge.

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Conveniently situated at the epicenter of groomed and backcountry free-heel fun, the Historic Tamarack Lodge & Cabins makes for an unbeatable alpine adventure destination! Reserve your room or cabin for a gliding winter getaway.

Winter Home Away in a Family Cabin!

January 20th, 2016 by julia

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There are very few times that the “home away from home” cliché applies with any accuracy, but a stay in one of our Family Cabins fits the bill completely. The cabins are a place to kick your feet up, to feel immediately at home as soon as you cross the threshold, to relish the freedom to live how you want and fill your days with fun.

With a stay in a Family Cabin at the Historic Tamarack Lodge, enjoy the experience of authentic Montana living, with no change of address required. These two-bedroom cabins come with fully-equipped kitchens and a full bath, plus comfy futons in the living room for extra sleeping capacity.

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The cabins look out over private decks to the Columbia and Teakettle Mountains to the west, regularly backlit by blazing sunsets that send light streaming through the snow-covered trees. Every detail creates the ultimate mountain experience, from the pine slatted exterior to the names of the cabins that bring out the best of glacier country, from Avalanche and Glacier to Summit and Grinnell.

Stock your fridge from the Canyon Foods market right down the road in Hungry Horse, or treat yourself to a tasty meal from Oso’s Smokin’ BBQ, open weekends for dinner through the winter. With other dining options just a 5 minute drive away, delicious meals bookend your trip with that good ol’ Montana gourmet!

There’s no better way to end a day of cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or exploring than by snuggling up in your own little cabin in the woods.

Book your stay in a Family Cabin at the Historic Tamarack Lodge and Cabins and soak in the quiet winter calm from a home away from home of your own!

3 Glacier Guided Winter Adventures

January 16th, 2016 by julia

Glacier National Park Winter

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There’s no such thing as a bad season to visit Northwestern Montana’s Glacier Country: summer brings miles of hiking, swimming, and boating; fall larches bring fiery color changes to the hills; spring melts bring white water and clear roads for cyclists with cool weather. But winter is the crowning glory, with snow sports making for an outdoor culture as lively as in summer, just minus the crowds.

Winter may give pause to summer-weather sports enthusiasts not used to the colder conditions, but never fear: you don’t have to be an expert cross country skier, snowshoer, or snowmobiler to enjoy the utopia that the Crown of the Continent offers in winter.

Guided excursions let the novice winter explorer delve into backcountry goodies without having to spend years studying the nuances of a particular sport.

Make a reservation and grab your gloves, because that’s all you’ll need to bring along on these guided getaways to the wilderness.

Swan Mountain Snowmobile Rentals & Tours

The guides at Swan Mountain will take you out on a tour of Canyon Creek, Desert Mountain or Crane Mountain. With family friendly options, hotel pickup, and tours as short as two hours on top of professional instruction, you’ll be ready to sled in no time.

Dog Sled Adventures

Speaking of sleds, Dog Sled Adventures will bring you closer to nature, nestled under cozy elk furs on a 12-mile loop through the Stillwater State Forest. Take in the view pulled by a team of sled dogs, exploring winter without the sounds of modern day before finishing up snuggled by the fire with cookies and hot chocolate.

Glacier Adventure Guides

Can’t pick which sport to try? Head to the hills with Glacier Adventure Guides, offering snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, cross country skiing, and winter overnight trips in Glacier and the surrounding area. And with full gear rental options with lunch and transportation included, really all you have to do is show up.

 

Pair a winter adventure with a cozy lodge room stay at the Historic Tamarack Lodge & Cabins and return to an intimate fireside retreat after a long day exploring! 

Guide to Flathead Valley Downhill Ski Deals

January 9th, 2016 by julia

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With runs upon runs of fresh snow, the powder hound should feel perfectly at home on the slopes here in northwestern Montana. Skiers and snowboarders have their pick of world class Whitefish Mountain Resort to the north and budget-friendly Blacktail Mountain to the south, without even getting into the boundless backcountry all around.

While lift ticket prices soar and the snow levels drop in recent years, it can seem difficult to find good snow on a budget. Not to worry: this handy guide can help you put down some fresh tracks without stretching your wallet. Pair it with a budget stay in one of our cozy Unit Cabins and you’re golden.

Tips for great deals

Whitefish Mountain Resort

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Just 25 miles away from the lodge, Whitefish Mountain Resort offers 105 marked trails over 3000 acres that stretch across three faces, enough to keep everyone from the most avid skiers to the greenest of green beginners occupied.

Costco members rejoice! The Kalispell Costco sells lift ticket specials for the mountain, with Whitefish Mountain Resort day passes going for 2 for $107, a savings of $20 per ticket.

Another perk: there’s no age cap on great skiing. If you’re still riding at 70+, ski for free. Armed forces, including active duty, retired, and dependents/spouses, enjoy half price lift tickets.

This mountain is a great place to learn, with day passes for the four-lift beginner area going for $21.

 

Blacktail Mountain

via Flickr user Kate Brady

via Flickr user Kate Brady

Blacktail may be smaller (it’s a 3-lift operation), but you can’t beat the laid back atmosphere and great lift ticket deals if you’re looking to save a bit. And fresh powder days are not to be missed! A 75 mile drive around scenic Flathead Lake makes the journey more than worth it, on top of the deals to be had.

Thrifty Thursdays let you ski for $25 all day. Winter birthdays seem even sweeter when you get to ski free (with proof!) on your birthday.

For families traveling with kids, bring proof of your child’s fifth-grade status (report card, student ID, or letter from a teacher) and they ski free, while 7 and under rides free as well.

 

Reserve your stay at the Historic Tamarack Lodge and Cabins and take advantage of unbeatable downhill ski deals!

A Winter Drive to Hungry Horse Dam

January 6th, 2016 by julia

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The most beautiful part of a snow-covered winter is that the mundane and everyday become transformed in a wash of white that alters reality, turning simple trees and houses into fantastical postcard scenes. When you combine that with already stunning panoramas, you have winter in Montana.

A snowfall highlights mountain ranges and sweeping vistas in a broad brushstroke of sparkling light, which comes out even stronger when the sun peeks around the clouds.

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The drive from the Historic Tamarack Lodge to the Hungry Horse Dam traces five miles of some of the most scenic views outside Glacier National Park.

Turn off of Highway 2 onto West Side Road, right before the town of Hungry Horse. Take the curves slowly to better enjoy the views that stretch out on the right as the road winds past North Lion Lake and South Lion Lake, a scenic route that holds the promise of wide-reaching mountain views on a clear day.IMG_3725The miles pass by, building anticipation in the deepening valley until you wind your way around the last corner. In front of you, the dam stretches down to impossible depths, the mountains reaching up to wild heights above.

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Constructed between 1948 and 1953, the dam climbs 564 feet high, built from concrete on a foundation of Siyeh Limestone. But facts alone don’t suffice to impress upon us the force of seeing the dam from a distance.

A feat of engineering and of nature in the same view finder, an experience of appreciation designed to be shared, in a level of awe that can only be described as jaw-dropping.

With a winter stay at the Historic Tamarack Lodge and Cabins, explore the much-loved sights of the Crown of the Continent in a whole new way, nestled in a snowy paradise that makes every view original.

A Budget Winter Getaway in Cozy Unit Cabins!

January 2nd, 2016 by julia

Montana Sunset at Historic Tamarack Lodge

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You don’t need to have deep pockets to enjoy a snow-covered mountain retreat in stunning Glacier Country! Just 8 miles from Glacier National Park and 35 miles from the world-renowned Whitefish ski area, you can’t go wrong with a cozy Unit Cabin for affordable accommodation in the heart of this winter playground.

Our Unit Cabins adjoin in single story fourplexes, lined up motel style with a private exterior entrance for each room, while offering parking right in front. The buildings’ westward orientation shows off spectacular Montana sunsets, setting off the sparkling white snow that rests in tree boughs.

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The two rows of Unit Cabins adjacent to the Lodge provide the most economical lodging option for anyone looking to explore the scenic winter landscape of northwestern Montana and Glacier National Park. During winter months, rates start at just $63 for a single room, with doubles at $73 a night.

Originally used as housing for workers involved with the Hungry Horse Dam construction in the 1940s, the historic buildings were transported to their current location on our property before the end of that decade.

The classic knotty pine interior warms the space with rustic history and woodsy charm, while the vertical pine log exterior lends a log cabin feel. On top of the appeal of times gone by, modern amenities and plenty of updates smooth your stay for ultimate comfort. Private bathrooms, refrigerators and coffee makers come standard, along with complimentary Wi-Fi and satellite TV on flatscreens.

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Sitting closest to the lodge, the Unit Cabins are just steps away from coffee or a cocktail in the Saloon, with the snug lodge Great Room perfect for curling up by the fire before a hearty meal at Oso’s Smokin’ BBQ, open on Friday and Saturday nights for dinner and Sunday mornings for brunch all winter long.

As a guest in a Unit Cabin, you enjoy all the great amenities offered at the lodge, like snowshoe rentals and a cozy fireside retreat to come back to after exploring the snow-cloaked Montana wilderness. Reserve your comfortable budget stay for a rustic winter getaway!

 

Guide to Glacier National Park Ranger-Led Snowshoe Walks

December 29th, 2015 by julia

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West Glacier National Park Snowshoeing

Good news for outdoorsy folks who love to float over some fresh powder: the schedule for this winter’s ranger-led snowshoe walks in Glacier National Park is up, with weekend walks from January 6 through March 20!

These group strolls through the park make for an invigorating and fresh way to see the scenery. To get an idea of what to expect on the walks (free with park admission!) check out the nuts and bolts below.

The Basics
Walks start at the Apgar Visitor Center every Saturday and Sunday, January 6 through March 20. They begin at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm, and run for about two hours. Participants should come prepared with warm layers, good shoes, snacks, and water, and the Park Service recommends the walks for ages 6 and up.

Snowshoes
Participants can rent snowshoes from the Apgar Visitor Center for $2, pick up rentals from outfitters in the area, or bring their own. The lodge also rents snowshoes to guests who want to hit the trails!

The Experience
Park rangers lead walks on gentle terrain, giving interpretive talks along the way to immerse participants in the ecology and animals of the park while savoring the remote calm of the mountains in winter.

Spend the time tromping through one of the country’s most scenic areas, and relish the freedom from summer crowds while still getting to enjoy the arresting panoramas and snow-topped mountain peaks.

 

Only 8 miles from the park’s west entrance, the Historic Tamarack Lodge and Cabins offers some of the closest year-round lodging to Glacier National Park. Reserve your room to enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in winter!

5 Winter Activities to Enjoy on Our Property

December 27th, 2015 by julia

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Winter in the mountains means miles of powdery ski runs, snow-covered vistas, gently-falling flakes that soften the landscape. It’s a time to explore, but also a time to appreciate the small things, like a hot cup of coffee and evenings spent with family and friends.

The Historic Tamarack Lodge is more than just a place to sleep: we offer a mountain retreat with plenty to do right on the property, not to mention the goldmine of activities just minutes away. If relaxation is your goal, book a room at the Historic Tamarack Lodge and enjoy these five onsite activities in the gateway to winter fun.

Cozy up by the fire

Great Room Historic Tamarack Lodge
As the snow piles up, snuggling by the fire becomes more and more appealing. Good thing the lodge great room is stocked with board games, books, and good times to help you enjoy unwinding in a cozy atmosphere. The rustic Montana charm inside the historic lodge building dates back to the time of its construction in 1907, ideal to enjoy with friends and family.

Watch a movie on your flat screen

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Alongside rustic appeal, the lodge and cabins come fully updated with modern amenities like wifi and satellite TV on large flat screens. There’s nothing like cuddling under the covers on a cold winter’s night with a favorite film to entertain you.

Say hello to Star the Llama

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The property’s resident quadruped, Star the Llama, lives in the back right corner of the property. Llamas are known for their fierce natures, which makes them excellent guard animals against predators. That being said, Star doesn’t relish being pet by people she doesn’t know, but a friendly hello from the fence line is always appreciated.

Walk or snowshoe to the beaver pond

Beaver Pond Bob Marshall Wilderness
It may seem like we talk about the beaver pond a lot, but that’s because it’s not every day that a keystone species builds up a vital part of the ecosystem just steps from your back door! Econerdism aside, the beaver pond is a beautiful place to explore, especially in winter, when the term Winter Wonderland doesn’t even begin to describe the sparkling splendor of the area. Slip on some boots or rent snowshoes from the front desk and check it out!

Grab a drink at the Saloon and enjoy dinner at Oso’s

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With some of the smokiest barbecue and zingiest Mexican cuisine around, Oso’s serves up the area’s tastiest meals year round, open Friday and Saturday nights for dinner and Sunday morning for brunch through the winter. Pair a tasty meal with a stiff drink (including the Sunday brunch Bloody Mary bar) or invigorating coffee from the Saloon, and you’ve got a good handle on Montana gourmet.

Reserve your stay at the lodge and enjoy the best of a Montana winter right on the property!

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