Whitefish Montana is the quintessential, four-season rocky mountain resort town.
If you could dream up and design the perfect Rocky Mountain resort town, it would look a lot like Whitefish Montana... a quaint little turn of the century, western frontier town with an eclectic mix of delicious dining venues, art galleries, bars, pubs and boutique shopping experiences. Whitefish Montana is a four-season playground for any adventure loving, outdoor enthusiast, with a variety of recreational opportunities for every season to satisfy every appetite.
Whitefish in Winter
For many, the name 'Whitefish, Montana' garners up thoughts of ski slopes, snow ghosts and back-country bowls filled with waist-deep powder, and Whitefish certainly delivers on those wishes. The Whitefish Mountain Ski and Summer Resort located on 'Big Mountain' just north of town provides more than 3,000 acres of ski-able terrain ranging from easy beginner slopes to double black diamond challenges. The mountain gets more than 300 inches of snow annually and provides 105 marked ski trails to keep you occupied. In addition, you will find vast amounts of bowl and tree skiing opportunities for the powder-lovers and those who like to break free from the groomers and carve out their own path.
The south face of the mountain dominates the northern skyline as you gaze up from the town of Whitefish. A web of groomed ski trails gleam bright-white under the gaze of the afternoon sun like a string of pearls which transform into glittering diamonds after sunset as the ski trails light up for night skiing.
And downhill slopes are not the only way to live out your wintertime fantasies. The area surrounding Whitefish provides more than 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and more than 2,000 miles of U.S.D.A. Forest Service roads open to snowmobiles, providing great opportunities for exploring Montana's legendary back-country on a powered snow sled!
If Nordic skiing is more your vibe, you will find hundreds of miles of trails that can accommodate your cross-country skiing as well, some of which will even let you ski with your dog if you are so-inclined.
Other Whitefish winter adventures include dog sledding, ice skating at the Stumptown Ice Den, ice fishing on Whitefish lake, winter sleigh rides and much more.
Each December thousands come to Whitefish from all over the valley for the Whitefish Christmas Stroll, a family-friendly community gathering in downtown Whitefish that includes a variety of street performances, curbside bonfires and specialty booths set-up along both sides of central avenue where you can sample free baked goods, hot cocoa and delicious homemade cider. All of the shops and restaurants stay open later on this festive night as well, allowing you to do some Christmas shopping for unique one-of-a-kind gifts and novelties that can only be found in downtown Whitefish.
Whitefish is a popular gathering spot for Christmas and New Years Eve celebrations as well, with a generous variety of four and five star dining venues as well as special concerts and events that are planned especially for these popular holidays.
Every February Whitefish hosts the Winter Carnival, a multi-day event filled with lots of merriment and a little mayhem. The winter carnival includes everything from elegant gala's to rowdy disco parties, ski-joring events, pie socials, a penguin plunge, and a grand parade down central avenue.
And because Whitefish, Montana is such a popular ski resort destination, there is always some kind of entertaining 'apres ski' event happening in downtown Whitefish.
Whitefish Summer, Spring and Fall
With all of the fun activities that Whitefish packs into the winter months, it would be easy to mistake Whitefish as being only a wintertime destination, but the winter fun is only one small piece of the total Whitefish package.
When the snow melts, Whitefish is reborn into a spring, summer and fall recreational paradise. Whitefish Lake with it's 5-plus square miles of surface water is a warm weather playground for water skiers, boaters, jet-skiers, fishermen, swimmers and more.
After a small springtime hiatus, the Whitefish Mountain Ski and Summer Resort reopens in early June with an emphasis on summertime fun, with more than 30 miles of lift-accessed and cross-country mountain bike trails, an Alpine Slide, an Aerial Adventure Park, Walk in the Treetops, miles of hiking trails, and a network of zip-lines some of which stretch out over 1900 feet and zip you across mountain valleys some 300 feet in the air!
Bordering the west side of town you will find the picture-perfect, meticulously maintained, 36-hole Whitefish Lake Golf Course. The Whitefish Lake Golf Course is western Montana's only 36-hole course. The north course was updated in 1983 by John Steidel and sits above Whitefish Lake, boasting beautiful views of the Big Mountain and Whitefish Lake. The South course, also designed by John Steidel offers many long fairways and immaculate greens that wind south from the golf club down toward Lost Coon Lake before taking you on a u-turn back up towards the club. The south course provides many sweeping views of Big Mountain rising above the trees and private homes that surround the course.
Other warm-weather activities that you will find near Whitefish include the Whitefish Trail system, several dude ranches, and of course Glacier National Park just a short drive away.
The Whitefish Trails are a community funded network of more than 36 miles of multi-use, non-motorized trails ideal for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and interests. The trails wind through picturesque forests and along several lake shores that dot the landscape north of Whitefish attracting dog-walkers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, runners and many others with a taste for nature.
There is always something going on in downtown Whitefish throughout the summer. Concerts, festivals, art walks, theatrical plays and much more can be enjoyed just about every night in summer as well as the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
Every Tuesday evening from late May through late September, Whitefish holds it's Farmers Market - a wonderful weekly event that attracts an eclectic mix of people from not only Whitefish, but the surrounding communities as well. These events are a fantastic way to bring the community together to celebrate the bounty of summer and to indulge in Montana's long and lovely summer evenings. The Farmers Market brings together local organic farmers, musicians, craftsman, and artisans from around the community to share their talents with the community. These evenings are a wonderful time to network with others throughout the area and to find some great gifts and bargains on local arts, crafts and delicious home-grown produce.
Each year in August the town of Whitefish comes together during the Huckleberry Days Art Festival in honor of the delicious little purple berry that grows wild, natural and abundant in the mountains throughout northwest Montana! The Huckleberry Days Art Festival is a multi-day event that brings the town together with over 120 artists, food vendors, live entertainers and and other talented craftsmen from around the area to celebrate our good fortune to be living in such a beautiful wonderful place!
The cooler temperatures, shorter days and colorful leaves of autumn is a signal that it is time for the Whitefish Oktoberfest, a multi-day event that spans out over two weeks in late September and early October. Oktoberfest is chalk full of fun contests and activities for the whole family, including Keg Hurling, Log Sawing, Bavarian Barrel Racing, a kids Chicken Dance competition and much more!
Other popular events that are held throughout the year in Whitefish include live world-class music performed by both the Glacier Symphony Orchestra and the Glacier Chorale, (a 75-voice symphonic chior). Both of these musical ensembles perform throughout each season at the Performing Arts Center located in the heart of Whitefish. And if you prefer live theatre, the Whitefish Theatre Company performs 9 theatre productions throughout the year resulting in 47 engaging performances each season at the O'Shaughnessy Center also in downtown Whitefish.
These are just a sampling of some of the more publicized events that are held in Whitefish throughout the year. There is always some sort of smaller-scale event happening in or around Whitefish just about every day throughout the year. Open mic nights, and local bands can be enjoyed several nights a week at many of Whitefish's watering holes. Art classes and open gallery nights occur frequently at the art galleries, brewerys and other establishments in downtown Whitefish, and many more similar activities are offered on a regular basis throughout the community, ensuring that you will always have something fun to do in Whitefish Montana!