Creating Winter Traditions in Western Montana

Western Montana is a special time in the winter — between the outdoor recreation, festivals, and carnivals there are many activities to partake in, whether you are new to the area or are looking for a new tradition to share with friends and family. This winter and holiday season, we would like to share a few Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty favorites with you.  

Sleigh Rides & Hot Cocoa  

If it’s nostalgia you are after, nothing sparks the flame of internal warmth like sharing hot cocoa on a sleigh ride with family and friends.  If you are looking for a sleigh ride in Western Montana, you are in luck!  From local guest ranches to Stevensville’s First Fridays, you are sure to find a gorgeous team of draft horses and a friendly wagoner at the ready to help you make beautiful family memories.  

Images via Kat Hobza

Glacier National Park in the Winter  

Are you an experienced winter camper?  Apgar Campground and St. Mary Campground are open for overnight camping.  Enjoy Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and the pristine winter silence of the mountains in Glacier National Park.  

Whitefish Winter Carnival LXIV  

If you know anything about Whitefish, you know that the good citizens of Whitefish can throw a fine party. Whitefish Winter Carnival 2023 will be no exception!  Head to Whitefish and help pay homage to Ullr, The Winter King, with a host of winter activities and spectacles sure to add richness to your winter traditions. 


Images via Bigfork Chamber of Commerce

Bigfork Parade of Lights  

If you look up the definition of ‘charm’ in the dictionary, you’re likely to find a big, smiling Santa waving from the old-fashioned Christmas Bonanza that is the Bigfork Parade of Lights.  From one welcoming business to another, nobody does the ‘Parade of Lights’ quite like Bigfork.  (This year’s celebration is Saturday, December 3 from 6-7 PM.)

Blacktail Ski Resort and Lake Mary Ronan  

If you happen to be on the west side of Flathead Lake, you owe it to yourself to check out Blacktail Ski Resort, with views all the way to Glacier National Park. This ski area is a wonderful place to enjoy all that Western Montana’s winters have to offer.  Stay or play just 30 minutes away, at The Lake Mary Ronan Lodge.  One of the area’s hidden gems, Lake Mary Ronan offers lodging, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and more.  

Missoula, Lubrecht Forest, and Snowmobiling in Garnet Ghost Town  

If you live in Missoula, you know that it is surrounded by quickly accessible ski areas.  Missoula also offers bountiful activities — everything from performing arts, live music, and incredible food, to a plethora of events offered at the University of Montana.  If you want a wilderness adventure, just moments from the pizzazz of Missoula, travel to the Lubrecht Forest on Highway 200 for a day of Nordic skiing or snowshoeing.  If it’s a weekend adventure you’re after, continue the adventure to Garnet Ghost Town, where you can rent cabins and from there, snowmobile or snowshoe, and Nordic ski to your heart’s content.  

Images via Only in Your State

Bitterroot/Hamilton Daly Mansion Christmas Spectacular, Triple Creek, and Lost Trail Hot Springs  

No Christmas tradition would be complete without a trip to the beautiful Daly Mansion in Hamilton, Montana. The mansion is decorated in splendor befitting Hamilton’s founding family – The Dalys.   

From there, check out Triple Creek Ranch, built for recreation, regardless of the season.  Rustic elegance and family tradition await you here.   

Of course, we would be remiss in not mentioning Lost Trail Pass & Chief Joseph Pass, Lost Trail Ski Area, and Lost Trail Hot Springs. If you meander south of Hamilton, be sure to take in Darby’s Main Street, complete with an old-fashioned candy store and an antique shop that takes up half a city block. As you leave Darby, you begin to wind your way up Lost Trail Pass to Lost Trail Ski Area, which is an accessible, beautiful ski area that should not be missed.  If Nordic skiing is more your style, don’t miss the trail system of the Chief Joseph pass, where Highway 93 and Highway 43 intersect, just across from the Lost Trail Ski Area.  If you are making a day of it, check out the Gordon Reese warming hut where you can rest up and potentially make some new friends. 

If you are reading this in early December, please join Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty in our Missoula office for a cheerful and festive First Friday, December 2 at 5:30 p.m. The celebration continues in the Glacier Sotheby’s Missoula office on December 3, from noon to 4:30 p.m., to commemorate the legendary Missoula Parade of Lights. 

Our Hamilton office (127 West Main Street, Units 1 & 2) will be featuring wine, charcuterie, and renowned Western artist, Gary Lynn Roberts December 9 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

In the Flathead region, join our Whitefish office (204 Central Ave) as we celebrate the annual Christmas Stroll in Historic Downtown Whitefish, December 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Our friendly Whitefish crew will be serving Schnapps and hot chocolate. 



Jenny Cannon is the Agent Service Manager for Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty, where she has the distinct pleasure of working with the greatest team of Agent Services Experts, an incredible marketing team, and the best agents in Montana. The GSIR team is not only incredibly talented, but also some of the finest people you’d ever want to know. When Jenny isn’t at work, you probably won’t find her, because she will be doing her best to get lost in the gorgeous mountains of Western Montana.



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