Summer Getaway - Whitefish, Montana
Bikers heading down Freebird at Whitefish Mountain Resort, image by Chuck Finlay
It’s that time of year… summer is slipping through your fingers, and you want to get away with your family to enjoy some solid time together exploring somewhere new.
Last summer, our family travelled to Whitefish, Montana for a wee getaway. The grandparents were visiting and having shown them all our lovely town has to offer, we thought they would enjoy a town just south of the border with many similarities to Fernie – a great community, an array of food and beverage choices, fantastic outdoor recreational opportunities, and views for miles.
We opted to stay at Whitefish Mountain Resort, in the Morning Eagle condo complex. It is located right at the base of the mountain and conveniently houses the rental/bike shop! The accommodation was perfect for our family, everyone had their own space which meant we could all sleep… or not sleep while the kids were.
By chance, the evening we arrived the Whitefish Trail Hootenanny was taking place at Depot Park just off downtown. An annual event held by Whitefish Legacy Partners, in support of the continued maintenance and expansion of the Whitefish Trail, it was the perfect way to start the weekend. Food trucks, live music, and an array of kids’ activities! My eldest daughter thoroughly enjoyed the climbing rock wall and we all loved the atmosphere.
In the morning, we met Riley Polumbus who works in PR at the resort. The morning was for the kids. We started off by taking the Alpine Slide down to the Base Lodge. Riding a sled down the mountain over dips, around banked turns, under bridges and through a tunnel… need I say more? Everyone was smiling, and of course asking for more. At the base, we were happy to discover the café and got ourselves Americanos while our daughters tried out the strider park – perfectly situated to allow us to enjoy our much needed caffeine and the fun being had. My eldest mastered the loops, then headed to the Spider Monkey Mountain where she climbed her way to the top with the reward of a slide all the way down… over and over again.
Leaving our daughters in the capable hands of their grandparents and our amazing guide, Riley we headed up the mountain with our own bike guide Kate. Ski patrol in winter, bike patrol and trail crew supervisor in summer, she knows the mountain inside out. We started off with the hill’s new and popular trail, Kashmir. And wow, it was fun! With our own flow trail “Contra” opening this summer, it was great practice and we knew we would have to go back for more. From there, we moved to the Bad Rock chair, and enjoyed Rush, Brown Sugar and Holy Diver. Short, fast and technical freeride trails made for lots of laps and fun.
We headed up to the Summit Lodge for lunch with the family, where they enjoyed the Nature Centre and we continued to ride on our own. Freebird was our next choice – a steeper and exciting flow trail taking you down the centre of the mountain. We could have stopped there, but decided what’s one more run when the grandparents are visiting? Up we went, for another lap on Kashmir.
After such a fun and busy day, we headed into town where the S.N.O.W. Bus Summer Brewfest was taking place, featuring 20 micro breweries! Held back at the Depot Park, we enjoyed trying some of Montana’s best before our amazing and kid-friendly dinner at Truby’s. The kids definitely deserved a treat after being so great all day, so we made our way through the beautiful historic downtown to Sweet Peaks Ice Cream. And not only the kids took part in this stop!
Sunday was our last day in Whitefish, and we planned to spend it well. We checked out of our condo, and got to Loula’s Café – try The Bighorn! With our bellies full, we got on our bikes and headed to Spencer Mountain while the rest of the family headed to the City Beach located on the beautiful Whitefish Lake.
Spencer Mountain is a fantastic area for singletrack riding, with a short road climb to a variety of trails of all levels. We rode Otter Pop then a couple of laps on Maple Syrup, before biking back and taking a dip to cool off! The last stop of the trip was at Montana Trading Co, for a snack and coffee for the road. What a weekend!
While there are many options to explore close to Fernie, Whitefish is definitely one to add to the list. Next time, we want to check out the Whitefish Bike Retreat, located along the Whitefish Trail and known for its family friendly nature!