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Whitefish calls itself the “recreation capital of Montana.” It’s a likely enough claim, what with the town’s 3,033-foot setting at the base of a major ski mountain some 40 miles from Glacier National Park. Whitefish, where tree stumps were pulled from muddy city streets for so long that it earned the nickname of Stumptown, is now a year-round destination. Whitefish Mountain (formerly known as Big Mountain) is a top-notch ski area, with everything from spacious beginner areas to terrain parks, snowcat skiing, and dogsledding. Although there is some cross-country skiing near town, it's worth the short drive to Glacier National Park, which in ...

Whitefish calls itself the “recreation capital of Montana.” It’s a likely enough claim, what with the town’s 3,033-foot setting at the base of a major ski mountain some 40 miles from Glacier National Park. Whitefish, where tree stumps were pulled from muddy city streets for so long that it earned the nickname of Stumptown, is now a year-round destination. Whitefish Mountain (formerly known as Big Mountain) is a top-notch ski area, with everything from spacious beginner areas to terrain parks, snowcat skiing, and dogsledding. Although there is some cross-country skiing near town, it's worth the short drive to Glacier National Park, which in the winter is a huge cross-country ski area. Back before the first chairlift was ever erected, the train was an important part of Whitefish's existence — creating ways to get the logs out — and the train is still a wonderful way to get here: the old Northern Pacific depot, styled along the same lines as the Glacier Park chalet hotels, is an active Amtrak stop, and especially during the winter, riding the train is a great way to get here. Even if you're not particularly interested in winter sports, downtown Whitefish is an upscale place with good restaurants and shopping.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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    Wintertime is bustling, come anytime.