Big Sky Country: Montana Winter Adventures

Each winter, America’s snow lovers flock to the northern Rockies of Montana, hoping and anticipating an epic experience in the powder of Big Sky Country. The snow falls in Montana are the definition of beauty, and on bluebird days, with no wind, it’s hard to find a more majestic and wonderful place on the planet. It doesn’t matter if you snowshoe, climb, or cross country ski, the soft crunch of snow underfoot is one of the only sounds you will hear breaking the silence of the vast wilderness that surrounds you—mountain vistas, frozen lakes, wanderlust inducing panoramas, and some of the world’s most amazing destinations.

Before you head out into the wilderness for an adventure, remember, winters in Montana can be rough, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience in higher elevations and extremely cold temperatures—both very real challenges in the Rockies. Knowledge here is truly power, and having decent gear is essential. Be sure you have all your bases covered, and stop at either the Kalispell or Whitefish Sportsman and Ski Haus. This employee-owned sporting goods store, located close to two ski areas, endless lakes and mountains, Glacier Park, and some of America’s prettiest wilderness areas, has all the gear you need to have a safe, smart, and amazing winter adventure in this Rocky Mountain playground. The staff here are knowledgeable and committed to helping you find what you need for your adventure.

Carrying gear in the winter can be clunky and burdensome, which is why it is important to find the right backpack for your trip. To explore winter in the great outdoors of Montana, Sportsman and Ski Haus sells a great selection of Osprey packs and accessories. Pick up an Osprey Variant 52, which is excellently designed to carry skis, snowshoes, and other winter gear for your longer trips. If short distances and speed are more your style, a great pack for adventuring would be the Osprey Kode 22, as it is perfect for quick winter getaways in the backcountry. Once you have your pack loaded up, it is time to head out on the best trails in the region.

Near Kalispell, the Swan Range on the east side of Flathead Lake, is one of Montana’s best- kept secrets. Stacked up against the Great Bear and Bob Marshall Wilderness, this gorgeous area has snowshoeing, world-class cross-country skiing, and rugged mountaineering. It’s close to town, yet visited rarely by the masses who descend on northwest Montana each winter. With the right gear and a positive attitude, the trails, roads, and mountains of the Swan Range provide a lifetime of exploration not far from the fantastic amenities in town.