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A Perfect Day in Whitefish - February

A local's guide to a perfect February day

An aromatic waft of coffee slips up my nostrils. I stir awake. The anticipation of that cuppa joe is immediate and prompts my exodus from bed. Montana Coffee Traders’ Dust ‘til Dawn beans, freshly roasted, freshly ground—nice wake-up call.

With cup in hand and nose in the weather report, I decide my cross-country ski fate for the day: Big Mountain Nordic trails. It snowed six inches at the base of the mountain last night. Glacier Nordic Club (GNC) grooms both skate lanes and classic track on the mountain trails, starting to lay down corduroy before I wake up, and finishing up around 9am. Snow conditions will likely be soft, so it will be a classic-ski day. In a day or so, the trails will be packed down nicely—perfect for skate skiing.

But first, breakfast.

Over the years I’ve come to know that the joy invoked by a plate of eggs benedict made by deft hands is unsurpassed. So I head to Loula’s Cafe, home to that silky and satisfying breakfast treat and a bunch of other breakfast items (pie!) that enrich your day. Ah, Loula’s breakfast, guaranteed to please.

With happy belly in tow, I hop in the car and head to the new trail head and parking lot located about halfway up Big Mountain Road. Knowing I’m going to burn a lot of calories on those mountain Nordic trails, I top off breckie with a tall glass of locally made Hammer Perpetuum, a sport drink that keeps me from dragg’n fanny on steep climbs (available at Glacier Cyclery & Nordic, Great Northern Cycles & Ski, and Sportsman Ski Haus).

I head out the door, head up the mountain, and begin my ski.

Big Mountain Nordic trails call your name if you enjoy steep and curvy dissents and challenging climbs. The amount of snowfall at the base of the mountain pretty much guarantees that trail conditions remain excellent throughout the ski season. And boy, those trails are a complete blast. Up, down, around.

To up your skiing pleasure, the Big Mountain Nordic trails connect to the Iron Horse groomed trails for a total of about 23k of mountain Nordic trails. Sweetness of life. The only public access to these trails is located at the new parking lot and trailhead located at 3315 Big Mountain Road, about 1/2 mile past Ptarmigan Village. GNC day passes and donations fund grooming operations. The Club doesn’t collect day-pass fees on the mountain, but happily collects donations on its website, should you feel an overcoming sense of appreciation for the fabulous ski you just had.

OK, you skied, you sweated, you burned... it's time for beer!

Bonsai Brewing, a small-craft, beer-making phenomenon—that’s where you want to go, and it’s conveniently located on the drive back to town. A left turn on Denver Street, just past the Stumptown Ice Den is all it takes to throw down incredibly delicious beer and hang out with Whitefish locals—a crowd you don’t want to miss.

Now, THAT is a perfect day.

- As told by Rita B., Board member of the Glacier Nordic Club