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Seasonal Activities in the Mountain West

Whitefish, Montana

Just a half hour’s drive from the entrance to Glacier National Park, Whitefish, Montana’s location provides an ideal way for groups to take in the park while enjoying the comforts and activities of a resort town. Outdoors lovers and adventure enthusiasts can get in all of their favorite activities while the Rockies rise dramatically in the background.

Though the steep mountain background stays the same, life during Whitefish Mountain’s two main seasons couldn’t be more different. In the warmer months, Whitefish Mountain Resort runs an aerial adventure park with five levels to challenge even the fittest group and a two-and-a-half-hour zip-line course. Come winter, Whitefish’s 3,000 acres of relatively uncrowded skiing make it a friendly mountain for all levels.

Straddling both seasons is the mountain peak, accessible in 15 minutes year-round directly from the mountain village by chairlift or gondola. Ideal for either a quick visit or a meal in the lodge or on the summit house deck, the summit offers views into Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies on a clear day.

With two main seasons, groups looking to avoid peak pricing can find better rates in the latter part of the ski season, which runs through April, or on fall weekends because summer attractions stay open through the end of September.


Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway, North Dakota

Running parallel to the Canadian border, in the northern portion of the state, North Dakota’s Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway exposes visitors to the wilderness along the world’s largest unfortified border.

Groups should begin at the eastern edge with the Martineau House tourist information center, set in a restored historic home, before continuing through the route’s two protected wildlife areas and five lake areas. Martineau staff provide an orientation to the natural history and development of the area and the byway.

Directly along the border, with an entrance midway along the byway, the 2,300-acre International Peace Garden provides trails, tours and a prairie horticulture library. Visitors can admire the wide diversity of flora and fauna found in the Turtle Mountain forests, which feature the greatest variety of birds in North America.

To the south, in Dunseith, North Dakota, and the nearby Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, visitors can experience how the unique Turtle Mountain landscape has shaped both Native American and American cultures during the annual Rodeo Days and the Little Shell Pow Wow.


Park City, Utah

Though Park City is best known today for its Olympic-caliber skiing and winter sports, the history of how it turned from silver-mining town to eco-conscious ski capital is nearly as interesting as the slopes.

Whether visiting for one day or several, groups should begin in the historic downtown at the Park City Museum, which gives an interactive look at how the once-thriving silver town used its mine shafts as its first lifts and found a way to turn around after going bust. Visitors can try out a salvaged jail cell from the mining days or take historic downtown walking tours that are facilitated by the museum.

Olympic Park is open to visitors year-round, but Tonya Sweeten, meeting and convention sales and marketing manager for the Park City Convention and Visitors Bureau, recommends that groups visit on Sunday, when former and future Olympians band together to show off their aerial tricks for the crowd. The Silly Market, a hybrid of farmers market and arts-and-wine festival, rounds out the day with a Bloody Mary bar and a spa deli.

Three resorts in different areas of the mountain provide ski opportunities for all levels, but many groups visit in the summer for the unique set of midmountain trails that allow visitors to walk between the resorts.