Family Man & Paraplegic Adventurist

Discovery Tips

  • Don't miss visiting Sweet Peaks for a sweet treat!


Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to Kalispell.

My name is Austin Reese and my family and I have called Kalispell home for two years. I served in the military for over 14 years and got hurt while on active duty and became paraplegic. About five years ago, my family and I learned to ski and snowboard and we would head to the mountains for vacations. We prioritized family time and outdoor time and thought what better place to be than Montana. We knew it would be a good fit, but once we got here, we loved it even more. Plus, we get to ski together. My wife and oldest daughter snowboard, while my youngest daughter skis and I’m on a mono-ski.

What was it like to make the transition to the mono-ski?

For me, my biggest desire was getting back out on the slopes and it didn’t matter how I did it. When you’re in a life-changing situation, you’ve got to find and figure out what you can do. Skiing or snowboarding—as long as you’re making tracks on the snow, it doesn’t matter much at that point.

There’s a lot of places you could call home. Why Kalispell?

The community. Here people view you as a person and value you for who you are, and that’s awesome.

What are your three favorite things about Kalispell?

The food, outdoor recreation and the views from the lower valley. Plus, fly-fishing and biking are incredible here. We have been trying to find higher-adrenaline sports and Kalispell is a great place to access that.

Let’s say you have one free afternoon…how do you spend it?

I’d go to Foy’s Lake for swimming and archery shooting.

Now we’re going to ask you for your best recommendations for experiencing Kalispell and northwest Montana. Ready, set, go!

What’s your one must-do activity for travelers looking to experience the best of Kalispell?

Don’t miss Sweet Peaks.

Best place to grab coffee?

Colter Coffee. Plus, it’s a nice place to sit and meet with friends.

Favorite breakfast location?

Sykes Diner for eggs and hashbrown.

And as a bonus, if you’re looking for something for lunch or dinner, try the pork belly PB&J bites at DeSoto Grill.

Favorite hiking trail?

Herron Park and Lone Pine State Park both have a few accessible trails for wheelchairs.

Favorite time of year to visit Glacier National Park?

Late spring/early summer, right before they open the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The bike ride with DREAM from Lake McDonald Lodge to Logan’s Pass is a crazy and incredible experience.

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