A lover of the mountains, Austin and his family spend as much time as possible in Montana’s outdoors. For Austin, Montana’s Flathead Valley combines family time with abundant recreation in the area’s wild places, parks and more. With accessible terrain for all abilities, Kalispell is a prime destination for four-season adventures. 

Don’t miss visiting Sweet Peaks for a sweet treat!

Colter Coffee is a great place to grab a locally made drink. Plus, it’s a nice place to sit and meet with friends.

For breakfast, have eggs and hashbrowns at Sykes Diner/ And as a bonus, if you’re looking for something for lunch or dinner, try the pork belly PB&J bites at DeSoto Grill.

“In Kalispell, people view you as a person and value you for who you are.”

Austin Reese

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

My family and I have called Kalispell home for a few 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. There are lots of things to love about Kalispell, including 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.

When it comes to accessible recreation, I have a few favorites. On a free afternoon, I’d go to Foy’s Lake for swimming and archery shooting. For hiking, Herron Park and Lone Pine State Park both have a few accessible trails for wheelchairs. And if you want to visit Glacier National Park, time it for 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.