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Top 5 Winter List

Kalispell sparkles once the calendar turns to winter, with snow-capped mountains lining the horizon and frozen ponds dotting the landscape. There’s so much to do here during the snowy season, inside and out, and exploring the surrounding area this time of year can be a completely different experience than a summer trip. The crowds are a little bit thinner but the good times are no harder to find, and with the new breweries, distilleries, restaurants and more popping up downtown, there’s plenty of action where the heat’s on and running.

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1. WATER SKIING — ON LAND.

There is no sport on earth quite like skijoring, and if you plan a holiday trip to Kalispell (a great idea!) you absolutely must catch the annual skijoring competition at Rebecca Farm. The farm is worth a trip all by itself — a sprawling, rolling property just west of town that hosts an international equine triathlon in the summer — but winter means a very different kind of horse competition.

The best way to picture skijoring is to think about a water skier, riding behind a speedboat on open water. Then, replace the boat with a horse, replace the water skis with snow skis, and replace the water with snow. Oh, and put some of the competitors in costume. In a nutshell, that’s skijoring, where skiers are pulled around obstacles and over jumps, and are both timed and judged — if they make it through the course still standing. Skijoring is a spectacle unlike anything else out there, and there’s plenty of food and drink served along the course to make the trip day even more memorable. Don’t miss the 2018 event, scheduled for March 2nd and 3rd.

2. CANINE-POWERED ADVENTURE

You don’t have to race the Iditarod to get a sense for what it feels like when a pack of powerful dogs pull you through the winter wilderness. There are a couple dog sled outfitters operating in Northwest Montana, including the Dog Sled Adventures in nearby Olney where they’ve been offering sled rides for almost 40 years.

Home to a few competitive dog sledders — and their champion dogs — the rides most visitors take are fun for explorers of every age. You’ll be pulled around by one of 130 Alaskan Huskies and venture deep into the Montana wilderness, providing plenty of chances to see loads of wildlife and unforgettable scenery in the Stillwater National Forest. It’s a journey you’ll never forget.

3. GET OUT

Bring a jacket, gloves and hat, then get ready to experience adventure all around you in Kalispell this winter. Think of anything winter-related and we’ve got it here, from motorized adventure on a snowmobile to a peaceful showshoe through the forest to a day spent on the frozen water ice-fishing for your dinner.

If you’re joining us from a non-winter area — or don’t just want to lug your skis on an airplane — there are also tons of options to pick up the equipment you need for your next snow adventure. Once you’re well-equipped, there’s cross-country skiing, including a lovely stretch behind Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, fat-bike rentals available at Wheaton’s if you’re ready to blaze your own path through the snow, outdoor ice skating at scenic Woodland Park, and a pair of downhill ski resorts in nearby Whitefish and Lakeside.

4. COWBOY UP

When you visit us in Kalispell you’re in cowboy country, and no trip here would be complete without catching a rodeo, especially if this would be your very first one. The Majestic Valley Area on the north end of town hosts rodeos all year long, with bull riding, cattle roping and more. The rodeos are part of both the Nex-Gen Bull Riding Tour and the Brash Winter Rodeo Series, with at least one event per month throughout the winter.

And if rodeo’s not your thing, how about motorcycles? Check out an arena-cross motorcycle race, with bikes flying off jumps, around tight corners and racing one another in search of on-track glory.

5. KEEP WARM INDOORS

When you’re done exploring, or if you’d rather just stay cozy and sheltered, Kalispell has tons to offer every day of the week. Our historic downtown has shops filled with local artwork, crafts and other handmade products, our three breweries are sure to satisfy any hops-lover and our unique restaurants offer all types of dining to please even the pickiest eater. And Kalispell is also home to a number of budget-friendly — and kid-friendly — accommodations.

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