I’ll be the first to admit that the winter season is not quite my thing. Don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy winter activities like skiing, both downhill and cross-country, snowshoeing, and winter hiking. But I just don’t enjoy the cold. There’s something about -20 degree weather that forces me indoors and cozy under a blanket. I know I’m not alone in this.
With that said, 2014 is a year of travel and adventures, irrespective of the season, and this past weekend was the first of several getaways planned for the year. Last fall, Robbie and I were at the Calgary Ski Swap in search of gear. Lo’ and behold, we found nothing, but we did manage to come across an awesome winter ski getaway package to Meadow Lake Resort in Columbia Falls, Montana! For $200 CAD, the deal included 4 days/3 nights of accommodation in a nice hotel and 2 lift tickets for Whitefish Mountain Resort. Now THAT’S a crazy deal! The catch? It’s a timeshare promotion, so as part of the package, you need to sit through a 90 minute presentation about partial condo ownership at Meadow Lake Resort, and the benefits of becoming a member of RCI (Resort Condominiums International). We had heard the presentation was quite low pressure, so we threw caution to the wind and went for it.
On Friday, we packed up the car with skis, a snowboard, lots of food and enough bags of stuff to last a week. (When it comes to road trips, we certainly do not pack light!). After a 5 hour drive south, into BC, and then across the border, we arrived at the resort. We were looking forward to a bit of a relaxing weekend, but mostly, we were stoked about two days on the slopes!
One of the amazing perks about the Meadow Lake Resort package was the use of their day lodge at the ski village. We were able to store our equipment, lounge on couches and chairs, keep food in the fridge, and have free coffee – which is a big deal! Another bonus? We could park right outside the lodge! These conveniences do not exist for us at Sunshine or Lake Louise, so you can imagine how excited we were. I opted to rent skis instead of use my snowboard since I wanted to enjoy descending the hills instead of crashing and tumbling down the mountain. This was the best decision. From easy green runs, to scary blues starting at the summit of Big Mountain, the skiing was fun and enjoyable. There were falls and freak outs; the snow was great in places and slightly icy in others; and it was very cold, but we had an amazing time. We were also impressed by the lack of crowds, which we heard is common! I’m used to hordes of skiers and snowboarders flying by me as I meander down a ski run. At Whitefish, there were many times when it was just the two of us, snow-capped trees, the bright sun, and the hill. I loved this resort.
Before skiing on day 2, we had our scheduled RCI timeshare presentation. Honestly, the deal seemed pretty good at the time, though I can’t remember all of the details right now. And there are many perks to being an RCI member, such as the last minute accommodation deals to lots of destinations around the world. But there were just too many fees for us, both upfront and ongoing. We were almost convinced to purchase a 1-year trial deal, but in the end, even that was not the best financial decision for us at this moment. With that said, I can understand why a lot of people would want to buy at Meadow Lake Resort. The condos are luxurious, and that’s always a nice thing, but the appeal is the area. A great ski hill in the winter with exclusive access to a comfortable lodge, and lakes, biking trails, golf and whitewater rafting in the summer. For me, however, the draw is definitely Glacier National Park for hiking. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely loved the ski weekend away! But remember, winter isn’t quite my thing. From Columbia Falls, the entrance to West Glacier is a short distance away and the mountain peaks rise in the distance. For those who know me, the desire to climb mountains when I see them is pretty strong. And I know that the park is amazing, as I went camping at Cracker Lake and the Two Medicine Lakes area in East Glacier last August.
So will I be back to the area for skiing? Quite likely. What an amazing getaway for a manageable road trip.
Will I revisit Glacier National Park for the hiking? Definitely! In the summer, the area is just gorgeous!
Another reason to visit Whitefish? Amazing Crêpes. This little crêpe place had amazing savoury breakfast crêpes. So much yum!