Living in Whitefish, MontanaIyna Bort Caruso
The city of Whitefish is at the northernmost tip of Montana’s Flathead Valley, 50 miles south of the Canadian border. One could be forgiven for thinking the location is cold and remote, but neither is especially true. Whitefish is only about 15 minutes from Glacier International Airport which offers direct service to many major western U.S. cities. And because it is on the western slope of the Continental Divide, Whitefish enjoys protection from arctic air masses, known here as Alberta Clippers.
Montana’s Flathead Valley is one of the state’s major tourist regions.
The area, particularly Whitefish, has experienced a major uptick in population in recent years. National Geographic Magazine named it one of the world’s best ski towns touting its “appealingly rough-hewn character” and reliable “glitz-free skiing.”
Within 50 miles are more than 1,500 lakes including Flathead, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. There are reasons it’s called the recreational capital of Montana. Whitefish is a four-season destination. Downtown Whitefish is pedestrian-focused with covered sidewalks lined with art galleries, shops and restaurants. There are nine championship golf courses within an hour’s drive, river rafting, fly fishing and hundreds of miles of hiking and single-track mountain bike trails and, of course, skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort, eight miles north of town.
What began as a railroad and logging town evolved decades ago into a popular recreational area, in large part when local residents decided to donate their own money and labor for a golf club and ski resort.
There’s a lot of history in this town. The train depot, with its half-timbered walls and large dormers, was built in 1928 by the Great Northern Railway and restored in the 1990s. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places. Whitefish also boasts one of the last buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The architect died before the building was completed but it, too, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Homebuyers find space and solitude in the luxury real estate in and around Whitefish. The area has condominiums, townhouses, golf club community homes and properties adjacent to Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort with ski in/ski out access to the slopes. Some of the most sought-after real estate in all of Montana is found along the seven-mile perimeter of Whitefish Lake.