Your Guide to the Whitefish Winter Carnival

Winter in Whitefish is a marvelous time of year. The blanketed landscape allows powder hounds to explore the mountains on skis, snowshoes, fat tire bikes, snowmobiles, and sleighs. At 4:30 pm once the chair lifts have shut down, the town comes alive as skiers search for the perfect après ski spot. Another tell-tale winter tradition is the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival. Let me introduce you to this strange and magical event.

the legend -Whitefish winter carnival

Celebratory Yeti’s

Originating in 1960 the concept of the month long festivities began as a late-winter reprieve to stave off the winter blues. The carnival certainly accomplishes its mission as it invokes imagination, silliness, and participation from all ages. The mythology behind the carnival is the legend of the Nordic god Ullr. Long story short, Ullr was in search of a place to call home when he landed on our very own Big Mountain. Along with Ullr comes a band of misfit characters including; yetis, Viking divas, penguins, and mountain men. During the month long carnival you can find these characters (in costume) roaming the streets of Whitefish performing harmless shenanigans. For the full background and list of events please visit the Winter Carnival Website.

The “mane” event

Activities abound during the carnival and include a penguin plunge, parade, disco party, and more.  With that said, we feel the standout activity during Winter Carnival is skijoring. Never heard of skijoring before? In true Montana fashion, skiers and horseback riders come together for some horse-powered entertainment. This timed event features a horse-and-rider pulling a skier over jumps and around gates. It’s a fast paced combination of cowboys, cowgirls, ski bums, horses, mules, and snow.  Frankly, I can’t think of a better recipe for a good time.  Spectators surround the track and cheer on competitors as they race across the snow and over ski jumps.  It’s not to be missed so make sure to mark your calendar for January 27 and 28 at Big Mountain Ranch.

“neigh and stay”

In honor of this event we’ve created a special whitefish lodging package to attract participants to stay at the ranch and board their horse titled, “Neigh and Stay.”

Not only does this Whitefish lodging package offer a name that’s sure to provoke a smile, it represents an outstanding value and convenience. This Whitefish lodging package is ideal for Skijoring participants who are looking for overnight accommodations for themselves and board for their horses. The Bar W Guest Ranch is located a short 7 miles from the skijoring venue at Big Mountain Ranch. Our lodging options feature a rustic luxury atmosphere with a variety of sizes and amenities.

The Cabin

The main lodge is 6,200 square feet with 6 rooms, 2 common areas, and a game room complete with a pool table, and satellite TV. Our cabin is spacious and has two different suites, the upper suite features a bedroom with a queen size bed, loft with two queen size beds, living room with two pull-out sofa’s, private porch, kitchenette, and bathroom. The lower cabin suite has a bedroom with a king size bed, living room with two pull out sofa’s, kitchenette, bathroom, and private covered porch.

Boarding options include indoor and outdoor depending on availability and preference. Your equine competitor will be fed 3 flakes in the morning and evening. We are a proud sponsor of Whitefish Skijoring and are offering a $99 nightly rate based on double occupancy, continental breakfast, and 1 horse. Additional horses are $15/night. Dogs are an additional charge of $25 night. Availability is limited so call and make your whitefish lodging and boarding reservations today (406) 863-9099.

2 comments on “Your Guide to the Whitefish Winter Carnival

  • Marty Deemst

    Thanks for sharing this helpful information. You are inspiring me for enjoying Whitefish Winter Carnival. I’m sure most people can take notes from this article. One thing most people lack experience while attending the Whitefish Winter Carnival. I have a couple of young friends that are going to Whitefish Winter Carnival soon. Well, this post gives us some good ideas for the Whitefish Winter Carnival.

  • Laura McNab

    I am so grateful I found your post, You’ve really covered up almost all the possible tips that a should follow while enjoying Whitefish Winter Carnival. My husband and I have been thinking of going to enjoying Whitefish Winter Carnival soon. Actually, I got a lot of information from your blog which can make our trip much more relaxing and enjoyable. Thanks.


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