Valentine's Day the Montana Way

Person cross country skiing in the Bridger Mountains, Montana

Valentines Day is all about a dozen red roses and a heart shaped box of chocolates, am I right?  ..Wrong!  A handful of years ago my partner (now husband) and I decided to do away with traditional gifts and instead turn to adventure. Here are our top 5 favorite winter activities we've gifted each other over the years in snowy Southwest Montana.

#1 SNOWMOBILING AT FAIRY LAKE

Our favorite date was renting snowmobiles from the folks at Summit Motor Sports and headed up just 7 miles past Bridger Bowl to Fairy Lake Road. This particular Valentine's Day happened to fall on a weekday, so we took the day off work and enjoyed the entire day to ourselves. We snowmobiled the roughly 5 miles in and enjoyed a secluded picnic on the frozen lake. We then continued to explore the Northern Bridger Mountains all afternoon. The incredible winter scenery and blue skies added to the day. Be aware, this is backcountry, which requires but please knowledge and avalanche gear.

Fairy Lake Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling the Bridger Mountains

#2 CROSS COUNTRY SKIING GETAWAY

We rented a cozy cabin at Homestake Pass Lodge, located directly on the ski trails, and settled in for two days of skiing and cozying up by the wood stove with our pups. This place is extra special for us, as many of their trails are dog friendly.  If you are are a guest at one of their numerous accommodation options, you are able to ski whenever you like. Midnight ski adventures through blizzards and lazy days spent relaxing on our cabin's porch made for the perfect getaway just 1.5 hours from Bozeman. 

Homestake Pass
Skiing Homestake Pass

#3 DOGSLEDDING IN BIG SKY

Dogsledding in Big Sky with Spirit of the North is one of my favorite dates for Valentine's Day. Even though it's been ten years since we were lucky enough to try this adventure, I bet the views are still incredible. The dogs were all too happy to run along the secluded paths and we were treated to lunch with stunning views of Lone Peak. Dinner and a pint at Lone Peak Brewery rounded out this fun adventure.

 Dogsledding Picture
Dogsledding in Big Sky

#4 SKI AND STAY IN DARBY

A beautiful four hour drive from Bozeman is the sleepy town of Darby, MT.  We stayed at the Darby Bed & Breakfast where they hosted some of the best meals I've ever had. After a day of skiing we soaked in their natural Japanese Offuro soaking tubs. Just the thing after a long day of skiing at Lost Trail Ski Area located just 30 minutes away.

 OffuroJapanese Offuro soaking tubs. Image courtesy of Visit Bitterroot Valley.

#5 DINNER AND LOCAL CHOCOLATE

While we adore our adventures near and far, some years a trip just isn't in the cards. One of our favorite memories of a night out to celebrate is eating at the Cateye Cafe in Downtown Bozeman. Normally a breakfast and lunch hot spot in Bozeman, Cateye Cafe opens their doors for a special dinner service a few times a year including Valentines Day. The sassy waitresses and incredible food make for a night of laughter you won't soon forget. Top it off with gourmet chocolates from local La Chatelaine for an extra treat.

La Chatelaine
La Chatelaine Chocolates

It can be easy to fall in the winter rut of hanging at home, but if you get outside and explore I promise you won't regret it! Our incredible Montana backyard is full of adventure opportunities all 12 months of the year. During all your adventures, don't forget to keep your pants on with our locally made Jelt Belts.