Weekend Wanderer: Seattle to Whitefish, Montana

Picture of Weekend Wanderer Nick Becerra

Residing in Seattle, Washington, Nick Becerra is a photographer and family man with a taste for adventure. Capturing images from the mountain tops is no easy job, but Nick knows just how to bring those beautiful views to the small screen. He just returned from an Instagram takeover in Whitefish, Montana as part of Alaska’s Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, be sure to follow Alaska Airlines on Instagram.

How much can you pack in during a weekend in a brand new place? That’s just what Alaska Airlines asked my family and I to find out as we traveled from Seattle to Whitefish, Montana. We jumped at the opportunity and immediately began researching the incredible options in the greater Whitefish area … a place we soon found out is an outdoor recreation paradise. 

We packed our skis, took the kids (ages 12 and 6) out of school for a couple of days (they were thrilled!), and booked a cozy cabin 10 minutes outside of Glacier National Park. Soon enough we walked the tarmac and boarded a small Alaska plane for the short flight to Kalispell, which felt a world away when we landed on Thursday afternoon.

We have lift off! The mountains were out in full Cascadian glory this morning as we hopped onto our @AlaskaAir flight to Whitefish, MT. What a glorious day to head east!

We have lift off! The mountains were out in full Cascadian glory this morning as we hopped onto our @AlaskaAir flight to Whitefish, MT. What a glorious day to head east!

Our first impression was that Montana people are the nicest around. Everyone has a story to share, is incredibly patient and is happy to help you along the way. MacKenzie River Pizza in Whitefish was our first stop – full of delicious food and incredible kid-friendly service. Most importantly, we discovered our new favorite beer, which we then ordered everywhere else — the Cold Smoke Scotch Ale by Montana’s KettleHouse Brewing Co. 

On the drive to our cabin (we booked with Reclusive Moose Cabins), we impulse-booked a 3-hour snowmobile tour for the four of us on Saturday with Swan Mountain Snowmobiling. They were happy to fit us in and were also super nice!

Hey folks! I'm so thrilled to be out in Whitefish, Montana this weekend taking over the @AlaskaAir account as their #weekendwanderer. Follow along as my family and I chase Winter all around this beautiful area with this cozy little cabin as our base camp for the next few days. stay tuned!

Hey folks! I’m so thrilled to be out in Whitefish, Montana this weekend taking over the @AlaskaAir account as their #weekendwanderer. Follow along as my family and I chase Winter all around this beautiful area with this cozy little cabin as our base camp for the next few days. stay tuned!

Friday found us up early and heading towards Whitefish Mountain Resort to ski Big Mountain. We spent a full day on the slopes. My daughter Zoe skied her first blue run in the morning, and Ethan, Mindy and I took turns finding powder stashes in Hellroaring Basin. On top of incredible terrain and service, we were stunned by the views below of Whitefish and the huge frozen lake.

It was a morning spent working this little bug, with a huge accomplishment of her finally skiing her first blue run solo. way to go, Zoe! couldn't have asked for a better scene for that moment. We owe a huge thanks to @skiwhitefish & @alaskaair for making it possible.

It was a morning spent working this little bug, with a huge accomplishment of her finally skiing her first blue run solo. way to go, Zoe! couldn’t have asked for a better scene for that moment. We owe a huge thanks to @skiwhitefish & @alaskaair for making it possible.

We spent the afternoon finding pow stashes in Hellroaring Basin. This Montana powder is spoiling us for the heavy stuff back in Washington. Sooo good!!

We spent the afternoon finding pow stashes in Hellroaring Basin. This Montana powder is spoiling us for the heavy stuff back in Washington. Sooo good!!

Wow! What a place! many thanks to @skiwhitefish & @alaskaair for an incredible day as a family on the slopes so far today. we'll definitely be back!

Wow! What a place! many thanks to @skiwhitefish & @alaskaair for an incredible day as a family on the slopes so far today. we’ll definitely be back!

After a full day on Big Mountain, @mbyram04 and I snuck one last sunset run in as the lifts were closing. What a vista!

After a full day on Big Mountain, @mbyram04 and I snuck one last sunset run in as the lifts were closing. What a vista!

Saturday we had a big day that started with snowmobiling to the top of Desert Mountain (my first time on a snowmobile!). After a brief safety lesson, Mindy and I split the kids up on two double snowmobiles for the 45-minute drive up the trail. I quickly found out the limit of our sled and my son Ethan and I found ourselves sideways off the trail with a half-buried sled. Whoops! We dug it out pushed it back and were back on the trail in no time. Phew! Here’s a pro tip: don’t try to showboat for your son when you have no idea what you’re doing. Also, have a healthy supply of foot and hand warmers for the minis. And hot cocoa. It’s clutch. 

Perfect day for a snowmobile ride up and down Desert Mountain with @swanmountainoutfitters. The terrain out here is insane!

Perfect day for a snowmobile ride up and down Desert Mountain with @swanmountainoutfitters. The terrain out here is insane!

We met the sun at the top, played around for a bit and high-tailed it back to the car. I wish I could have nabbed more shots on this drive, but without a GoPro, it’s probably more important to focus on driving.

The sun finally came out today and we're just wrapping up a full day making the most of it. We started the day with views like this as we split up the kids and drove them on snowmobiles up this trail to the top of Desert Mountain, guided by the class act folks from @swanmountainoutfitters.

The sun finally came out today and we’re just wrapping up a full day making the most of it. We started the day with views like this as we split up the kids and drove them on snowmobiles up this trail to the top of Desert Mountain, guided by the class act folks from @swanmountainoutfitters.

We spent a clear Saturday afternoon in Glacier National Park along the shores of Lake McDonald. Pictures will never do this place justice. The rugged peaks lining the end of the crystal clear lake are like no others we’ve seen. We found a perfect beach to ourselves, broke out the snowshoes we rented from the nice folks at Sportsman & Ski Haus and played for three hours as we watched the golden light turn into a cool, brilliant sunset that set the mountains aflame. 

If there were ever a place for this little one to snowshoe for the first time, the shores of Lake McDonald at sunset certainly takes the cake! Our first visit to Glacier National Park left us speechless...

If there were ever a place for this little one to snowshoe for the first time, the shores of Lake McDonald at sunset certainly takes the cake! Our first visit to Glacier National Park left us speechless…

Saturday night, we had dinner at Oso’s Smokin’ BBQ – a Mexican barbeque joint at the historic Tamarack Lodge. Again, it felt like being in a small community and we spent the evening chatting by the fire with the owner, who shared his story, inspirations and his passion for ice fishing, despite being a California guy.

Sunday morning, I snuck out early on my own to drive back to Lake McDonald to catch sunrise. The clouds were socked in at the lake, but I had it all to myself — a serene winter scene with 4-degree temperatures, light snow, misty water and fog, and no sun to be found. I took it all in on the frozen dock on the shores until my hands couldn’t take it anymore. An unforgettable experience!

I woke up early today to catch sunrise at Lake McDonald...but nothing compared to last night's majestic view. It's our last day in Whitefish and this place has captured our hearts. It may only be a short flight from Seattle, but it feels like we're a world away...

I woke up early today to catch sunrise at Lake McDonald…but nothing compared to last night’s majestic view. It’s our last day in Whitefish and this place has captured our hearts. It may only be a short flight from Seattle, but it feels like we’re a world away…

By far, this morning's sunrise at Lake McDonald was one of the coldest I've experienced...the 4 degree temps and falling snow, icy dock, and gray fog on the lake made for one of the more solitary and serene moments I can recall. What a way to begin our last day exploring Whitefish!

By far, this morning’s sunrise at Lake McDonald was one of the coldest I’ve experienced…the 4 degree temps and falling snow, icy dock, and gray fog on the lake made for one of the more solitary and serene moments I can recall. What a way to begin our last day exploring Whitefish!

 We spent the rest of Sunday exploring the town of Whitefish, eating lunch at Buffalo Cafe, grabbing coffee at Montana Coffee Traders, and taking our warm drinks to walk along the frozen Whitefish Lake. It was full of people ice fishing, which we’d never seen in person before. Seriously, this area is an outdoor recreational paradise.

Hey folks! the time has come for us to board our plane and wrap up our weekend in Whitefish. Huge thanks to @alaskaair for inviting us to take this journey. We packed our weekend trip as full as we could and barely scratched the surface of this majestic part of the country! Thanks for following along!

Hey folks! the time has come for us to board our plane and wrap up our weekend in Whitefish. Huge thanks to @alaskaair for inviting us to take this journey. We packed our weekend trip as full as we could and barely scratched the surface of this majestic part of the country! Thanks for following along!

2 Comments on “Weekend Wanderer: Seattle to Whitefish, Montana

  1. Your many authors on these blogs are so good at capturing the essence of their short visits. Love the photos and narratives. As the ad for Cornetto says, Enjoy the ride, love the ending.

    • Way back in the mid 80’s, I worked with a production company that created travel videos for the airport waiting areas for Alaska/Horizon Airlines. Visited and filmed many cities that I normally would not have visited and spent time in. We lived in Bend/Redmond, but discovered the beauty of the NW with multiple trips (winter fun and summer fun) to Portland, Boise, Spokane, Seattle, Whitefish and other beautiful destinations. The northwest is the best.

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