One of Montana’s newest ski resorts, Blacktail Mountain (406/844-0999, www.blacktailmountain.com, $34 adult, $24 teen, $15 child 8–12) is up the road from Lakeside. With three chairlifts (no high-speed quads) serving 24 runs and few crowds, it’s a nice low-key place with terrain that’s accommodating to beginning and intermediate skiers and boarders.
Unlike most ski areas, the lodge and parking areas are at the top of the mountain, meaning that skiers can hit the slopes right away in the morning, rather than starting the day in a lift line. Half-day rates and a variety of special deals are available, as are rentals and lessons.
Blacktail Cross-Country Ski Area is off Blacktail Road about eight miles from Lakeside. The trails (you can download a map from www.blacktailmountain.com) range from easy to difficult and are at an elevation of about 5,500 feet, which means a fairly long skiing season and a chance to get above the clouds. If you have two vehicles, park one at the lower parking lot and use it to shuttle back to the upper lot at the end of your ski tour. Only upper lot parking is necessary if you plan to ski the easiest (and the only groomed) trail of the network. Do not ski on the road: There is logging truck traffic on it, even in winter.
There are several motels in pretty Lakeside. The Bayshore Resort Motel (616 Lakeside Blvd., 406/844-3131 or 800/844-3132, www.bayshoreresortmotel.com, $110–175) has a prime setting with adequate, but not fancy, kitchenette rooms and small apartments right on Flathead Lake. In addition to lodging, the resort offers charter fishing, and canoe and sailboat rentals are available right next door.
At the northern end of town, the Sunrise Vista Inn (7005 Hwy. 93 S., 406/844-0231, May–Sept., $80 and up) has a dock and access to a stretch of beach.
For something rather private and exclusive, consider staying at Flathead Lake Suites (829 Angel Point Rd., 406/844-2204 or 800/214-2204, www.angelpoint.com, $700–800 per week per couple). Located on a peninsula jutting out into Flathead Lake with 312 feet of shoreline, the three large suites (actually part of an enormous private home) come with complete kitchen, dining and sitting area, large two-room baths, and private entrances. Guests have full run of the extensive property, including a dock, fishing platform, canoe, rowboat, patio, barbecue area, beach pavilion, and gazebo.
Just off Hwy. 93, Tamarack Brewing (105 Blacktail Rd., 406/844-0244, 11 a.m.–midnight daily, $7–12) serves microbrews and good food. Grab a spot on the creekside patio and sip a Yard Sale ale.
Just west of the highway, Bluestone Grill and Tap (306 Stoner Loop Rd., 406/884-2583, 5–9 p.m. nightly, $18–24) specializes in modern American comfort foods, including a popular meatloaf laced with buffalo meat.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition