Glacier Outdoor Center Blog

Posted: June 13th, 2011 by OM

What a great weekend it turned out to be in NW Montana! The first-ever Great Northern Brewing and Glacier Anglers Cast-Off event was a huge success on Saturday. In the morning, we all met at Glacier Outdoor Center’s Ridgetop Retreat for informative clinics from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Glacier Anglers Pro Staff and Travis Morris, a gear expert and sales rep with Winston, Ross, Lamson and Scientific Angler.

Thanks to Montana Coffee Traders for posting up outside the meeting center and whipping up free espressos to keep everyone caffeinated and warm. Backwoods BBQ cooked up some amazing breakfast burritos.  (Don’t forget, they are now up and running next door at the Glacier Campground.)

After a great morning session, we all moved outside to practice casting under the tutelage of certified casting instructor Jerry Smalley.  After learning new skills and honing old ones, the group hit the pavilion lawn for the All Cast competition.  Competitors hucked line for accuracy and distance as the crowd cheered and  Great Northern Brewery kept the grown ups hydrated.  Thanks to Montana Fly Company, Great Northern Brewing, Montana Coffee Traders and Scientific Angler for providing some great prizes and raffle items.  People LOVED those MFC River Camo products, like the fish skin fly boxes and forceps! Oh, and thanks to our own fly shop for donating an R.L. Winston Fly Rod, a Simms guide jacket and tons of fishing accessories.

Winners of each category include:


1. Mark Evans    2. Travis Morris    3. Tom Walstad


1. Gary Yee   2. John Alderson   3. Brent Owens


1. Ella Hutcheson   2. Noah Kilman  3. Marcus Kilman

Good job everyone and thanks for coming!  See you next year!

Posted: June 10th, 2011 by OM

Need something to do tomorrow? Come out to West Glacier for the Glacier Anglers Cast-Off 2011! This is the first-ever certified fly-casting instruction and competition and it is totally FREE! Activities begin in the morning at 10:00 a.m. with a few short fishing seminars at the Ridgetop Retreat. The talks include:

Beyond Bugs

Trout Hunting

From Nets to Knots

Then we’ll move outside to practice casting on the four stocked fishing ponds. The All-Cast casting competition is set to start around 2:00 p.m. There are tons of great raffle items and prizes for participants.  Montana Coffee Traders, Great Northern Brewery and food vendors will be on site selling goodies! Remember, proceeds from this free event will benefit the Flathead Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Click here for more information and we hope to see you tomorrow! Yee-haw we’re excited!

Posted: June 1st, 2011 by OM

The sun shines early in these parts.  Or, maybe just for our marketing manager, Ryan Thompson.  Ryan woke up with the early birds this morning to make it to a 5:30 a.m. live  interview on NBC Montana’s Montana Today morning show with Monte Turner. It aired on KPAX in Missoula and KECI in Kalispell–did you see it?  Neither did we.  So, we posted it so we can watch it over and over again.

Monte asked Ryan about the details of the upcoming Glacier Anglers Cast-Off on June 11th.  It’s a don’t-miss event for fisherfolks of all ages and skill levels, and it’s a great opportunity to expand your fishing skills and even compete for amazing prizes, bragging rights and entry into nationwide casting comps.  We are all looking forward to a fun event next weekend at the Glacier Outdoor Center.

Thanks for putting your pretty mug on the tube, R.T.!

Posted: May 27th, 2011 by OM

Don’t let the rain and the swollen rivers crush your fishing dreams!  Glacier Outdoor Center in West Glacier has the perfect solution.  We’re happy to announce our first-ever certified fly-casting instruction and competition— the Glacier Anglers Cast-Off 2011! This event is set for June 11th at GOC and we couldn’t (and you shouldn’t) be more excited! We’ve got a lot of big plans for this day. 

We teamed up with several local shops, product reps and Great Northern Brewing for this.  Glacier Anglers Cast-Off 2011 is a FREE event full of casting instruction, fishing seminars and a chance to qualify for the All Cast National Fly Casting Championships. It is also open for all ages and ability levels.

Starting at 10:00 a.m. at Glacier Outdoor Center’s Ridgetop Retreat, several seminars will be held on a variety of topics led by pros from Montana Fly Co and the Glacier Angler staff.

Here are the classes:

Beyond Bugs: Fly selection and river ecology

Trout Hunting: Reading water and putting your fly where the fish are

From Nets to Knots: Choosing the right equipment and tying it all together

Participants will then get on-site casting instruction at Glacier Outdoor Center’s four stocked fishing ponds. The free All Cast certified qualifier casting competition will begin at 2:00 pm and is open for all ages. The competition includes tests in accuracy and distance and is divided into three groups; Masters, Open and Youth (14 and under). Each participant in each category will receive a day permit for another All Cass event nationwide. Winners of each class in each category will win a season pass to all All Cast events nationwide plus other top fishing prizes.  All Cast is a nationwide fly-casting tour organization offering competitors a chance to win cash prizes for casting.

The seminars and competition are FREE–with donations accepted for the Flathead Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  It is going to be a great time with food and beverage vendors on site for the day. Montana Coffee Traders, Great Northern Brewery and other food vendors will be selling delicious fuel.

For more information please call 1-800-235-6781 or email

Posted: May 23rd, 2011 by OM

Looking to be prepared for your outdoor adventures this summer?  We have great Aerie Wilderness Medicine courses coming up!  In the month of June, the Glacier Outdoor Center will be hosting  three Aerie courses:

Wilderness First Responder, June 9-17: Learn to care for patients in remote areas under the most challenging environments, where 911 & rapid transportation are not an option.
Certifications Received: Wilderness First Responder & Adult CPR certification – Valid 2 years
Hours: 8 am – 6 pm each day, with June 13th off
Duration & Cost: 72 hours, $625

Wilderness First Responder Refresher, June 19-20: A refresher for WFR graduates
Certifications Received: Wilderness First Responder certification  & Adult CPR certification – Valid 2 years
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm each day
Duration & Cost: 16 hours, $250 or, with the Aerie Alumni Discount, $225

Wilderness First Aid, June 19-20: The WFA course provides a great introduction to wilderness medicine for anyone spending time in the outdoors.  Like the WFR, the course focuses on injury and illness prevention, patient assessment, long-term injury management, improvised splint and litter construction and environmental emergencies.
Certifications Received: Wilderness First Aid – Valid 2 years
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm each day
Duration & Cost: 16 hours, $195, add Optional CPR the evening of June 18th for an additional $35

There is still space available in these courses, but they’ll fill up fast! Contact us TODAY with questions or to register at or at 1-800-253-6781.

Posted: May 13th, 2011 by OM

Wait a minute…what is that bright sight outside? That glowing orb in the sky…that strange fiery sphere.  Oh wait–it’s the sun. Yep– the sunshine has been a very welcome sight here in NW Montana after a very long winter!

We’ve got a big weekend planned at Glacier Outdoor Center and hopefully this sun will stick around. The Boat Swap and Tent Sale is happening tomorrow and Sunday, May 14th and 15th. People have dropped off their gently used river gear the shop for quality trading.  Plus, we have a lot of good looking boats ready to sell as well! Come and get geared up for what is sure to shape up to be a righteous rafting season in the Flathead.

Check the details below. If you have any questions please call Glacier Outdoor Center at 406-888-5454 or email Hope to see you around West Glacier this weekend!

Legendary outfitter and packer Smoke Elser is returning to Glacier Outdoor Center to share his backcountry expertise. Sign up now for the two-day hands-on packing course set for May 14th and 15th. Whether you want to get started in packing or honing specific skills, this course is for you.


  • What: Smoke Elser’s Wilderness Outfitting and Packing Course
  • When: May 14-15 2011 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Where: Glacier Outdoor Center, West Glacier
  • Cost: $200 for the two-day course; includes lunch both days (does not include 7% service fee)

The primary topics will include general horse handling, packing, minimum impact horse use and camping techniques. Participants will receive an introduction to safe handling of horses and mules, main injury points, riding equipment, picketing, hobbling, emergency shoeing and basic backcountry horse care. The course also teaches cargoing, loading, stringing of stock and light on the land travel techniques.

Smoke has spent more than five decades as an outfitter in the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. As an educator, mentor and wilderness steward, he built relationships between Forest Service officials and outfitters across the nation by finding common ground in wilderness protection.

Space is limited to 20 students! To register or for more information, please contact Glacier Outdoor Center at 406-888-5454 or

Posted: April 25th, 2011 by OM

Who wants a new used boat? I do! Who wants to sell the boat that is taking up too much space in the garage? I DO! I DO!

Head to the Glacier Outdoor Center Boat Swap and Tent Sale May 14th and 15th. Saturday’s hours are from 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday’s are 10:00am to 3:00pm.  We’re giving our river rat friends the chance to sell their rafts, kayaks and inflatables.

Show you the money! In exchange for this awesome chance to buy and sell boats, if your boat is purchased we will reward the sale amount of your boat with either 85% of the sale price in cash or 100% in store credit. Some cash probably sounds great, BUT we’ll have in-store sales on boating accessories and apparel in case you opt for the store credit option. Come with an old boat and leave with some new toys.

Boat Swap Details
- Drop off your boat between May 11-13, no later than 5:00pm
- Unsold boats need to be picked up on the afternoon of Sunday, May 15th
- Paddles, frames and accessories can only be sold as part of a package deal with your boat–not separately
- You don’t need to be present for your boat to sell
- Call or e-mail with questions (406)888-5454 or

PLUS, we will be having a Tent Sale with store-wide bargains on hats, t-shirts, winter gear and even housewares.  (“Housewares” means cool stuff from inside our cabins, since we’re upgrading appliances, televisions, etc.)

AND, check out the Glacier Raft and Outdoor Center website Friday evening for a list of swapable boats at

Young skiers will gather in West Glacier for the regional Nordic competition.

The Glacier Outdoor Center and Glacier Nordic Ski Club are teaming for a second straight year to host “The Race at Glacier” during the 2011 Western States Youth Ski Festival. The race will bring more than 150 Nordic racers, ages 6-15, from all across the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Region to compete in this two-day event.

When: Saturday, Feb. 26th 9:30am-2:30pm Sunday, Feb. 27th 9:30am-12:00pm

Where: Glacier Outdoor Center, 12400 Hwy 2 East, West Glacier, MT 59936

Who: 150+ Youth Nordic Racers from Montana, Idaho, Utah, Washington and Canada

What: Skate, Classic, Obstacle and Downhill Nordic race events

Concessions and luxury cabin accommodations are available at Glacier Outdoor Center and spectators are welcome. Volunteers are needed for timing, course maintenance and food concession.  Cameron Blake is the volunteer coordinator and can be reached at

Posted: January 12th, 2011 by OM

We’ve got a bad case of corduroy… and it’s spreading!

Marc Evans, Glacier Outdoor Center’s (GOC) Head Groomer, Nordic Ski Patroler and Backcountry Guide was the first to alert us to the growing swaths of corduroy spreading through the woods near West Glacier.  “It seems that Glacier Outdoor Center is the epicenter of the outbreak,” says Evans.  “We started with 10 kilometers of groomed trail, but that number seems to be growing daily.”

According to several eye witnesses, the snow-covered hills surrounding GOC seem to be enveloped in meticulously manicured Nordic ski trails.    There is considerable speculation about what’s causing the growing expanse of skiable terrain, but few concrete facts illuminating its origin.  Some claim it’s a side effect of this winter’s La Niña weather pattern, while others think aliens might be at work.  “The grooming is just so smooth and symmetrical… like crop circles in winter.  It has to be aliens,” says Kali Tholen, GOC’s Reservation Manager.

“I think it’s because of the race,” said GOC Retail Manager, Karsten Carlson.  “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve got a bunch of phenomenal skiers arriving next month and our trails keep growing every day.  I mean look at the Arena.  That place was thigh deep powder just days ago and now it looks ready for international competition.”  The Race that Carlson alludes to is the The Race at Glacier /Western States Ski Festival, a huge regional Nordic race happening here on February 26th and 27th and consisting of the best young winter athletes in the West.   The Arena, as Carlson calls it, is an oval-shaped expanse of snow beyond GOC, looks to have been prepped specifically for some type of competition. Coincidence?

So, what is causing this pandemic of perfect trails?  Is it weather?  Aliens? Or just a grooming crew suffering from mild OCD?  We may never know.  But for now I recommend you make a pilgrimage to Glacier Outdoor Center and see for yourself.