Glacier Outdoor Center Blog

Posted: June 4th, 2012 by OM

Northern Montana and Pac Northwest Enjoy Above Average Snowpack While Much of the West Braces for Record Drought

By Ryan Thompson

glacier national park

Photo courtesy of Glacier National Park

It’s no secret that Mother Nature is a fickle mistress.  Analogies for indecisiveness are born from her seasonal whims and even those that know her best can only guess at her long-term plans.  The Rocky Mountain West considers her more than an acquaintance, but in 2012 the region is still very much at the mercy of her idiosyncratic urges.

This spring, ol’ Ma Nature seems to be turning a particularly fond gaze toward the Northwest, the Treasure State in particular, while leaving much of the Rocky Mountain region in a very unenviable state of drought. The mountainous regions of Northern Washington, Idaho and Montana received a healthy, average winter snowpack in 2012 while many areas of the West experienced one of the slimmest winters on record.  According to the Snow – Precipitation Update provided by the US Natural Resource Conservation Service, the snowpack totals in the Flathead and Kootenai drainages in northwest Montana are still above 100% of average snow water equivalent while many major drainages in Colorado and Utah are down in the single digits.

If river-based recreation is part of your summer travel plan you may want to chart a course to Glacier National Park and its’ surrounding rivers.  “The impending summer season looks to be a good one for local outfitters, our snowpack is still a bit above normal.  Combine that with the healthy groundwater levels we have left from heavy precipitation last year and we’re looking at solid water levels this season,” said Darwon Stoneman, owner of Glacier Raft Company in West Glacier, MT.  Comparatively, outfitters across Colorado and Utah are bracing for some of the lowest summer water levels they’ve seen in ten years. According to the Associated Press, “A new [Colorado] state drought plan may require increased drought monitoring, followed by severe restrictions for communities facing the prospect of running out of water.”

Though her favor is often unpredictable and short lived, Big Sky Country and the Pacific Northwest seem to be Mother Nature’s chosen zones to quench this season.  Colorado and Utah will have to wait their turn, parched and thirsty until the rain and snow return next year.

Posted: December 30th, 2011 by OM

Apparently there isn’t any.

(ok, maybe not THIS warm)

Our local paper, the Flathead Beacon recently published a story from the Christian Science Monitor by Mark Guarino which tells us that the northern tier of the United States has been decidedly devoid of the white stuff so far this year.

“Although the National Climatic Data Center does not yet have total results for December, it reports that 13 states in the Northeast and the upper Midwest recorded a top-10 warmest November and none had a top-10 coldest November. The month was the 25th warmest in the center’s 117 years of recordkeeping.”

We’re definitely seeing that up here in the Glacier National Park area.  We did get a little last night…and that’s AWESOME!  But it’s certainly not the accumulation we were hoping for.  The good news is that Glacier is more accessible than usual this time of year, and the views of Glacier Park in winter are stunning.

Here’s a nice shot of a beautiful winter day in Glacier from the Park website

And you can check out the park webcams here, for instant gratificiation!

Posted: December 21st, 2011 by OM

The big day is just around the corner. Everyone is scattering to the far corners of the world, or welcoming those who scattered from elsewhere to come here.

For us, Glacier Outdoor Center is buttoned up warm and cozy for the season, all of our employee family are part of the scattering – visiting family and friends in New York, Idaho, Utah, or hosting friends and relatives here at home.

We extend to all of you our most sincere wishes for a happy holiday. We hope that you too are gathering with those you love and sharing the special connection of the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!!

To keep you thinking of Glacier over your holiday break, we offer you some images here from our friend Chris Peterson’s website. Chris is a stunningly talented photographer, and he is one more thing we are thankful for this season!

Posted: December 19th, 2011 by OM

Around the country, snoweshoe racing season has begun, building to the championship in Frisco, Colorado on February 24th.

Snowshoe Magazine has put together a list of top 10 tips for snowshoe racing. It’s worth a read if you are getting ready to take on the challenge.

Although we’re closed this winter, we’re still way into snowshoeing.  We’ve got some GOC employees in the Coloado area this winter and they’re looking forward to watching the championship action in Frisco.

If you don’t get a chance to visit any of the races around the country this winter, we hope you’ll at least get some good trips in your own area.  We’ll be tromping around the woods and trails in West Glacier.

Happy winter, everyone!

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 by OM

Ski Magazine ranked Whitefish Mountain Resort, right here in our backyard, as one of the 10 Best Groomed Resorts.  This means a lot to us, because a few of our best guides are currently or have been top groomers at the mountain over the years.  Way to go, guys!

Also, the run Inspiration was ranked as one of the Five Best Runs in Montana.

Photo by Noah Clayton

And, here is their recent review of the resort.


Posted: March 2nd, 2011 by OM

Wow.  Punxsutawney Phil must have been a wee bit bleary-eyed when he popped his head out of his Groundhog hiding place.  On February 2nd he called for an early end to cold and snowy days but, at least in our neck of the woods, winter doesn’t look to be departing any time soon.  The sheer quantity of snow that we’ve received in West Glacier, combined with the diligence of our grooming crew, has made for wide, even, consistent Nordic trails that are sure to delight any of you free-heelin outdoor junkies.  The deep and fluffy nature of our recent snowfall has also made for phenomenal snowshoeing conditions in and around Glacier Park.  Come see for yourself!

Current Temperature: 36 Degrees F.

Cloud Cover: Overcast

Wind: N/A

New Snow (last 48 hrs): 8 inches

Trail Conditions: Freshly groomed

Posted: January 27th, 2011 by OM

Good Morning!

It’s a calm, cool, and picturesque morning in West Glacier.  The clouds are breaking, the peaks of Glacier National Park are beginning to show, and there is a large halo of blue sky around Apgar lookout.  It’s currently 24 degrees with no wind and the trails are being freshly groomed as we speak.  The conditions this morning look to be very fast!

Temperatures are expected to warm this afternoon, so it’s a great day to bring up your pooch and begin practicing for our 4th annual Doggie-Skijoring competition.  Race day is February 19th and the event is open to all human + hound pairings.  It’s a really fun event and a portion of all proceeds will go to benefit the Human Society of Northwest Montana.

Come on out, enjoy some sun, and we’ll see you on the trail!

The view from our front porch.

Clear and Cool in Glacier Country

Posted: January 20th, 2011 by OM

The “Fresh” is Back!    While grooming and getting the Glacier Outdoor Center open this morning it began to snow, and snow a bit more, and snow even harder…  It seems to be coming down at about an inch per hour right now!   AWESOME!  We have been anxiously awaiting this storm.   So come on out and ski the Nordic Trails hear in West Glacier,  the track is set for classic diagonal stride, as well as a soft, fresh layer on the firm corduroy for skating.   Let the fun begin!

Posted: January 19th, 2011 by OM

Today was a phenomenal winter day in West Glacier.  We had cool temps and clear skies, not to mention great trail conditions.  Our trails were closed briefly last weekend so as to protect our hard-urned base from use during high temperatures and rainy conditions.  Thanks for being patient!  We’re now back to grooming the cold-brushed corduroy you’ve come to expect at GOC.

Temps are expected to warm some this weekend, but precipitation is still expected to come in flakes instead of drops.  If you are planning on coming up for a ski or snowshoe trek you can always call our office for up to the minute weather and trail condition info.  800-235-6781

See you on the trails!  

Posted: December 19th, 2010 by OM

New Snow 3″
Base 16″
Comment 17 Degrees F, right now in West Glacier, and yet another beautiful day on the Glacier Outdoor Center Ski Trails!  According to professional groomer Marc Evans, today could be one of the top 3 ski  days ever!  This good skiing is attributed  to the great coverage, cold temps. and loving care the GOC staff has been putting into maintaining the trails.