Glacier Outdoor Center Blog

Word on the street is that population growth around national parks across America is skyrocketing. According to a study conducted by Montana State University published in National Parks Traveler, ”Development and population density around units of the National Park System greatly outpaces that occurring around other parts of the country.”
However, as per usual, Montana is refusing to follow suit. Despite being home to some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, Glacier National Park remains “one of the most pristine and untouched parks in the nation,” says Kalispell news source KAJ18.
Our very own Sally Thompson, co-owner of the Glacier Outdoor Center and Glacier Raft Company was quoted confirming the residents of Glacier National Park are set on protecting the park and keeping it as untamed as it always has been.
Check out Sally, along with some great footage of a little place we like to call home.

Posted: March 6th, 2012 by OM

We get a lot of questions about stream flows on our river – The Flathead. The Middle Fork of the Flathead originates in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and is a wild and scenic river that is one of the best whitewater rivers in Montana. We also float and fish the North Fork of the Flathead.

The weather has warmed outside again, and we are thinking a lot about when the snowpack breaks and the runoff starts.

There are many aspects of snowfall, snowpack, rainfall, and temperatures that determine river levels at different times during the season.  Our rivers are not dam-controlled, so it’s all up to Mother Nature!  For specific data, check out these sites that tell you more than you could ever want to know about the history of flows, current conditions on the rivers, and forecasts of what will be happening in the upcoming week:

The quick predictions we’ve heard so far call for a reasonable spring, and water flow numbers currently predicting to be good news for summer for whitewater! Let’s hope the trend continues. Here’s a graph which shows the past trends and where we are so far:

Chart of precipitation levels for the season – This year is that big red line.

(click on image for a bigger version)

Posted: March 4th, 2012 by OM

We always love to read stories about how Glacier National Park inspires people. This piece in our local paper – the Flathead Beacon – is a great one about Andy Zimet and his quest to climb every 10,000 foot peak in the giant Glacier Park.
From the article:
“Between 1991 and 2009, Zimet skied five of Glacier’s 10,000-foot mountains. More often than not, this required long hikes, steep climbs and even traversing lakes and rivers. Yet one peak eluded him: Mount Kintla. But like old legend suggests, he couldn’t escape.”

from Flathead Beacon - Courtesy Andy Zimet

There’s nothing like Glacier to inspire someone to come back again and again. Last year, Zimet finally completed his quest:
“After a long hike, camping out at the base and then climbing at dawn, he was finally about to finish his “project” the way he wanted. For 45 minutes, he sat at the top and took it all in. Then, when the moment was right, he put on his skies and headed down.”

What’s your Glacier National Park inspiration?

Posted: February 28th, 2012 by OM

Ever wonder what West Glacier, Montana looks like before the spring crowds start coming?  Here are a few shot of “downtown” West Glacer.

This is our downtown office , what we fondly refer to as “your Montana Vacation Trailhead” where all daily whitewater raft trips check in!  We cover up the sign to protect it against the winter weather.

West Glacier office in winter

This is looking into the village of West Glacier from the bridge over the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.  Looks like a winter wonderland to me!

This is the West Enterance to Glacier National Park. Lots of new snow over the weekend make the sign barely visable.

Posted: February 28th, 2012 by OM

After a few weeks of warm weather, this last cold spell has brought back the colorful icicles.

Year after year, this sight pops up in Bad Rock Canyon located just after Columbia Heights as you head toward West Glacier.  Made with food dye or KoolAid, locals color the large ice formations that hang from the rocks in the canyon near the road.  While some people think it ads color to their lives during the time of year when cabin fever is high, others say it pollutes the natural environment and is an eyesore. Either way, it’s something that certainly turns heads as folks make their way to and from the Canyon!

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 by OM

Work on the remodel of the retail store is coming along fine.

The new floor will be finished this week and the new service counters and displays will be installed.

The new remodel opens up the floor plan for merchandise allowing for better visibility and traffic flow. We’re very excited to debut the new look this spring.  Maybe we’ll even have a special open house to show it off before the crowds start coming!

Posted: February 17th, 2012 by OM

You are probably still thinking about the winter and praying for fresh snow, but up at Glacier Raft Company and Glacier Anglers we are thinking a LOT about the upcoming spring. This kind of spring…

Thinking ahead, we are not anticipating as big a run-off as last year, but fishing should start a bit earlier and the rafting is always good. We always caution earlier season private rafters about changing river conditions and hazards – be careful and always check conditions before you put a craft into the water.

When the snow starts to melt, we will be prepping our guides with a series of pretty intense safety programs to ensure our guests are well taken care of on the river!

We’ll be ready!

Posted: February 17th, 2012 by OM

These photos are of the efforts we take to maintain a healthy environment for our fish ponds in the winter time.

Aerators in the ponds keep providing the oxygen in the water and maintain open pools allowing natural light in.

When the ponds freeze we have to open them up for the air to escape creating the glacier mini “geysers”- quite confusing to the dog….

Posted: February 15th, 2012 by OM

As you know, GOC has been buttoned up for the snow months, but there is still plenty of activity around here.

For example, here’s the kind of thing that’s going on outside:

And this is how pretty it is up here right now!

Meanwhile, inside the shop, THIS is going on:

Our remodel continues, under watchful eyes….

We are looking forward to seeing you in the all-new fly shop and retail center this spring. In the meanwhile, sure hope you are out enjoying this incredibly beautiful winter!

Two major magazines have recognized Northwest Montana’s Flathead Valley as a top choice for places to visit and recreate. We are proud that Vogue Magazine and National Geographic have listed the area as premier destinations.

Vogue Magazine listed Whitefish Mountain Resort and the surrounding area as one of six US Destinations of the Month in the ski town category. They had this to say:

“Enjoying a dream location, it is a half hour from the wonders of Glacier National Park and ten minutes from the heady downhill skiing at the Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Most of all, visit—by snowshoe and/or cross-country skis—Glacier National Park, impossibly beautiful, 35 miles away.”

Image from Vogue Magazine

And going even further, National Geographic put Whitefish and the Flathead on the top 25 Best Ski Towns in the World. They also chose Bozeman, Montana to include in this impressive list from all over the planet! We’ll call Bozeman our own too!

In describing the appeal of Whitefish, National Geographic has this to say:

“Whitefish, a former logging and railroad town of more than 6,000 near the entrance to Glacier National Park, has been quietly delivering glitz-free Montana skiing for over half a century.

Whitefish the ski area lives up to its family-friendly billing with good first-timer terrain and an abundance of long, wide-open, roller coaster groomers where skiers and snowboarders of all abilities can get their superhero on. A high-speed quad speeds to the mountain’s summit, which is often engulfed in clouds and studded with thickly rimmed, white trees known as snow ghosts. The ghosts make for atmospheric glade skiing.”

We agree on all counts, and hope you will come to visit our little paradise. Looking forward to seeing you on the slopes!