1. The International
Destination: Nelson, British Columbia
Travel time: 4 hours
Where to stay: The Hume Hotel, www.HumeHotel.com
What to do: Two-hundred and fifty miles northwest of Kalispell sits the small town of Nelson, British Columbia, hailed by many as the Southern Interior’s cultural centerpiece. The town is nestled against the waters of Kootenay Lake and has a lively downtown, with pubs, coffee shops and boutique stores. At the center of it all is the Hume Hotel, an historic inn and spa built in 1898. Later in the spring, be sure to hitch a ride on the historic trolley that runs along the water.
2. The Endless Winter
Travel time: 2 hours
Where to stay: Libby Hostel, www.facebook.com/LibbyHostelBaseCamp
What to do: If you want one more shot at winter, wax the skis and head for Libby, home of Montana’s best kept secret, Turner Mountain. Dubbed by Powder Magazine as home to some of the best lift-assisted powder skiing in all the West, Turner is a true diamond in the rough. After taking some laps on Turner, head into town for a cold one at the Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co. in downtown before calling it a day at the Libby Hostel. Wake up rested and grab some breakfast at the Libby Café. Order the huckleberry flapjacks, you won’t regret it.
3. The Off The Grid
Travel time: 1 hour
Where to stay: Izaak Walton Inn, www.izaakwaltoninn.com
What to do: Don’t even bother turning on your cell phone at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, a remote getaway tucked into the southern corner of Glacier National Park. (There’s no service, but if you need WiFi ask the front desk for the wireless password.) Spend a day exploring this scenic area on the inn’s famously maintained cross-country skiing trails and then warm up by the fire in the lodge with a good book. Grab a bite to eat at the Dining Car café and then enjoy a nightcap inside the basement bar before retiring to your room for the night.
4. The Staycation
Travel time: 30 minutes
Where to stay: Whitefish Mountain Cabins, www.whitefishmountaincabins.com or Snow Bear Chalets, www.snowbearchalets.com.
What to do: The less stressful a weekend getaway is, the better. That’s why the ultimate getaway might be the staycation. Turn off Facebook, disconnect from your email and unplug for a weekend in a slope-side cabin on Big Mountain. Take a few end-of-season turns at Whitefish Mountain Resort before checking out one of the many bars and restaurants on the mountain. Or hunker down inside and enjoy some uninterrupted down time. The best part of the staycation? The drive home is a breeze.