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Three Montana Family Vacation Adventures - Dogs, Skis and History. The bonus of a Montana winter vacation is yards and yards of fresh white stuff, marked only by an occasional rabbit trail. And for any parent grabbing pictures for the family album the winter sky is always a brilliant blue demanding sunglasses or snow goggles for comfort. To experience winter in Montana, three adventures are a must. 

Spirit of The North Dog Sled AdventuresThe menu of snowy vacation fun is expansive but I have culled the best for your perusal.
 
Mush is not for breakfast. The word mush in Montana means to begin a high-powered and energizing adventure led by dogs. Spirit of the North Sled Dog Adventures near Big Sky provides families with dogsledding experiences that do just that. From the first dog encounter the excitement builds. The best advice is keep your distance or be prepared to be kissed by a dog. The energy and enthusiasm of the dogs and their guides is spirit lifting and great fun no matter your age. Bonus Points: The twice-daily snow adventures from Moonlight Basin Ranch begin with hands-on instructions that include the thrill of "mushing" a sled dog team. This adventure is a must for families with children of school age, Disney cannot duplicate the experience.(Spirit of the North Sled Dog Adventures. Located about one mile from Big Sky Mountain Village. (406) 682-7994 or in Big Sky (406) 995-3424 or www.Huskypower.com) Montan Dog Sledding Adventures

Travel at the speed of dog. 
Not far from Whitefish near the Canadian border the mushers at Dog Sled Adventures provide daily family runs and make sure kids feel included. Remember reading Balto: The Bravest Dog Ever?  Wrapped in cozy elk skin cocoons, riders glide through the wilderness, pulled by Balto-look-alikes. Their dog teams are a variety of husky, wolf, greyhound and shepherd. They all love to work as a team along the 12-mile loop though the Stillwater State Forest, cutting the icy air and carving a route through the powder. Bonus Points: At the return riders warm their toes by a fire in a cozy cabin, sip hot cocoa and munch homemade cookies while listening to the guides tell ‘tall dog-tales.’  They even have space to make snow angels. (Dog Sled Adventures. Located 20 miles north of Whitefish, off Highway 93 Olney, 59927. (406) 881-2275 or www.dogsledadventuresmontana.com

Ski cross-country with your kids. Skiing and boarding are not the only draw for families seeking the snow. Montana is known for the exceptional cross-country skiing trails and where trails go cross country snowshoeing is not far behind. Both activities allow families of all ages to enjoy exercise, fresh air and each other. Montana Backcountry Adventures conducts several unique snow experiences worth considering. From naturalist guided snowshoeing to a riding in a snowcat named Betsy to dinner in a yurt, they have the stuff to build memories. Bonus Points: The moonlight dinners, ideal for family reunions, also provide kids a chance to go sledding near the yurt, watch bonfire or star gaze. (Montana Backcountry Adventures. Big Sky. (406) 995-3880 or www.skimba.com) 

Visit a ghost town. 762MTBannackWinterMontana is filled abandon gold camps and early settlements deserted by pioneers. One such ghost town, Bannack located not far from Dillon, has new lease on life. More than 50 log and frame structures still remain standing along the Main Street of what was Montana's first territorial capital. The town - preserved rather than restored.; protected rather than exploited - is not Williamsburg of the West but it is unique and rewarding window on history of the West. Open year round visitors are permitted to walk the street and imagine. Sometimes historians or volunteer staff members provide stories about Henry Plummer, Chief Snag, Club Foot George, Dutch John Wagner and how gold was discovered in July of 1862 at Grasshopper Creek. (Bannack State Park, 4200 Bannack Road. Dillon, 59725. (406) 834-3413 or www.bannack.org)  

Montana offers dozens of snow possibilities for families from tubing and sliding to skiing and snowmobiling.  All that is left to do is show up and begin vacation time perfecting the perfect snow angel. 

Family Vacation Planning Details. Checkout the clever section just for kids Visit Montana at www.visitmt.com  

Content by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images by staff and Visit Montana. Copyright updated 2017.


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