The skiing isn’t the only attraction on Whitefish’s legendary ski hill

FOOD&DRINK EVENING OUT BY JUSTIN FRANZ

Nothing wraps up a great day of skiing and riding better than a hot meal and a cold beverage, and when you’re on Big Mountain in Whitefish there are ample opportunities for both.

Whenever I’m skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort I usually like to take a mid-afternoon break. While Whitefish has many fine pubs and restaurants, the one with the best view, without question, is The Summit House. At 7,000 feet, the Summit House is the highest restaurant and bar in Northwest Montana, with amazing views of Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley, and it might have one of the best cups of hot chocolate on the mountain. But if you’re looking for something a little heartier, then the Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery is the spot for you. A few years ago, a friend of mine told me they had the best plate of nachos in town, although I was hesitant to believe him. After all, how good can a plate of chips and cheese be? Well, I was wrong – the nachos at Hellroaring are a majestic meal all their own.

Once the lifts stop for the night and it’s time to unwind with a nice drink before dinner, go hang with the locals at The Bierstube. This legendary bar was once voted “Canada’s Favorite Bar” and you’ll be sure to have a great time throwing down beers at this Big Mountain hotspot. It also serves food.

Be sure to stay in control at “The Stube” before heading down the road to dinner. When you’re on Big Mountain, there really is only one place for fine dining and that’s at Café Kandahar. Executive chef and owner Andy Blanton is among the elite chefs in the nation, as seen by the endless accolades that hang on the walls. He has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation numerous times as one of the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest. Wine Spectator has also recognized the restaurant numerous times for its fantastic selection of wines.

While you can order off the menu, the true Kandahar experience requires you to eat one of their five- or seven-course meals. And although it costs a little more to match each course with the appropriate wine, it’s well worth the expense. However, unlike some of the other suggestions on this list, a reservation is highly recommended. But if you’re a little early, never fear, because you can grab a pre-dinner drink at the Snug Bar, located just down the hall. This is one of the valley’s smallest bars, but it’s also one of the coolest.