Tucked in the forests of Swan Valley
By DAVE REESE/MONTANA LIVING — If you are looking for a crosscountry ski experience that’s a bit more secluded and remote, a new ski area opened last week in Swan Lake.
The Swan Mountain Ranch offers 30 kilometers of groomed trails winding through the woods and meadows about seven miles south of Swan Lake. The resort, which offers lodging and dining, opened Dec. 15.
Owners Pat Tabor and Joanne Tabor have skied around the country at crosscountry resorts, but they felt a definite lack of crosscountry resorts in western Montana. The only other full-service crosscountry resort in northwest Montana is the Izaak Walton Inn at Essex.
“We tried to replicate some of the things we liked at the resorts we went to,” Pat Tabor said.
Swan Mountain Ranch offers a guest cabin that sleeps up to 15 people, as well as accommodations in the main lodge. The lodge, Tabor said, offers “intimate lodging” with a hot tub, game room and home theater.
“For the most part, if a group reserves it, they have the place to themselves,” he said. “The closest neighbor we have is seven miles away. And we’ve got some fabulous snow.”
Pat and Joanne Tabor (David Reese photos/Montana Living)
The original 1872 homestead on the ranch is used as a warming hut on the trails.
The lodge at Swan Mountain Ranch is lined with trophy taxidermy. "Everything you see here we ate," Pat Tabor said. "Some of it required a little more marinating than others.”
There’s also a pond for ice skating. A day pass is $10 for adults, $6 for children. Children under six and adults over 70 ski for free.
For reservations or information, call 886-3900.