Apres Ski. Who Me?

Our Family Trip to Whitefish Mountain Resort and Kandahar Lodge.

Apres Ski:  Social Activities after a day's skiing.
Confession, I had to look up what Apres Ski actually meant.  I hear people throw this term around and I mean I knew it seemed to involve over the top knitted sweaters with giant fur hats (or is that just my inner costume loving voice screaming for the chance), maybe swooshing down a pristine powder covered mountain, fancy cocktails in the snow while soaking in oversized hot tubs.  It always had that next level unapproachable air about it to me.

Until now.  

Enter Whitefish Mountain Resort.  It's one of the things I want to yell through a blowhorn - which basically means blog about, but also keep secret.  It's having a bluebird day on the mountain after 17 inches of new powder, being able to see from Whitefish Lake all the way to Glacier Park, yet not waiting in line for the lift, read:  I'm hustling to get situated before it's our turn, how I survive daily is a wonder.  It's staying in a cozy family-owned lodge that just also happens to be ski-in, ski-out with a James Beard Nominated restaurant that also serves hot cocoa and popcorn to it's guest every afternoon.  It's a cozy bar tucked inside the lobby adorned with vintage photos that has perfected the classic cocktails while feeling totally at ease snuggling up by the fireplace in wool socks to play chess with the family while sipping on those cocktails.

This is Apres Ski y'all!

In the wake of recent life events from shootings in our city, a well-loved celebrity's sudden death to touring middle schools.  I have been reminded repeatedly this week, that life is incredibly precious and goes incredibly fast, like faster than my youngest son down a mountain headed for the terrain park ski jump - oh in his mind what a glorious trick he had planned, meanwhile my heart was stopped and I was sending hail marys up to Jesus that P is still in fact made of rubber.  He was, phew.  Of course now I'm getting sidetracked but this darn kid definitely fell more times than he landed on those jumps, there were definitely a lot of tears of frustration but dang if he didn't get back up every single time and want to do it again.  To the point that I graciously gave him my mittens and set up camp at the base lodge with a beer.

Whitefish Ski Resort has the unique combination of amazing snow conditions across gloriously big and beautiful terrain mixed with a small town feel where everyone seems like a local, the type of local that is happy to share their insider knowledge and lend you a hand.  Major points to the Ski Rental Employee who without a second thought let me take my children up to their lessons mid-rental - he could absolutely tell they were getting beyond restless and this mama was totally losing her cool, it was not my finest moment.  Upon return he didn't miss a beat finishing up the rental process with me.  Not gonna lie sending the boys off with their awesome instructors that day was a wonderful feeling, and picking them up with beaming smiles, us parents also feeling refreshed, was an even better one. 

The second day we got to experience skiing in white out conditions at the summit, we could have played it more safe and stayed down below, but frankly we didn't want to.  Our daily life is quite safe and calculated.  This experience as a family won't be forgotten.  Having the opportunity to push beyond what we know and working together to adventure into the unknown, we were able show our boys that we believed in their abilities to trust themselves and figure it out.  I throw the term "team Pap" around our home a lot, so much that it elicits quite severe eye rolls.  No eye rolls this time y'all.  It is human nature to want to feel a sense of belonging and that we are capable.  That is what this white out afternoon was.  The reward was also ridiculous powder and the best mound of curly fries your taste buds have ever experienced, and burgers, and sausages and pizza. 

A few more highlights from Team Pap...  (The mom in me felt pretty accomplished having the boys write their favorite things, you know balance out the days of school we skipped for this trip.)

Me.  Drinking champagne as the giant snowflakes fell, soaking my tired ol' body in a steaming hot oversized hot tub watching my boys float snow balls in the water.  I know, I'm taking back what I said at the beginning of this post.  Taking the Blue Runs ALL over Big Mountain, even the summit and backside, swooshing through powder like I do this all day long.  Well that day I did, because this mountain lives up to it's name.  Along with that, Peyton's awesome ski instructor empowering him to accomplish his first black diamond run.  Yahoo and thank you that I didn't have to take him.  And finally, the tree ghosts - they were just as magnificent as I remembered them to be.

Nick, as dictated to me as he was washing dishes - I'll take it!...  The Backside of the Mountain...enjoying a pure powder Green run, like a country stroll in the park, taking a peek over the edge at the double black diamond pondering the bears hibernating below.  All kinda crazy when you think about it.  Ok they probably were not directly below us, but this particular part of the mountain closes in April to protect the local Grizzly bear population.  Lastly, The Snug Bar, located in the Kandahar lodge, in particular their Manhattan and Whisky Sour, sipping "hella good cocktails" and sitting by the fire.

Peyton.  My instructor was cool, he took me on a black diamond called 1000 turns, it's called this because it's so narrow that you have to do many turns, it wasn't hard for me it felt like a green.  The white out at the top of the mountain was super cool, it was close to completely white all around us at the Summit on the afternoon of the second day.  There was so many different ski lifts to go on and so many runs.  In the lodge I liked the loft and the popcorn because the bags were so big and it tasted really good, and the hot tub. 

Riese.  Getting popcorn after skiing every day and melting snow icebergs in the hot tub.  Night snowboarding on the terrain park, boarding at night in the dark but under the lights, not sure how to explain it but it was awesome.  The curly fries at the Summit House were freaking amazing, eating all the curly fries in the world as the white out happened outside the windows.  The lofted beds [in the lodge] felt like we had our own separate room and the fur blankets were really comfy.  My instructor was nice and helpful when I did something wrong he showed me the correct way to do it. 

How to get here, the key logistical details.

Our preferred method of transportation is flying into Glacier International Airport and taking an Arrow Shuttle to the mountain.  You can often find great deals on Alaska/Horizon, at least from Seattle.  The airport is about a an hour drive to the mountain.  The Arrow Shuttle is very reasonably priced, meets you at the airport, will make minor pit stops if needed - like the grocery store for the essentials, and drop you off at the lodge door.  There's a good chance you will have Pat.  I was very impressed, down to spelling my name right and giving us all the local tips for navigating the village.  Other options are Amtrak which stops in downtown Whitefish (the mountain is about a 20ish min drive).  There is a S.N.O.W. bus that gives free rides up and down the mountain.  I recommend this more for if you want to check out dinner down the mountain vs actually taking all your luggage on the bus.  Don't expect to find many Ubers.  And of course you can drive, from Seattle it's about a 10hour drive depending on your speed limit preference and bladder strength.


We stayed in a Kitchen Loft room at Kandahar Lodge, this was perfect for our family.  The boys each had their own beds in the loft while our bed was on them main floor.  We also had a full kitchen so we were able to prepare dinner (think spaghetti and LOTS of bread and butter, holy burning calories) and chilled champagne in the fridge.  Kandahar lodge is ski-in/ski-out with heated rooms to keep your ski gear in...so you can leave every ounce that you've got on that mountain and flop down on the coziest fur blanket.  

If you have any other questions feel free to email me kirsty@luciakjewelry.com

Whether you call it Whitefish Mountain Resort or Big Mountain, sharing the place I grew up skiing at with my family was a bucket list moment.  Growing up at the base of this mountain I had no idea until I moved away how lucky I was to have this experience.  I often talk about this place now and the fond memories I have, and I wondered if it would live up to the hype for my crew.  As my exasperating yet wonderfully wise 5th grader put it "mom this place is in your blood and I can totally see why now."

What a tremendous way to kick off 2020.

thank you for reading,

This post was in partnership with Whitefish Mountain Resort, Kandahar Lodge, and Arrow Shuttle - 3 companies that I can't speak highly enough about.  Thank you for partnering with me and my family. 


  1. This is such a great holiday that I would love to do one day. Love love love the photos. Absolutely beautiful scenery (your family is gorgeous too). Accommodation looks perfect. Thanks for sharing

    1. Kim, thank you for reading my post! it truly was such a wonderful trip for our family.

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  3. Great time !! I hope that in the coming holidays I want to spend my quality time with my family.Thank you for sharing this amazing post,Its really inspire me .

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