In partnership with Montana’s The Ranch at Rock Creek.
“I think this is the best place I’ve ever skied,” my dad exclaimed at the bottom of our first run at Montana’s Discovery Ski Area. Maybe it was the 12 inches of fresh powder that softened the slopes, the good fortune that we had the mountain almost entirely to ourselves, or the fact that our family of six was together again for the first time in 364 days, but such a superlative sentiment from my father, who has racked up nearly two million vertical feet heli-skiing around the world, was certainly high praise.
Growing up in Boston, my three sisters and I spent nearly every weekend of our childhood with our family skiing in New Hampshire. These trips were usually punctuated by sisterly bickering in the car and frenzied dashes to ski school, but our recent vacation at Montana’s The Ranch at Rock Creek was (almost entirely) free of the fights that used to plague us as feisty children. Instead, our days were spent snowmobiling, bowling, playing darts, ice-skating and lounging in the hot tub with mulled wine in hand. Even a morning horseback ride in 10 degrees Fahrenheit left smiles frozen on our faces.
Much of this can be attributed to us having matured, and the fact that we don’t see each other as often anymore, but our setting played a key role in making this family trip one of the best to date. Montana’s The Ranch at Rock Creek sits on 6,600 acres that boast soaring mountains and sloping hillsides, fairy-tale pine forests and seemingly endless meadows. Open year-round, the all-inclusive retreat features stunning accommodations (glamping tents, homes and individual rooms) and is one of the world’s best destinations for couples, families and groups of friends who enjoy a plush but authentic Western setting.
And while the lodgings are uber-pampering, guests at the Ranch will spend little time indoors. In the warm months, on-property adventures include hiking the 50 miles of trails, mountain biking, horseback riding, shooting clays, paintball and archery. And, of course, fishing—this is one of the main reasons visitors come to this part of Montana, and the fishing on Rock Creek is considered some of the best in the area. For winter vacations like ours, can’t-miss activities include skiing at Discover Ski Area (30-minutes by car from the resort), snowmobiling and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
No matter the season, end-of day bonding always occurs at the Saloon, which includes a lounge and bar area, a theater with a 14-foot movie screen, facilities for ping pong and foosball, billiard tables and a four-lane bowling alley. So, whether you need a multigenerational escape that appeals to the youngest and oldest family members, a place to reconnect with friends or loved ones or a long overdue, fight-free family reunion, Montana’s The Ranch at Rock Creek won’t disappoint.