Whitefish Lake is the heart of our humble mountain community and has been an huge part of keeping the community a close knit one throughout the years. From the earliest melting of the snow in April until the first time it shows up again in the fall you will see the lake being used by family and friends, enjoying each others company and the natural beauty that surround them.
In the peak of the summer heat the City Beach is packed with young and old, relaxing on the soft sand, eating ice cream faster than it can melt, and swimming in the crisp waters of Whitefish Lake. Further off shore the pontoon boats crawl by, their patrons taking in the surroundings and a good time. The kayaks and paddleboards glide quietly across the glassy surface, getting the best view and an up close and in person lake experience. Most exciting of all, the remainder of the lake is utilized by all kinds of water sports and fishing, from proud fathers taking their kids out for their first attempt at wake boarding, seasoned veterans entertaining anyone that catches them mid-air, and best friends swapping stories over a couple beers and catching their limit.
Let me give you a quick picture of where Whitefish Lake got its start. Whitefish Lake was named in the mid 1850’s after the native fish found in the lake. Before the town was christened Whitefish in 1905 it was referred to as “Stumptown”, in reference to the many stumps left after clearing out an area to start the town. In the early days Whitefish Lake started as a way to supply logs to a mill on Whitefish River by summer and ice was cut, packed in sawdust, and stored to refrigerate produce by winter.
Once upon a time boat racing on Whitefish Lake was a regular event. Families would all come out on the weekend to enjoy the summer sun, relax from the long week of work, socialize with old friends and meet new ones. But the center of these family affairs was the boat races, while no one was a professional they all had a passion for boating and the lake. Every engine would be finely tuned and ready to race for the trophy and a weeks worth of bragging right. The passion for boating and enjoying the lake is one many people still have today, especially among the residents of Whitefish. Next time you’re in the Boat Club check out the old wooden boat in the Lounge and ask Chappy about the trophy behind the bar.
While there isn’t a boat race on Whitefish Lake every weekend in the summer, the town of Whitefish still does its part to host many events that help the community stay connected. You can’t talk to a Whitefish resident who hasn’t sipped beer or cocoa at Whitefish Winter Carnival or strolled through Huckleberry Days in August. Fortunately there is hope for the lakeside events of the past with the second annual Whitefish Woody Weekend happening next weekend! The Big Sky Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society is sponsoring the event hosted by the Lodge at Whitefish Lake.
The desire for socializing and the passion for boats and the lake still lives in the owners of these classic beauties. Some of the boats viewed are hand crafted by their owners starting with selecting and cutting down the trees that, over time, become the fine tuned machines you will see at the event. Whitefish Woody Weekend festivities start up Friday evening with a parade around beautiful Whitefish Lake, visible from anywhere on shore. Then Saturday from 10am to 6pm view over 25 classic wooden boats, including the Lodge’s own 31′ Lady of the Lake, enjoy live music, food, fun, and competition all on the shores of Whitefish Lake. Let us know which classic ‘woody’ was your favorite by voting in the viewers choice Best in Show which will be announced at the end of the day!