Its a Girl!


Yesterday morning we woke up to a great surprise! Meet the newest member of the Lodge.

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First Snow

firstsnow2013Its that time of the year again! We woke up today to a dusting of snow covering the last of the green grass we had. With the high of the day only reaching 35 degrees the winter clothes and boots are back out.

As much as we love fall around here we also love all the winter activities that come with the snow. Check out the link below for a list of the exciting winter activities we partake in.

Winter in Montana

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Wrapping up our 68th Season!

As we wrap up our 68th season and reminisce about all the families and events we hosted this year, we feel very privileged having met you all. Thank you for yet another spectacular summer and we look forward to next year.

FLL7016After a long day of riding, the kids enjoyed jumping in the cool waters of Flathead Lake.

spartan 1The 1st Annual Spartan Race brought in over 7,000 racers and spectators form all over North America.


The 4th Annual Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation Workshop and Festival was once again a huge success.


The 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Festival was a two day event this year with over 10,000 participants and spectators.

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Budweiser Wagon Reconstruction

Due to the long winter months we have taken on many different projects, one that entails restoring a classic Budweiser style carriage. Sledge and Hammer are excited for their new hitch. Check out the pictures below which include some of the restoration process!

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Crown of the Continent – Final Line up


Chris Hillman, founding member of the Byrds and Herb Pedersen from The Desert Rose Band will be joining us as Artists in Residence for the 2012 workshop and festival and round out this years great line up!

Following the hugely successful sold out 2011 guitar workshop and festival, we want to let you know that Lee Ritenour, Julian Lage, Sonny Landreth, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Dennis Koster and Patty Larkin will be joining us as Artists in Residence for this year’s event.


This week long event includes 6 days of workshops, master classes, playing with professional rhythm sections, jamming, and nightly concerts. Being held at the Flathead Lake Lodge workshop participants and their family members have access to all the lodges’ amenities, plus more.  Also available for family members during the week is a watercolor workshop taught by renowned western artist Nancy Cawdrey.


There will be eleven workshops offered in seven guitar genres with leading faculty from the National Guitar Workshop:  Jazz featuring Lee Ritenour and Julian Lage, Classic Rock featuring Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, Blues featuring Sonny Landreth, Classical featuring Dennis Koster, Singer-Songwriter featuring Patty Larkin, Acoustic featuring Doug Smith, and Beginners with Susan Mazer.  A new course has been added this year for Bass players featuring Melvin Lee Davis and Jorge Roeder.


Jazz pianist and composer, Dave Grusin (recipient of one Academy Award and twelve Grammy Awards) and drummers Sonny Emory and Tupac Mantilla will be special featured artists.


In addition, Lee Ritenour’s 3rd Annual Yamaha Six String Theory International Guitar Competition will be held during the workshop week on August 29th. The six finalists will be awarded a full scholarship to attend the workshop.


This is a unique opportunity to study with the masters and share a passion for guitar with fellow participants in an intimate and personalized setting.  All surrounded by our famous western hospitality.


The 2011 workshop was a sell out and the 2012 workshop has limited availability, so early registration is advised! 
 REGISTRATION DISCOUNT! Register by April 30, 2012 and get a $250 discount on the Workshop fee.  For more information and to register go to or call (406) 837-2574.




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Bustling and Barn Dancing – Chase & Kate's Wedding


For the first time in a long time, Flathead Lake Lodge was still shaking in its boots after a memorable Averill wedding celebration. Chase Averill and Kate Verhey tied the knot on the shores of Flathead Lake, surrounded by the old growth fir trees and family and friends from across the country. It was a 4 days extravaganza filled with the usual FLL favorites like steak fry, barn dance, mouse races and much more. Enjoy the photo’s below, and thanks to everyone who helped pull off this great weekend!


Family & friends filled the Lodge for the weekend. An action packed itinerary and a bottle of Saintsbury Pinot Noir (Thanks to Carly Verhey) greeted the guests at their cabins."
A beautiful sunset on Flathead Lake started the weekend off right Wednesday Night.
Despite a rainy day, the skies cleared and everyone loaded up on the antique fire trucks for a classic steak fry cookout.
Cowboy Gene Gordner serenades Steak Fry with cowboy classics.
Family and friends chowing down at the chuck wagon cookout. As always: homemade cheesy bread, fruit salad, potato salad, Maureen's famous cowboy beans, 'undone' brownies and mesquite fired steaks! Hasn't changed in 40+ years.
Uncle Fred is the big winner at mouse races!
Family friend Jacques dances a hole in the barn floor with his Mom Cathy.
A group of friends and family take a morning fitness walk down the Swan River Nature Trail alongside the Wild Mile.
All aboard! Friday nights rehearsal dinner included loading everyone up on the Far West for a happy hour cruise to the Saddlehorn Marina for a delicious pig roast.
Rehearsal Dinner at the Saddlehorn Marina with the always entertaining Singing Son's of Beaches. Thanks to the Lodge Chef Brian for another great dinner. He smoked a whole pig!
Never a dull moment...Ever since the Lodge was started in 1945 mischief, pranks and laughs have been as much a part of the Lodge as the rock fireplaces. Staying true to form, the infamous Boiteau brothers, with help from a few other guests (I'm looking at you Justin Kohl), replaced all the couches in the Main Lodge with canoes and pool umbrellas. It looks like the Saddle Sore Saloon might also have had a hand in the trouble. Nevertheless, it made for some great laughs on Saturday morning at breakfast. Unless of course you were tying to set the Lodge up for the reception!
No Montana wedding is complete without some flashy new cowboy boots.
A small group of old growth fir trees provided a beautiful lakeside setting for the ceremony.
The first kiss
Father of the bride Tom Verhey successfully sabres a bottle of champagne for a toast.
The whole gang.
Chase and Kate drive off in the ranch's historic Checker limo.
Kate Averill with Driver.
A happy hour was held on the lakeside deck of the Main Lodge before guests entered the Lodge for dinner and dancing.
Longtime family friends Dan and Bucky spent most of the day posing for the cameras.
The delicious cupcake tower. Thanks to Aunt Susie who did all the beautiful flowers!
The happy couple.
What a great weekend with family and friends! Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen. We'll never forget it!


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The End

The End!


It’s a wrap, summer number 66 is gone and bye, ushered out by golden tamaracks, cooler weather, and hopefully more record northern pike caught off the dock. Just like the other 65 years before it, this summer was full of memories, laughs and friendships that are sure to grow in legend as each year passes by the main lodge fire place.

It is hard to imagine that in 66 years there are still new experiences that mark each summer, and 2011 was full of them!


We had our first five generation family! That means great….great grandparents!


In July a little filly was born at the ranch, the first in quite some time. Any name ideas?


MT (a fitting nickname in Montana) was the first 100 year old guest to ride a horse. Shhhh, don’t tell the insurance company.


There was an Averill wedding, which after much celebration and barn dancing left the Lodge teetering but still standing!


Mary Kay Cosmetics, who had come to the Lodge for over 30 years made one last reunion trip to start the season off. Nothing says dude ranch like a pink Cadillac.


Flathead Lake Lodge hall of fame baker, Ellette Day came out of retirement to finish off the season and make sure everyone was extra fattened up for the winter ahead.


The lodge received a private fly over (as private as two F-16’s can be) as a thank you for over 13 years of hosting the International Fellows Program.


Barn Manager Jason was actually never bucked off…


We had our first week with over 4,000 people visiting the Lodge for concerts during the Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop & Festival


Most importantly & what we are most thankful for, is another year of seeing old friends and having fun with new ones.


Cheers, and here’s to next year!

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Hello 1956!

It was pretty cool this morning when Lois Tortorelli, who worked at the Lodge as a 19 year old in 1956 brought in some old FLL artifacts she has kept all these years. Lois and her college friend, who also worked at the Lodge in back in the day have come back the last number of falls to help close out the season. Lois said she bought a round trip ticket on the ‘Empire Builder’ train route from Chicago for $78 dollars. She also said she was the only staff member with a 1/2 day off because she attended church on Sunday mornings. And today’s generation complains about working 5 days a week!


Check out some of the old FLL brochures & the letters between her and Flathead Lake Lodge founder Les Averill about employment! Thanks to Lois for sharing.

A Flathead Lake Lodge Brochure Les Averill sent to Lois in 1956

Lois & Les Averill’s letters on a summer job in Montana

A 1956 Montana post card
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A Little Montana Motivation


It is always fun talking with guests about new projects around the ranch and getting their feedback on the updates. What is almost always unanimous is the surprise when they hear that at the ranch we actually handle just about everything ourselves. From rebuilding the barn to restoring antique classic wooden sail boats to building carriages and restoring fire trucks just about everything you will use at Flathead Lake Lodge has been built by our great staff. So, you must think to yourself, ‘They sure must have a lot of talent at FLL…’ and just to make sure continue to think that way we put together a few little shots of just how exactly this ‘talented’ bunch does their handy work.


Enjoy! I am sure there will be more to come!







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It's the little things that count.

One of the most rewarding aspects of working in the hospitality business is helping provide families with an amazing vacation. We take it personally, and truly feel that each guest of the Ranch should feel like they are at home… if their home was a 2,000 acre playground! It is always bittersweet at the end of each week to say goodbye to the families we have become friends with (sometimes with the kids crying and clinging to the closest tree, not wanting to leave) and the same day welcoming the new families as the children jump from their airport shuttle practically before it has parked.

It is these memories and friendships over the years that has made the Lodge such a special place. The list of characters is endless, and each year there is no better reminder of that than over the holiday season. Aside from skiing, hunting and playing hockey, browsing through the annual Christmas Card basket is a winter past time here at the Lodge. Each year the Lodge receives hundreds of holiday cards from past guests. Some families just visited us last year, some haven’t visited since the 50’s, and all are equally appreciated. It can literally take hours to go through the ‘card basket’, and when you are done, it is more clear than ever that for the  65+ years it is not the location, facilities, amenities, cuisine, or recreation that makes Flathead Lake Lodge special, it is the people.

So thank you for all the support…and some really hilarious Christmas cards, it is always appreciated.

This is rewarding - hearing from guests who haven't been to the Lodge in 43yrs!
This is rewarding - hearing from guests who haven't been to the Lodge in 43yrs!
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