Driving into Whitefish, Montana in December is like driving into a ski town postcard from the Seventies, as long as you substitute cowboy hats for toques and save the melted fromage for cheeseburgers instead of fondue.Nestled in the Northern Montana Rockies just 25 miles from Glacier National Park, Whitefish is a destination that keeps adrenalin junkies sated year-round. But even if you don’t come to Whitefish for an Official Activity, you could happily while away the hours in the town center, brimming with independently owned shops, untouched by McDonalds, Starbucks or Walmart. This particular weekend, the weather is more winter than wonderland, so window-shopping isn’t the most comfortable option……unless you have a natural fur coat, like this guy loitering on Central Avenue in front of Montana Coffee Traders. He’s onto something, though, because a mocha stop here will help you power through any weather. And the warmth of Whitefish residents melts away any remaining frosty residue.The view is a constant reminder of why we drove six hours from Calgary to be here (the winter roads added an hour to the travel time, but the border was a breeze). Look at those untouched runs on Big Mountain. Tomorrow is the opening day of the season at Whitefish Mountain Resort.Even from the less scenic side, the Lodge at Whitefish Lake looks good. And so does the hotel’s white Suburban, which comes in handy for chauffeur-driven 3-minute jaunts to town and 10-minute drives to the hill.Inside, the lobby of the Lodge is like Christmas morning — if your Christmas morning includes a 99 room waterfront mansion. Still, it feels homey… probably because the Lodge is owned and operated by a fourth generation Montana family, the Averills.Sculptures and paintings don’t detract from the cozy feel, even though there’s enough to fill a small museum. All are discreetly for sale.The Averills take their art so seriously that even the main floor ATM blends into the aesthetic. As someone who is obsessed with aesthetic, I fully support this attention to detail. Next up: details on Whitefish at night!