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Montana's Luxury Winter Lodge

Two of the many horses on the property.

Photo: Andrea Fazzari

Day 3: Bill the Dog Gets a Special Treat

The damage from yesterday’s snowmobiling adventure: throbbing pain in buttocks (from prolonged tension), throbbing pain in biceps (from nervously gripping throttle, E.’s waist), general back pain (unexplained).

After another superb breakfast, this one of granola-studded griddle cakes and the big fat taste of pork-turkey sausage, we head off for another day of what the promotional material refers to as “Roughing It Redefined.™” The first challenge: snowshoeing. Walking through the half-melted snow, our guide points out sagebrush, wolf lichen, and the rather graceful pellet-like droppings that deer leave behind. We watch a girl gang of white-tailed deer streaming across the woods. The sight of these fit, glorious creatures and of a red-tailed hawk floating on the wind angers me: Here I am, my feet tied to some kind of gigantic piece of ergonomic plastic, and this stunning bird is lifted up into the heavens, his strong wings buffeted by temperate gusts.

It’s time for some well-earned Soft Adventurer comfort. Over at the spa center, using hot black river rocks and wet towels, a masseur restores my urban dignity in the face of nature’s subtle contempt. Wild lemon and eucalyptus clear my wind-beaten passages—I wake up from the massage with my mind cleansed of doubt, my body free of pain. In another room, a woman named Andrea Hren is rubbing Bill the Dog along both sides of his furry spine. “I’m getting all the little meaty parts and the thighs,” she says as Bill’s ears settle back. “Can we get that tail going?” Andrea says, but Bill is too sedated to wag, his brown eyes staring placidly ahead, all dreams of chasing black squirrels vanquished, replaced with a deep understanding of some canine-headed god.

We dine at Pomp. The chef does especially well with meat—the bison is full of unexpected juice and char—and the wine list offers some fine Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley. The appetizer of lobster bisque with a lobster corn dog is sweet and just a little tawdry, like a cheap date in Vegas, where the chef earned his culinary stripes. At Tank, Pomp’s adjoining bar, we play chess beneath a moose head, listening to the amiable bartender discuss his favorite part of the mountain lion—the haunches—over an endless stream of Hawaiian music.

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