Flying to Montana, best time to go?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Mtns2SkiesBetterHalf, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Mtns2SkiesBetterHalf

    Mtns2SkiesBetterHalf Filing Flight Plan

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    @Mtns2Skies and I are planning a trip to the Flathead Lake area of Montana from Colorado. We're looking at going in February, March, or April. A couple of questions:
    • Which month has the best (most consistent) weather for flying to and from that area?
    • What type of weather should we expect? (i.e., snow flurries, rain, overcast, etc.)
    Thanks!
     
  2. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What type of weather? I had rain, sleet, and snow one particular July 4 in Butte, Montana. Montana has the unenviable position of benefiting from both Pacific and Arctic airmasses. Nothing like mixing cold and wet.

    If you go in February be sure to take your warm winter woolies. That prolly applies to March and April too.

    The absolutely best weather is the first two weeks of September.
     
  3. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Beautiful country; I am in and out of KGPI regularly.

    Spring weather less stable than summer or fall. This is ski country (Big Mountain at Whitefish is just a few miles to the north) and early spring snows can be among the highest amounts, with rain/wet snow in the valley, but moisture patterns usually start to taper off by mid March. There can be a lot of cloudy days through the winter and early spring in the Flathead valley.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  4. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    I've been in Bozeman in late June. Weather was perfect but we couldn't continue due west because of icing at altitude. We had to detour south to Jerome, Idaho before resuming.
     
  5. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Note that summer is defined at August.
     
  6. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    10 months of winter, 2 months bad skiing :)
     
  7. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    LOL. Some truth to that. :)

    But the Flathead and Kootenay valleys are the wee part of Montana west of the Divide. Generally milder and shorter winters than most of the rest of the State.

    btw, to the OP, if you are up that way try to get a look from the air at the "Chinese Wall" in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It's pretty spectacular from a light plane on a nice day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  8. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    2 seasons...winter and mosquitos.
     
  9. 5QK

    5QK Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Being from Montana all my life, I can tell you, if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes, it WILL change.
    For example it was 61 and sunny yesterday.
    December, go figure.
     
  10. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    August is a wonderful time to fly around Glacier National Park.

    I took a mountain-flying lesson then, while on vacation there, and everything about it, including weather, was really nice.
     
  11. 5QK

    5QK Pre-takeoff checklist

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    But back to your OP. First part of Feb is usually good here, cold but severe clear, usually. Late April would be my second choice.
    If you come over eastern MT, let me know if you need anything, hangar space etc.