Summer Resorts 2003: Big Mountain, Montana

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Big Mountain Fishing, Golf and Hiking Resort would be a more accurate name, but it's too long. So when you think Big Mountain, just think big. It starts with the plus-size mountain itself, a skiing legend that converts nicely to summer mountain biking, hiking, guided nature walks, Glacier Chaser lift rides ($10) and, new this summer, mountain scootering ($20). All offer big-time views of the lush Flathead Valley and its surrounding sprawl of glacier-forged mountains.

Then there are the epic waters. Glass-smooth Whitefish Lake, just five miles from Big Mountain, is a haven for waterskiers (boat and gear rentals are available at Whitefish Lake Lodge and Marina, 406-862-2929). And massive Flathead Lake, 30 minutes away, hosts spectacular boating, sailing and fishing out of picturesque towns such as Woods Bay and the popular arts community of Bigfork, home of the Bigfork Summer Playhouse (406-837-4886).

With 16 beautiful, uncrowded golf courses in the area, the Flathead Valley has been described by Golf Digest as one of the 10 most desirable retirement communities in the nation. And charming Whitefish, seven miles from Big Mountain, is one of the last great small towns of the West-friendly, relaxed and full of life. Just like you, after your visit.

•DON'T MISS A Walk in the Treetops guided tour of the resort's towering timberlands, from a canopied boardwalk set up to 60 feet above the ground ($48 per person, 406-862-2900).

•BEST DEAL Adventure Packages start at $215 per person, double occupancy, and include three nights' lodging, three days of lift rides, a Walk in the Treetops tour, all-day mountain scooter or bike rental, and lunch at the Summit House. 800-858-4157;