Holiday time at Montana's premier ranch resort is more than merry. Add some excitement to your holidays with Paws Up.
What’s the most magical time of the year to experience the Resort at Paws Up with the whole crew — or a special someone at its adjacent adults-only sister property, the green o? The obvious one-word answer is anytime. But if you’re really gonna press us (with no offense to spectacular spring, summer, or fall in these parts), winter holiday season at the luxury ranch resort is something straight out of the Montana-Santa playbook. And, yes, the big, jolly guy himself will be showing up here, right on schedule.
“We tend to embrace the holiday spirit about as heavily here as Buddy the Elf,” says Sunny Jin, Paws Up’s senior executive chef. “The streets are lit, trees are decorated, and new favorite moments are waiting to be found. Year-round, our goal is to surpass expectations of every family welcomed into our 37,000-acre home, but the holiday experience at Paws Up is filled with some real surprises, fueled by an immense responsibility to fully capture and share the whole spirit of this time and place.”
Paws Up’s Christmas package is the resort’s signature epic event of many big ones held here throughout the year. The five-night, five-star experience inevitably starts with a Wow! moment when first pulling into the vast property and entering its remarkable living spaces. Over the holidays, they’re primed for the occasion with decorated Christmas trees and every creature comfort in a festive family vacation setting that Clark Griswold could only dream about. Accommodation options at Paws Up range from luxury Meadow/Big Timber Homes to palatial two-story Wilderness Estates equipped with vault-ceilinged living rooms, cook’s kitchens, three master suites, giant loft game rooms, and a pastoral backyard of snow-dusted pines and rolling meadow framed with a horizon of Montana mountainscapes. Nestled in its own separate woodsy universe just down the road, the green o’s cluster of pine-shrouded hauses are wonders of contemporary design, featuring private outdoor hot tubs, stone fireplaces, and cozy-sleek suites melding into a forest shared with families of deer traipsing past wall-to-wall windows.
Recreational options at the resort are as active, blissfully idle, or full-bore Christmas-y as you and the family care to make them. Youngster favorites include sleigh rides, nearby snow tubing runs and ice skating, holiday-themed scavenger hunts, and a gape-worthy gingerbread house. “Last year’s creation was a sugar-coated replica of our Moonlight Camp that had a footprint of 4-by-5 feet,” says Jin. “We began planning this year’s gingerbread structure in July to elevate all expectations come December, including our own.”
During snowy season, guests can explore the resort’s vast and varied backcountry by horse, snowmobile, dogsled, snowshoe, or ATV along miles of wintery trails. For a sybaritic après adventure, the property’s homey spa is tucked storybook fashion in an original farmhouse.
Rivaling the day’s adventurous highlights are culinary ones at a resort with nationwide renown for hosting one of the most happening cuisine scenes in the West. Holiday dining at Paws Up is no exception, offering a feast of locally raised, foraged and farmed foods prepared at Pomp, the resort’s fine-dining space. Next door at Trough, tasty home-cooked Western meals are served in a less formal setting. At the green o’s spectacular Social Haus dining area, multicourse prix fixe meals are bar-raising gourmet events unto themselves, prepared in an open kitchen by a creative team of award-winning chefs.
“The Social Haus is perfect for adult families to come together and enjoy an intimate holiday experience,” says Brandon Cunningham, executive chef at the green o. “We take holiday feasts very seriously here and like to stick to the traditional fare, as well as provide some imaginative dishes along the way.”
When Christmas Eve arrives at Paws Up, so does a gift-bearing, ho-ho-ho-ing (but pragmatic) Santa Claus himself at each and every guest home, opting for the front door, not the chimney. New Year’s Eve features live music, fireworks, and midnight bubbly at Paws Up. The intimate green o scene is decidedly quieter, while packing the same deliciously enchanting Christmas in Big Sky country epiphany — where merry doesn’t quite manage to fully describe it.
Learn more about the green o:
Experiencing the Green O
A Green O Summer
Green O's Uniquely Artistic Architecture
Some Green O Recipes
Paws Up's Christmas package includes five nights of accommodations, all daily meals, selected alcoholic beverages, $500 prepaid resort credits per person, and round-trip transportation from/to Missoula International Airport — and a gift-bearing visit from St. Nick on Christmas Eve. For more information, visit pawsup.com.
Images courtesy of Stuart Thurlkill