2022 marks the third year we’ve had the privilege of hosting a Week of Hope at Flathead Lake Lodge in partnership with HopeKids. Originally started for our 75th anniversary, Week of Hope has now become an annual event that we look forward to each year as we welcome critically ill children and their families to the ranch to life in Montana and make memories. (To learn more, you can read our posts from 2020 and 2021.) In the middle of the hustle and bustle of life, Week of Hope reminds us to stop, slow down and appreciate every moment.

For Week of Hope 2022, we welcomed 19 families from across the United States. And we had many of the same feelings we’ve had in the past – during Week of Hope, it’s almost as if nothing else matters or exists except making sure that the kids and their families are welcomed and loved, while being able to relax, bond, have memorable moments and leave the ranch with incredible family memories.

It’s hard to put into eloquent words what a Week of Hope means to us, and what we hope it means to the families. So instead of stumbling along and trying to share our perspective of the kind of feelings and bonds that come from a week like this, we wanted you to hear it from some of our families.

“Evan LOST everything along with Carter and the rest of us. Football was gone. High school was gone. He missed out on every dance, activity and social aspect of his young life while protecting his little brother. He’d do it again a thousand times over, for Carter. This past week, I saw the light come back into his eyes for the first time in a long time. I saw his passion and his spark to start living again, without constant fear. I saw Evan just able to be Evan again. A gift that we received that could never be replaced. My mama heart is melting. Can’t wait to watch this guy’s future soar.” -Kiana

“Being around other families who have similar challenges and being able to share our stories, fears, and hopes with each other has been such an empowering experience during Week of Hope. It was truly beautiful watching the children come together. I will forever cherish the memories made here and the people we met.” -Daisy


Another monumental moment was when a child took his first five steps ever in our lakeside pool. For more moments from the week, you can see photos here or watch the video.

To our Week of Hope families, thank you for trusting us and allowing us to be part of this experience. To our staff and volunteers, thank you for everything you gave to this week (and everything you give to the world every day). And to our donors, thank you for giving the gift of hope and the role you play in bringing this week to life.

It was an honor, a privilege and a blessing to spend a Week of Hope with you.

-Chase and the Flathead Lake Lodge family

If you would have told us 10 years ago – or even this time last year – that we’d be entering our 75th anniversary year with a viral pandemic that’s sweeping the world, chances are we would not have believed it. And yet, here we are. We’re marking a major milestone in guest ranch history, family history and even Montana history, all while the world comes together to face an invisible foe with the type of courage, grit and determination that means working together, staying home and taking care of each other.

While the world moves on around us, we know that we’re in a time unlike any other. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, it seems fitting to look back at historical glimpses of the lodge and the legacy that was built by our grandfather Les Averill (who was a pilot in World War II), carried on by Doug and is now being firmly carried forward by the third generation.

As we think about 75 years of the lodge, we also wanted to share some of our favorite photos with you. Whether you want to walk down memory lane with us or if you’re just in need of a good distraction, we hope you like them as much as we do.

Doug at the buffalo ranch on the east side of the mountains.
Family in the heart of the ranch, the Main Lodge.
Maureen, Doug, Ginny and Les on Flathead Lake.

From our family and our extended lodge family to yours, we wish you health, safety and the ability to find joy in every day, even in the middle of a storm.

Until next time,


If you’re an avid reader of our blog and social media channels, you may have seen the news about “A Week of Hope.

In case you haven’t, “A Week of Hope” is how we’re celebrating Flathead Lake Lodge’s 75th anniversary in 2020. From June 7 – 14, 2020, the lodge is giving back by welcoming critically ill children and their families to the ranch where they’ll experience life the way it’s meant to be–running free, soaking up experiences and creating memories with the people they love the most.

To bring this event and celebration of life to fruition, we’re asking for your help in the form of donations to help cover travel and hard costs of bringing these families to the heart of Montana. There are four ways to donate and GIFT HOPE this holiday season.

1. Make a personal tax-deductible donation or become a corporate sponsor.

2. Gift hope. From November 12 – December 2, 2019, when you donate $50 or more, Flathead Lake Lodge will send you (or the recipient of your choice) a custom-made Flathead Lake Lodge holiday ornament. The ornament is made of wood and includes our special 75th anniversary logo and Week of Hope wording. If you’re looking to give gifts differently for the holidays, we invite you to consider gifting hope. Give hope here.

3. A global day of giving, this year’s GivingTuesday is taking place on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. Please save the date in your calendar and give the gift of hope on #GivingTuesday here.

4. Donate your Delta SkyMiles. Travel flight costs are one of the largest expenses we’re anticipating to bring these children and their families to Montana and Flathead Lake Lodge. If you have spare Delta SkyMiles, you can donate them here (our account number and name can be found here).

As we move into this year’s holiday season, please join us and gift hope as we work together to help these families create irreplaceable memories at a time when they need it most.

Happy trails,


From all of us at Flathead Lake Lodge, thank you for your kind comments, DMs and messages about our upcoming 75th anniversary and A Week of Hope. We’ve been overwhelmed with the feedback and response around this event and we wanted to take some time to share more about “A Week of Hope” and how it all came about.

As we were getting ready for the arrival of this monumental anniversary year, it was important to us to be able to celebrate the legacy that was started by Grandpa Les Averill in 1945 and we knew we didn’t want it to be about us. We wanted it to be bigger to commemorate 75 years in a way that best shared our family traditions and way of life, while also giving something back. To sum it up, that’s how we dreamt up “A Week of Hope.”

We also feel fortunate to partner with two organizations to help us bring 20 critically ill children and their families to the ranch from June 7 – 14, 2020: HopeKids and Montana Children’s.

We’re working with both of those organizations to bring a handful of Montana children and families, as well as kids throughout the rest of the country, to the ranch to experience it like any other guest, complete with horseback trail rides, water activities, family-style dining and playing in the place we’re lucky enough to call home.

And while we have amazing partners who are committed to help us bring “A Week of Hope” to life, we still need more to bring this event to life. So, we’re inviting you to join us. The largest costs for this event include travel to bring the children and their families to Flathead Lake Lodge and we’re looking for donors and sponsors to help us in spurring hope in the lives of critically ill children as we help them create memories to last a lifetime and beyond.

We have various donor and corporate sponsorship levels available and are also looking for Delta SkyMiles to bring them here.

Please consider joining us to bring “A Week of Hope” to life as we welcome these very special guests to Flathead Lake Lodge.

Happy Trails,



Montana Guest Ranch Partners with HopeKids and Montana Children’s to Host 20 Children and Their Families with Life-threatening Medical Conditions in 2020

Tuesday, September 10, 2019—Bigfork, Montana—Flathead Lake Lodge, a family-owned guest ranch in Montana, is honored to announce that it will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020 with “A Week of Hope,” an event that will welcome families who have a child with a life-threatening medical condition to their 2,000 acre ranch in Bigfork. Slated for June 7 – 14, 2020, “A Week of Hope” was created to honor the ranch’s 75th anniversary and to give back and commemorate the last 75 years of family and Western traditions.  

“As we thought about how to celebrate our 75th anniversary, we knew it had to be bigger than us,” said Chase Averill, the third-generation General Manager at Flathead Lake Lodge. “For our family, it was important that we celebrate the legacy that was started by Grandpa Les when he opened the lodge is 1945 and continued by my own father, Doug as he helped carry on the Western way of life.”

To bring “A Week of Hope” to life, Flathead Lake Lodge has partnered with HopeKids, a national organization that provides ongoing events and activities for families who have a child with a life-threatening medical condition—and Montana Children’s, Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s pediatric facility offering high-quality inpatient and outpatient pediatric specialty care in northwest Montana. HopeKids works throughout the United States, with chapters in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas.

Through their cooperative efforts with HopeKids and Montana Children’s, Flathead Lake Lodge will welcome up to 20 children who have a life-threatening medical condition and their families for a week at Flathead Lake Lodge where they will experience the ranch like any other guest, complete with authentic Western experiences, horseback trail rides, water recreation, a barn dance and more.

“HopeKids prides itself on being an organization that builds deep relationships and community not only amongst the families we serve but also with our supporters,” said Josh Taylor, President of HopeKids, Inc. “We are thrilled to be working with Flathead Lake Lodge, an organization with values that not only align with ours but is also helping provide hope to families across the United States who have a child with a life-threatening medical condition. The partnership between HopeKids and the lodge is just another example of the power of giving and the impact it can have on those around us.” 

Throughout “A Week of Hope,” Montana Children’s will be facilitating medical care and support to the guests, as well as providing onsite physicians at Flathead Lake Lodge.

To help bring “A Week of Hope” to life, additional sponsors and donors are needed to help cover travel and hard costs for these children and their families. Flathead Lake Lodge has set up a donation page where individuals, companies and more can make tax-deductible donations, become a corporate sponsor or donate Delta SkyMiles.

Learn more about Flathead Lake Lodge at www.FlatheadLakeLodge.com and become involved with “A Week of Hope” at www.FlatheadLakeLodge.com/AWeekOfHope.

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About Flathead Lake Lodge
A family-owned and -operated guest ranch, Flathead Lake Lodge is located in Montana on the shores of Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake in the West. Encompassing 2,000 acres of terrain, Flathead Lake Lodge has been welcoming guests from around the world for nearly 75 years with its one-of-a-kind hospitality. A family travel destination, the lodge also hosts groups, corporate retreats, meetings, events and destination weddings. More information can be found at FlatheadLakeLodge.com or on Facebook and Instagram.