Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of retreats and services do Feathered Pipe offer?
We have specialized in creating and hosting yoga, meditation, and other healing art retreats for 42 years. We offer a variety of retreat and travel experiences in Montana and abroad focusing primarily on South and East Asia, as well as Central and South America:
— Corporate & Group Rentals (planned, organized and arranged by the group, business, or organization and hosted by us)
What is the registration process?
It’s simple! You pay a $500 non-refundable deposit to initiate your registration. Winter retreat and travel program deposits vary by program. Please note: This deposit will be NON-REFUNDABLE once registration is complete.
Upon initial registration (excluding Group Rentals and Personal Retreats, which must be booked in advance), the our administrative staff will contact your to confirm receipt of your registration and assist with choosing your accommodation and transportation requirements.
For summer retreat programs (i.e. Feathered Pipe Ranch or Blacktail Ranch), all final payments are due 12 weeks before the start date of your retreat. For winter retreats and travel programs, final payment is due 10 weeks from the beginning of program.
If you have questions concerning the registration process, feel free to contact us via email at email@example.com, or call the office at (406) 442-8196.
What is included in the price of workshop tuition?
Program tuition includes cost all instruction and program activities. Upon registration (excluding Group/Organization and Personal/Private, which MUST be booked in advance), Feathered Pipe office staff will contact you to reserve your preferred accommodation choice. Please visit our accommodation page to view the many options for lodging.
What is included in the accommodation fee?
Pricing for accommodations includes meals and use of all amenities. Amenities include full access to bathhouse, sauna, hot tub, as well as all Feathered Pipe and Blacktail Ranch facilities and grounds.
What is not included in retreat tuition and accommodation costs?
Massage and bodywork, and optional Airport Shuttle Service are available at an additional cost.
What kind of accommodations are available at the Ranch?
Indoor accommodations at the Ranch include comfy 3 and 4-bed rooms in the Main Lodge; each with one twin bunk, and one or two twin beds and a full bath. The Ranch Chalet has 6 double rooms with private or shared baths. The Honeymoon Cabin and Sai Condo are available for those wanting to be more immersed in nature, sleeping 2-3 people. If you stay in Sai Condo, you’ll use our shared bath house with all its amenities – shower, sauna, hot tub, and the chance to get to know your fellow guests who are staying in our tipis, tents, and yurts.
Teachers Cabin and Lake Cabin are available as guests accommodations for select retreats. Both have two large private bedrooms with queen-size beds, a dining/living room, and a shared kitchen with all cooking facilities. Teachers Cabin is nestled in the woods with a small creek running just outside and is located near the bathhouse. Lake Cabin is located across the grand lawn from the Main Lodge with a large back patio overlooking the lake.
Outdoor accommodations include yurts, tipis, and tents. We provide raised platforms, foam pads or mattresses, light-weight sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and small camp lights. You are welcome to bring your own sleeping bag if you wish, but we have more than enough bedding to keep you warm no matter the weather. Give us a call if you’d like to explore whether a particular outdoor lodging choice is right for you.
Feel free to view the Ranch map get an idea of the layout of the Ranch and the location of various accommodations.
Are partial scholarships or financial assistance available?
Partial scholarships are available for those needing financial assistance. Recipients assist ranch staff in free time and during programs. Click here to submit an online application. Tax deductible contributions to this fund are always welcome – click here to donate.
Are my retreat expenses tax deductible?
The Feathered Pipe Foundation is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Thus expenses of attending a Feathered Pipe program, including travel and housing, may be deductible for US federal tax purposes as an educational expense if incurred to maintain or improve professional work skills. Consult your tax advisor for details and to confirm your eligibility for deducting workshop expenses.
What is Feathered Pipe’s cancellation/refund policy?
A $500 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit is required to hold your space at a Feathered Pipe or Blacktail Ranch retreat. For winter retreats in Mexico or Costa Rica, typically a $700 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit is required.
For Feathered Pipe and Blacktail Ranch retreats, final payment is due 8 weeks out. For cancellations from 8 weeks to 2 weeks out, THERE IS NO REFUND, however we will credit any payments over the deposit to another workshop in the same calendar year. For cancellations within 2 weeks of the start of your class there is NO REFUND AND NO CREDIT. A workshop may be transferred to another person (minus the non-refundable, non-transferable deposit).
For winter retreats, final payment is due 10 weeks out. For cancellations up to 10 weeks out, THERE IS NO REFUND, however we will credit any payments over the deposit to another workshop in the same calendar year or during the next retreat season. For cancellations within 10 weeks of the start of the tour THERE IS NO REFUND, NO CREDIT, AND NO TRANSFER.
For travel programs, the deposit, payment, cancellation and refund policy will vary based on the requirements of that tour. Please see the specific travel program listing for details.
Our cancellation policy is firm, therefore we suggest purchasing travel/cancellation insurance (www.travelguard.com), or calling Flathead Travel at (800) 338-8785. All cancellations must be received in writing; refunds will be remitted within 30 days.
To which airport should I fly?
We recommend the Helena Regional Airport for those coming to retreats and programs at the Feathered Pipe Ranch. Direct flights into Helena currently originate in Salt Lake City, UT (Delta Airlines), Denver, CO (United Airlines) and Great Falls, MT (Alaska Airlines).
We strongly suggest that you book your flight to arrive on Friday (a day early) and enjoy a night in beautiful downtown Helena, as unfortunately it is not uncommon for the major airlines, particularly out of Salt Lake City and Denver to overbook flights to Helena. That being said, travel insurance is recommended.
Airlines fly in from all parts of the country on a regular basis, with Delta serving those flying from the East Coast, Midwest, Mountain and West Coast via their Minneapolis and Salt Lake City hub, United Airlines serving passengers from all over via the Denver hub, and Alaskan Airlines serving West Coast flyers via their Seattle hub.
Missoula International Airport and Bozeman International Airport are also feasible points of arrival but will require a two hour commute via bus or auto that you will need to arrange yourself. For those interested in art and cultural events, Missoula might be the place to spend a few extra days. If you are planning to go to Glacier National Park consider Great Falls, and Bozeman if you wish to spend some extra time in Yellowstone National Park.
If you are coming for a Blacktail Ranch retreat, we suggest that you arrive either at the Helena Regional Airport or Great Falls International Airport as the Blacktail is about an hour’s drive from either airport. Note: Shuttle service only available from Great Falls for Blacktail Ranch retreats.
How do I get from the airport to the Ranch?
For those coming for a Feathered Pipe Ranch retreat, we meet flights at the Helena Regional Airport, offering shuttle service for $65 roundtrip. For those coming to a Blacktail Ranch Retreat, we offer roundtrip shuttle service from Great Falls International Airports for an additional charge of $100.
Our driver will meet you at baggage claim wearing a Feathered Pipe t-shirt. We are now grouping some pick-ups, so you may have a 30 minute wait. Please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (406) 442-8196 to arrange and confirm pick-up.
If you prefer to arrive early and stay in Helena, we will contact you at your hotel to arrange your pick-up. There is plenty to do and see in Helena. Contact our local Chamber of Commerce at (800) 743-5362 or www.helenachamber.com. Helena is half way between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks (3 hours by car in either direction), so you might consider coming a few days early or staying a few days after your retreat to take in one or both of the country and world’s true natural treasures!
How do I get there if I’m driving?
From Great Falls: Take I-15 to the Helena Cedar Street exit and follow signs to Hwy 12 toward Missoula through town. Eight miles from the west edge of town look for the “Colorado Gulch” sign – we are at the very end of this road, about 5 miles in. You’ll see rolling lawns, a small lake, and the main lodge on your right. Pull into the parking lot and walk down to the lodge.
From Bozeman: Take Hwy 12 to Helena and stay on it through Helena, following signs to Missoula. Eight miles from the west edge of town look for the “Colorado Gulch” sign – we are at the very end of this road, about 5 miles in. You’ll see rolling lawns, a small lake, and the main lodge on your right. Pull into the parking lot and walk down to the lodge.
From Missoula: Take I-90 East toward Butte, then exit 174 to merge on to US-12 E toward Garrison/Helena. Continue on US-12 for 37.7 miles and look for the sign for “Colorado Gulch” and turn right. We are at the very end of this road, about 5 miles in. You’ll see rolling lawns, a small lake, and the main lodge on your right. Pull into the parking lot and walk down to the lodge.
From Butte: Take I-15 to Helena and take the first exit into Helena, which will put you on Hwy 12. Follow the signs to Missoula. Eight miles from the west edge of town look for the “Colorado Gulch” sign – we are at the very end of this road, about 5 miles in. You’ll see rolling lawns, a small lake, and the main lodge on your right. Pull into the parking lot and walk down to the lodge.
What do I do if I have an emergency or travel delay that causes me not to arrive at my scheduled time?
As we are limited in staff on weekends with everyone busy with arrivals/departures and readying the facilities for the next group, it is essential that you keep the ranch phone number handy throughout your travels as this is the only way in which you can notify us of a schedule change. The ranch phone number is (406) 443-0430, or in an absolute emergency contact email@example.com.
What time does the program begin on the first day?
Your program will begin with dinner at approximately 6:30 pm, followed by orientation in the Main Lodge to get familiar with life on the Ranch, your teacher(s), and your fellow students. There’s plenty of free time on arrival day so please enjoy strolling around the ranch, getting to know your fellow participants, and begin letting your cares drift away.
What time should I depart on the final day?
Ranch room check-out is 11 am on the final day with most flights scheduled to leave early from the Helena Airport on that morning. If your flight is not scheduled to depart until later in the day, we will be happy to accommodate you and take you to the airport accordingly. Please inquire with the office if you’d like to explore extending your stay at the Feathered Pipe beyond your retreat experience as this option is available on a limited basis.
What if I arrive early?
If you plan to be in the Helena area prior to the date when your retreat begins, several options are available for you to consider. If space is available, you may stay at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, but please call our office in advance to discuss this possibility. For those choosing to come in a day early and stay the night in Helena, recommended local lodgings include:
— Comfort Suites – Close to the airport. Please ask for the Feathered Pipe Corporate Rate at $119. (406) 495-0505
— Day’s Inn – 2001 Prospect Ave., Helena, (406) 442-3280
— Great Northern Hotel – Please ask for the Feathered Pipe Corporate Rate. Single or double, full breakfast and airport pick- up. (406) 457-5500
— Holiday Inn Downtown – Located on downtown walking mall. Please ask for the Feathered Pipe Corporate Rate (closed until August 1, 2017). (406) 443-2200
— Sanders Bed & Breakfast – Charming, elegant, historic, full breakfast. (406) 442-3309
— The Barrister Bed and Breakfast – 19th century mansion, very elegant. Near downtown. (406) 443-7330
— The Carolina B & B – Totally elegant, near downtown. (406) 422-0418
Our shuttle service is happy to pick you up at your hotel on arrival day. A notification call will be given to the front desk of your hotel the night before pick-up. If for whatever reason, you are not able to arrive before 4pm on first day of the retreat due to scheduling or flight delay, please call the office 406-442-8196, and we will be happy to make special arrangements for your pick-up.
Is massage and bodywork available at the Ranch?
Absolutely yes! And we’re happy to boast that we have some of the best body workers around. Professional massage and bodywork is available during all retreats. Introductions to our bodyworkers and details about how to sign up and where to go for your session will be shared at the retreat orientation and appointments can be made then. It’s a good idea to sign up early as their schedules often fill quickly! Payment is by cash or check only; our bodyworkers do not accept credit cards.
How do I get cash or make purchases at the Ranch?
We do not have an ATM at the Ranch, but Crystal at the Shanti Boutique accepts credit cards and will do her very best to accommodate your needs. If she doesn’t have something you need immediately available in her store, she will work with you to find a way to get it.
How do I contact the “outside world”?
You may have to walk out up to the parking lot to cell phone service as we are at the very end of the road up in the Rockies, but we do have wireless Internet access within the Main Lodge, Dining Hall and Chalet via the magic of satellite dishes! It’s best not to count on reliable cell phone or high-speed Internet service while you’re at the Ranch. If you need to be reached in an emergency, you can share the main phone number of the kitchen with family and friends that will be sent to you along with your guest information packet following registration.
What can I expect when it comes to food at the Ranch?
You can expect to eat very well!
We are fortunate to have access to organic food through the Real Food Deli and Market in Helena – Montana’s first and only certified organic grocery store. All the meat we serve comes from local organic or transitional producers as does much of our produce. Every day you will enjoy our nutritious salad bars and entrees. Vegetarian, and fish or chicken alternatives are available at most workshops although we do honor the requests of some of our teachers to keep a vegetarian table during their retreat.
We happily accommodate most special diets – please remember to complete the allergies/special diet section of the Guest Information form that you will receive upon registration so we can be ready for you when you arrive.
And what about your other amenities?
We provide bedding, towels, and all the amenities you’d expect with indoor lodging. This is a cedar wood bathhouse with showers, a sauna, a hot tub and massage rooms. Outdoor lodging guests have their own private storage nook for toiletries and personal effects in the bathhouse. The bathhouse is no more than a five-minute walk from any accommodation. Okay, maybe ten minutes if you stroll really slowly, which happens to a lot of our guests as they relax into the week.
Well-marked hiking trails leading in pretty much every direction allowing you to enjoy time to yourself or wandering with a friend. The lake is fed by a pure mountain spring and as all Montana lakes and rivers never quite warm but more than refreshing if you care to go for an afternoon dip.
The wide-open lawn and meadows give you plenty of opportunity to stretch out, read a book from our eclectic and diverse library, or simply gaze up at the Big Sky above and dream away.
Do I need to bring my own yoga props?
We have plenty of mats, blankets, blocks, supports and belts as well as well equipped yoga walls, but we encourage you to bring your own mat if possible, clearly marked.
What is a typical day at the Ranch like?
The daily schedule for individual workshops is customized by the teacher(s), but a typical day often looks like this:
7:30-8:30 am – Breakfast
9:00-12:00 noon – Morning class
12:30-1:30 pm – Lunch
1:30-4:00 pm – Leisure time
4:00-6:00 pm – Afternoon class
6:30 pm – Dinner and optional evening program, time to soak in the hot tub, indulge in a sauna, and relax as you gaze at our spectacular Rocky Mountain sunsets.
What should I bring?
The atmosphere is casual so please dress for your comfort. Clothes you’ll potentially need include: shorts, t-shirts, a rain jacket, slacks or jeans for chilly evenings, light daytime attire, bathing suit, and a warm sweater or jacket for our delightfully cool summer evenings. Don’t worry about bedding – we have more than enough to keep you warm whether you are in the Main Lodge or snuggled up toasty in a yurt, tent or tipi.
Also bring comfortable walking or running shoes for wandering here and there throughout the Ranch grounds, and slippers or socks for wearing in the Main Lodge as we do not allow outdoor shoes on the Main Lodge room floor. You will need a travel alarm clock, flashlight and water bottle as well as cash for bodywork, Shanti Boutique purchases and end of retreat staff tips.
Should I tip the staff?
Yes please! Near the end of your retreat or workshop at the Ranch, we will put out a basket for all tips that the hardworking staff will share equally. If you have been happy with their service, we recommend tipping a minimum of $100. Your voluntary gratuity will help all the wonderful folks who will be making your meals, cleaning the lodging, doing dishes, keeping all the public areas in tip-top shape, tending to any special requirements you may have, and generally just working their hearts out to make sure our guests are happy.
May I bring children?
Due to limited housing, it is difficult for us to accommodate children, although we sometimes make special arrangements. Please inquire with our office at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (406) 442-8196.
What should I leave at home?
Due to the nature of the retreats and Ranch accommodations, please do not bring your pets.