Whitefish Mountain Resort
Our time in Whitefish held some of the most unparalleled snowboarding conditions that I've ever experienced! Minimal lift waiting time, long wide and open runs, 360 degree run options from the summit and fresh powder every day we were there. I had seen Whitefish, MT pop up on quite a few "World's 25 Best Ski Towns" lists (coming in at #7 on Nat Geo), so I had high expectations going in and Whitefish Mountain Resort did not disappoint!
People have been skiing "The Big Mountain" in Whitefish since 1947! We were given a tour by PR manager Riley Polumbus upon arrival and it was so neat to see old pictures decorating different areas of the Base Lodge. Is it just me or does anyone else romanticize times past when looking at old photos? The simple life, you know? But then again, to most of the locals we talked to not much has changed in Whitefish - sure, little things, possibly even improvements here and there, but not the things that matter most.
People who live there are so happy and I think it's because they spend their time wisely: they go back country skiing, snowshoeing, night-skiing, hiking or biking through Glacier National Park - I mean there are a million different adventures to be had and something different with every season (the thrill of Huckleberry picking in bear territory in the summer for instance)! And then after a day of work or fun they have mastered the art of building community: après-activity. Which for locals might look like grabbing a drink at The Bierstube and watching the tradition of The Frabert Award unfold (but more on that in a minute).
Whitefish is easily accessible country-wide so I was somewhat, but also not at all surprised, that half of the ski resort's visitor's are locals! This means you'll meet a lot of really friendly and fun people during your time on the mountain - Sam and I did! We felt like we'd been let in on a well-kept secret. With annual ski visits of "1,634,250" in other more popular resorts, Whitefish Mountain Resort's record year was 345,000 in 2013-2014, and on any normal day averages 2,800 skiers. THAT is GOLD. Pair open slopes with 3,000 skiable acres (in the 14th largest ski resort in the country) and you will find yourself in skier/snowboarder HEAVEN.
I honestly can't wait for our next visit. We learned that summer is one their most popular seasons, for obvious reasons - endless beauty and activities. But I LOVE the snow and I'm hoping that we can make Christmas in Whitefish 2017 happen!
Take Chair 6, and then Chair 1: Big Mountain Express to the Summit House at the top of The Big Mountain. On a clear day you'll have stunning views of Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake and the surrounding towns.
At the top you'll have three options: Front Side, North Side or Hellroaring Basin. You can go in any direction and find a good run! Sam and I spent a lot of time on the North Side, but we did our best to cover all sides! Among our favorite runs were: Whitetail, Inspiration (which has amazing views!), The Big Ravine (nice and wide), and Hellroaring (where you can find a statue of Jesus honoring WWII Veterans).
eats & drinks
No matter where you are on the mountain, food and drinks aren't far away! Sam and I ate house-smoked burgers at Ed & Mully's, had a pizza and chicken tender feast at The Summit House Restaurant and Bar, and had a chance to go into The Bierstube (previously voted the best ski bar in the country).
Riley let us in on the longstanding Frabert Awards that take place every Wednesday at 5pm without fail, where one "lucky" knucklehead wins an award (a big stuffed monkey) for biggest flub of the week. It's kind of a running inside joke between locals, but Riley says that every now and then a visitor will win. And then they drink and listen to music and laugh about all of the crazy mountain stories over the years. How fun is that?!
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Have you visited Whitefish yet? Check out my Firebrand Hotel post for Local Food recommendations! Enjoy Whitefish and if you haven't been, go!