Whitefish Mountain Resort Signature Story Ideas
These are the good old days at Whitefish Mountain Resort
We all long for a simpler time or place where we feel relaxed and at ease surrounded by family and friends. We use the phrase, “These are the good old days,” because we believe that our resort is still a place for those nostalgic for the “ways things used to be” while offering all the modern amenities and services.
Why Whitefish? We are different. We’re in Montana, overlooking Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies. Snow falls more than half the time and lasts longer due to cloud cover and a lack of crowds. The people who ski here–half of them live here, and they ski a lot. So there’s a difference when you meet someone on the lift, share a table at lunch or over a beer during apres ski at the Bierstube. Locals talk to you more casually and naturally connecting with you as if you were an old friend.
Whitefish welcomes everyone because we are everyone. We are families and retirees, big mountain and uphill skiers, park rats and powder chasers. Our common thread is a passion for the mountain, consistent snowfall and having a good time with friends and family. Visitors come back again and again because everyone feels at home. It’s skiing the way it used to be, only better.
We continue to reinvest in our services and amenities, steadily improving every season, to enhance the guest experience while keeping prices low and slopes uncrowded. Plus, we’re having fun so our guests have fun too.
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Whitefish Mountain Resort has long been known for its natural, easy atmosphere, personal service from its employees and the friendliness of its locals. In an industry where seasonal employment typically translates to a high turnover rate, Whitefish Mountain Resort maintains a high rate of return with its winter staff. More than half of our 500+ year round and winter employees have worked here at least five years, and a dozen have been here for 30 years or more. The resort actively encourages its employees to grow professionally within the company. Their institutional knowledge and experience at the resort enables employees to deliver a high level of customer service.
“Our employees are passionate about our industry and we have found that this passion is what keeps employees returning year after year. With so many years invested in our resort, they truly care, and go above and beyond. Because our employees participate and enjoy the same activities and experiences as our guests they are able to personally connect and provide our customers with an experience where personal service comes naturally.”
– Kristi Hanchett, Director of Human Resources
Whitefish Mountain Resort stands out as a resort that extends both top notch service and value to its guests. Independently owned and operated, Whitefish Mountain Resort offers a level of affordability unseen in the industry.
$79 = The walk-up, single Adult Lift Ticket price for one day of skiing*
$72 = The price per day per adult at the window for multiple days
$82 = “Learn to Ski/Ride” package** includes 2 half-day lessons, 2 lower mountain lift tickets and 2 days of rentals
$89 = “Ski & Stay from $89” package** includes lift ticket, lodging and a hot breakfast at the Hibernation House
$1 = Beer special at the Great Northern Bar
$0 = Cost of riding the S.N.O.W. (Shuttle Network of Whitefish) Bus between town & mountain
$0 = Cost of kids 6 & under and seniors 70+ to ski the mountain every day
*Buy online at skiwhitefish.com for more savings.
** Less than many of our competitors charge for a single-day lift ticket.
More than a Decade of Improvements
In 2007, while celebrating its 60th anniversary, the resort changed its name from Big Mountain to Whitefish Mountain Resort in honor of, and to better connect to, the community of Whitefish, Montana. The year also marked a new philosophy to consistently deliver quality products and services to its guests. This commitment to consistent reinvestment in the resort resulted in more than a decade of improvements:
2007 New Base Lodge, Chair 1 and Chair 2 upgraded, Big Mountain Road re-graded and realigned.
2008 Added the first downhill only mountain bike trail.
2009 Installed the Alpine Slide and four zip lines.
2010 Added two more zip lines.
2011 Installed Bad Rock/Chair 10.
2012 Added the Aerial Adventure Park and seventh zip line.
2013 Expanded the Whitefish Bike Park with five new downhill only trails, added six new runs on the north side of the ski area, Base Lodge remodel Phase 1 added 1,200 square feet of seating.
2014 Installed Flower Point/Chair 11 adding 200 acres of terrain to the north side of the mountain; Base Lodge remodel Phase 2: enlarged kitchen and Cafe, added new Coffee Bar, added new room with additional seating.
2015 Summit House remodel Phase 1 added a 1,600-square-foot mezzanine level, new restrooms on the main level, new exterior including new windows, siding, stonework, trim and lighting; constructed new two-story 800-square-foot Ski Patrol Headquarters; relocated and remodeled Village Rentals Village Rentals and Snow Ghost Outfitters.
2016 Phase 2 of Summit House remodel: expanded kitchen and cafe by 50 percent; expanded the Whitefish Bike Park adding three new trails and bike carriers for the Bad Rock lift.
2017 Added Strider Bike Park in the base area and one new expert trail in the Bad Rock Zone. Chair 5 relocated to the East Rim, Village upgrades include remodels of Ed & Mully’s Bar & Grill, the Bierstube, and a new S.N.O.W. Bus shelter.
There’s still a place…
Where powder lasts for days
Mother Nature’s special Whitefish recipe for consistent snow conditions:
Mix Pacific air flow with cold Canadian and continental air flow (read: lighter, drier snow than the Pacific Northwest) to produce 300 inches of snow annually.
Sprinkle cloud cover throughout the season to preserve snow (sun=melt) and keep surface temps more stable minimizing the freeze/thaw effect (this yields an average end-of-season summit base depth more than 100 inches).
Spread snow across 3,000 acres of terrain on every aspect (some aspects will keep snow longer than others).
Add skiers sparingly: Last year’s average skiers per day was 2,400 that’s more than an acre per person. On the busiest day, each acre was shared by fewer than three people.
Where traditions last for decades: Frabert – Clod of the Week Award
Frabert is a three-foot tall stuffed monkey which, since the early 1960s, has lived behind the bar at the Bierstube as the ski patrol mascot. As one story goes, Jim Rice, Bierstube bartender and manager, came up with an idea to have a little fun and attract patrons into the bar on Wednesday nights. At the time, Sun Valley gave an award for the “Skier of the Day.” Rice thought it would be fun to give an award to the “Clod of the Day” to an employee or visitor. According to Jean Arthur’s book, Hellroaring: Fifty Years on The Big Mountain, the Frabert Award was given out by ski patrol on a daily basis in the beginning, when everyone got together at the Bierstube after skiing. Regardless of its origin, the tradition has carried on for more than 50 years: every Wednesday people gather at the Bierstube where a ski patroller tells the story describing why the recipient is worthy of such an honor. The weekly event brings in locals and visitors alike to have a little fun.
Where small town charm meets world class hospitality
Only eight miles or one free bus ride away from the mountain, downtown Whitefish has more character than you can shake a ski pole at. This railroad town was incorporated in 1905 a year after the arrival of the Great Northern Railway. Hard working railroad employees, along with growing logging and mining companies supported the establishment of bars, restaurants and shops along Central Avenue and Second Street in buildings that still stand today. From the 1927 Tudor Revival train depot (listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2002) to the first brick building (1907) that houses Great Northern Cycles bike shop and espresso bar near the corner of 3rd and Central.
Today one can find bars that pre-date the ski area, next door to newly revitalized bars and restaurants with added amenities that maintain the charm of their historic buildings. Local eateries vary from casual to elegant and many serve locally-harvested ingredients from the Flathead Valley’s bountiful farms. Mixed in are locally-owned boutique shops, galleries, and jewelers, as well as City Hall (recently razed and rebuilt), Central Middle School and Nelson’s Hardware store (not many ski towns can still claim one of those).
These are the good old days: More Fun Story Ideas
Night Skiing: Apres ski? After school program? Yes!
What better way to apres ski than to keep skiing? Skiing under the lights is a fun way to extend your day on the slopes and is offered Friday and Saturday nights January 8 to March 5, 2018 and over the holidays December 26 to December 31, 2017 and Sunday, February 18, 2018. There are three lifts available during night skiing serving beginner and intermediate terrain as well as the Fishbowl Terrain Park. Hours are 4-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $23, or purchase a Swing Shift Ticket to hit the slopes at 1 p.m. and ski until 8:30 p.m. for the day ticket price of $739 Season Pass Holders have full access to night skiing.
Since January 2013 Whitefish Mountain Resort has worked with the Stumptown Afterschool Program to provide local middle school students (grades 5 to 8) an opportunity to ski or snowboard with their friends or meet new friends after school on Fridays. Students receive $12 night skiing tickets (if they do not have a Whitefish Mountain Resort 2017/18 Season Pass) and $5 off rental equipment. Cost to participate is $10 and includes supervision, transportation and dinner.
Uphill Skiing, SkiMo Race Series and the Whitefish Whiteout
Whitefish Mountain Resort was one of the first ski areas to establish a policy to safely manage its uphill skiing community. In the years leading up to the 2009-2010 ski season, uphill traffic grew from a niche hobby to a downright popular recreational choice. As the sport became more accessible, more novice skiers began to participate. This increase in volume, combined with a decrease in average experience level, led to some problems that were becoming increasing common early 2010. Together with the Flathead National Forest, on which the majority of the ski area exists, and the local uphill skiing community a policy was formed.
In 2017 Whitefish Mountain Resort added a “SkiMo” component to its Wednesday Night Race League Series and it was well received. This winter the series will grow from four races to five starting on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. The courses combine uphill and downhill and competitors need skins, a headlamp, and some wayfinding ability.
For the last decade the Whitefish Whiteout has steadily grown from a local grassroots event to an international competition attracting entrants from around the globe. This year’s event takes place on February 10, 2018. The race is divided into three categories: a long course, a short course and ascent only. All three begin in the Lift Plaza adjacent to the bottom of Chair 1 and ascend 2,084 feet to the summit. The short course features three stages, and the long course will entail seven to eight stages–climbing nearly a mile and covering more than eight miles in distance.
One of the Whiteout’s most admired competitors, Ben Parsons, was tragically died in early 2017 in an avalanche while skiing in Glacier National Park. In addition to being a consistent top finisher in the Whitefish Whiteout, Ben was an early advocate for the uphill community and sought to perfect and promote the resort’s Uphill Policy. Ben was a member of the Whitefish Fire Department and in 2016 joined the staff at Whitefish Mountain Resort on a part time basis to spearhead the new SkiMo League addition to the Wednesday Night Race League. In 2017 one of the two uphill routes will be named, “Benny up” in his honor.
Free S.N.O.W. Bus
Getting from the mountain to downtown Whitefish is not only easy, it’s FREE! The Shuttle Network of Whitefish (S.N.O.W.) Bus provides free rides between the resort and town throughout the day and into the evening. There are 10 stops in the town of Whitefish and the bus drops off/picks up at both the Base Lodge and Mountain Village on the mountain.
The S.N.O.W. Bus is fully paid for by businesses that are members of the Big Mountain Commercial Association, a local non-profit organization, and through three annual fundraising events: The Winter Wine Festival held in January, The Winter Brewfest held in March and the Summer Brewfest held in August.
Since the 2004/05 season, the resort has provided its pass holders with the ability to track their vertical throughout the season. Winter season pass and frequent skier card holders can sign up and track through the resort’s website, skiwhitefish.com. Once logged in, they track their vertical overall ranking and see how one measures up to their family, friends or anyone they choose to add to their “Buddy List” or compare personal stats season to season.
The Winter 2016/17 Season was one for the record books on several accounts:
New record for total skier visits: more than 346,000 (previously the record was nearly 345,000 in 2013/14)
New record for single day visits: 8,601 on December 30, 2016 (previous was 8,144 on December 28, 2014)
New record for total pass holder vertical: 2,029,385,269 feet (previously 1,953,360,738 in 2016/17)
Off Piste – Natural Wonders Await
Beyond the slopes lies a vast and beautiful landscape waiting to be explored and tasted. Winter’s white is a blank canvas for endless adventures from snowmobiling through peaks and valleys to the serenity of a snowshoe or cross-country ski along a frozen lake… Must do: Visit Glacier National Park! A mere 45 minute drive from the resort, Glacier is an unforgettable experience for the entire family.
Unique to Whitefish:
- Apres Ski at one of our Classic Montana bars at the resort either the Bierstube or Hellroaring Saloon
- Visit our local national park with Glacier National Park Tours
- Experience Backcountry Cat Skiing with Great Norther Powder Guides
- Enjoy a Sleigh Ride Dinner at Bar W Guest Ranch
- Explore the forest by going snow biking on the Whitefish Trail
- Sip local brews at Great Northern Brewery and Bonsai Brewing Project
- Sample spirits at local distillery Spotted Bear Spirits
- Sit back with a cup of locally roasted coffee at Montana Coffee Traders
- Dog Sled Tours
- Cross Country Skiing
- Yoga & Pilates
Fun for the kids:
- Ice skating at the Stumptown Ice Den
- Swimming at The Wave Aquatic & Fitness Center
- Be an artist at the Stumptown Arts Studio
- Get the ball rolling at the Pin & Cue bowling alley