History and Vision
In 1947 the Big Mountain Ski Area opened for skiing with a T-Bar and day lodge. By 1950 the ski area became one of the first mountain resorts to provide guests with summer access by adding single chairs to the lift. When mountain biking got its start in the early 1980s, bikes were permitted on the summer chairlift, however the resort reversed their decision as bikes caused damage to ski slopes.
During the 1990s, as mountain biking became more of a mainstream sport, the resort opened its Nordic ski trails to riders and plans were in the works to develop more trails on its property and on USFS land. Its cross-country network created beginner, intermediate and advanced trails. In 1996 the resort opened its first lift-served trail, the “Summit Trail,” allowing mountain bikers to ride top-to-bottom on federal lands. The resort also had the foresight to build a few downhill options at the bottom the Summit Trail.
A decade later, as the only mountain with lift access and more than 2,300 feet of vertical in the area, Whitefish Mountain Resort began to focus on becoming the region’s primary downhill biking center. The vast majority of the resort is in the Flathead National Forest, so building new trails requires an assessment via the USFS which requires time, money, and a plan that works within the confines of the national forest. This is an area with multiple endangered and protected species (Grizzly, Wolverine, Lynx, Mountain Lion, Whitebark Pine, Bull Trout, Bald Eagle), so stewardship and conservation are always at the forefront when building new trails in the forest..
The first downhill project in 2008, Runaway Train, was largely spearheaded by the local bike club with equipment, a slew of volunteers and trail crew. The second expansion in 2013 included five miles of new trail designed, built and maintained by the resort with local trail builder Terraflow Trail Systems in the machines during construction.
In 2016 bike carriers were added to the Bad Rock lift and three trails designed—for beginners and lower intermediate riders—were built creating a new zone in the bike park. Additionally the resort introduced its “Learn to Bike Downhill” program—based on a successful learn to ski/snowboard program—and was wildly successful in its first summer. The program which includes a downhill bike rental, protective pads, full-face helmet, 2-hour instruction and full-day access to the Bad Rock lift coupled with the new Bad Rock Zone of trails helped to fuel the growth and while supporting the resort’s goal to introduce the sport in a safe manner and create a new generation of riders.
Since 2016 the Bad Rock Zone has continued to grow with new trails at all levels added for a variety of short lap options off the Bad Rock lift.
Whitefish Bike Park’s Manager, Josh Knight, and his trail crew adopted a “rock and roll” theme for naming trails. It loosely started in 2008 with “Runaway Train” a name that also matched the town of Whitefish’s connection to the railroad industry. The theme gained momentum during the 2013 expansion project with the addition of such trails as Kashmir, Freebird, GNR, Overflow and Cyndi’s Loppers. Several trails were renamed in 2017 to reinforce the theme and it’s now a given.
Whitefish Mountain Resort is known across the ski industry for providing exceptional customer service while maintaining affordability. The resort extends this reputation to the Whitefish Bike Park and its summer activities and services. Whitefish consistently delivers quality products and services with a laid-back vibe that keeps people coming back.
1982 Bikes allowed on lifts to summit briefly.
1990 Bikes permitted on lower mountain Nordic trails.
1996 First top to bottom mountain bike trail, the Summit Trail, built and lift access started.
2006 Local bike club submits proposal to the resort for downhill biking trail.
2008 First downhill only mountain bike trail, Runaway Train, opens.
2011 No lift-access to Runaway Train due to tower repair project on Chair 1. Chair 2 access only.
2013 Expanded Bike Park with 5 new trails adding 5 miles.
2014 Two “Enduro” races were added to the summer schedule.
2015 Whitefish Mountain Resort was added to the Montana Enduro Series: The “Enduro Pescado”.
2016 Bike Park expanded adding three new trails and second lift (Bad Rock). Premiered the “Learn to Bike Downhill” package (bike & protective equipment rental, lesson, lower mountain lift ticket).
2017 Strider Bike Park added providing a place for aspiring bikers ages 2-6 to learn balance and riding skills on pedal-less bikes while having fun. Added the “Maiden” trail to the Bad Rock Zone.
2018 First year hosting the Northwest Cup. Established connection to the Whitefish Trail system via the “Bob Cedar” trail. Added “Careless Whisper” trail to the Bad Rock Zone. Bike racks added to the Summer S.N.O.W. Bus.
2019 Added new trail “Kansas” to the Bad Rock Zone and “ZZ Top” to the Overflow Zone.
Total Bike Park Visits
* No lift-access to Runaway Train due to tower repair project on Chair 1. Chair 2 access only.
** Denotes major bike park expansions.
Bike Park Accolades
Singletracks.com names Whitefish “The Mountain Biking Capital of Montana” in 2016 Kashmir Trail named a model “Flow Trail” in 2014 by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA)
What’s New 2019
A new trail in the Bad Rock Zone for beginner riders. “Kansas” is classified as a green or “easiest” freeride trail .5 mile long. The trail adds another option for those new to downhill mountain biking and another option for those taking the Bike Park’s Learn to Bike Downhill Lesson. A new trail in the Overflow Zone. “ZZ Top” will give technical riders another intermediate option. At .3 mile the new blue trail will challenge riders with its natural features.
Bike Park Facts
Base Elevation (at the Lift Plaza): 4,733 feet/1,443 meters
Summit Elevation: 6,817 feet/2,078 meters
Bike Park Vertical: 2,084 feet/635 meters
Number of Lift Accessed Trails: 26 trails, 24 miles total
Number of Multi-Use Trails: 9 trails, 9 miles total
Longest trail: Summit Trail (intermediate) 7.8 miles
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. May 25-June 9 (snow cover and weather pending.)
Daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. June 15-September 2, 2019
Friday/Saturday/Sunday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. September 6-22
Pricing and Specials
2019 Bike Park Ticket & Rentals Pricing
|Season Pass||All Day Bike Park||2-Hour Bike Park||All Day Rental||2-Hour Rental|
|Jr. (7-12)/Sr. (65+)||$135||$30||$25||$66||$36|
Learn to Bike Downhill
$114 Includes 2-hour bike rental, protective gear including full-face helmet, lift ticket and 2-hour downhill mountain bike lesson. Offered June 29-September 2, 2019. Subject to availability, reservations recommended.
Lodging and Ticket Special
Bike & Stay for just $87*
Includes Hibernation House Lodging, 1 Day Bike Lift Pass and a full breakfast to fuel your day!
*Rate is per person, per day/night and based on double occupancy. Two night minimum stay. Taxes and fees not included. Other restrictions may apply.
2019 Bike Park Events
June 29 – FAMB Group Ride
Flathead Area Mountain Bikers (FAMB) hosted group ride. FAMB membership is not required but highly encouraged. A discounted Bike Park Ticket will be offered to members for this day only.
July 10-August 7 – Ten Dollar Downhill
A five week downhill race series. Race some or race them all.
July 11-August 8 – Thursday Night Race League
This five week race series (race one, race them all or anything in between) features a kids’ race and cross-country racing at all levels. Compete against other riders at your preferred level then celebrate your finish at the post-race party.
July 13 – Montana Enduro Series
The Montana Enduro Series returns to Whitefish Bike Park. One of the biggest events of the year this race series bring is riders from across the state and region.
August 23-25 – Northwest Cup
Back by popular demand—one of the country’s premier downhill race series returns to the Whitefish Bike Park. Celebrating its 11th year of racing the NW Cup attracts hundreds of riders from around the country for world-class racing with a grassroots vibe.
September 15 – Double Dip Downhill
This competition features two runs down two distinctly different trails in the Whitefish Bike Park, Runaway Train and Kashmir.