Commitment to Character

Since 1947 we have been about good times, great people, and deep snow. Whitefish is a place where people come to escape the city, and crowded slopes. A place where locals welcome out-of-town visitors as they do their own neighbors. Here skiing is more than great terrain and snow, it’s also about making sure everyone has a good time. It comes naturally here. In a world of merging resorts and passes for the masses, we are very content to remain blissfully independent. We believe in a commitment to character. Preserving our mountain, our town and all the colorful characters, who make this an easy-going place where you can be yourself, because here: character is encouraged.

Chester Powell
Director of Mountain Operations


Chester, or Chet as he’s known around here, has worked for us since the winter of 1976/77 and been a part of countless projects and improvements. From the North Bowl to Big Ravine and the backside to Hellroaring Basin, Chet has helped to expand our skiable terrain from minimal frontside access to the 3,000 acres we enjoy today. What has kept him around? Aside from the skiing, it’s the abundant year-round recreational opportunities and the variety of his day-to-day work. But most of all, he says it’s the people. #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish

 
The Bierstube
Canada’s Favorite Ski Bar


The Bierstube, or the ‘Stube as it’s affectionately known around here, was the first watering hole on Big Mountain. A favorite amongst locals and visitors alike, the ‘Stube claimed the title of “Canada’s favorite ski bar” in a contest hosted by a Calgary radio station back in the ‘80s. It is home to the weekly Frabert awards, our longest standing tradition, the annual Pray For Snow party, live music, and a list of debauchery too long to recount. Its rich history and the colorful folks that have contributed to the bar’s legacy have earned the ‘Stube a spot on the list of characters we’re paying tribute to this winter. If you’re visiting for the first time, definitely stop by for a beer and make sure to ask a bartender for a souvenir ring! #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish #TheBierstube

 
Stacey Bengston
Ski Instructor


“This mountain got in my blood. I didn’t want to leave it”. Stacey Bengston took her first trip to Whitefish by train in 1973, and the rest is history. She has been teaching people how to ski here for 43 years, has a family of her own, and is now teaching the children of some of her first ski students. Looking back on that first visit, she remembers that “Right away I was just content and so happy. I’m still happy.” #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish

 

Fog Balls
Orange Circle on a Stick


If you’ve skied Whitefish more than a few times, chances are that you’ve done so with the assistance of these orange circles on sticks. The unsung heroes of foggy days, fog balls cure vertigo and doubt, guiding you down the run during those low visibility situations. Everyone loves to ski on a bluebird day, but the truth is that the sun just isn’t that good for snow quality. Here in Whitefish, it snows often. And when it isn’t snowing, we usually have a blanket of clouds keeping our snow safe from those harmful rays of the sun, preserving the soft groomers and powder that we get to enjoy, and letting the snow ghosts grow. Sometimes those clouds turn into fog so thick you aren’t sure which way is down, but then you see it, a fog ball, and you know you’ll be just fine following these orange beacons right to your favorite village après spot. #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish #FogBalls

 
Suzy “Muldown” Ronfeldt
Whitefish’s Daughter of Skiing


Suzy grew up in one of Whitefish’s most famous skiing households, her father Lloyd “Mully” Muldown, pioneered local ski expeditions and taught many locals how to ski. She was 5-years-old on opening day, December 14, 1947 when she was one of the first to ski down our slopes. Although she lives in Berkeley, CA now, she returns to ski here every year. This January, Suzy skied 142,101 feet in 7 days! She once wrote in a memoir about her “Life on The Big Mountain” that, “if you are going to have winter from November until April, why not get out and enjoy it!” #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish

Snow Ghosts
Don’t worry, they’re friendly


Snow ghosts are a signature of the Whitefish skiing experience. Don’t be scared though, they’re just trees! The phenomenon is created by winds, clouds, and fog made up of super-cooled water droplets. When these droplets encounter a tree, they freeze and coat the branches and needles in rime ice. Once winter arrives, it doesn’t take very long for the summit and ridge tops to transform into magnificent forests of snow ghosts. Now for the real question- do you know what happens when a ghost gets lost in the fog? He is mist… #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish #SnowGhost

 
Eric “Eroc” Kanter
Bartender, MC, Rad Dad


Back in 2006, Eroc pursued his love for snowboarding and decided to move to Whitefish for a season. Well, we all know how that goes! Thirteen years later he has a family and owns a home in town. Bartending at the Craggy Range and performing in a rap group gave him the opportunity to get to know our community as well as anyone. Nowadays, you can find Eroc serving up delicious beers at Bonsai, his friend Graham Hart’s brewery, and on stage with funk band 20 Grand, a local favorite. He’s still snowboarding 5-6 days a week, often with his son who seems to have the same passion for riding a board that he does. Eroc’s wife, Kate Berry, is another prominent figure in our community and has worked in the nonprofit community for years. She’s currently on the board for the Nate Chute foundation and the Whitefish Housing Authority. Eroc says he “truly loves this community and what it represents- good natured, passionate, outdoor enthusiasts who care and come together for one another.” #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish #RadDad

 
Frabert E. Strobey
Ski Patrol Mascot


A weekly event at the ‘Stube and our longest standing tradition, Frabert was started by Ski Patrollers decades ago. Every Wednesday we gather to share stories and hand out the Frabert award to someone who has done something foolish, otherwise known as the “Clod of the week”. The unlucky recipient gets to chug a beer following the crowd’s recital of the timeless anthem, “Here’s to Frabert, who skis so fast. He leaps over moguls and falls on his ass!” #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish #Frabert #SkiPatrol #TheBierstube

 
Butt-Flap
A Ski Bum’s Best Friend


The Butt-Flap (aka Beavertail) is a common sight here in Whitefish and, while they have spread to other Montana ski areas, some might be surprised to discover that they were actually invented by one of our very own Ski Patrollers! Kerry Crittenden worked on Ski Patrol for 17 years and is credited as the inventor of the Butt-Flap. A skilled hobbyist, Kerry still does a lot of work around the resort, from sewing tower pads to the zippers on patroller’s jackets. Nowadays, it’s hard to say if the beavertail is more fashion or function, but they can be found draped from the backsides of a variety of skiers from the champions of vertical feet skied to our very own CEO. Less common, however, is the elusive double Butt-Flap, pictured here. #CommitmentToCharacter #SkiWhitefish #ButtFlap #Beavertail

 
Dennise Turner
Most Colorful Lifty


One of the most familiar faces on the mountain belongs to Dennise. You can’t miss the bright tutu anytime the sun is shining and she’s got a real knack for keeping everyone “in-line” with her quick wit and humor. Dennise grew up in Oregon with her brother, Wally, and Syd, our Lift Operations Manager. Wally and Syd moved to Whitefish from Bend in the late 70’s and after visiting for years, Dennise finally made the move in 1989. Wally had secured her a job at The Bierstube before she even arrived in town and she ended up working there for the next 15 years. She enjoys working outside, spending summers working road construction, and was eventually convinced by friends to spend her winters in the lifts department. She joined the team in 2003 and was lucky enough to have been trained by the “Quadfather”, Bob Abrams, who taught her everything she knows. Her favorite part about being a lifty? Getting to know locals, meeting visitors, and giving people a hard time all in good fun. #SkiWhitefish #CommitmentToCharacter #LiftOps

 
Hellroaring
Saloon and Eatery


Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery is a classic ski bar and restaurant located in The Chalet, an iconic building located conspicuously on the slope next to Chair 2. Built in 1949, The Chalet is the oldest building on the mountain, and provided lodging accommodations for 36 years in modest rooms with shared washrooms and three square meals a day served family style on what they called The American Plan. Today’s patrons fill the tables and barstools daily for lunch, dinner and après. Hellroaring is most famous for their HUUUUUGE nachos. Regulars don their Hellroaring hat which earns them a second beer on the house. Soak up the nostalgia of the photos, antiques skis and other relics on the walls—as well as the walls themselves—if only they could talk! #SkiWhitefish #Hellroaring #CommitmentToCharacter #CommitmentToNachos

 
S.N.O.W. Bus
Shuttle Network of Whitefish


The S.N.O.W. Bus offers free rides to skiers, snowboarders and mountain employees from the south end of Whitefish up to the Base Lodge and Village with multiple stops in between. It started back in 1998 and is funded by the Winter & Summer Brewfests, the Wine Fest, WMR, and advertising sales, mostly from local businesses. It is a valued part of our community and approximately 76,000 rides were given last year! Summer service began in 2015 and the bike racks on summer busses make it easy to ride the bike park and shuttle the Whitefish Trail. The S.N.O.W. Bus drivers have always taken great pride in being on-time to all of their stops, but now you can follow them along with the new live tracker. #CommitmentToCharacter #SNOWbus #CommitmentToCommunity

 
Passholders
Characters of WMR


As we look back on the 2018/19 ski season, we’d like to tip our hats to a cast of colorful characters, you passholders! You really LOVE to ski and we loved seeing you show up with a smile and a high-five day after day. You skied more than ever and set a new record for total vertical feet at 2,138,100,034 skied! Now, that’s a #CommitmentToSkiing. Whitefish is a special place with unique characteristics. We have a commitment to preserving those characteristics and have to thank you, loyal skiers and snowboarders, for being the dedicated characters that you are. Together, we will continue to be the passionate, welcoming, and easy-going ski town where character is encouraged. #CommitmentToCharacter