Family Story Ideas

Kid Friendly, Parent Approved

WHITEFISH, MONTANA

One of the best things about skiing and snowboarding is that they are winter activities that the whole family can do together. At Whitefish Mountain Resort this family tradition has been passed on from generation to generation for more than 70 years. Families from near and far have chosen Whitefish as their “home mountain” because they love the mountain layout, the consistent snow and our friendly, welcoming employees.

Whitefish Mountain Resort was ranked #1 for Overall Satisfaction, #2 in Value, #3 in Service as well as #4 Family Friendly Resort in the West by SKI Magazine readers in the 2019 Reader Survey. This honor comes as no surprise to local parents who consider the mountain their kids’ winter playground. Kid-friendly terrain and facilities help make the entire day enjoyable for everyone. From the warm and welcoming Kids Center to lessons in the Ski and Ride School, every child will love their time on the mountain.

Parents also love that Whitefish Mountain Resort provides an affordable world-class ski experience with a natural, easy atmosphere in an uncrowded, laid-back, small-town setting.

Mountain & Facilities

The resort’s 3,000 acres feature fun terrain for every level skier or rider and enough variety to keep a family of skiers and snowboarders happy for days. The resort has state-of-the-art facilities, and conveniently located restaurants for lunch and hot chocolate breaks. The terrain is laid out perfectly with distinct areas for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers and riders therefore offering a safe progression for families as their skills develop in the sport.

The best starting point is at the Base Lodge where Base Lodge Rentals and the Kids Center are located. Lessons start in the beginner area — a short walk away from the lodge and easy for families with little ones or multiple kids. A surface carpet and two other lifts (Village/Chair 6 and Easy Rider/Chair 9) service the beginner terrain, and everything is close to the Base Lodge for quick access to restrooms and hot cocoa breaks.

As kids gain skill and confidence they graduate to the Chair 2/Chair 3 area where they find several fun “blue square” runs as well as the Fishbowl Terrain Park. The terrain park is divided into different levels a “Park Smart” design where skiers and snowboarders can start small and build their skills. Runs in this area vary between 400 and 1,100 vertical feet—shorter runs for shorter legs—and lead to the mountain’s village including slopeside access to Ed & Mully’s Bar & Grill.

Newly remodeled for Winter 2018/19 Ed & Mully’s has always been a great spot for families and with a fresh new look and layout there’s more room for everyone. The building has large windows looking up toward the slopes with built-in seating making it easy to spot family members. The casual atmosphere and kid-friendly menu make it a great spot to grab lunch, or take a break from skiing to play pool or Foosball by the new fireplace. Mom and Dad will appreciate the efficient service thanks to the new kitchen upgrades while they enjoy a drink from the full bar or sample Montana beers on tap.

Eventually families advance to the summit where one can ski in any direction on more difficult terrain (blue, black and double black runs). Two chairlifts reach the peak of the mountain — Chair 1 on the front side and Chair 7 on the north side. Several other chairlifts (chairs 5, 11 and T-Bar 2) provide access to additional terrain where families can ski laps on a variety of runs. The summit is also accessible to beginner and non-skiing family members as Chair 1 is available for uphill and downhill transport.

Last winter the resort relocated Chair 5 to the East Rim and not only did it help spread out skiers around the mountain, it provided convenient access to the east side and family favorite runs such as “Moose” and “Moe Mentum” (named for Olympic Medalist Tommy Moe who grew up skiing Big Mountain when his dad Tommy Sr. was on the ski patrol—the run was Tommy Jr.’s favorite). From the top of the East Rim chair, families can ski “Whitetail” or down the Goat Haunt Skier/Snowboard Cross on the north side of the mountain. Both runs lead to “George’s Gorge”—a natural half pipe and a kid favorite—and everything leads to Chair 7/Big Creek Express which takes riders back to the summit.

The summit is home the Summit House, conveniently located for a quick warm-up, hasty pit stops or eating lunch. Montana’s only mountaintop restaurant the Summit House Restaurant features grilled items, International cuisine and soups, quick grab & go salads and sandwiches. Mom and dad can have a beverage at the full bar all with a view of Glacier National Park, Canadian Rockies and the Flathead Valley. The Summit Shop sells the easy to forget or lose items you may need and much more. Last but not least the Summit Nature Center is a must-do for families. Located on the lower level of the Summit House, the Nature Center is staffed by Flathead National Forest Rangers and offers kids the opportunity to learn about what animals live on the mountain, where they go in the winter, snow safety and features interactive displays. Open on weekends and holidays.

“The layout of this mountain is great for families. On the north side we always find great snow and my daughter can perfect her turns while my son finds powder and jumps on the side of the runs. We love eating lunch at the Summit House—it’s convenient for one of us to warm up with our daughter while the other skis a few more runs with our son. Plus the kids love to visit the Nature Center.”

– Kristi H., mother of two skiers ages 6 and 9

More information:

3,000 acres, 105 Runs, 14 lifts
Base elevation 4,464 feet; Summit elevation 6,817 feet
333 inches of snowfall annually
4 terrain parks and skier/boardercross

Ski & Ride School

Our Ski & Ride School lessons are both affordable and fun—certainly one of the many reasons families come back year after year. Our instructors love what they do and their passion is contagious—be aware your kids may catch it! The Kids Center welcomes the little ones and provides a safe and warm place to play. Our learning area for beginners is separate from the rest of the resort and close to the Base Lodge. Our casual atmosphere, propensity for fun and affordable prices make families fall in love with winter.

“I love how we can watch our kids in their first lesson from inside the Base Lodge. We can stay warm, and the kids will not be distracted. The instructors know how to make it fun for the kids—they play games to help them develop skills which my kids love. There lots of runs that my kids love at every level. I think it’s great that they offer snowboarding lessons for as young as three, because that’s all my kids want to do.”

– Amanda W., mother of four snowboarders ages 5-10

More information:

Kids Center infant $108 full day, $82 for half day or $24 hourly
Kids Center ages 1 & older $80 full day, $60 half day, $20 hourly
Kids Center lunch $12
Child (ages 3-6) Ski or Board and Play $159 full day, $117 half day
Junior (ages 7-12) Group Lesson $114 full day, $75 half day

Night Skiing

The most family-friendly activity for après ski is more skiing! Ski under the lights on green and blue runs and in the terrain park serviced by three lifts from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. “Weekend warriors” love night skiing because they can start the weekend on a high note making turns with the family Friday night upon arrival. Families who get a late start on their Saturday can still get a full day by extending straight through to night with a “Swing Shift” ticket.

Ed & Mully’s Bar & Grill stays open until 7:30 for food and the bar is open until 8 p.m. and features live music on Saturday nights. The Base Lodge Café is open until 7 p.m. while the Base Lodge Bar stays open until 8 p.m.

“After a week of school and work, we can’t wait to hit the slopes and the sooner the better. Night skiing gets us up there and the boys love skiing under the lights. We typically end up in the terrain park where my kids off new tricks. Plus it’s close to Ed & Mully’s so we can warm up and grab a bite to eat before heading back for more.”

– Nick P., father of three skiers who snowboard on occasion ages 10-14

More info:

Fridays & Saturdays: January 4 through March 2, 2019.
Holidays: December 26-31, 2018 and Sunday, February 17, 2019
Night skiing ticket (ages 6-69) $24, Free (ages 6 & under and 70 & over)