More than 300 inches of snow each winter, and endless bowl and tree skiing on 3,000 acres have made Whitefish Mountain Resort a favorite in Montana’s northwest corner.
Eleven lifts, two T-bars and one carpet conveyor – plus competition and special access lifts – provide access to 105 marked trails and 2,353 feet of vertical drop. Whitefish Mountain also boasts four terrain parks and a skier/boardercross course.
The resort’s ski and ride school for has season-long programs for beginners as well as the more experienced looking to brush up on their skills. An on-site kids center is also open daily from early December through early April. There are two rental shops on the mountain – Base Lodge Rentals and Village Rentals – as well as several rental services in Whitefish. There’s no tubing offered on the mountain, though there is ice skating rentals on Whitefish Lake on weekend nights – weather permitting – as well as the indoor skating facility Stumptown Ice Den in Whitefish.
The resort village is home to several hotel and dining options, as is the nearby town of Whitefish.
While dates are impacted by conditions and weather, the resort generally opens in the first week of December – with about 80 percent of the lifts open by Christmas – and closes the first week of April. The resort has 600 acres of snow making to stretch out the season. Many note that January and February are the best times to visit for snow conditions. Keep in mind, this also means longer lift lines. For those wanting to stick it out for a few more hours, the resort is open for night skiing between 4 and 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and nightly during the holiday season.
Adult tickets are around $85, depending on the time of season; children ages 13 to 18 are about $70; seniors age 65-plus are $70. Kids age 7 to 12 are $41. For tickets and the latest information on prices and packages, visit the resort’s website .
Whitefish Mountain primarily caters to advanced skiers with 50 percent of the 105 marked runs marked as single or double black-diamond. There is some terrain designed for beginners, but new skiers may want to consider finding their snow legs at a different resort, as only 12 percent of Whitefish Mountain’s trails are designed for the novice level.
There are numerous lodging options, from the ski resort village, to the town of Whitefish, just a short drive down the mountain. Near the ski lifts, Kandahar Lodge is an Alpine-style ski-in/ski-out hotel, while the kid-friendly Morning Eagle has a fitness center and rooftop hot tub. The more budget-friendly Hibernation House also has ski-in/ski-out access from its 24 rooms. In downtown Whitefish, the newly opened Firebrand Hotel boasts high thread-count linens and comfy guest robes, just a short stroll from the town’s nightlife.
For adventurous eaters, a Moonlight Dine & Ski package combines dinner at the Summit House Restaurant & Bar, with views over the peaks of Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley on clear evenings while sipping Montana craft beer. Locally raised bison and elk feature on the chef’s tasting menu alongside an award-winning wine list at Cafe Kandahar, inside the Kandahar Lodge in the center of the resort village. Extensive eating options are also available in downtown Whitefish, like the Great Northern Bar & Grill – great for whiskey and dancing on a Friday night – as well as the New Orleans-style Tupelo Grille or the Wasabi Sushi Bar.
The Bierstube boasts a lively après-ski scene with a full bar in an Alpine-inspired venue in the upper village, while the Summit House Restaurant & Bar, has 360-degree views from their patio – perfect for enjoying a cold beer after a day on the slopes. In downtown Whitefish, stop in at the Great Northern Bar & Grill, a popular spot since 1919 thanks to its dollar beers and live music.
Direct flights from major hubs come into Glacier Park International Airport, located just 15 minutes from Whitefish. Whitefish is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Missoula and a four-hour drive from Spokane. A free ski shuttle in the winter has a regular route between Whitefish and the ski resort village. Cozy downtown Whitefish is easily walkable, though taxi services are also available.