General Information about Skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort at "Big Mountain"
What can I say….Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain is home to me. My home ski hill. Where I grew up as a child, from my first snowplow to my first cliff jump. It stole my heart years before it was renamed “Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain.” To me, Big Mountain has been, and always will be, what it is called.
Big Mountain is a wonderful mountain because it has a variety of skiing options for the beginner to the advanced skier. Located right outside of Whitefish, Montana, the resort is tucked away into the corner of northwest Montana, just south of the Canadian border. This makes it a popular place for Canadians to visit on the weekends!
Chair lift stats: 3 high speed quads, 2 quads, 6 triples, 1 magic carpet, and 2 T-Bars. Depending on what type of skier you are, Chair 1 will be what you will mostly use, as this is the lift that takes you to the top of the mountain. You can also use Chairs 4 and 5 to get to the top of the mountain (they each run halfway up), but they are almost never running, so don’t count on them. Plus they are very slow chairs. You would only want to use them to make quick laps on Chair 5 down the face, and usually only if Chair 1 has really long lines. Chair 1 is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Chair 7 is the lift that runs up the backside of the mountain. This is only accessible by Chair 1 or Chair 5. I love Chair 7. When I was growing up, it was a slow 3-seater chair lift. It is now a high speed quad, and I love it because the lines are (generally) shorter than Chair 1, you can make quick laps, and it has some of the best skiing on the mountain. There are also several blue square runs on Chair 7 (where you will find my husband, and me if I am skiing with him that day 😉 ).
T-Bar 1 is located at the bottom of the mountain, and it runs only for special events. T-Bar 2 is accessed by heading down the backside (follow a trailmap to the sign to T-Bar 2). T-Bar 2 is also one of my favorites. Before Big Mountain put this T-Bar into place, I would do a lot more hiking. T-Bar 2 gets you into some fun powder skiing, and some awesome tree skiing. T-Bar 2 is ONLY open from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on holidays and WEEKENDS through March 10.
There is night skiing available on the lower lifts (chair lifts 2, 3, and 6), from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Night skiing is on Friday and Saturday night ONLY from January 4th through March 10th. Night skiing does run every night from December 26th – December 31st during the holiday season. Night skiing is a great time to ski, because the runs are empty, there are *usually* no lift lines, and tickets are only $18 each (for the 2012-2013 season). It does get chillier at night though, so dress warm!! And count on the runs usually being firmer than during the day when warmer temperatures soften the snow.
Chair 8 is the Hellroaring chairlift. Also one of my favorite lifts, Chair 8 gets you to Hellroaring Basin. The great thing about the Hellroaring Basin, is that it has something for everyone. No matter where you drop in, it drops you down onto the blue square run, Hellfire, which leads you down to Chair 8. So you can’t get lost. And if you only want to do a blue square run, you can head straight on over along the cattrack over to Hellfire and ski that the entire time. Hellfire does tend to get crowded at the bottom, as that is where all of the skiers meet to finish the run down to the chairlift, but there is rarely a line at this lift. My favorite run over here is Gray’s Golf Course.
Chair 8 is not open all of the time. Sometimes you have to catch the “Highway to Heaven” trail out, which is really just a flat trail that starts long before you get to Chair 8 that brings you around the side of the mountain and brings you out by Chair 2. I wouldn’t recommend doing Hellroaring if Chair 8 is not open, unless you know you way around back there. This is because the “Highway to Heaven” is easy to miss (in my opinion), and I would not recommend taking it if you have a snowboard rather than skis. It does require skating out if there is a lot of snow there are not any well-made tracks before you.
Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain has seen an incredible amount of bluebird days this season (2012-2013). By “bluebird,” I mean, sunny. There really is no place better than Whitefish Mountain Resort when the sun shines. You can see the entire Flathead Valley, as well as the beautiful snow-covered peaks in Glacier National Park from the top of the mountain.
Whitefish Mountain Resort (Big Mountain) is known for the way the snow frosts on the trees, or what are called “Snow Ghosts.” I’m not sure if it’s just the locals that call these trees “Snow Ghosts,” but you will find that local businesses are named after these trees. They make skiing Big Mountain even more of a winter wonderland.
If you are lucky, you may find these dogs anxiously awaiting their owners in a vehicle parked at the base of the mountain. (Generally in the lots right below the Bierstube.)
There is a lot of parking available. There are several lots below Chairs Two and Three, near Chair 1. Directly below Chairs 2 and 3, is a lot that is only short-term parking. The lots below that (starting below the Bierstube), fill up quickly. The lot directly below the Bierstube charges $5.00/day, but after noon it is usually free. The lots directly below that always fill up early. Usually by 9am, if not earlier, depending on how much fresh snow the mountain received the day before.
If you are not early enough for these lots which are within walking distance to Chair 1 (and the top of the mountain), then you will park down by Chair 6. As you drive up Whitefish Mountain Resort, you come around the last corner and see the mountain, there is a sign to your right that will say “Parking.” Follow that road down to your right and it will lead you to several parking lots by Chair 6. These parking lots are great because you can ski right down to Chair 6 and jump on to get up to Chair 1. At the end of the day, you can ski right down to your car. These lots also fill up however, depending on the season!
Plan your day in advance by checking out Whitefish Mountain Resort’s webcam the morning before you head up: http://skiwhitefish.com/webcams.php
If you want any personalized information on where you should go while visiting Whitefish Mountain Resort, please comment below, or send me an email, and I will respond as soon as possible! I would love to take some runs with you, so please get in touch if you would like to also!
I will have further blogs with more information about Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain coming soon!
Warmest Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Montana Vacation Blog