Eyeing A Good Opening Weekend

By Beacon Staff

While heavy rains swept away most traces of valley snows this week, Whitefish Mountain Resort saw a different story. Snow. Lots of it. Groomers reported 25 inches of new snow on Sunday and Monday, and forecasters are predicting even more snowy weather and colder temperatures heading into the opening day on Dec. 8 for the ski hill.

“Everybody is pretty excited,” says Donnie Clapp, spokesman for the resort. “This week, the freezing line hung just a couple hundred feet above the village. Great wet heavy snow covered everything. With dropping temperatures today and a little of new snow on top of that, the groomers will work the snow in pretty well to make good conditions for opening day.”

With a 39-inch settled base at the summit, the resort plans to open top-to-bottom runs on both the front and back side of the mountain. “These plans could and probably will change daily as the weather turns colder,” says Chester Powell, operations manager on the mountain. “We could be looking at a significant portion of our terrain being available if Mother Nature cooperates.”

The resort also plans to open runs with perhaps a few beginner and intermediate terrain park features on Chair 3 as well as beginner terrain in the Chair 6 area. Clapp reports that the new high-speed Chair 2 will most likely not be ready for operation yet. “As the snow continues to pile up, our ski patrol will open terrain as soon as possible,” says Powell. “Recent storm systems have been tracking north, directly over our heads, and conditions are looking better every day.”

Meanwhile, snow-philes are checking resort webcams for eyeball assessments of the snow depth. Two of the webcams were repositioned this year to cover the new plaza where Chairs 1, 2, and 6 converge and the heated deck at the new daylodge—hence what appears to be melting snow.

The resort will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting Dec. 8. The free SNOW bus will begin operation to and from Whitefish to Big Mountain Village on opening day. Night skiing will begin on Dec. 21, operating on Fridays, Saturdays, and some holidays.

Updated snow reports can be found at www.skiwhitefish.com or by calling 406-862-SNOW.