Summer 2007 was quiet on top of Big Mountain with Chair 1 under construction. But this year, the lift—now called the Big Mountain Express–will be running again to the summit for sightseeing starting June 21. Winter season passholders and hikers, however, will find new lift policies in place.
In prior years, the winter ski pass included unlimited use of the chairlift in summer. But no longer. Winter ski passes are no longer valid for summer lift rides. “We are separating out the seasons and making summer a priority,” explains resort spokesperson Donnie Clapp. “For a long time, summer has been a time that we could use the skiing lifts for other things. Now we are actively looking for ways to add activities and recreational opportunities both this season and over the next few years.”
Recreational expansion plans include building a new downhill mountain bike route through North Bowl. “It’ll be a true downhill mountain bike trail,” says Clapp. The resort anticipates having it built and the first rider down it within 3.5 weeks after the snow melts.
Lift prices also reflect the new philosophy. In addition to summer season specific passes for unlimited riding, daily lift tickets will be sold by the single round-trip ride (adults $12), a two-ride ticket (adults $19), or a full day of unlimited rides (adults $24). Mountain bikes–which used to cost extra–can now be hauled up free. Clapp notes that while anyone can purchase any of the three products, the resort envisions sightseers going predominantly for the single rides, while mountain bikers use the other two tickets.
Hiker policies are changing, too. In the past, those climbing up the mountain could hop the lift down for free. Now, the resort will charge for those rides down—at a half price rate. “We are lucky to have an amazing array of beautiful places to hike in the valley. Many of them are free, including Big Mountain,” says Clapp. “But there’s only one place where you can enjoy hiking up, and then rest your knees and ankles as you ride a chairlift down. I think that is a unique and worthwhile service to offer, and I think that it is worth paying for.”
For unlimited summer lift riding, passes are on sale for a reduced rate through June 30. Until then, adult passes costs $99 each and juniors cost $59 while teens and seniors are $79. After June, rates bump up $50 for each pass. Kids 6 and under and super seniors 70 plus ride free.
Summer lift hours are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out all the new summer lift rates at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
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