As snow hits the top of Whitefish Mountain Resort, skiers and snowboarders start the countdown toward the season. Last season opened with new lifts, but for this winter, the resort concentrated on improving its slopes with summer brushing and new signage.
Over the past several summers, crews brushed out Langley Run, making parts of it skiable again with less snow. This summer, crews picked up on the edge of Langley and traversed east through Hogans into Elkweed, cutting out brush and tiny trees. “We have a great trail crew,” said Chester Powell, operations manager for the resort. “The last time we sawed that area out was probably 15-20 years ago.”
The resort also plans to aid first-time visitors with more than just a mountain map. “We want to make it easy for destination people to choose the best routes down,” explained Powell. New yellow signs on both Chairs 1 and 2 will denote the easiest trails down the mountain. From Chair 1, signs will guide skiers down Toni Matt and Bench Run or onto the backside. Chair 2 signs will point skiers down Swift Creek to Home Again.
For tentative skiers and snowboarders, a new easier route will lead them from the summit down Gray Wolf toward Black Bear and then cut back onto Fill Slope. “That gets slower skiers out of the way of those shooting off to East Rim,” said Powell. He added that the ski patrol may also spread pine bough clippings on thick foggy days to give delineation to those easy routes.
Skiers in the lower area around the daylodge will notice new structures erected for summer activities. Near Chair 6, terrain modification for the new alpine slides opened a skiable slot in the tree island between Chipmunk and Huckleberry. The resort also installed towers for ziplines.
This week, crews plant to wrap up replacement of a leaky snowmaking pipe connected to Rainbow Pond. Then, they’ll start moving the guns out on the slopes to blow snow in preparation for opening day, which is scheduled for Dec. 6. “We’re going to start blowing snow down low,” said Powell. “We’re in good shape and right on schedule.”
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