Why wait until the final weekend of ski season to don that colorful retro attire?
Whitefish Mountain Resort will be the site of a new two-day event celebrating the vibrant history and culture of skiing in the Flathead Valley. HellRoaring Ski Heritage Days, March 22-23, is an ode to the olden days of bamboo poles and vintage ware, and will feature a ski-a-thon, retro-ski race, outfit contest and other festivities on Big Mountain.
The Flathead Ski Heritage Center and the Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation are hosting the event as a fundraiser for a future museum being developed on the historic site of the Saddle Club facility adjacent to the Stumptown Ice Den. Plans are being made to collect artifacts, design exhibits, interview surviving ski pioneers and ultimately expand the existing facility as needed to accommodate future growth. Once completed, the Ski Heritage Center will include a museum and hall of fame, and serve as a gathering place for locals and visitors to learn about the rich history of skiing in the region.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for people to actively partake in the festivities by dressing up in old ski outfits and bringing along old ski equipment, and to raise money for the new Ski Museum and the Ski Foundation at the same time,” said Tim Hinderman, executive director of the foundation.
“I know there are lots of old ski outfits in closets and old equipment in basements and garages,” he added. “And they don’t need to be ancient artifacts for this event, anything from the pre “shaped” ski era will be considered ‘vintage’.”
It will be a full day of fun events on Saturday and the dress code is anything 1994 and older. That morning there will be an old-school slalom race for anyone willing to sluice downhill on old gear. Registration is from 8-9 a.m. at Ed & Mully’s and the race will start at 11:30 a.m. A Ski-A-Thon will be held Saturday and Sunday to help raise funds for the Ski Heritage Center and skiers, or teams, will try to gather pledges as a goal of vertical feet skied.
Non-skiers and spectators will have plenty of avenues for enjoying the festivities. All are invited to watch the Retro Race, or a parade of colorful skiers who will ski down Toni Matt at 4 p.m. Saturday after a costume contest at the Summit House at 3:30 p.m. There will also be old-time ski movies shown at Ed and Mully’s and Hellroaring Saloon. Then that evening, the main reception will be held at Ed and Mully’s with a dedication for Norm Kurtz and his long years of service and many contributions to Whitefish and the Big Mountain. There will also be a tribute to the 10th Mountain Division “Ski Troops” and the local skiing legends who pioneered skiing at Big Mountain and served in World War II.
“We’re really excited about HellRoaring Ski Heritage Days,” said Bill Kahle, Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation President. “The Ski-A-Thon is a great opportunity for people to take a hands-on role in contributing to the Ski Heritage Center and the Ski Foundation.”
Volunteers are needed and appreciated.
HellRoaring Ski Heritage Days
March 22-23, Whitefish Mountain Resort
Fundraiser for Flathead Valley Ski Foundation and Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing, www.fvsef.org
Ski-a-Thon — Saturday and Sunday: Register at Ed and Mully’s from 8-10 a.m. Open to individuals or teams. Skiers on new or vintage equipment can help raise funds for the museum by soliciting pledges for vertical feet skied. Skiers must choose which day they wish to participate – only one day’s vertical will be counted. The goal is for a sponsor to set a goal for the amount of vertical feet and then for the skier to try and hit that goal. Pledge forms and rules can be downloaded at www.fvsef.org.
Heritage T-Bar dedication — 10:30 a.m., Saturday: At the base of the T-Bar above Ed and Mully’s. The resort has dedicated the “Heaven’s T-Bar” to the new ski museum project. It will be christened the newly named “FVSEF Heritage T-Bar” in honor of the Ski Heritage Center Museum.
Retro-Ski Race — 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday: Dust off the old race skis and give them a ride down a race course in front of Ed and Mully’s. Also available for people on “non-vintage” equipment who just want to make a run or two on an old-time slalom course. The Retro Race entry fee is a $25 donation for as many runs as you want – and includes a souvenir Ski Heritage Race Bib.
Old-time ski movies — All afternoon Saturday: at Ed and Mully’s and Hellroaring Saloon.
Vintage Equipment Rally & Poker Ski-Run
Best Vintage Outfit Contest: Pull out that old ski outfit and those old skis and boots for a fun day of skiing. Judging will occur at 3:30 p.m. at the Summit House. Judges will check out the costumes on the sun deck before everyone parades downhill at 4 p.m.
Toni Matt Promenade: All participants of the costume contest gather at the Summit House and collectively showcase the vintage outfits and equipment in a single-file “ski parade” down the Toni Matt run from top to bottom.
HellRoaring Ski Heritage Days Reception, Norm Kurtz Memorial & 10th Mountain Division Tribute — 6 p.m., Saturday: At Ed and Mully’s. In addition to announcing the Retro Race, Vintage Outfit and Poker Ski-Run winners, this will be an opportunity to remember Norm Kurtz and his long years of service and many contributions to Whitefish and the Big Mountain. There will also be a tribute to the 10th Mountain Division “Ski Troops” and the local skiing legends who pioneered skiing at Big Mountain and served in World War II. There will be a light buffet and no-host bar. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased in advance at Glacier Bank in Downtown Whitefish and Kalispell. Rocky Mountain Transportation will be operating a free shuttle departing from the Saddle Club at 5:45 p.m.
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