Whitefish Mountain Resort Named 11th Best in National Poll

The local ski resort ranked in the top 10 in seven of 18 categories in SKI Magazine guide

By Beacon Staff
Snow covers Big Mountain and the runs of Whitefish Mountain Resort. Beacon File Photo

SKI Magazine readers named Whitefish Mountain Resort the 11th overall best ski area in the U.S. in this year’s annual Resort Guide.

The local ski resort ranked in the top 10 in seven of 18 categories, including “No. 3 Service” and “No. 5 Value.”

Whitefish Mountain Resort also ranked No. 8 for Grooming and No. 10 for Character, Kid Friendliness, Lodging and Overall Satisfaction. This year’s rankings tallied the most top 10s ever for the resort.

“We are pleased that the readers of SKI Magazine have once again voiced what we believe to be the core of our mission: to provide an affordable world-class ski experience with a natural, easy atmosphere in the un-crowded, laid-back small-town setting,” Whitefish Mountain Resort CEO Dan Graves said. “Our resort and the community of Whitefish, where the locals are friendly and unpretentious, is a unique experience that offers our guests the freedom and comfort to be who they are, have fun and connect with friends and family and have access to quality products and services without paying a premium for it.”

For the third consecutive year, Whitefish Mountain Resort stands out among the resorts ranked in the top 10 for service as the only resort also ranked in the top 10 for value.

“This ranking reflects the dedication of our employees,” Graves said. “We are fortunate to have a talented and knowledgeable staff and we thank our employees, and the community members of Whitefish and its surrounding communities, for their role in making our visitors feel welcome. We would not have attained these scores without them.”

Whitefish Mountain Resort maintains a high rate of return with its winter staff; 72 percent of the resort’s employees have worked at least one year, and nearly half of returning staff have been employed for five or more years. According to Whitefish officials, the resort actively encourages its employees to grow professionally within the company because their institutional knowledge and experience enables employees to deliver a high level of customer service.

“Our employees are passionate about our industry and we have found that this passion is what keeps employees returning year after year,” Whitefish Mountain Resort Director of Human Resources Kristi Hanchett said. “With so many years invested in our resort they truly care, and go above and beyond. Because our employees participate and enjoy the same activities and experiences as our guests they are able to personally connect and provide our customers with an experience where personal service comes naturally.”

Whitefish Mountain Resort is scheduled to open for the 2016-17 season on Dec. 7. This winter Whitefish goes into its 70th season having invested over $10.6 million to improve the guest experience in the last decade. The resort is finishing its remodel of its mountaintop lodge, the Summit House, with a complete remodel of the café and kitchen while continuing the look and feel of the major remodel that began last season.

This season’s daily walk-up ticket price is $76, or $69 per day for two or more days. Ski-and-stay lodging and lift ticket packages start at $88 per person per night. An adult season pass at the early season rate is $630 if purchased by Sept. 30. The resort’s Learn to Ski/Ride package, which includes two days of beginner lifts, equipment rentals and two half day lessons, is $79 and a full day of daycare at the Kids Center is $70.

The SKI Magazine Reader’s Poll is the longest running and most comprehensive survey in the industry. The online poll asks SKI Magazine readers to rank the top 50 North American ski resorts in a variety of categories. Whitefish’s overall ranking is determined by a combination of reader’s scores across 18 different categories.

The remainder of the resort’s rankings were:

#12 Off-Hill Activities

#13 On-Mountain Food

#15 Après and Dining

#18 Terrain Variety and Scenery

#19 Terrain Parks

#21 Access

#23 Snow

#24 Lifts

#26 Terrain Challenge

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