Boasting among the best snowpack in Montana, Whitefish Mountain Resort enjoyed a bountiful holiday season in terms of skiers and lodging reservations, according to resort officials.
With a base of nearly six feet and amid a series of holiday snowstorms that blanketed the valley in winter white, skiers and snowboarders flocked to Whitefish’s Big Mountain and Lakeside’s Blacktail Mountain in droves between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The perennial uptick in visitation isn’t unusual, with the ski area’s busiest periods frequently falling over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and over President’s Day weekend.
And while the visitation didn’t overwhelm any banner records at Big Mountain, resort spokesperson Riley Polumbus said the ski area accommodated crowds of more than 7,000 skiers and snowboarders for four consecutive days between Dec. 27-31.
“Last year we hit 8,000 visitors twice over the holidays, but this is the first time we had multiple seven thousand-plus days in a row,” Polumbus said. “We are pretty psyched about how the season is getting started, and we’re grateful for the snow. In the ski business you make it or break it over Christmas and New Year’s, so we couldn’t be happier.”
The busiest day came on Dec. 31, when 7,730 skiers converged on Big Mountain, a beloved ski area by both locals and visitors who choose to spend their holidays skiing and riding. This year, the mountain sported a suite of new upgrades and a relocated chairlift, Chair 5, or the East Rim Chair.
Polumbus said this year’s addition of Chair 5, coupled with the opening of the Flower Point chairlift in advance of the 2014-15 season, has helped disperse the crowds and allow the mountain to accommodate more people without compromising the quality of the experience.
“It was interesting watch people engage with the new chair and see how they interact with the terrain differently,” Polumbus said. “I heard a lot of people talking about how it allows them to focus on their favorite runs like Goat Haunt.”
As always, local support continues to sustain the ski area, with season pass sales up 10 percent over last year, which in turn broke the previous year’s record by 8 percent.
Other new upgrades are visible at the Summit House, the Base Lodge and at Ed and Mully’s.
Polumbus said lodging was steady with last year but extended over a longer period of time.
A suite of events are slated to observe and celebrate Whitefish Mountain Resort’s 70th anniversary this season, including a “retro day” on Jan. 17, during which old-timers will be on hand to share stories from the Big Mountain’s rich history.
For more information and event schedules, visit skiwhitefish.com.