Skiing

Skiers Reminded to Adhere to Uphill Regulations

Uphill skiing preseason regulations kick in while the cost for access at Big Mountain increases

By Micah Drew
An uphill skier at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Dec. 3, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

As the freshly powdered runs on Big Mountain are once again clearly visible from the valley floor, recreationists are reminded of the long-standing tradition of uphill travel at Whitefish Mountain Resort (WMR).

The resort, and the Flathead National Forest, remind skiers and boarders to abide by the mountain’s uphill rules, which follow U.S. Forest Service policy in requiring uphill enthusiasts maintain a 100-foot distance from grooming machines and a 50-foot distance from snowmaking equipment within the resort’s permit boundary.

In the two weeks prior to the mountain’s opening on Dec. 7, the uphill policy limits which routes are accessible, only allowing uphill and downhill traffic on the East Route between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Parking for uphill traffic is limited to the Spruce Lot between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and the resort encourages the use of the Spruce Lot all day for those utilizing the uphill routes.

The East Route begins at Spruce Parking Lot, crosses the bridge toward the Ski and Ride School and Clinic building and ascends lower Inspiration, Expressway, Moe-Mentum, and Upper Russ’s Street to the summit. It is marked by 12-inch red diamonds with an arrow and the word “UPHILL” printed on them. There are no uphill or downhill route restrictions before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. pre- and post-season.

The 2020-21 season was the first where skiers eschewing lift lines were required to have an uphill access pass at WMR. Popularity in the modality has risen in recent years, and the fees were implemented to offer another chance for the resort to educate skiers before they hit the hill.  

The resort has increased the cost of uphill passes this year. Single day tickets are $13, a one-dollar increase, while season passes are $125, a 25% increase. Winter 2021/22 season pass holders can receive an uphill pass as a free addition. Both the uphill pass and ticket must be visible while traveling uphill.

More information can be found at skiwhitefish.com/uphill-policy. The Forest Service order can be found here.

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