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Skiing

Whitefish Mountain Resort Closes Out Another Banner Year

Ski area on Big Mountain charts record-breaking growth for fifth-consecutive season as it begins construction on its first six-pack chairlift

By Tristan Scott
Opening day at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Dec. 10, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Whitefish Mountain Resort closed out its 2021-22 season on a high note April 10 when skiers and riders luxuriated in more than a foot of fresh powder snow, with the ski area on Big Mountain charting record-breaking visitation for the fifth consecutive season while beginning work on its first six-pack chairlift, slated to debut next year.

“We did tally 15 inches of new snow the final Saturday and Sunday that we were open for the season, which I have been calling a dream come true after a season that had us praying for snow a bit more often that we would have liked,” said Chad Sokol, a spokesperson for Whitefish Mountain Resort. “It was awesome to see some powder and close out our winter with some soft snow.”

With nearly 464,000 skiers tallied this season, the resort also broke its previous record set last year with 458,000 guests. And as colder-than-average temperatures and prolific snowstorms continue adding to a below-average summit base depth of 260 inches, stoking the enthusiasm of skiers and riders with uphill setups, construction has begun on the resort’s first six-pack chairlift with the relocation of Chair 4.

The newly relocated lift will shuttle skiers from the Base Lodge area to the top of Inspiration Ridge, improving access to the East Rim while providing an alternative route to the upper elevations of Big Mountain and alleviating skier traffic on Chair 1.

“This will be our first six-pack lift, and also our first lift that extends from the Base Lodge all the way to the upper elevations of the mountain,” Sokol said. “It has all kinds of real benefits to it.”

The new Chair 4 will be open for the 2022-23 season.

In recent years, the resort has undertaken multiple large projects aimed at improving traffic flow across the whole mountain, Sokol said. Guests this season took their first rides on the newly relocated Chair 8 in the Hellroaring Basin. The lift now brings skiers to the top of Big Ravine, enabling them to access both the basin and the front side of the mountain.

“The relocation of Chair 8 has proved to be a huge success,” Mountain Operations Director Bill Cubbage said. “It enabled us to open the basin earlier in the season, introduced six new trails and really improved the way skiers get around that section of the mountain.”

Ski & Ride School programs and teams also are open at skiwhitefish.com/skiride-school. Guests are encouraged to sign up early for kids’ programs, freestyle teams and development teams.

“Our season-long programs fill up fast, so don’t wait,” Snow Sports Director Magdalen Shale said. “These programs are a great way to learn new skills, progress over the course of the season and make friends by skiing or riding as a group.” 

Meanwhile, season passes are already on sale for winter 2022-23. Skiers and snowboarders can get the lowest prices on season passes and season-long instruction programs through Sept. 30. The ski season is scheduled to run from Dec. 8 to April 9, 2023, if snow conditions permit.

In addition to unlimited chairlift access, passholders gain access to perks, including night skiing, uphill passes, discounts on lodging and lift tickets for friends and family, and lift ticket exchanges at other resorts across the country.

“It’s been another banner year for us, and we’re excited to keep providing excellent service and a ski experience of unparalleled value for all our guests,” Whitefish Mountain Resort President Nick Polumbus said. “The loyalty of our passholders shows through every year, and we’re just super thankful that folks continue to see this as a place they want to spend their time in the winter.”

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