Summer Season Arrives at Whitefish Mountain Resort

The resort opens Memorial Day weekend and offers an array of outdoor activities, from zip lining to hiking to scenic lift rides

By Denali Sagner
Guests ride the alpine slide at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Though the days of hot cocoa and fresh powder are behind us, Whitefish’s renowned ski resort is open for business. During the summer season, Whitefish Mountain Resort offers an array of outdoor activities, from zip lining to hiking to scenic lift rides.

Summer activities will run from May 27 to 29 and June 3 to 4. Full summer operations will take place seven days a week from June 10 through Sept. 17. For a full list of activities, maps, operation hours and prices, visit skiwhitefish.com or call 406-862-2900.

Zip Lining and Aerial Adventure Park: Fly through the treetops and take in views of Big Mountain with the Allegiant Zip Line Tours, Montana’s longest zip line tour. Participants spend two hours zipping across five separate lines, which stretch as long as 1,900 feet across and up to 300 feet above the forest floor. Or, climb across cable bridges, rope ladders, trapezes and more through the Aerial Adventure Park, or the “obstacle course in the trees.”

Alpine Slide: Speed down the mountain on WMR’s alpine slide course, which takes riders around banked turns, under bridges and through a tunnel, all while they control their sled with a hand break.

Mountain Biking: Ride more than 25 miles of gorgeous mountain biking trails on Big Mountain, which are accessible by ski lift all summer long. WMR’s extensive trail system includes easy, moderate, difficult and expert terrain for bikers who are just starting out, and for those folks who have been doing it their whole lives. Bikes can be rented at Village Rentals on the mountain.

Activities for Kids: For the youngest members of your crew, the Strider Bike Park and Spider Monkey Mountain offer safe and fun options for playing outdoors while learning fundamental outdoor adventure skills. The Strider Bike Park lets children ages 2 through 6 practice their skills on pedal-less bikes, which offer a safe way to pick up the basics of bike riding. Spider Monkey Mountain is a multi-story play space that, as Whitefish Mountain Resort warns, “is highly addictive to young children and they may want to do it over and over again, which will improve coordination and strength while expending energy.”

Scenic Lift Rides: A favorite activity among visitors to the Flathead, scenic lift rides are the perfect way to take in the gorgeous scenery of northwest Montana. After riding up Big Mountain in either an enclosed gondola or an open chairlift, admire the views from the summit, which allow onlookers to see snippets of Glacier National Park, the Salish and Swan mountain ranges, Whitefish and Flathead lakes and the Flathead Valley.

Once at the top of the Big, stop into the Summit House to explore the Summit Nature Center, which is staffed by the Flathead National Forest. Forest staffers can answer nature questions, get you acquainted with local flora and fauna, give bear awareness tips, and guide kids through the Junior Forest Ranger Program.

The Summit House is also the perfect place to grab a drink and a bite to eat, or shop for souvenirs at Summit Gifts.

The last ride up or down the Scenic Lift is at 5:30 p.m.

Hiking: Whether you’re looking for a full-day excursion or a short stroll through the trees, Whitefish Mountain Resort is home to a number of scenic hiking trails that loop around Big Mountain.

Trailheads are located at the summit, village and Base Lodge. The most popular hiking trail on the mountain, the Danny On Memorial Hiking Trail, is a 3.8 mile (one way) hike from the village to the summit, that gives hikers views of the many mountain ranges and wilderness areas around them. The Danny On Trail is named for Danny On, a U.S. Forest Service ecologist, nature photographer, conservationist and skier who died at the age of 55 in a skiing accident on Big Mountain.

This article was originally published in Glacier Journal, our annual guide to summer in Northwest Montana. Pick up a copy on newsstands across the region.