Why You Should Ski in Whitefish, Montana

**In today's Guest Post, Sierra Trading Post's Beren Goguen tells us about a recent ski trip to Whitefish, MT.**

Searching for an enjoyable, somewhat lesser-known locale to spend your next ski vacation? Tired of braving crazy traffic, crowded slopes and overpriced lift tickets just to get in a few turns? You need to check out Whitefish, MT, home to Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain.

Since I just returned from a week-long snowboarding trip here and have also been here in the summer (Glacier National Park is just a 30-minute drive), I've had the opportunity to get a pretty good feel for what Whitefish has to offer. Having lived in Colorado for the last two decades, I'm still struggling to grow accustomed to $100 lift tickets, soul-crushing weekend traffic and jam-packed resorts like Breckenridge, Copper and Vail. Don't get me wrong, the skiing in Colorado is often great, but the crowds, traffic, expense and driving distance can be disappointing, particularly on the weekends. Whitefish is a very different story.

The Mountain

Since Whitefish Mountain Resort is a mere four miles from town, the drive is a cinch, and there is even a free shuttle if you want to avoid the nominal parking fee. An adult, all-day lift ticket will run you a wallet-friendly $67 (Discount tickets are available at Sierra Trading Post). As of this writing, Snowbird is $87 a ticket, Whistler is $100 and Vail is $106! Lodging is also very reasonably priced here if you book ahead, and probably even less if you stay in nearby Kalispell — twenty minutes away by car — which is also where the nearest commercial airport is located, should you choose to fly.

I've heard the snow here is generally pretty great. During our trip, there was an 85" base, and it snowed almost daily during our 10-day stay. It seemed about half the folks on the mountain and in town had come down from Alberta, Canada in search of better snow and more affordable ticket prices. I actually met several Albertans on the lift, and all were impressed by the conditions. Be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes and a facemask or scarf if you plan on skiing in mid-winter, as temps and wind on the summit can get pretty chilly. In fact, the trees near the peak were so covered in icy snow, it looked like a garden of huge white statues, which actually made for pretty fascinating scenery to ski through.

Skiing Big Mountain Whitefish Montana The trees near the summit looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book

The Town

First of all, Whitefish is a small, laid-back and easy to navigate place. The entire downtown area is only about three blocks long and three blocks wide. Despite its small size, downtown has a surprising amount of fantastic restaurants and quaint shops. We ate at more than half a dozen places, and I wasn't disappointed once. If you make the trip, I highly recommend the Wasabi Sushi Bar, Latitude 48 Bistro and Mackenzie River Pizza. If you enjoy a good micro, you should also stop in at The Great Northern Brewing Company and Black Star Drought House for a glass of Wheatfish or Going to the Sun IPA. Forget your ski gloves at home? No problem. Head over to The Toggery or Stumptown Snowboards, right off the main drag. Of course, you'll likely snag a better deal on gear from Sierra Trading Post if you shop ahead of time!

Whitefish Montana Brewery The brewery and tap house (photo via BlackStarBeer.com)

What's your favorite lesser-known ski/snowboard destination? Leave a comment below and share your recommendations. We'd love to hear about them.

Thanks for reading!

Skiing Whitefish


**Beren is a copy writer at Sierra Trading Post and is our former blog master. We look forward to more of his contributions in the future.**
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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