Whitefish Mountain Resort

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Whitefish Mountain Resort
Aerial view of a forested mountainous area, with ski trails. In the foreground is a partially frozen body of water.
Aerial view in February 2008
Whitefish is located in USA West
Location in Montana
in the western United States
Whitefish is located in Montana
Whitefish (Montana)
LocationThe Big Mountain
Flathead National Forest
Flathead County, Montana, U.S.
Nearest cityWhitefish - 4 miles (6 km)
Kalispell - 21 miles (34 km)
Coordinates48°30′11″N 114°20′28″W / 48.503°N 114.341°W / 48.503; -114.341Coordinates: 48°30′11″N 114°20′28″W / 48.503°N 114.341°W / 48.503; -114.341
Vertical2,353 ft (717 m)
Top elevation6,817 ft (2,078 m)
Base elevation4,464 ft (1,361 m)
Skiable area3,020 acres (12.2 km2)
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg - 15% beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg - 35% intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg - 40% advanced
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg - 10% expert
Longest run3.3 miles (5.3 km) - Hellfire
Lift system11 chairs
- 3 high-speed quad
- 8 fixed-grip (2 quad, 6 triple)
3 surface tows
Terrain parks1
Snowfall300 inches (760 cm)
Night skiingFri & Sat - lower lifts

Whitefish Mountain Resort is a ski resort in the western United States, located at The Big Mountain in northwestern Montana. It is west of Glacier National Park in the Flathead National Forest, four miles (6 km) from the town of Whitefish and 21 miles (34 km) north of the city of Kalispell.

Lifts and trails[edit]

The area currently has eleven chairlifts: three high-speed detachable quads and six fixed grip (two quads and four triples). There are also three surface lifts: two T-bars and a magic carpet. Of these, nine lifts operate regularly, including one T-bar which is normally only open on weekends.[1]

The mountain is separated into three faces. The front side is primarily serviced by the Chair One high speed quad and has the most skiable terrain. Chair 2, which also runs on the front side was replaced with a high speed quad in 2007. The front side has seven of the mountain's nine chairlifts. The back side of the mountain is serviced by Chair 7, also a high speed quad. The back side has more tree skiing terrain, and additional terrain can be accessed by T-Bar 2 on weekends and during select holiday periods. The western aspect of the mountain contains the Hell Roaring basin. Serviced by Chair 8, a fixed grip triple chair, Hell Roaring basin is the most advanced skiing on the mountain with cliffs, vertical chutes, and tight tree skiing. The intermediate Hellfire trail is the longest on the mountain; it runs 3.3 miles (5.3 km) from the summit to the base of Chair 8. On some days the clouds at Whitefish Mountain Resort are low enough that skiers can literally ski above the clouds[2][3].

The vertical drop of the ski area is 2,353 feet (717 m), with a summit elevation of 6,817 ft (2,078 m) and a base of 4,464 ft (1,361 m). The average annual snowfall is 300 inches (760 cm).[4]

The ski area is about nineteen miles (31 km) north of Glacier Park International Airport and 35 miles (56 km) south of the Canada–US border.


Winter Sports, Inc. (WSI) formed 71 years ago in 1947 as a public company of community shareholders, opened The Big Mountain that December 14.[5] It hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in early March 1949,[6][7] where future Olympic champion Andrea Mead of Vermont won all three women's titles at age sixteen.[8][9] The mountain originally had a single T-bar, which was replaced by chairlifts installed in 1960 and 1968.

After sixty years, it was renamed "Whitefish Mountain Resort" in June 2007;[10][11] by then the ski area had expanded to include ten chairlifts.

Olympic champion Tommy Moe learned to ski and race at the mountain, where his father was on the ski patrol.[12] Moe won the gold medal in the downhill[13] and silver in the super-G [14] at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

The mountain again hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in 2001.[7] That event is remembered for the failed comeback attempt, and life-altering crash, of 1984 Olympic downhill champion Bill Johnson.

In May 2004, WSI conducted a 150-for-one reverse stock split. Its stated purpose was to lower expense by reducing the number of shareholders to below the threshold that imposed public reporting requirements. At the time the transaction was proposed, 664 shareholders, or 72% of investors in the company, each separately held less than 150 shares. In total, these investors held a 2.5% equity (and voting) stake. The board expressed concern that the transaction might be viewed as coercive, but after review and outside consultation decided the transaction was fair to the affected shareholders.[15][16]

In December 2006, WSI conducted a 15-for-one reverse stock split, further reducing to about 50 remaining shareholders in order to provide a tax advantage as a Subchapter S corporation. Again, all shareholders without enough shares to exchange for a post split share were required to cash-out their stock.[17] WSI's handling of the reverse split was criticized and resulted in animosity within the local community, where there were objections to the timing of the related announcements and the loss of a community connection to the resort by the local residents.[18][19]

In early 2008, an avalanche occurred in the Flathead National Forest, within hiking distance of the back side of The Big Mountain and killed two skiers on January 13.[20] Later that year, the resort discontinued summer lift access for winter season pass holders,[21] granting several free lift tickets instead.[22][23] In September of that same year, the resort reversed the decision and announced that 2008–09 winter season passes would again convey unlimited foot-passenger lift access for summer 2009.[24]


  1. ^ "Whitefish Mountain Resort Hours and Dates". Whitefish Mountain Resort. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  2. ^ Reece, Myers. "Montana Ski Resorts Don't Get As Much Love As They Should". Condé Nast Traveler. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  3. ^ "Skiing above the clouds on Big Mtn - Picture of Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery, Whitefish - TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.com. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  4. ^ "Whitefish Mountain Resort Statistics". Whitefish Mountain Resort. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  5. ^ "Big Mountain ski area near Whitefish is region's newest resort". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (photos). December 16, 1947. p. 22.
  6. ^ "Wins ski title". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. March 6, 1949. p. 8.
  7. ^ a b "About Whitefish Mountain Resort". Whitefish Mountain Resort. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  8. ^ "M'Comber tops in ski nationals". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. March 8, 1949. p. 14.
  9. ^ "Massachusetts amateur wins national ski title". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. March 8, 1949. p. 8.
  10. ^ "Big Mountain becomes Whitefish Mountain". Missoulian. (Montana). June 13, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Ski resort makes big name change". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). June 14, 2007. p. A10.
  12. ^ Quigley, Michelle. "It's Time for Moe". MountainZone.com. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  13. ^ "OL: Downhill Men Sunday (Official List), The 1994 Winter Olympics". Oslonett. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  14. ^ "OL-Alpine: Super-G Men (Official list), The 1994 Winter Olympics". Oslonett. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  15. ^ Winter Sports, Inc. (2004-02-27). "Background, Purpose, Structure and Effect of the Reverse Split". Schedule 14A. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  16. ^ "Montana's Cash Cowboy". He bought Big Mountain, the Whitefish ski hill, and is busy turning it into a more elaborate entity called Whitefish Mountain Resort. He's transforming the 90,000-acre Rock Creek Cattle Company into a gated, luxury vacation community with 240 home sites.
  17. ^ Hintze, Lynette (2006-11-29). "Small investors in resort get some wiggle room". Daily Inter Lake.com. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  18. ^ Jamison, Michael (2006-12-17). "Locals dismayed at Big Mountain ski area stock plan". Missoulian. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  19. ^ "Small investors explain why they want a piece of Big Mountain". Jan 4, 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2010. Winter Sports CEO Fred Jones said the board was trying to avoid what happened with the last reverse split, when an unknown investor divided his shares into numerous holdings with 149 shares apiece -- one share less than the minimum.
  20. ^ "Trail at fatal Flathead avalanche site to reopen". Montana Television Network. 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  21. ^ Lomax, Becky (2008-05-28). "Whitefish Mountain Resort Changes Summer Lift Policies". flatheadbeacon.com. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  22. ^ "Lift policy change notification letter". Whitefish Mountain Resort. 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  23. ^ "Follow-up notification letter". Whitefish Mountain Resort. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  24. ^ Clapp, Donnie (2008-09-25). "Whitefish Mountain Resort Newsletter: Winter Passes will Include Summer Lift Rides, Donnie is Sore, and Just What are Ski School Programs?". Whitefish Mountain Resort. Retrieved 2008-10-01.

External links[edit]