Your Montana Public Radio
Wed November 20, 2013
Skiers hiking for early season turns at Big Mountain
The snow line has crept down the mountainsides even though much of the Flathead Valley floor remains snow-free. Public Relations manager for the Whitefish Mountain Resort Riley Polumbus said the mountain is prepping for its December 7th opening.
The storm over the weekend brought enough snow to cover the hill even down at the base lodge. Polumbus said they measured 30 inches of snow at the Summit on Friday afternoon, it was up to 48 inches Saturday afternoon, and then another 5 inches fell by Sunday morning.
Many of the mountain’s 3,000-acres are Forest Service land. Polumbus said as part of the permitting process the mountain identifies opening and closing dates, and they’re sticking to the December date despite the early snow.
Groomers have been tamping down the snowfall to create a solid base, and the mountain is getting buildings reopened, and staff hired for the season.
Polumbus said some new things for this season include new runs cut in on the north side of the mountain where a new chairlift is going in for 2014-2015 ski season.
“That new lift is really going to create, give us access to a part of the mountain we really haven’t been able to use it a bunch. A lot of people go there and enjoy finding their powder back there, and this will make it more accessible to everybody, which helps spread people out a little bit more, which definitely helps with making those runs less crowded,” Polumbus said.
Polumbus said good snow news travels fast and they’re optimistic about a good year for visitors. Big Mountain is coming off a record year for visitation in the 2012-2013 ski season with about than 323,000 visitors, up 10-percent from the previous season.
Polumbus credits consistent, and growing season pass sales, and more people discovering the mountain with marketing efforts in Washington, Oregon as well as north of the border in Calgary and all the way to Edmonton.