OverviewPerched above the, perhaps surprisingly, very cool railway town of Whitefish, Whitefish Mountain Resort (previously call Big Mountain) is one of the world’s most under visited ski resorts. There is a lot on offer here to the skier or snowboarder who doesn’t mind a little traverse or a cold lift, with acres of deep snow covered mountain to be explored.
The weather in Whitefish is well known for closing in, but once into the forest, visibility improves, and an almost endless option for powder lines through the trees is possible.
The resort itself has a large base station, with café and restaurant, and plenty of lockers and picnic tables. There is also a couple of good drinking spots and hire shop, the pick of which is Stumptown Snowboards which has a shop both on mountain and downtown.
As with many North American resorts, when you look at the piste map, you can be excused for thinking there's not too much mountain here. But look again - work out the acreage - and you realise that the few lifts that are here (14) access a lot of mountainside.
The frontside sees most of the action, with the Big Mountain Express whisking skiers quickly to the top of the resort, but while it's a quick lift it can be cold and often feels slow as there will be times on this chair when you can't see your own feet. From the top our favourite is Russ's Street, an easy blue which leads into the trees, where you can choose from numerous double black diamonds, before re-joining Russ's Street back to the chair.
The North side has some very good long sweeping blues, great for beginners and a few step yet short black diamonds. There are plans for a new chair and a few new runs to be added to this area.
The last area is by far the best for the advanced skier or snowboarder: Hellroaring Basin will have you roaring with laughter, as you just won't believe how such a steep area of well-spaced trees isn't packed with the world's powder hounds. From the Big Mountain Express, take the Hell Fire blue piste and drop into this deserted area, the Back 9 being a top spot.
The reason this area sees so little traffic is that you have to take the short Hellroaring chair out and then ski another piste to get back to the base station, so making loops of this area does takes some time.
Night skiing is possible from Jan-April on Fri and Sat nights 4-8:30pm.
Look no further than The "Stube", or 'The Bierstube' to give it it's full name. This bar kicks off post ski with live music, and the weekly award of 'Frabert (a threadbare old toy monkey) Clod of the Week' awards at 5pm every Wednesday during the ski season.
Off the slopes and apres ski
For a more laidback beer, visit the oldest on mountain bar, built in 1949 - the Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery. The walls here are bedecked with photos of Hollywood stars and even the odd president. Downtown the Red Room, which serves great pizzas and even better cocktails, often has live music - it's more Manhattan cellar bar than frontier town pub. Also worth a visit is the Great Northern Brewing Company.
For great Asian food go to Cafe Kandahar, and if it’s live music and ribs you are looking for, vist Caseys Bar.