Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish, Montana — not just a ski town

There's lots to like about Whitefish aside from its Mountain Resort

DENNIS P VAN HORN

Whitefish Mountain Resort
Whitefish, Montana, marked SnowSeekers' first ever trip to an American resort, and what a trip it was.
Photo courtesy of PAUL DALHOUSIE/SnowSeekers

Pulling into Whitefish, Mont. in the dead of night did not give much of an opportunity for SnowSeekers to envision what a stellar weekend was ahead of us on our first journey stateside. Being veterans of virtually every ski town and resort in western Canada, we were excited to delve into the hinted promises of the American hospitality that we heard and read so much about.

The town has a high standard to live up to, as it has been voted one of the Top 25 Ski Towns in the world by the illustrious National Geographic. During our visit it did not disappoint, as it genuinely kept the entire SnowSeekers crew smiling from ear to ear as we learned what a ski town should be.

First and foremost ... the POW

Naturally, Whitefish Mountain Resort is one of the big draws for the community year round. With a large selection of on-hill accommodations, shops, and restaurants, including the famous après ski destination, the Bierstube, there's something for nearly any visitor.

The skiing itself was elating under blue bird skies, helped by an inversion that stuck with us most of our visit there. Although there had not been much fresh snowfall in the week prior to our stay we did find numerous powder gardens as we skied some of the many uncrowded ridge lines coming off the top of the mountain.

Whitefish, Montana
The place is called White-fish for a reason.
Photo courtesy of PAUL DALHOUSIE/SnowSeekers

Other visitors on the hill could be seen taking advantage of the snowmobile tours offered at the resort, and there were frequent sightings of snowshoers and ski-touring enthusiasts trekking up the hill.

En route through town it was obvious that this place lives for snow, as alpine ski classes seemed to trail throughout the township.

World-class carnival

Geographically the town appears very similar to many southern BC communities. But the more time spent in Whitefish, the more you sense an old western feel that keeps its authenticity despite the numerous fine dining establishments and high-end coffee shops, such as the Montana Coffee Traders that would not be out of place in the most modern West Coast cities.

SnowSeekers was lucky to arrive on the weekend of the annual Winter Carnival, a boisterous event steeped in traditions, such as the annual Penguin Plunge, where locals take a dip in the ice-covered Whitefish Lake, and the community-focused Pie Social where all are welcome to sample a slice and chat amongst themselves. It would be a disservice not to mention the lively parade and the now re-introduced beer barter put on by the local community brewer The Great Northern Brewing Company and one of their benchmark brands, Black Star Beer.

Whitefish is approximately 461 km from Calgary, Alberta, and services the American markets of Seattle and Minneapolis through its midway stop of the Amtrak service running between these cities.

Have you been to Whitefish before? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.

National Geographic's Top 25 Ski Towns

Read our story about the Bierstube

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