Return to Home Page of Big Sky Fishing.Com

Montana Skiing Guide
Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort

Whitefish Mountain Ski Area

The Skiing at Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort

Big Mountain Ski Area is aptly named. Spanning more than 3000 skiable acres, Big Mountain provides a huge variety of terrain for skiers of all abilities – with enough of it to prevent getting bored even during a week of hard skiing. Moreover, this “3000 skiable acres” is very true – virtually the ENTIRE mountain is truly skiable. Unlike many other ski areas, at Big Mountain you are not confined to the trails. Indeed, the actual ski trail network on the mountain itself is quite limited when compared to the sheer size of the mountain. As such, if you enjoy skiing off trail – whether it be in bowls, in the bumps or in the trees, Big Mountain Ski Area is a great place to ski at.

Skiing on the Inspiration Trail

Big Mountain ski area also generally receives quite a bit of snow during a normal winter. Average snowfall is 300 inches, which generally packs down by the end of the year to a solid base at the summit of between 100-150 inches. While early season skiing can be a bit bumpy and rocky – usually (but not always, depending on the whims of mother Nature) by Christmas the mountain is fully open and has a very solid snowpack.

Big Mountain is essentially divided into three parts – the front side, the back side and the Hellroaring Basin side. Each of these parts is covered below.

Front Side of Big Mountain

The front side of the Big Mountain ski area is obviously the “front” of the mountain – or the part of the mountain you see while standing in the village area. The front of the mountain is quite large – yet only comprises I would say about half of the total skiable terrain at Big Mountain. The vertical rise on the front side of the mountain is 2078 feet (or the vertical rise of the chairlift). There is very little in the way of flat run-offs on the bottom of Big Mountain, so as such this is a true skiable vertical.

The front side of Big Mountain is where the widest variety of terrain is found on the mountain. Beginner runs (green circles) are found on the left side of the mountain – nicely segregated away from the main intermediate and expert runs.

The front side of Big Mountain contains all of the beginner trails, which is nice. Better yet, for all skiers, the beginner area of Big Mountain is well away from the intermediate and expert trails. Not only does this keep more advanced skiers happy, it also keeps beginner skiers happy to – since they don’t have to content with advanced skiers swooshing down the trails at high speeds. The beginner area on Big Mountain also has two dedicated chair lifts that are easy to get on and off – although they are rather slow. As beginners feel more comfortable skiing – it is also easy to skirt over and ski some nearby intermediate level trails that many beginner skiers should be able to easily make their way down.

The View from Toni Matt at Big Mountain

Many intermediate runs snake their way down from the summit on the front side of Big Mountain. Excellent intermediate ski trails that begin from the summit on the front side of Big Mountain include Inspiration, Toni Matt, Corkscrew and Big Ravine. Numerous other well-groomed intermediate ski trails begin at the top of the Swift Creek Double chairlift which is right next to Big Mountain sports, although the vertical drop of these ski trails is significantly less, at around 1000 or so vertical feet. Tip – If you like to ski groomed runs, on weekends this lift usually doesn’t have lengthy lift lines like the main High Speed Quad Chair does.

Many excellent expert level ski runs are also found on the front side of Big Mountain. One of my favorites is Good Medicine, which offers excellent tree skiing while providing great views, all at the same time. Other excellent expert trails include Big Face, Langley, Powder Bowl, Schmidts Chute, Elkweed, and Fault 1-3. If you are from back east and like to ski in “eastern style” glades, be sure to also check out the short but fun ski trail called Woodlot.

And if you feel really daring, Big Mountain has a couple of double diamond (true expert only) ski runs on the front side. These are true double diamond trails – if you are an intermediate skier, it is best to stay off these trails as they are steep, narrow and rocky. A bad fall could lead to some nasty consequences on these trails. Good double diamond trails on the front side include East Rim and Fish Creek.

Note : There is one ski trail you probably want to avoid. Russ’s Street is the longest ski run on Big Mountain – but it is also incredibly flat once below the summit. Some skating is usually required on the flatter sections of this trail. In short, use Russ’s Street only as a trail to lead you to another trail or lift. Don’t plan on taking this ski run from top to bottom – there are far better trails to take than this one.

Chair Lift System on the Front of Big Mountain

There are many chair lifts on the front side of Big Mountain. The main chairlift is a high-speed quad chair – called the Glacier Chaser – that begins near the village area and runs up to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, it is also the only chair that begins in the village area that also makes its way to the top of the mountain, too. As such, this chair can develop some pretty lengthy lift lines on weekends. Generally, during the weekdays, this chair isn’t too crowded, but be prepared for some lengthy lines on the weekends.

Other chair lifts that run every day on the front side include 2 beginner chairlifts, a double chairlift and the “village chair” that both serves a nice beginner run and which also serves as transport to get people up to the Glacier Chaser Quad from the lower village area.

On weekends, Big Mountain dusts off older triple chairlifts that do not run during the week. Even on busy weekends, these chair lifts are usually deserted of people – probably because it takes over 20 minutes to reach the top when taking the two lifts needed to reach the summit!

Next Page : Skiing the Big Mountain - Continued

Web Resources
Whitefish Mountain Ski Area

Top of Page

Whitefish Mountain
Whitefish Mountain : Overview
Whitefish Mountain - Page 2
Whitefish Mountain - Page 3

Whitefish Mountain : Summary
Whitefish Mountain Pictures

Return to Montana Ski Areas
Return to Montana Travel Guide

Skiing Books
All Mountain Skier

About : This book takes you to the most difficult places on the mountain--bumps, steeps, and trees--and helps you conquer them. If you yearn for speed, gravity-defying jumps, or fluid grace on challenging terrain, here is your step-by-step guide to becoming an expert all-mountain skier. .
See More Downhill Skiing Books

Skiing Books
Ski the Whole Mountain

About : Ski the Whole Mountain provides safe and effective difficult terrain skiing techniques, including basic avalanche awareness and safety, and features 200 full-color photographs of actual terrain challenges and the keys to skiing them effectively.
See More Downhill Skiing Books

Skiing Magazines
Skiing Magazine
About : Skiing is written for the serious skier of all levels. Each information-packed issue provides information on technique, equipment, and competition.
See More Skiing Magazines

Montana Web Cams | Montana Information | Fly Fishing Gear | Fishing Boats | Site Map | About | Contact Us | Advertising Information | Privacy Policy
Explore the Rivers in Montana Explore the Lakes in Montana Mountain Fishing in Montana Explore Montana National Parks Books about Montana Fly Fishing and Other Outdoor Gear Photographs of Montana Explore Montana Cities and Towns Talk about Fishing and Montana in our Forum