More Whitefish Mountain
Dreaded Big Mountain Road (not quite so dreaded anymore)
upon a time, the road up to Big Mountain (now Whitefish
Mountain) was terrible. The road had several awful switchbacks
and was basically a magnet for auto accidents, among other
less happy incidents. Happily, while the Big Mountain Road
I'm happy to say that the worse part of the road (the two
awful tight hairpin turns), have been fixed. The road has
also been re-routed in several locations, too.
ski area has one, and only one, road leading up
the greatest. While the road is not gravel like is found
over at Blacktail, sometimes I wish it was, since it probably
would provide better traction and be safer. Now, the big
changes to the road have made the drive up to the ski area
much, much better than before. However, there are several
things to keep in mind.
Mountains of Glacier as seen from the Big Mountain
the road is frequently icy. While the road crews do a decent
job of keeping the road clear of snow, generally Big Mountain
has icy spots on it. These icy spots, combined with lots
of traffic, can lead to lots of accidents – some of
which can be nasty.
secondly, there is the traffic. People
in the morning drive up this road like it is the Indy 500.
Even if you go the speed limit of 25mph you are still very
likely to have a train of dozens of cars behind you by
the time you reach the ski area. Some of these yahoos will
attempt to pass you on blind corners.
can avoid this fun commute, though, by hopping
on the Snow Bus. The Snow Bus is a free shuttle bus that runs from
downtown Whitefish (7 road miles away) to the base area of
Big Mountain. On weekends these buses can fill up – but
on weekdays one can usually get a space on the bus. Riding
the Snow Bus is a good way to get a free ride to the top
of the mountain without putting your car in mortal danger
of permanent damage. Ride time generally runs about 30-40
minutes from downtown Whitefish to the base area on Big Mountain.
there you have it. A detailed look and review at the Big
Mountain Ski Area (now Whitefish Mountain) by someone who
has spent quite a bit of time skiing
on the mountain.
can probably tell, I’m torn two ways by Big
Mountain. On the one hand, I hate seeing Big Mountain turn
into a Montana “Vail”, as this is leading to
lots of little inconveniences, longer lift lines, higher
prices and more people on the slopes. Yet, on the other hand,
Big Mountain still has some wonderful skiing when conditions
the crowds that swarm up on Big Mountain during the weekend,
try to ski during the weekdays – especially
Monday-Thursdays (Fridays can be moderately crowded at times).
And, if you are stuck skiing up there on the weekends, look
at skiing on the back side and/or using the two triple chairs
that Big Mountain opens up on the weekends.
word also needs to be mentioned about the stunning views
you get from the summit of Big Mountain. On a clear day,
the view from on top of Big Mountain is one of the finest
in Montana - with the sprawling Flathead Valley, Flathead
Lake and Whitefish Lake all seen to the south, while the
mountains of Glaicer and the Canadian Rockies rise to the