Three years ago, the Goulding family found Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana.
“We wanted somewhere that was easy to fly to and was an easy drive to the mountain. Once at the resort, we were looking for affordable ski in/ski out lodging with kitchens, homelike touches and dining options on site. Oh yeah, and incredible skiing!” shares Goulding.
“Whitefish has it all, and it really is affordable.”
It’s no surprise that Goulding and her family are returning to Whitefish Mountain Resort again this winter.
Family Skiing at Whitefish
As part of their Discover Your #MontanaMoment video series, Visit Montana highlights family skiing and other winter travel opportunities.
While these videos focus on specific Montana destinations, they also speak to the joy of family time spent on snow. They serve up a lot of inspiration in just three minutes.
This season’s video, Mountain Town Magic was released last week and I’m thrilled to share it here.
The Adventure of Family Skiing
As you probably heard in the video, both parents speak of the “adventure” of family skiing and spending time together. While the mother refers to her family vacation at Whitefish as “one big adventure after another,” her husband shares that in his opinion, Whitefish has “cracked the code” on adventure for families.
In part, this is because the mountain is so diverse. With 3,000 skiable acres, a vertical drop of 2,353 feet, 105 marked trails, bowl skiing, tree skiing and four terrain parks (including a skier/boarder cross course), Whitefish has what Goulding describes as “truly amazing skiing with a good mix of groomed and natural trails.”
The terrain at Whitefish is divided between 12% beginner/easiest, 38% more difficult and 44% most difficult, with 6% double black, for experts only.
Ski dad Eric Wagnon happily credits the resort’s “here’s the mountain, go explore” attitude for creating a culture of adventure.
Randall Zuckerman, a ski dad and Whitefish local, shouts out his home mountain for its “laid back, very family friendly vibe” adding that the region’s charms go well beyond the resort.
“Whitefish is a winter wonderland, with wonderful cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding. Glacier National Park in the winter is incredible, with several snowshoe loops that are easily accessible and not to be missed.”
Zuckerman also has two tips for maximizing fun and safety when skiing Whitefish.
“Bring your low light lenses and do not be afraid to explore the trees. Be aware of tree wells (an area of loose snow around the trunk of a tree), as they are a real thing here.”
Wagnon also has a tip to share. “Whitefish’s ‘frontside’ faces south, so on warm afternoons, head to the ‘backside’ for the best snow,” he advises.
As for Kim Goulding, she sums up her family’s love affair with skiing Whitefish this way.
“Whitefish, for us, is the complete package: close to the airport, great small town charm, all-in-one resort and awesome people. This is why we keep coming back.”
When You Go…
As Goulding shares above, it is easy to get to Whitefish.
Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell is 19 miles, about a 30 minute drive. Air service includes direct flights to ten major cities, and rental cars and shuttles are easily available.
Whitefish is also served by Amtrak, but as in many western states, passenger trains can be delayed in order to expedite freight trains. If you’re interested in traveling by train on Amtrak’s Empire Builder line, make sure your plans, and attitude, are flexible.
For local transportation in Whitefish, use the free S.N.O.W. (Shuttle Network of Whitefish) busses.
With regard to lodging, options for every taste are available at the resort and in town. The town of Whitefish is 7.5 miles from the resort, a 17 minute drive. Zuckerman actually recommends staying in the town for easy access to restaurants, bars and other area attractions.
As for specific dining recommendations, Wagnon recommends the on-mountain Hellroaring Saloon for lunch or dinner, while Goulding adds two more on-mountain options, Ed & Mully’s and the Bierstube.
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