By DILLON TABISH for the Flathead Beacon
Whitefish Mountain Resort climbed to its highest ranking ever on the distinguished list of the best ski resorts in the nation determined by readers of SKI Magazine.
The annual rankings in this month’s popular preseason issue feature Whitefish in 11th place, an improvement of 11 spots from last year.
“We were really excited. We were kind of shocked actually,” Whitefish Mountain Resort spokesperson Riley Polumbus said.
SKI Magazine’s annual Resort Guide issue breaks down the best destinations in the country and lists overall rankings as well as lists of best affordability, service, grooming and lifts. The lists are established from reader surveys.
Big Sky near Bozeman was ranked 23rd and was the only other resort in Montana to make the list.
“We are extremely thankful to our guests for acknowledging our efforts to make Whitefish Mountain Resort a great place to ski and ride,” Whitefish Mountain Resort President Dan Graves said in a statement.
“This ranking is truly a reflection of our dedicated employees who consistently provide our customers with an experience that is personal and fun, as well as all the businesses throughout the community that deliver quality products and services to our visitors. We are excited to be recognized amongst these distinguished resorts by SKI Magazine readers, and that they have discovered the tremendous value of a Whitefish winter vacation.”
Whitefish Mountain Resort, which is scheduled to open Dec. 8, ranked sixth best in digital presence thanks to its daily snow reports, videos and the vertical tracker for season pass holders. The resort ranked 10th best for value and was the cheapest destination in the top 10 with daily lift tickets under $70. This year’s single day lift ticket is $67, and drops to $61 per day for two or more days. The family programs ranked 10th; service, grooming and the lifts ranked 11th. Lodging and off-hill activities ranked 13th. The resort’s lowest ranking was weather, 46th.
The resort’s move from 22nd last year to 11th was the biggest jump for any other destination on the list. Its previous best was 18th in 2000-01.
“To make that big of a jump is a big deal, especially when you look at who’s around us and who’s ahead of us in the list,” Polumbus said.
“To get a mention in this issue is pretty huge.”
Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia placed first overall. Deer Valley in Utah was second and Vail in Colorado was third.
The Resort Guide issue hit newsstands Oct. 16.