Whitefish Mountain Resort Opens New Terrain for New Season

By JUSTIN for the Flathead Beacon Newspaper

Thousands of people hit the slopes of Big Mountain for Whitefish Mountain Resort’s 67th opening weekend. Among the highlights of the inaugural weekend was the opening of the Flower Point chairlift, which provides access to 200 acres of new terrain.

According to spokesperson Riley Polumbus, more than 3,300 skiers and riders came to Big Mountain on opening day, up from 1,700 in 2013. The biggest opening day crowd was in 2010, when 3,566 people came to the resort.

Although the north side of the mountain, including Flower Point and the Chair 7 areas, were open for skiing, most of the front side of the mountain was closed. Polumbus said that would change once there is a little more snow in the forecast.

A snowboarder is silhouetted against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks and low-hanging clouds at the summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort on opening day on Dec. 6, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | FlatheadBeacon

“It’s full on winter in the back, but we need a little help out front,” Polumbus said.

As of Dec. 8, there were 34 runs open on the mountain and Chairs 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, and T-Bar 2 were open. Polumbus said the resort is hopeful it will have the entire mountain open before Christmas.

Chair 11, the Flower Point lift, was opened for business following a brief ceremony on Dec. 6. Among the first skiers to ride the lift were descendants of Whitefish Mountain Resort’s founding fathers Ed Schenck and Lloyd “Mully” Muldown.

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Skiers show off as they ride the new Flower Point chair lift on opening day at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Dec. 6, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | FlatheadBeacon

The Flower Point chair was first conceived in the 1990s but work didn’t begin to build it until a few years ago. Ski trails were cut last year and the lift, previously used in Kimberly, British Columbia, was installed this fall.

With the new lift and 200 more acres of terrain, the ski area hired two more ski patrollers, two more lift operators and one new groomer. At the height of the winter season, the resort employs more than 500 people.

“We’ve been looking at this spot for a number of years because it is known to have great snow and great terrain,” said resort president Dan Graves. “To see it all come together is really exciting.”

Graves also said more improvements are coming and that another lift could be constructed within the resort’s current boundaries within the next five years.

For more information about Whitefish Mountain Resort, visit www.skiwhitefish.com.

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