The Flathead National Forest and Whitefish Mountain Resort are reminding skiers of the uphill skier policy that goes into effect Thursday, Nov. 22.
In an effort to continue access to public lands, maintain a long practiced traditional activity and provide for public safety, skiers and snowboarders are reminded to follow the Uphill Skier Policy and heed the U.S. Forest Service Special Order, which requires uphill skiers to keep their distance from grooming machines and snowmaking equipment year round and follow route restrictions when in effect.
Route and timing restrictions go into effect 14 days prior to opening day for the resort on Dec. 6, and remains in effect 14 days after closing day on April 7.
In preparation for opening day, snowmaking and grooming operations are ongoing as conditions allow. Resort officials remind the public that equipment such as snow guns, hoses, grooming machines, snowmobiles and high voltage lines can present real and serious hazards to skiers and must be avoided.
For the protection of public safety, it is prohibited for any skier, hiker, or person otherwise, to be off the two approved routes or in areas closed.
Year-round it is prohibited for any skier to approach within 100 feet of grooming machines, whether stationary or moving; or 50 feet of snowmaking equipment, to include but not limited to fan guns, high-pressure water lines, and high-voltage electrical cables.
For 14 days before and after the scheduled opening and closing days of the resort, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., the east route is the only approved route for uphill and downhill traffic. There are no uphill or downhill route restrictions before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. during the preseason and post-season.
Parking for uphill skiers is limited to the Spruce Lot only. The east route begins at the Spruce Parking Lot, crosses the bridge toward the Ski and Ride School and Clinic building and ascends lower Inspiration, Expressway, Moe-Mentum, and Fill Hill to the summit. It is marked by 12 red diamonds with an arrow and the word “UPHILL” printed on them.
The Uphill Skier Policy and the Forest Service Special Order can be found at www.skiwhitefish.com/uphill-policy and www.fs.usda.gov/activity/flathead/recreation/wintersports. Skiers are asked to read and abide by this policy and order.
Any uphill travelers not following the approved routes, at approved times, approaching closer than 100 feet of grooming equipment or 50 feet of snowmaking equipment can be ticketed and face up to a $100 fine for a first offense and stiffer penalties for repeat offenses.
Preseason and post-season dogs must be on a leash, during ski season dogs are prohibited.