Sunday, May 26, 2024

Whitefish Mountain Resort wraps up season with powder turns and pond skim

Daily Inter Lake | April 9, 2024 2:00 PM

After shaking off a dreadfully slow start to winter, Whitefish Mountain Resort capped its ski season last weekend with plentiful powder alongside pond skim shenanigans.

The final weekend of the ski season brought about a foot of new snow to the slopes, upping the season total to 255 inches with a settled base of 90 inches at the summit of Big Mountain.

While short of the ski area’s annual average of 300 inches of snowfall, resort officials were pleased with the season total considering the desperate start to the winter that limited skiable terrain through the Christmas holiday and into January.

“Once the snow really started falling, we were able to open all our terrain — and keep it open — and folks were eager to come up to ski and ride,” said Whitefish Mountain Resort Public Relations Manager Chad Sokol. “During a winter like this, we’re counting ourselves lucky to have received over 21 feet of snowfall on our summit by closing day.”

Total skier visits tallied up to approximately 430,000, which is 14% lower than last season’s total of about 500,000 skier visits.

“But looking at the period from Feb. 1 onward, visits were off only 4% compared to last season. This tracks with the weather we experienced early in the season,” Sokol said.

Saturday’s main event featured 60 competitors in the 17th annual pond skim contests, with costume-clad skiers and boards wowing a crowd gathered along the Middle Fork slope near the base of Chair 1. Costumes included two horses and a chariot, a Barbie doll, a few dressed as “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and an assortment of furry animals.

Reed Sandstrom, dressed as a cheerleader, won best crash. Best costume went to the Roman horses and chariot trio of Travis, Justin and Darren Kauffman. The women ski winner was Erica Florian, dressed as a wet cat, while the women snowboard winner wa Grace Cady wearing a Cody maverick costume. The men ski winner was Travis Kauffman, and the men snowboard winner was Vincent Remmel as grandma's knitted onesie.

In the resort’s vertical tracker competition, Michael Donnay racked up an impressive 7,692,821 vertical feet of skiing during the season to finish atop pass-holder challenge.

Season passes are already on sale for next season, priced at $749 for an adult. That’s up $10 over the 2023-24 rate.

Pass perks next winter include three free lift tickets to Great Divide in Helena, Loveland Ski Area in Colorado, Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon, and five free tickets to Red Lodge Mountain Resort in Montana. Pass-holders also get 50% off midweek tickets to Schweitzer in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Early registration is also open for placement on next winter’s freestyle teams and development team, as well as the Half Pints and Buckaroos programs.