Snow woes elsewhere give Whitefish Mountain Resort a lift

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It wasn’t a record-breaker, but all things considered, Whitefish Mountain Resort posted a solid year

The resort closed for the season last Sunday.

“It was definitely a strange season, but overall we’re still doing great in terms of our skier visits,” said Riley Polumbus, the resort’s spokeswoman. “We had one of the better bases in this half of the country, and really the continent, including Alberta and B.C. as well.”

The skier total from this season topped 300,000, only the fifth time the resort has done so.

The snow-heavy 2013-14 skiing season set a visitation record with 345,000 skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes.

After big snowfalls this winter in December and January, snow became scarce across the Northwest when precipitation slacked off and temperatures rose well above seasonal averages. 

Whitefish Mountain Resort’s snowfall total for the recently concluded season was 221 inches, compared to the average 300 inches. Still, it was enough to bring skiers into town from hours away.

“As some of the ski areas in Washington and other places didn’t have a lot of snow and started closing early, we were getting a lot of people coming from that region that normally would have gone to a resort closer to home, because we had the snow,” Polumbus said. “I think that’s a positive, because it’s good PR to have snow obviously, and when you have people come because no one else does, they get exposure to our area and to our mountain.”

The mountain’s busiest time was during the week of Christmas. The Sunday following Christmas, the resort set a single-day record with 8,144 skiers and snowboarders.

Polumbus said that was thanks to a good powder day that brought out many of the locals and season pass holders who might normally have opted to avoid the crowds.

She added that the climatic nuances of Whitefish also played a part in the resort’s relative success.

“We’re fortunate our snow does keep well; I think that has to do with our location,” she said. “The fact that we have some moisture in our snow, but it’s not too heavy, makes it good quality snow for groomers to work with.”

She added that the resort’s new Flower Point lift on the north side of the mountain was a major selling point for visitors, with conditions there staying consistent up to closing day.

On June 19, a pass holder-only appreciation day at the resort will feature free alpine slide rides, aerial adventure park admissions and zipline tours.

Whitefish Mountain Resort reopens for summer recreational activities June 20.

Reporter Samuel Wilson can be reached at 758-4407 or by email at swilson@dailyinterlake.com

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