Airport’s record year is no accident

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With yet another record year for visitation to Glacier National Park in the books, it wasn’t surprising to learn this week that Glacier Park International Airport has also reached a new mark.

More than half a million passengers flowed through the airport last year, up 9.5 percent over 2016’s record year. While most of the travelers arrived or departed here in the peak summer months, airport director Rob Ratkowski pointed out that off-season travel is seeing steady growth as well.

A strong economy is partially to thank for the booming passenger growth — more locals are traveling for business or pleasure — but it’s also due to the important work done by local groups like Glacier AERO (Airline Enhancement and Retention Outreach). The nonprofit has led the charge in securing direct flights in and out of this isolated corner of Montana.

Incredibly, our little airport now serves 11 major destinations with year-round or seasonal flights. From here one can fly nonstop to Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Fransisco or Portland.

Nurturing the partnerships that allowed these direct flights to land here, while working to secure others, will be key to sustained growth in 2018 and beyond.

Skijoring hits Whitefish

The annual skijoring races gallop into Whitefish this weekend and spectators can expect the same good times as always — but at an all new venue.

After years of racing at the city airstrip, the event has been moved to Big Mountain Ranch off Voerman Road. According to organizers, the change will be an improvement for both racers and spectators. Sweeping views of Big Mountain are offered from the new site, as is on-site parking!

Racing begins at high noon on Saturday and Sunday, and the weather looks promising. Visit www.whitefishskijoring.com for details.

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