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Whitefish — Mountain layout

Mountain Layout—Skiing

Whitefish Mountain Resorts Ambassador Program offers free tours of the mountain for intermediates and above at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The main access to Whitefish Mountain Resort is The Glacier Chaser, which moves skiers up 2,200 feet to the summit.

Its not unusual for snow on the back side of the mountain, aptly named North Side, to have better conditions and more powder. Exposure there helps preserve the snow, especially in the spring, when the front side can get mushy or is still crunchy from thawing and freezing. North Side is the better bet. It might even be snowing on the North Side when its clear on the front.

Here are larger, detailed maps: Main Trail Map, North Side Trail Map and Hellroaring Trail Map.

Expert, Advanced:

Whitefish Mountain Resorts generous out-of-bounds policy and the abundance of tree skiing make this resort a delight for expert and advanced skiers. Within the boundaries are 3,000 acres of sprawling terrain; another 1,000 acres are in the U.S. Forest Service permit area. Intermediate trails here follow the ridges and all advanced and expert lines drop off those ridges.

Most experts make a beeline to East Rim to tackle First Creek and North Bowl Chute (a.k.a. N.B.C.). This area has cliffs, but nothing you can get around. You could easily spend all day here and not explore it all. Dons Descent, farther down off Russs Street, is heavily treed. The other double-diamond area thats fun is Picture Chutes. Its not obvious because its out of bounds, but shoot up to Radio Tower off Gray Wolf to find deep powder in short steeps that drop you back onto Gray Wolf, then shoot into the trees on and around Bighorn for more untracked steep and deep adventure.

Throughout the entire Good Medicine, North Bowl and Hellroaring Basin areas youll find fields of powder and thousands of trees. Want dense trees that open up into some rollicking powder fields? Try The Back 9, Connies Coulee and Fault 2 or Fault 3 into Haskill Slide. If you don want to see any wide-open spaces, head to Stumptown, Window Pane or Teepee.

For big-air fans, Whitefish Mountain Resort has a cornice near the Summit House that leads into the glades of Elephants Graveyard. Runs from this cornice, and almost all skiing to the left of The Glacier Chaser, end up on Russs Street, a long cat track back to the front of the mountain.






Its tough for intermediates not to have fun here. Half the mountain is rated just for you. Go straight off The Glacier Chaser for Chair 7 on the North Side, or make a U-turn to reach Toni Matt, The Big Ravine, Inspiration and MoeMentum (named for Olympic downhill champ Tommy Moe), all perfect for top-to-bottom power cruising with wide GS turns. Hellfire, the resorts longest trail at 3.3 miles, winds all the way around Hellroaring Basin for a real leg-burner and fabulous views.

If visibility is low at the summit, dip into the tree-lined 1,000 Turns, just off Toni Matt, which dumps you back onto the lower part of The Big Ravine. Its also easier to see on the North Side, off Bigfoot T-bar or in the area around Chair 2, simply because these parts of the mountain are not above treeline.

Lower-intermediates should take a few laps off Chair 2 or Heavens T-bar before trying The Glacier Chaser. Chair 2s runs are equivalent in pitch to the blues off the front of the summit, but much shorter. The Bigfoot T-bar accesses three low-intermediate trails covering about 20 acres on the southern exposure above Russs Street and the Evans Heaven area. When you
e ready for the summit, try the runs down the North Bowl first. The toughest part will be the upper part of MoeMentum, which can build formidable moguls by afternoon.

Advanced-intermediates should be able to tackle any of the groomed single-diamonds or the Ptarmigan Bowl, which has easy bailouts.






Beginner, First-timer:

For 2006/07, Whitefish Mountain Resort is making huge improvements to the beginner area, including a new day lodge—with the Kids Center and Snowsports Center—a new lift and more terrain. The bulk of the beginner trails are here and under Chair 3, a bit higher on the mountain. The runs in the beginner area inspire confidence and smiles. If you
e adventurous, work your way over to Chair 3, Easy Rider and Heavens T-bar, where youll also find the main base village. When you want to return to the day lodge, take the meandering Home Again run.

There is no beginner way down from the top of the mountain. If you want to go to the summit, Russs Street is the easiest blue-square trail down—it has intermediate pitches at the top but turns into a beginner trail near the bottom. On the backside, Caribou is an easy run but also requires skiing part of the blue-rated MoeMentum (which is marked a slow zone on the part youll have to ski to get to Caribou).

If you only want to use the bottom part of the mountain, buy the beginner lift ticket; it can be upgraded when you feel comfortable enough to go higher.

First-timers have an excellent learning area, separate from other skiers, on the gentle trails under Chair 6. A moving carpet makes it easy to get up the hill during the first few skiing adventures.