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Whitefish, Montana on a budget

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 


I am looking for a potential trip to White Fish, Montana, and gathering ideas for cheap lodging and public transportation to/from ski resort and airport. This looks like a good deal: http://www.cheapsleepmotel.com/ Any other suggestions. Thanks.



 



 






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Resorts, Conditions & Travel


post #2 of 11

Whitefish is more of a summer resort and is pretty darn cheap in the winter. There are a ton of cheap hotels on 93. But without a rental car, I don't know how you'd get around?  I always stayed at either the Grouse Mountain Lodge or Hibernation house up at the hill.

post #3 of 11

Easiest for walking to bars/eateries etc is the Downtown. It is pretty cheap - but

also not exactly the Ritz, best room is ground floor adjacent the lobby, others not so good.  But for  a little more you get nicer rooms further out at the Pine Lodge. After a number of years staying at the Downtowner last time was probably our last. Pretty sure they all have shuttles to the hill. We always have a vehicle .    
 

post #4 of 11

I heard elsewhere that the CheapSleep is okay.  I'd also heard that the Downtowner is okay.  Neither supposed to be great.  You need to define what you consider cheap, whether it's just you and you are in your 20's or whether you have a family and are in your 40's as what you will put up with sort of changes with your demographic.  Hibernation House is also cheap.  

 

The first thing I'd recommend is pulling down the Snow Bus schedule and comparing that route to where hotels are.  (See my Local's Guide for that link on the Tips page.)  Understand that the Snow Bus will not pick you up from the airport and doesn't run every 15 minutes so your life would be dependent on catching that bus!!  To avoid depending entirely on that schedule, staying at Hibernation House would help, but it is "hostel" level lodging.  (By the way, today Nov 15 is the LAST DAY to book some special or other with them -- something about kids being free up to maybe 17 (?) if I recall, see at the end of this post.)  

 

Some of the more expensive hotels do provide airport shuttle service.  Also, I think that the timeshare Meadow Lake not only provides that, but some free lift tickets AND bus service to the resort all in return for getting a sales pitch. (You'd have to check that out, but it used to be true.)  I think there is also some kind of taxi service you can get to Whitefish, but I'd arrange this in advance as there are literally hardly ANY taxis (not services, physical taxis themselves) in the valley.  There is some kind of bus service (Eagle Transit) that runs between Kalispell and Whitefish, but again, you'll have to Google it as I don't know the schedule and how well it links to the Snow Bus.  

 

If your version of cheap is more generous than the above three, I think there are people on Epic who have stayed at the Best Western and some of the other chains.  Maybe use Yelp to see how they are.  I LIVE HERE, so asking me about hotels is sort of useless, there is only one place I've ever stayed and it was back when I had a nice job, so it's not cheap.  

 

Anything else, ask away.  Cheap lift tickets can be purchased at Costco, but I don't know how you'd get them if you don't rent a car.  

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
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post #5 of 11

Sounds like you are going to Vail from that other thread.  It will more than likely be cheaper in terms of time to get there and you have a pretty short trip planned.  You'd have to change planes to come here, might as well be skiing.  

post #6 of 11

Although that is one of the best things about Whitefish. It is so remote it rarely is crowded. Lots of inexpensive accommodation in winter and cheaper

possible.The Downtowner is not one of the town's highlights. OK for skiers who don't care where they stay for a night but definitely approaching the limit.  

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Sounds like you are going to Vail from that other thread.  It will more than likely be cheaper in terms of time to get there and you have a pretty short trip planned.  You'd have to change planes to come here, might as well be skiing.  

Yes, I am almost set on Vail for this year. Maybe next season to White Fish or Sun Valley. For me it's not only a skiing vacation: I actually want to move to one of these locations one day. I want to move to live at the vacation place year-round, so I stop taking vacations.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesX521 View Post

Yes, I am almost set on Vail for this year. Maybe next season to White Fish or Sun Valley. For me it's not only a skiing vacation: I actually want to move to one of these locations one day. I want to move to live at the vacation place year-round, so I stop taking vacations.

 

What’s holding you back? The longer you wait, the more complications will arise to keep you in the lowlands!

 

Any of the major metros (SLC, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Sacramento) near the ski resorts are the way to go. You get the best of both worlds with a major city and quick access to the mountains. 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post

 

Any of the major metros (SLC, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Sacramento) near the ski resorts are the way to go. You get the best of both worlds with a major city and quick access to the mountains. 

 

Those are some nice cities, but lifestyles not even close to living in a ski town.   But then I'll never stop taking vacations either.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

Those are some nice cities, but lifestyles not even close to living in a ski town.   But then I'll never stop taking vacations either.

 

Of course not, but the ski towns are pretty darn expensive to live in. Not too many folks make it up there...

 

These big cities are nice base camps too. It’s a real quick flight to SLC, Vegas and Reno from DIA, so vacations are easy to plan. 

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesX521 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Sounds like you are going to Vail from that other thread.  It will more than likely be cheaper in terms of time to get there and you have a pretty short trip planned.  You'd have to change planes to come here, might as well be skiing.  

Yes, I am almost set on Vail for this year. Maybe next season to White Fish or Sun Valley. For me it's not only a skiing vacation: I actually want to move to one of these locations one day. I want to move to live at the vacation place year-round, so I stop taking vacations.

First, it's ONE WORD, Whitefish.  

 

Second, visiting during ski season (or, for here, summer season when Glacier National Park is open) is not the ideal time to see if you want to live here.  Visit potential towns to live in during the OFF season.  Find out if you can stand "mud season" in the spring.  Towns take on a totally different character when the tourists leave.  Don't come to ski, come to find out what else there is.  All three are great places to ski and THAT experience will be largely defined by a host of things that could happen that one week in terms of weather, schools being on spring break, whatever.  Make up a list, start looking at real estate prices, cost of living, crime rates, tax rates, etc.  Don't focus on the skiing, focus on the living.  

 

And by the way, COBillsFan, as ski towns go, it's not that expensive here.  Median house price in Whitefish is under $300,000, property taxes (contrary to the way the locals may complain) are pretty low, and the cost of living is near the national average.  

 

Although I could argue about some of the "facts" presented below for here, I assume there is consistent methodology across the towns in this stuff I found on BestPlaces.net:

 

 

Vail   Whitefish   Sun Valley
Overview
Overview
Overview
QuickFacts QuickFacts QuickFacts
Population: 5,305 Population: 13,020 Population: 1,406
Pop. Change: 16% Pop. Change: 11% Pop. Change: -5%
State: Colorado State: Montana State: Idaho
Metro Area: Edwards Metro Area Metro Area: Kalispell Metro Area Metro Area: No Metro Area
County: Eagle County County: Flathead County County: Blaine County
City: Vail City: Whitefish City: Sun Valley
    Zip Code: Whitefish (zip 59937) Zip Code: 83353
Real Estate: For Sale Real Estate: For Sale Real Estate: For Sale
Search: Find and Compare Realtors Search: Find and Compare Realtors Search: Find and Compare Realtors
Schools: See Local Schools       Schools: See Local Schools
Interesting Facts about Vail, Colorado     Interesting Facts about Whitefish (zip 59937), Montana     Interesting Facts about Sun_Valley, Idaho  
As of 2012, Vail's population is 5,305 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 15.65 percent.     As of 2012, Whitefish (zip 59937)'s population is13,020 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 11.23 percent.     As of 2012, Sun Valley's population is 1,406 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of -4.81 percent.  
The median home cost in Vail is $618,500. Home appreciation the last year has been 3.04 percent.     The median home cost in Whitefish (zip 59937) is$209,500. Home appreciation the last year has been 2.33 percent.     The median home cost in Sun Valley is $751,700. Home appreciation the last year has been 1.13 percent.  
Compared to the rest of the country, Vail's cost of living is 82.50% Higher than the U.S. average.     Compared to the rest of the country, Whitefish (zip 59937)'s cost of living is 11.60% Higher than the U.S. average.     Compared to the rest of the country, Sun Valley'scost of living is 103.00% Higher than the U.S. average.  
Vail public schools spend $4,957 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $5,691. There are about 14.3 students per teacher in Vail.     Whitefish (zip 59937) public schools spend $5,203 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $5,691. There are about 12.6 students per teacher in Whitefish (zip 59937).     Sun Valley public schools spend $7,873 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $5,691. There are about 13.1 students per teacher in Sun Valley.  
The unemployment rate in Vail is 8.90 percent(U.S. avg. is 8.60%). Recent job growth is Positive. Vail jobs have Increased by 3.78 percent.     The unemployment rate in Whitefish (zip 59937) is10.60 percent(U.S. avg. is 8.60%). Recent job growth is Negative. Whitefish (zip 59937) jobs have Decreased by 1.12 percent.     The unemployment rate in Sun Valley is 9.10percent(U.S. avg. is 8.60%). Recent job growth is Negative. Sun Valley jobs have Decreased by 0.61 percent.  

Edited by sibhusky - 11/16/12 at 9:05am
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