My wife and I were there from March 7 through the 15 and we're still talking about it and planning for next season. Me: 61 late to skiing but hooked big time. Wife: 51 grew up in New England. We only get to ski one trip a year mostly Jay Peak VT as there is family there.
First the people - pretty much everyone you meet is stoked to be there. The gal who booked our reservation, Katie K, was friendly and helpful over the phone and was charming in person when I walked into the office later to say hello. The folks at our lodging, "Hibernation House" were also accommodating. Random lift guys, waiters, the Ambassadors and instructors were all friendly and helpful. If I lived there I probably wouldn't be quite so friendly or helpful, knowing that I would have to share the space with itinerant Floridians like myself. But if you're tired of being where you are, Montana is a great place to be somewhere else.
Once we had decided on Whitefish back in November I read, re-read and dissected "sibhusky's" Local Guide to Whitefish. An illustrated guide complete with 47 8x10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, explaining what it was and how it was to be used... (obscure 60's reference, I'm only amusing myself, I know). Armed with the knowledge that I would probably die in a tree well or at least get lost in the fog for a few hours we were ready for our first Western ski vacation.
$85 per night, per person with lift tickets and a hot breakfast included. Pinch me! The "Hibe House" is not upscale but has clean rooms, a plug mold electrical strip for plugging in boot warmers, battery chargers, phones etc and a power flush toilet that will remove all traces of yesterday's fajitas in a jiffy. So much of a jiffy that when the upstairs tenant is flushing his fajitas the downstairs tenant will experience "turbulence" in the water if he happens to be seated. In France you pay extra for a bidet, in Whitefish it's included for $85 per night. Pinch me!
The rental shop had Rossi EXP 88's in my size, the wife ended up on Volkl Kenja's (they were demo's but we had them for a week). I don't have a big base of experience on different designs but my 88's worked great at Big Mountain. The wife proclaimed the Kenjas as her "soul skis". Next year we'll have our own equipment.
Our first day, Saturday was a glorious bluebird day with 360 degree vistas and moderate temps. We stayed on the front side of the mountain and skied the blues and got a feel for the layout. The lift lines were no more than 5 minutes, lunchtime was a bit hectic at Hellroaring Saloon but the food was good. Back out for an afternoon sesh and skied to the back of Hibe House at the end of the day.
Sunday was wet, the summit was pea soup but chair two was clear so we stuck to the spring conditions down below. Not challenging but we had fun and worked our legs to noodle status.
Monday it snowed all day on the upper mountain. We stayed on the back side where it was a little drier. In the time we took for lunch there was 2-3 inches of fresh on the groomers. Goat Haunt was a lot of fun, narrow, cambered up on both sides and leading to George's Gorge it's like a ski cross event.
Tuesday was a full on powder day, I can't say that I handled it that well but there were brief moments of competence to keep me motivated. We worked the front bowl area under chair one in the early morning before it got tracked. Had a great run down Moose except for the clueless Texan family who manged to stay in our way no matter what we did.
Wed Thurs Friday were all variations on spring skiing. It was a bit icy in the morning and soft in the afternoon. We stayed mostly on the back side, took a lesson and massaged our quads every 10 minutes. A bit of fog at the top now and then but I tried to get used to skiing without actually knowing where I was going. Very Zen.
Next year we will get into the trees a bit more, my goal is to huck over the edge at Glory Hole without breaking anything on the way down. A longer extended stay will be necessary for me to work up to that. We're thinking of me driving up for a 4 week stay with the wife joining me for her two week time off.