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Whitefish, MT March 12-17

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Well after many tries the Fockers finally made it out west as a family.  Anyone that's followed my posts here over the last few years knows I've been dying to get my wife and 2 boys out west on a ski vacation for a long time.


See threads such as this for more background:




Finally I as able to get her into this idea this year and after initially planning a trip (driving) to the Big Sky area we switched it up and decided to book Amtrak to Whitefish.


Living in MN gives the ability to jump on the Amtrak and be in Whitefish in a short 22 hours ;)    In all honestly the train was pretty fun on the way out there.  We had 2 two person sleeper cars and all four of us had a great time.   The meals were excellent and the kids loved being able to get up and walk around whenever they wanted.


When we started seeing more hills and valleys the kids really got excited.  You can see things from the train and experience the trip in a way you just don't get on a plane.   It was a really easy hassle free ride out there.


Being the train arrives around 9-10:00 PM we caught a cab up to our condo and went to bed after arriving.



Day 1:   I couldn't help myself and went skiing first chair Sunday morning as the family slept off the train hangover.   The hill was ICY but I didn't care and was 4th person up the lift and 1st person back down :D.     The ice on the frontside was burning my legs out quick so as soon as I could I headed to the North side and got in several runs there and a few on the T bar before calling it a day and heading to the condo.  We needed to get supplies for the week.    


The first photo I took after getting off the chair



Day 2:  Woke up to a nice 4" coating at the top of the mountain and got the whole family skiing asap.   My wife and youngest son were almost immediately intimidated by the conditions faced as they descended down the first run.   It was a busy day there for a Monday and moguls formed quickly on several of the busiest runs we needed to use to get around.   We had a good day but burned out our legs quickly skiing bumps.


Here's my youngest on Big Ravine



Day 3:   My youngest son bailed on skiing this Tuesday as soon as he woke up.   When I saw the reports of 7" of powder I didn't mind.   My wife and oldest son headed up as soon as we could and what an amazing day of skiing it was!!  For getting 11" in two days the hill was not very busy and the snow seemed lighter and drier than the 4" from the day before.  The bumps that formed were smaller and softer and much more fun to ski, especially for my wife.  I played in the trees on the edge of the run while they skied powder on top of the groomed backside runs.  We were dead tired after nearly 3 hours and all but collapsed into our condo and all took naps.



Here's my wife the next day on a slightly lower section of Big Ravine


Wife and oldest son learning soft snow skiing on the frontside



Day 4:   We took a day off from skiing and went into town.  My youngest was really excited about this as he wasn't all that thrilled about skiing on this trip.   We ate an excellent lunch at the Craggy Range, did a bunch of shopping and then took the free SNOW bus to the Wave Whitefish aquatic center for some waterslide, pool and hut tub fun.   I recommend this place for after skiing or on a day off in town it you have kids.  Very fun.   $35 maximum family cost?   This ain't Vail and the prices showed it.


Downtown Whitefish is like it was designed for postcards to be made about.   


Day 5:


Our final day of skiing and my wife and youngest son were so happy to see it was going to be a bluebird day lol.   Still there was 2" of fresh at the top and I knew the groomer skiing would be prime and the trees should still be fairly soft.   My youngest decided to ski again this day and we made several fun runs down Chair 2 in the morning with the sun shining down and gorgeous views everywhere you looked.


If you can't have powder, I'll take this.  



Of course we had to get a pic with the Jesus.


After my youngest burned out his legs we skied him back to the condo and went out for a few more quick runs from the top.


The views from up there are simply stunning.   There was basically a short line to take pictures it's so popular.  Glacier National Park in the background.


Looking back up the 'Anthill' at the sumit.  This slope had huge moguls (and about 100 people) on it on Monday.  On this day it was a blast.


And of course Inspiration, easily the most beautiful single run I've ever skied.   Loved this one.


After several runs from the top my wife and oldest were getting tired so I skied them back to the condo and headed out for a few tougher runs by myself.   After battling a stomache bug on Monday and Tuesday I was feeling like the king of the world and wanted to hit some harder lines.


I ended up skiing Glory Hole in the Hellroaring Basin first.   This was easily the toughest line I've ever skied in my life and also the most rewarding.   Deep creamy snow, steep slopes and just the right tree spacing IMO.   What an amazing setting, and the conditions were great still after I feared it might be too set up.


I skied a little over half way down and snapped some pics while taking a much needed rest.


The photos just don't capture how steep and challenging this area was.  Wish I'd skied it on Tuesday when the 7" feel.


I took my time down through the bottom of the basin and found a bunch of untouched powder in trees.  This run it the longest vert you can find at Whitefish and I was feeling it.  The lift ride out is thankfully very long as I needed the rest badly.


I then skied a few more full out GS turn runs on lift 2 and finished the day by taking lifts 1 back to the rop and skiing Ptarmigan Bowl to bench run to Toni Matt.   Amazing area and I wish I had more time for this section of the mountain.


We hit the Beirstube for dinner on St Patricks day as we had an early train out on Friday and hit the hay.    


We had a great train ride through Glacier National Park on Friday as it was night when we went through it on the way out there.   Glacier must be seen to be believed.   It's simply amazing.


My photos didn't turn out well due to the windows on the train giving reflections and being dirty.



The sun rises and sets often within minutes in the mountains on the train.  :rolleyes


Herd of Elk enjoying the view


We waved a sad goodbye to the mountains and settled in for a long ride home.


Overall we loved whitefish, but my oldest son and I enjoyed the trip much more than my wife and youngest son.   That figures as we simply like skiing more than they do.  My wife wished there was enough snow for x-country or a sled dog ride but due to recent warm weather there was not.


I would love to get back there, that's for sure.  We'll see what the future brings.   Wife wants to go to the beach first though, several times ;) 

Edited by focker - 3/19/16 at 12:36pm
post #2 of 4
Thanks first the report. The train ride freaks my wife out when I discuss Whitefish with her. I'm glad it doesn't get in too late.
post #3 of 4

Nice, thanks for the TR!

post #4 of 4
Sounds like you had a greAt trip and weather. Will have to put it on the wish list and give amtrak another shot.
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