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Whitefish MT - Jan or Feb?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We're planning a family trip to Big Mountain this winter. Our schedule would allow for a trip in Mid-January or late February. We're from North Dakota, so not too concerned about cold, but would snow conditions be significantly better during one of those months?

We've been to Big Mt in February (great snow, foggy), and March (warm and slushy). Since this is our one big ski trip for the year, and our sons' first mountain trip ever, we want to ensure the best possible conditions.

We chose Big Mountain because it's very convenient to travel by train from where we live.
post #2 of 10
Not an expert on Montanta skiing, but in February I would think you have longer daylight hours than in January. Probably historically a bit warmer too.

All things being equal I would choose Feb.
post #3 of 10
My family was there Feb-March of 2006... the last and first week on the months overlapped. We had fresh snow several times and only got "fogged" out 1 day. Conditions overall were excellent and we had a great time.

Compared to our first trip there which was mid-March about 5 years ago, when by noon each day we skied mashed potatoes and slush.

To answer your question - if the snow conditions are good, I'd opt for the earlier time ... Jan might be a tad early, but you don't want to ski on mashed potatoes either. Besides going early gets the trip out of the way to make room for more skiing in Feb and March

While there you should check out a restaurant in Kalispell called something like "Eat my Chicken Noodle Soup" ... don't know if it's still in business but the food and service was great. Oh, and there's also the Buffalo Cafe in downtown Whitefish for awesome breakfast
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the food suggestions, but since we'll be taking the train and won't have a car, we won't be going to Kalispell. And we'll be in a condo, so we plan to eat breakfast there.

Unfortunately there isn't a lot of skiing to be had around here, except for a little place near the Canadian border (350' vertical, 2 chairlifts). We take out Boy Scout and Church groups up there as often as we can, but it doesn't compare to mountain skiing!
post #5 of 10
I checked back to my notes for the 2006-2007 season and mid-January had some fantastic conditions. Late Feb we had lots of days with poor visibility.

2005-2006 Not so many notes, but I see that I skied way fewer vertical feet than 2006-2007 during late Jan. Mid-Feb was the NorAms. Bitter cold days (-48 windchill one day).

So, totally different conditions for each of those years. BUT, the "Doug" is scheduled from Feb. 4 - 10 in 2008, so you might want to avoid that time period as a good deal of the mountain is roped off for the races.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I made reservations! We'll be skiing Jan 12 - 15 (no matter what the weather is like!) We're staying in Anapurna, which isn't quite ski in/ski out, but the access isn't bad.

I am so excited about this trip I can hardly sleep already! Hubby and I haven't been to the mountains since 1994, when I was 10 weeks pregnant with our twins. My doctor advised me to stick to green runs (yeah, right). In his defense, he's never seen me ski, and in North Dakota one doesn't expect to find especially good skiers. I didn't ski nearly as hard that year as I did the year before, but I sure didn't stay on the green!

I'm planning to put everyone in lessons the first day, either in the morning or afternoon. One of my sons started snowboarding last year, but only got out 3 times, so he still spends a lot of time on his knees and butt. He hasn't decided yet if he's going to ski or board out there (I'm going to push for skiing, just so he isn't by himself all day).
post #7 of 10
The front side of Big Mountain faces south. You made the right call for January. Climate is Pacific Northwest influenced and altitude not all that high. Balmy by North Dakota standards.
post #8 of 10
Alright! ... nothing like making the plans and waiting for the snow

One suggestion, should the fog roll in, is to buy a lower list pass only for Chair 2. If it's foggy, and man it can get reeeallly thick, the visibility can be especially bad up top, but not as bad lower down. Buying the lift ticket for Chair 2 will save you a couple of bucks, but there's still some pretty good skiing along the chair 2 lift served runs.

If you've bought a 4-day pass then this won't help. For us, we've had better results with the visibility on the North slopes when the fog rolled in. Hope you enjoy ...
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
I already bought 4-day lift tickets, when I reserved the condo - the savings was $9/day/person.

The last time we were there (in February) we had one very foggy day, and it seems to me we skied on the north side (back before they put in a high-speed quad - we're looking forward to skiing back there this year without spending 30 minutes on the lift every time!).

One more question - where do we go to rent skis? Hubby and I have our own, but our kids grow too fast and we don't ski enough to justify buying stuff for them (especially since they're twins, and the same size).
post #10 of 10
You can rent skis down at the new lodge (not convenient anymore to Anapurna). Take the shuttle bus to get there and it's not so bad. Not sure if they will be a rental shop up in the Moguls/Morning Eagle area this coming year. The web site shows a rental location by chair 2 as I write this, but it also shows Chair 2 terminating at its old location, not its new location.

I'll be working the ski races during the 10th to 13th, but maybe after they are all done....
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