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Ski Whitefish or Schweitzer Mountain?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Looking to ski/snowboard near Fernie this winter and one other mountain but we are having trouble deciding between Whitefish Mt(Big Mt) or Schweitzer. What do you prefer? What are the pros and cons of each? I heard it gets pretty grey and gloomy in Whitefish. Is weather or snow better in one more than the other?
post #2 of 26
As far as I know, Schweitzer and Big Mountain have the same fog issues. Big Mountain is a higher altitude, which may mean that we have more "inversion" conditions than Schweitzer. Schweitzer is SLIGHTLY smaller, but slightly more vertical. Personally, based on ONE drive through, I think the town of Whitefish is cuter and more compact than Sandpoint, but I'd have to defer to someone who knows the place. Also, I think the town is closer to the mountain here in Whitefish.

Also, you have an Epic tourguide in Whitefish....
post #3 of 26
Plus Steve Howe. Just saying.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sibhusky How is the snow come end of January??
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CathB View Post
Sibhusky How is the snow come end of January??
Statisically that should be when it's at its best. Most of our snow NORMALLY comes in December and January. Of course, last year it came all season except for about two weeks in the middle of the season where we had a tropical spell that was quickly forgotten when the snows returned. Last year, we had fresh powder on closing day, of course. I've looked back at comments I made over the years, but I really only started talking conditions last year and last year one was (I kid you not) "MORE POW, give me a rest!". The median ski day vertical over five years was zig-zag, kind of implying that it snows (and slows me down) every other day or so.
post #6 of 26
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Let's hope that La Nina continues this season. Although it sounds like it needs to be a weak La Nina given the amount of need-a-rest-from-"powder". I wish I could have said the same for the East last year. I just kept missing the storms and ended up with the ice.

I know what you mean when you just want one day with a bit of Sunshine on your cheeks. Happened to me in Utah two years ago. It just vomited snow.

Given that this is vacation for me, you only wish you could have the best of both worlds. Powder and Sun. Just like in aWarren Miller.

So it sounds like Whitefish is a great place to spend a few days in January before heading to Fernie. Originally I was thinking Schweitzer and Fernie. Unless someone convinces me otherwise.

Big Sky is also a possibilty too.
post #8 of 26
Big Sky has a totally different vibe and is six hours south of here. They are BIG, especially given their relationship with Moonlight. Their lines are reasonable. Their snow is full of little rocks on just about every trail, be prepared to need some work done. They are higher, I believe, and they get more sun. They have lots of glitz, sort of a Deer Valley feel. And their lift tickets are ridiculous --$78!!!
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
$78 is about the price of Stratton out here, so to me 5000 acres 400 inches versus 600 acres with ice sheets and -17 degree wind, i think i would trade that anyday.

But I am not saying I'll head to Big Sky just yet. All of it looks beautiful to me. I think Big Sky would still be a quiet retreat compared to the packed slopes of CO. But small town feel in Whitefish sounds just up my street. I skied at Brundage a few years back and absolutely loved it. Despite that I was the only one on the mountain and thought truthfully I was lost out of bounds somewhere. Quite liked the rush of being lost in the forest although you could do that in VT too(not in -17).
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Steve Howe was yankees I believe. ew...
post #11 of 26
I am looking forward to skiing Montana this year. I think my the Bozeman area is my top priority.....but i keep on hearing great things about whitefish. I think i will have to check it out.

castle makes for a interesting day trip from fernie....just don't expect a resort.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
No resort is fine. How's the weather at Castle? Cold?
post #13 of 26
If you are in the area and want a great day or two of skiing, hit Snowbowl in Missoula. It is under the radar and does not advertise with the Montana "resorts," but it has better steep skiing that either Big Mountain or Schewitzer, and a lot less chance of fog. They get temperature inversions so the Missoula valley is socked in, but on the climb up to Snowbowl you usually rise above it. Volantadditic has posted lots of pics of the place, and on a good snow year it is a diamond in the rough.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Anyone out there no anything about Schweitzer? Goes to show how little crowds they must have.
post #15 of 26
Wow Sib. First time I've ever heard Big Sky and Deer Valley in the same sentence. I enjoy both but I think they are opposite ends of the dedicated ski resort spectrum.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CathB View Post
No resort is fine. How's the weather at Castle? Cold?
Castle is definately colder than fernie but it is usually not too bad. Castle gets a lot of wind though.

The runs are long and the snow can be really good. Plus, it is practically empty on weeekdays.
post #17 of 26
I thought Steve Howe played guitar ?

I visited Fernie & Whitefish, (aka Big Mountain), Missoula Snowbowl & Big Sky as part of a road trip 2 seasons back. Snowbowl was lacking snow, but had potential. Not much in the way of infrastructure, but some decent vert., & steeps. If you really want to get off the radar, try Ski Discovery outside of Butte, MT.. Montana is a big state, & Big Sky is a long way.

I've never been to Schweitzer, so I can't comment. Whitefish is great, with lot's of slopeside lodging or motels in town. The drive to the border & Fernie is beautiful, & not too long.

Where are you flying into?

JF
post #18 of 26
Schweitzer sucks. Need a GPS to find your way downhill through the fog. When the sun comes out, once a year, its ugly. Flat. Expensive. Awful. Crowded. No snow. Creaky lifts. Rude people. Rocks sticking up everywhere.
post #19 of 26
How much did you pay for your pass there?
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutter View Post
Schweitzer sucks. Need a GPS to find your way downhill through the fog. When the sun comes out, once a year, its ugly. Flat. Expensive. Awful. Crowded. No snow. Creaky lifts. Rude people. Rocks sticking up everywhere.
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
How much did you pay for your pass there?
I had the same thought.

Also, no offense to Volantaddict, with whom I expect to ski one day, but every time I've been to Missoula (always with the racers), I've found the lifts UNBEARABLY SLOW and the conditions dicey. Maybe it's lack of familiarity with the place and how to "work" the mountain. I didn't get the impression that the Original Poster was looking for maximum adrenaline, either. So cliff jumps, etc. is probably not something that factors into their appraisal.

Steve, for Montana, Big Sky is as close to Deer Valley as it gets. Hyper-pricey, and, to me, over-rated. It does have LOTS of acreage, I'll agree, and those gondola areas are great for those who want to exercise the value of their health plans. I guess mid-day grooming needs to be added to make it truly Deer Valley and maybe some guys hand-picking up all the little stones all over the place....

Big Mountain is still trying to figure out how to BECOME Deer Valley, I'm sure, but God gave us fog and it ain't gonna happen until Foley can control that part of the equation. YAY!

I came up with a thread from last January that included photos from myself and a visitor to our part of Montana.
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutter View Post
Schweitzer sucks. Need a GPS to find your way downhill through the fog. When the sun comes out, once a year, its ugly. Flat. Expensive. Awful. Crowded. No snow. Creaky lifts. Rude people. Rocks sticking up everywhere.

So the video on their front page is a lie? Pure sales pitch?

http://www.schweitzer.com/
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post
I came up with a thread from last January that included photos from myself and a visitor to our part of Montana.

Thanks so much for the pictures. they are great!!!!
post #23 of 26
the video is much closer to the truth. just don't tell anybody.
post #24 of 26
Been to both only skiied Schweitzer maybe six days on two visits.

I like Sandpoint better than Whitefish. Pretty decent amenities but a real place.

Schweitzer had small crowds on holiday weeks, fast lifts reasonably priced accomodations and good snow. Nice variety of trails, bowls, trees, groomers.

Not a lot to do on Mountain apres and you got to want to get off the mountain to take the trip down a verly lengthy, very twisty access road (very well maintained though).
post #25 of 26
Maybe it's because Whitefish is further from home, but I lean towards that as better than Schwietzer (I live near Seattle). I've always thought of Schwietzer as a smaller version of Whitefish. I like them both, but if I'm looking to do a road trip beyond a long weekend, I would definitely shoot for Whitefish. Fernie being closer, that seems like the smart choice if combining the two.

I never thought I would hear Deer Valley and Big sky mentioned together. Although the prices and some aspects of BS are getting glitzy, it still has a long way to go...which is fine with me - I'll take no crowds any time.
post #26 of 26
Just an update, not sure if it will affect your choice, but Whitefish is NOT having a Nordic Center this year for various reasons, although they hope to have it again in the future. Also, the superpipe is history. They will still have the terrain park. The superpipe always took tons of snowmaking effort and would open well into the season and really didn't have that much traffic. They decided that rather than doing a lousy job they'd skip that job entirely.
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