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Whitefish in mid-March?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Been talking about different ski resorts for a March trip. Would start around March 19. Whitefish looks interesting. Would conditions typically be pretty good in that mid to late march time frame? Any other comments on Whitefish would be welcome.

post #2 of 10

Well, it's a La Nina year.  Typically, that would still be great skiing, maybe even still getting fresh snow.  Checking back to 07-08, our last La Nina, I see noted in my records that the best day of skiing I ever had in my entire life was on 3/29.  Looking at what skis I was using (XP's vs Outlaws back then) for the latter half of March, it was Outlaws 7 times, XP's 2 times.  (I was working back then off and on.)

 

For pictures of that month, click here.

 

The videos have that pink edge (don't know why, must have dropped the camera at some point in its life, the stills don't have the issue).  You might want to play them for the "delightful commentary".  LOL.

post #3 of 10

Whitefish is the most favored area in North America for  La Nina by my stats.  However, about half the mountain faces south, so I would discourage the March 19 time frame.  The place rates a good shot at being powder heaven in January/February 2011 with the strengthening Nina though.

 

The storms may still come in March, but the sun can destroy the powder on direct exposures within a couple of hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 10

One thing people go to Whitefish for, but is rarely mentioned here, is bar hopping.  The town jokes about being a drinking town with a serious skiing problem.  It is too damn cold at night to bar hop there in January.  March is much better.

post #5 of 10

Whitefish is a nice town and since it's more of a summer resort, fairly cheap in the winter.  Only problem with WFMR is it can get pretty foggy and I think that spring is it's foggiest time?

post #6 of 10

So, Tony says we have too much sun, the other guy thinks March is our foggiest time......  Looks like I'll have to check some more stats....  I can't see any real consistency about fog or no fog for those weeks.  But there's only a few faces that I'd go to anyway for powder that face south, the one I refer to as Bob's Run that takes you to the Langley area, Gray's, and then Good Med.  If they get sun, they'll suck.  But, Elephant's stays nice, Evan's, Elkweed, Back Nine, Connie's, and the whole backside stay nice.  We're not known for a lot of sun, so I'd say the chance of that being an issue in a La Nina year is low.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

Whitefish is the most favored area in North America for  La Nina by my stats.  However, about half the mountain faces south, so I would discourage the March 19 time frame.  The place rates a good shot at being powder heaven in January/February 2011 with the strengthening Nina though.

 

The storms may still come in March, but the sun can destroy the powder on direct exposures within a couple of hours.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Whitefish is a nice town and since it's more of a summer resort, fairly cheap in the winter.  Only problem with WFMR is it can get pretty foggy and I think that spring is it's foggiest time?

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments. In many Whitefish looks very appealing. We seem to prefer laid back places with some real world character and a variety of dining options. Whitefish would seem to check those boxes and doesn't seem wildly expensive. Reports of lots of fog and potentially iffy late season conditions are somewhat off-putting. Work schedules and other commitments basically limit us to that week for a Western trip.

post #8 of 10

Well, if you are looking for sun and it's important, go to Colorado.  But then, that's why you pay more, because of that.  Personally, I find the fog sort of a non-issue.  I just stick to the trees or more to the side of the trail.  I stay off the trails that have really wide open areas if the fog is extremely dense.  Usually it isn't all that bad.  Sometimes it is.  I fully admit there was a day I got "lost" on Toni last season.  (I ignored my own rules because of some dicey snow conditions I was trying to avoid.)  If you plan on sticking to the groomers and you've got some nervous nellies with you, it could be an issue.  If you're more of a tree skier, it won't be.  The first time I ever skied here, I was here an entire week in March and didn't have a single day of fog, it was all "inversions" and I didn't understand what the reputation was all about.  But truly, you know, the visibility problem could just as easily be flat light due to snow coming down.  That's even more likely.  But, there are ways to ski the hill to minimize the problem even on bad days and even with nervous nellies.  You stick to narrower trails.  You ski to one side of the trail nearer the trees to provide some shadows on the trail and therefore some sense of snow texture and depth perception.  You hop on to a mountain tour with Ambassadors if it's your first day and have them take you around to the easier places if you're feeling iffy.  You ski the backside which for some reason doesn't get the denser fog. 

post #9 of 10

One thing to consider when talking about the fog is the time of year.  Due to Whitefish's location close to the Canadian border the sun in January is much lower causing northern and eastern facing runs to be in the shadows very early in the day.  Add in fog and you have ideal conditions for extreme flat light.  In late March the sun is higher so the eastern and northern facing runs fall into the shadows much later in the day (especially when daylight saving time kicks in.)  Even though it might be foggy you will have much less flat light.

post #10 of 10

Mid March there's a long list of ski areas with high altitude and majority north exposure that will still have mostly packed powder conditions.  Why choose an area where one sunny day will screw up the surfaces?

 

With that exposure I say the fog can be your friend at Whitefish.  There's a lot of good tree skiing there.  And January/February of a big La Nina is certainly promising for the powder oriented skier.

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