Resort celebrates 70th season with powder days, record visits

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  • Billy “The Candy Man” Marcial celebrates after a successful trip across the pond at the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    Pond skim ski winner Danner Pickering celebrates a successful run across the pond during the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Tim Butler crashes into the pond during the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 3

    Johnathan Cook, dressed as President Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, swims across the pond after a crash at the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 4

    Participants compete in the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Billy “The Candy Man” Marcial celebrates after a successful trip across the pond at the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    Pond skim ski winner Danner Pickering celebrates a successful run across the pond during the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 2

    Tim Butler crashes into the pond during the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 3

    Johnathan Cook, dressed as President Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, swims across the pond after a crash at the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 4

    Participants compete in the 2018 Whitefish Pond Skim at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

Whitefish Mountain Resort’s 70th anniversary season went out with a bang.

After a March that only saw 58 inches of snow, 24 inches of powder blanketed the mountain in the last eight days of the season, including seven inches on Sunday.

All in all, the resort got a total of 410 inches of snow for the season, passing last year’s 406 inches for the second highest total, and set a new record for skier visits with more than 382,000.

WMR spokesperson Riley Polumbus said she can’t remember consecutive seasons as good as Whitefish has gotten the last two years.

“Back to back 400-inch years, I don’t know if we’ve ever done that before,” she said. “It’s pretty phenomenal.”

The total skier visit record is a 10 percent increase over last year’s record-setting 346,000 visitor mark.

For monthly snow totals, December saw 74 inches — five of which came before opening day — while January saw 91 inches. An above-average February posted 121 inches.

March’s total was just below average while April was above.

Snow fell on 80 of the 123 days the resort was open, with 22 days seeing six or more inches of snow.

The summit base depth of 164 inches was also the deepest in 21 years.

The changes that came with this season were also successful, Polumbus said.

Many skiers got to enjoy the redone Bierstube patio and Ed and Mully’s after a long day of skiing, and the relocated Chair 5 opened up East Rim access while taking pressure off Chair 1.

“I heard nothing but good feedback on Chair 5,” Polumbus said. “It helped with spreading people out for one thing. Our ridership on Chair 1 was down slightly, so that shows that people were spread out more.”

“It’s really nice that we can see more skier days and yet still feel uncrowded,” she added.

Ed and Mully’s had a record sales day on New Year’s Day and is also set for phase two of its renovations. The second phase will include remodeling the interior of the restaurant and improving the kitchen.

Other changes will be taking place during the summer as well.

Polumbus said the resort will be opening Memorial Day weekend this year, adding three weekends to its usual summer schedule, and families will be able to tube down the Big Easy Carpet slopes on a slippery surface. Details are still being worked out for the tubing.

As the 70th anniversary winter season comes to a close, Polumbus noted the impact the community has had all season long.

Even on a powder day like Sunday, skiers lined up to watch the Pond Skim and, the weekend prior, the Dummy Derby.

The Nate Chute Foundation Ski and Boardercross races brought its own big crowd to the resort and sold out this year.

The Buckaroos ski program for skiers ages 3 and 4 even had a record season for participation.

Having a community with a passion for hitting the slopes has been a huge factor in the mountain’s success, Polumbus said.

“It’s just such a big part of our community and that’s the big thing. We have an outstanding ski and snowboarding community here in Whitefish,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that are thriving here and it’s just exciting to be a part of that and be able to share the mountain with a great community.”

Season passes for the 2018-19 season are available until Sept. 30. The adult lift ticket is $660, a $15 increase in price.

For more information, visit skiwhitefish.com or call 406-862-2900.

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