Whitefish Mountain Resort, MT, again warns uphill skiers and riders not to enter the construction zone around its new chairlift.
Despite previous warnings, skiers have continued hiking and skinning up the mountain and entering the marked construction zone, interrupting work on the new Snow Ghost Express and putting themselves in significant danger.
Construction crews are installing the haul rope for the new lift; a pilot line is also in place. Even when no workers are in the immediate vicinity, these heavy steel cables can move suddenly and rapidly, resulting in severe injury or death. All skiers must remain a safe distance away.
Crossing the lift line remains strictly prohibited. Additionally, Thanksgiving Day marked the start of the 14-day preseason period described in the resort’s uphill policy. Until the operating season begins on Thursday, Dec. 8, the Benny Up Route is closed, and all uphill and downhill traffic is limited to the East Route between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Safe uphill travel is permitted and encouraged on Big Mountain. The uphill policy was crafted in consultation with the U.S. Forest Service. Rules vary throughout the year, and details can be found at skiwhitefish.com/uphill. However, violations of these rules may result in consequences, including the revocation of season passes.
“We can’t stress this enough: We need everyone to steer clear of the construction zone and the entire lift line. We understand the excitement of seeing this project up close, but it’s not worth the risk to your personal safety. We also value our ability to foster a thriving community of uphill skiers, and we urge everyone to ensure they and their skiing partners are acting responsibly.”
– Matt Gebo, the resort’s director of marketing and sales
The resort urges uphill skiers to begin their ascents from the Spruce parking lot near the Base Lodge, as required by the uphill policy. Some have been starting from the village and crossing the new lift line to reach the East Route, which is prohibited.
Other safety reminders are as follows:
- Under Whitefish Mountain Resort policy and a special order from the Forest Service, all guests must stay at least 100 feet from grooming machines, even if the machines are stationary, and at least 50 feet from all snowmaking equipment, including fan guns, high-pressure water lines, and high-voltage electrical cables.
- Guests should never duck under or ski over winch cables used to pull grooming machines up the mountain. These heavy steel cables carry immense loads and can move suddenly and rapidly, resulting in serious injury or death.
- Uphill skiers must yield to downhill skiers and snowboarders, stay on the edge of the route (not in the middle of trails) and never hike more than two people side by side. Collisions between uphill and downhill skiers are extremely dangerous and can be avoided.