Missoula Events

Body of missing skier found at Lost Trail

The body of a Corvallis skier who was last seen at Lost Trail Powder Mountain on Dec. 22 has been found.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said in a news release the body of 65-year-old Bart Pickard was found by a ski instructor on the south side of the mountain Saturday afternoon.

Pickard’s body was discovered near the Meadows Trail about 3:30 p.m. Members of the Ravalli County Search and Rescue team responded to the scene and worked with ski patrol to recover the body.

Hoffman said high winds in the area swept away some of the snow that was covering Pickard, and the ski instructor saw some of his ski equipment. Pickard was found in a tree well beneath about 4 feet of snow.

The body has been taken to the state Crime Lab in Missoula to determine the cause of death.

Search and rescue personnel spent two days at Lost Trail last month after Pickard was reported missing, ending their efforts on Christmas Eve after consulting with the skier’s family.img_4743.jpg

High avalanche danger in parts of western Montana

There is HIGH avalanche danger in the southern Missions, southern Swans & central Bitterroot. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Overall, in the west central Montana backcountry, the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely.

Good Morning, this is Dudley Improta with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s advisory for January 14, 2016. This danger rating is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service, does not apply to operating ski areas and expires at midnight tonight.

Weather and Snowpack

Generally, the area received about 6 inches of snow last night. The southern Missions and southern Swans have accumulated up to 16 inches of new snow. The central Bitterroot received 10 inches. Snow is forecast to continue to accumulate throughout the day; west central Montana is under a winter weather advisory until 11am MST.

Westerly mountain winds are blowing in the high 20 mph range and gusting into the 30’s. Mountain temperatures are in the low to mid 20’s F . Continued snow is forecast for today.

The new snow fell on a myriad of surfaces, depending on aspect. We toured the Rattlesnake and found cold snow capped by a wind crust on west and east facing slopes. On the south aspect there was a sun crust overlying surface facets. David Fox and Geoff Fast found a buried surface hoar layer 6 inches from the surface at Lost Trail; keep that in mind if you’re in the southern Bitterroots.

Storm slabs, wind slabs and large loose sluffs will be problems today. Stong westerly and southwesterly winds have loaded lee slopes; wind-loaded slopes are probably the most touchy, but I would avoid all steep slopes today. Travel on or under steep slopes is not recommended.

We received preliminary information about an avalanche accident in the St. Regis Basin yesterday. The accident happened in the afternoon and involved 3 skiers. Early information indicates Search and Rescue and helicopter assistance from Two Bear Air Rescue was initiated. There were injuries sustained but no fatalities. The St. Regis Basin area is covered by the Idaho Panhandle National Forest Avalanche Center.

Weather Forecast and Avalanche Outlook

Snow and wind will continue throughout the day. After a brief interlude, another system is expected to produce more snow tonight through Friday night. And, yet another system is forecast for Saturday. We will be out Friday and issue another advisory Saturday morning. For now, I would expect the avalanche danger to remain elevated.

Other Info

There are some openings left in Level 1 avalanche classes. Check our education page for all avalanche education opportunities.

Public observations can be important to the avalanche advisory and to riders and skiers. If you would like to send us snow observations use our public observations form or e-mail us at info@missoulaavalanche.org .

Steve will issue the next advisory Saturday morning, January 16.

Ride and ski safe.

Denison von Maur, owner of Altoona Ridge Lodge, stops momentarily on an accent to the ridge to talk with the group about snow safety

Denison von Maur, owner of Altoona Ridge Lodge, stops momentarily on an accent to the ridge to talk with the group about snow safety

Current avalanche danger rated as moderate

The current avalanche danger is moderate in the west central Montana backcountry. Human triggered avalanches are possible. Heightened avalanche conditions exist in isolated terrain.

Good morning, this is Travis Craft with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center’s avalanche advisory for December 29, 2015. This danger rating does not apply to operating ski areas, expires at midnight tonight (Dec.29) and is the sole responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service.

Weather and Snowpack

Today, winds are calm in the region. Mountain temperatures are in the teens. The advisory area received a small amount of snow in the last 24 hours.

Steve and I toured in the Rattlesnake yesterday and found a healing snowpack. The primary avalanche concern today is the persistent slab that is failing on the basal facets from Thanksgiving. This layer is not propagating in our tests and the facets are rounding. The only way to find this layer is to dig in the snow and see if the layer is reactive. A skier could possibly trigger this layer in spots on slopes (wind scoured ridgelines, rock out crops, and tree clusters) that have shallower snowpacks. Terrain management is key today.

The second avalanche problem is loose dry avalanches. These avalanches are small in size and are not a problem unless they take you into a terrain trap (trees, gullies and cliffs). Always look at slopes and assess the consequences of the terrain.

Avalanche and Weather Outlook

Scattered showers will continue through today with light accumulations of snow. By Wednesday, high pressure should move into the advisory area. I would expect the avalanche danger to stay the same with this weather forecast.

I will issue the last advisory for 2015 on New Years Eve (Thursday), December 31, 2015. Ski and ride safe.

High avalanche danger warning issued for southwest Montana mountains

BILLINGS – A high avalanche warning has been issued for four areas in southwest Montana following a snowstorm that brought more than a foot of snow to the region.

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center sounded the alarm early Tuesday morning for the Southern Madison and Southern Gallatin ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone and the mountains around Cooke City. The center has rated the avalanche danger as high on all slopes in those areas.

The dense snow fell onto a “weak and unstable snowpack” that built up during extremely cold temperatures in late November. Strong winds this weekend created slabs of snow on leeward slopes, which are also susceptible to collapsing.

“Natural and human-triggered slides are likely,” wrote the center’s Doug Chabot in the advisory posted online and sent out to subscribers via email. “Avalanche terrain and avalanche runout zones should be avoided.”

Last winter two people were killed in avalanches in southwest Montana, one in Cooke City and one near Big Sky. Already this fall two hunters were injured when an avalanche swept them down a slope in the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman in early November.

The recent storm brought 10 to 12 inches of dense snow to the mountains around Cooke City, West Yellowstone and Carrot Basin, according to the center. Big Sky received 5 inches. Along with the snow came strong winds out of the southwest that were averaging 20-30 mph with a gust of 67 mph recorded in the Hyalite region south of Bozeman.

“Another pulse of snow is forecasted Wednesday and Thursday,” Chabot wrote.

The complete avalanche forecast can be found on the center’s website at: mtavalanche.com/.Derek Mercer

Abundance of ski, snowboard slopes beginning to open in Montana

Montana offers the best of the best in downhill skiing and snowboarding – acres of powder, a lot of vertical and easy lift lines. And now is the time to start getting out in Big Sky Country’s big snowy open.

Here’s a look at each of Montana’s ski areas, with basic info on location, lift ticket prices and terrain:

Lisa Densmore demonstrates a turn at one of her clinics.

Lisa Densmore demonstrates a turn at one of her clinics.

• Bear Paw Ski Bowl: Located 29 miles south of Havre, this ski hill has adult tickets for $20 a day, $18 for students 9 to 18. Children 8 and younger and adults older than 80 ski free. The hill is open only Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays, January through April (snow permitting), from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. With one chair, one hand tow and a vertical of 900 feet, this is a small mountain – just perfect for beginners. Ski and snowboard rentals are available in Havre. Phone: (406) 265-8404. Website: skibearpaw.com.

• Big Sky Resort: With more than 30 lifts, 4,350 vertical feet and 5,800 total acres of skiing, Big Sky offers instant access to some of the most diverse skiing and snowboarding amid breathtaking vistas. Float down a 2,000-vertical-foot, powder-filled bowl beneath Lone Peak, bob and weave through the Bavarian Forest or ride the Lone Peak Tram for a bird’s-eye view of untamed wilderness. Snowboarders will find a halfpipe, rails and other features to grind on. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. An adult ticket is $106 a day, youth ages 11 to 17 are $86, children ages 6 to 10 are $56 and children younger than 10 are free with an adult. Big Sky is located about an hour south of Bozeman through Gallatin Canyon. Phone: (406) 995-5900. Website: bigskyresort.com.

• Blacktail Mountain Ski Area: Overlooking Flathead Lake about 15 minutes from downtown Kalispell, Blacktail provides skiers and snowboarders with 1,440 feet of vertical serviced by one triple chair and two doubles. It has an average snowfall of 250 inches. The family-friendly resort offers a variety of terrain from beginner to advanced. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and holidays. An adult ticket is $40. Teens ages 13 to 17 are $28. Ages 8 to 12 are $19, and children 7 and younger ski free. Opening depends on snowfall. Phone: (406) 844-0999. Website: blacktailmountain.com.

• Bridger Bowl: Skiing enthusiasts have enjoyed the area known as Bridger Bowl since the mid-1940s. Skiers love this hill, which is known for its “cold smoke” powder. Bridger Bowl is a nonprofit community ski area offering world-class skiing at small-town rates. An adult lift ticket price is $54. Ages 7 to 12 are $19, seniors 70 and older are $27, and children 6 and younger are free. Bridger Bowl is about 20 minutes northeast of Bozeman. Scheduled to open Dec. 11. Phone: 1-800-223-9609. Website: bridgerbowl.com.

• Discovery Ski Area: Only minutes from Fairmont Hot Springs, Discovery provides 2,388 feet of vertical on 67 trails. The ski area, overlooking Georgetown Lake, has a good variety of terrain to suit many abilities for skiers and snowboarders. Annual snowfall is 215 inches. Lift hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Adult tickets are $42 for a full day and $34 for a half day. Ages 12 and younger are $21 and seniors are $32. Ages 5 and younger are free. Phone: (406) 563-2184. Website: skidiscovery.com.

• Great Divide: Twenty-three miles north of Helena near the old mining town of Marysville, Great Divide offers 1,560 feet of vertical on 140 trails. Average yearly snowfall is 180 inches. Tickets are $40 for adults, and $30 for middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, seniors and military. There are five terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders. The mountain has five double chairs. Special lift and rental packages are available for beginners. The mountain is open. Phone: (406) 449-3746. Website: skigd.com.

• Lookout Pass Ski Area: A family ski area since 1935, this resort is located 30 miles northwest of St. Regis off Interstate 90. The high mountains generate about 400 inches of snow annually. With 1,150 feet of vertical, the hill has 34 runs at a midweek rate of $39 for adults, $42 weekends and holidays, with reduced rates for students and seniors. The mountain is open. Hours are Thursdays through Mondays, as well as during Christmas break and on holidays. Phone: (208) 744-1301. Website: skilookout.com.

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• Lost Trail Powder Mountain: Lost Trail sits atop the Continental Divide on U.S. Highway 93 where Montana and Idaho meet. With more than 300 inches of snowfall every year, these still-undiscovered slopes await your visit. The terrain includes 1,800 feet of vertical. Adult tickets at the ski hill are $40. Ages 6 to 12 are $30, and 5 and younger are free. Seniors ages 60 to 69 are $32, and 70 and older are $15. The area is open Thursdays through Sundays with extended hours over the Christmas season and on holidays. Expected to open Dec. 3. Phone: (406) 821-3211. Website: losttrail.com.

• Maverick Mountain: Hidden in southwestern Montana’s Pioneer Mountains, Maverick boasts low rates and two nearby places to plunge into hot water –Jackson Hot Springs Lodge and Elkhorn Hot Springs. The ski hill features 2,020 feet of vertical spread out across 24 trails. The mountain’s annual snowfall is 180 inches, accessed by one double chair and a rope tow. Adult tickets are $35. Youths are $22 and seniors are $25. Opening depends on snowfall. Phone: (406) 834-3454. Website: skimaverick.com.

• Montana Snowbowl: Located only minutes from downtown Missoula, Snowbowl is famous for its tricky terrain. Two high-capacity double chairlifts quickly carry skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain for the 2,600-foot drop. Forty-two runs – including one that cruises for three miles – spread out winter enthusiasts. The adult rate is $46 a day. Students and seniors are $43, while ages 6 to 12 are $19 and children 5 and younger are free. Opening depends on snowfall. Phone: (406) 549-9777. Website: montanasnowbowl.com.

• Red Lodge Mountain: Red Lodge Mountain is Montana skiing pure and simple. Just minutes from downtown Red Lodge, at the base of the magnificent Beartooth Mountains, the ski area has 2,400 feet of vertical accessed by 65 trails. Average snowfall is 250 inches. Snowboarders can frolic in the terrain park or take to the trees to track powder. The adult rate is $53 a day. Ages 13 to 18 are $42, ages 6 to 12 are $22, ages 65 to 69 are $44, ages 70 and older are $18. Open. Phone: 1-800-444-8977. Website: redlodgemountain.com.

• Schweitzer Mountain: Schweitzer’s premiere attraction is its terrain park, the Stomping Ground, which was named the best terrain park in the Pacific Northwest by Powder magazine. Schweitzer also offers a beginner park for the less daring. For those looking for steep, fast runs, be sure to check Siberia and Pucci’s Chute in the Outback Bowl. Schweitzer also has smooth, mellow groomers for the whole family. Average snowfall is 300 inches. Schweitzer is open seven days a week. Lift tickets are $73 for adults, $61 for students and seniors, and $50 for ages 7 to 17. Kids 6 and younger ski for free. Phone: (208) 263-9555. Opens Dec. 4. Website: schweitzer.com.

• Showdown Montana: High atop the Little Belt Mountains, Showdown offers a family environment, while nearby White Sulphur Springs serves up a hot pool. Showdown, which celebrated its 70th season last year, is famous for its early snowfalls that average 240 inches a year. The mountain’s 1,400 feet of vertical are serviced by one triple and two double chairlifts. Adult full-day tickets cost $43. Ages 6 to 12 are $25, and ages 70 and older are $32. Opens Dec. 21. Phone: (406) 771-1300. Website: showdownmontana.com.

• Silver Mountain: Located 130 miles from Missoula in the Idaho Panhandle, just a short hop from Interstate 90 in Kellogg, Silver Mountain is a ski resort and indoor water park. On the mountain, skiers have access to 2,200 feet of vertical, with the longest run measuring 2 1/2 miles, all serviced by seven lifts that include a gondola and magic carpet. Average snowfall is 300 inches. It’s $54 for an adult lift ticket. Ages 7 to 17 are $39, college students and military are $49, seniors ages 62 and older are $44, and children 6 and younger are free. Open. Phone: 1-800-204-6428. Website: silvermt.com.

• Teton Pass: Teton Pass is a 400-acre ski resort, located in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, close to the town of Choteau. At Teton Pass you will find no lift lines, and some of the best back- and side-county skiing in Montana. The annual snowfall averages 250 inches and the mountain has a 1,000 feet of vertical. Expected to open Dec. 12. Phone: (406) 466-2209. Website: tetonpassresort.com.

• Turner Mountain: Located 22 miles north of Libby, Turner Mountain sells adult tickets for $37, $25 for ages 13 to 18, $20 for ages 7 to 12, and $30 for seniors, while children 6 and younger ski free. The ski area has 25 runs with 2,110 feet of vertical. While only one chair serves the mountain, half of the terrain is considered expert. The hill is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, except during the Christmas break and on holidays. Opening depends on snowfall. Phone: (406) 293-2468. Website: skiturner.com.

• Whitefish Mountain Resort: Whitefish Mountain, one of America’s favorite resorts since 1947, is located eight miles north of Whitefish and 23 miles north of Kalispell. The resort has gained notoriety for its laid-back vibe, world-class skiing. Average yearly snowfall is 300 inches and the resort boats 2,353 feet of vertical. Adults day lift tickets are $73. Seniors are $63, ages 13 to 18 are $64, ages 7 to 12 are $38, and children 6 and younger are free. Opens Dec. 5. Phone: (406) 862-7669. Website: skiwhitefish.com.

New terrain parks and ski runs at Big Sky Resort

Big Sky Resort received 30” of snow last week gearing up for a strong open on November 26, 2015 and unveiling three new terrain parks and three new ski runs, adding a few more acres to their already 5,800 plus skiable acres.

For terrain parks, The Cache, an advanced new natural style park is stashed in the trees skier’s left of the Swift Current chair lift line. Its location will allow easy access to and from the newly revamped Swifty Terrain Park that has received increased acreage and an improved jumpline. The Cache has replaced the traditional Freestyle Forest in the Moonlight area, which has been redeveloped into a family friendly kid’s adventure area named, The Lost Frontier.

The Madison Base Area is scheduled to open December 11, 2015 where Wagon train, off Cinnabar, has been dedicated to two new terrain parks, the new advanced park, Peacemaker, and intermediate park, Maverick, both replacing Zero Gravity and Pony Park Terrain Parks. Peacemaker, will pick up just after the Cinnabar bridge, running all the way down to Glacier Way ski run. Maverick, will begin just off Glacier Way ski run and will be accessible through Peacemaker Park or off Derringer chair lift for quick laps.

The new intermediate glade run, White Magic, is a nod to the classic Warren Miller Film of the same name and has opened about three more acres of terrain accessed via the Swift Current chair lift on the skier’s right of Crazy Horse ski run below the confluence of Buffalo Jump ski run. Another new intermediate glade run is Short Stack, accessed via the top of Derringer chair lift on the skier’s left.

Kids of all ages are going to enjoy whooping it up on the new beginner glade run, Playground, assessed via Swift Current chair lift between Black & Blue and the bottom of Lower Morningstar ski runs and has opened an additional five acres of terrain.

Mountain Operations crews have been busy improving the skiing experience cutting in a new black diamond ski connection, Comet, providing easier access from Outer Limits ski run to the top of Six Shooter chair lift. Machine and saw crews also worked diligently removing re-growth, deadfall, and stumps on ski runs to allow more terrain to open faster.

For more information, visit bigskyresort.com.
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News from Downing Mountain Lodge

From John Lerhman, owner of Downing Mountain Lodge, a backcountry ski lodge near Hamilton:untitled

I had recently sent some folks a basic update, but could not send to all my friends and guests due to email list size constraints. Hence the new look and email content provided through Constant Contact. I do like the new format and hope you will too.

We have been working hard this fall on continuing the hazard tree reduction project. By glading another significant ~150 acre section of the main bowl of little Downing Mountain, specifically working in ZONE B this season after a good start in ZONE A last year, we have significantly reduced the hazard presented by the fire hardened whips and snags. Thanks to a number of volunteers: Bob, Ken, Mike, Blake, Daniel, Kenny and Will who contributed their time and significant energy to helping fell hazard trees and work on the vision to improving safety and skiability in our favorite locations. We also wish to thank the Bitterroot National Forest for cooperating in helping us burn firewood slash piles on Rabbit Run along the skin ridge in ZONE D. Additional thanks goes to the Darby Ranger for granting us permission to work on this hazard tree reduction project in the 2012 burned area. If interested in contributing for trade we’ll be at it again next summer and fall.

Western Montana Avalanche Center: Base is forming up high

From the Western Montana Avalanche Center’s Steve Karkanen:

Western Montana received our first significant mountain snowfall this week and it is starting to look like winter has arrived for good at the higher elevations. This is Steve Karkanen with an early season avalanche information update from the West Central Montana Avalanche Center.

While the valleys received a light dusting, the mountains picked up enough snow to start forming a base. A snapshot of 4 SNOTEL sites shows Saddle Mountain with 12″, Twin Lakes 6″, Stuart Peak 9″. It looks like the snow near Hoodoo already melted off after accumulating about 4″.  It’s cold enough and the sun angle low enough that much of what we see in the higher mountains should remain for the winter.

We are currently planning for the 2015-2016 winter and have a few changes to make you aware of. We are adding another advisory day so our scheduled days will be changing. We will be issuing advisories on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings this winter. We feel that this spreads our coverage out a little better particularly for the weekend period.

Travis Craft and Logan King will be writing and posting the advisories this year with assistance from Dudley and I.  Brian Martens will again be working with local schools, the UM and other groups interested in introductory avalanche safety information and field training.  Send an email to us atinfo@missoulaavalanche.org if you are interested in what we have available for your organization.

We plan to start regular advisories in mid-December with earlier information updates as conditions change.

March events at Montana Snowbowl

 

March 6th Spring For Women Only Lesson Program:

Spring skiing at the Bowl!  Now in its 3rd year, Snowbowl’s spring FWO is the perfect lesson program for women looking for some great instruction, and great ski buddies.   A follow up for Snowbowl’s most popular lesson program packages include a half-day lift ticket, and a free après drink at the bar after the lessons! Register online by Feb. $27 for a discount at http://www.montanasnowbowl.com/fwo-for-women-only/

March 8 – 5th Annual Vertical Challenge

Compete in teams of two to rack up the most vertical feet in either our “Bowls Challenge” (how many laps down the Snowbowl’s East or West Bowls) or “All-Mountain Challenge” (skiing/riding the entire hill). New this year we’re adding a “rando” style uphill sprint to the top of the mountain before the lifts open. Teams that compete in the uphill challenge can either just race up the mountain or join the other participants in the other challenges, add a bonus lap to their totals and show who belongs among the truly hard-core. Lots of categories to win and prizes including two pairs of skis provided by Big Sky Brewery! Registration is $25/team if done by noon on Friday March 6th. Registration includes a free lunch served chair-side and a post-race brew provided by Big Sky Brewery (for those of age). Race day check-in for the “Rando” uphill is 7:30AM, the rest of competitors may check in later. **Please note a valid lift ticket (not included in registration fee) is required to participate in the lift served challenges.

Sponsored by Big Sky Brewery. All proceeds benefit Missoula Food Bank. Register online at http://www.montanasnowbowl.com/

 

March 15th Best of the Bowl:

Popular end-of-the-year race to find out who’s got the best moves at the Bowl with alpine, tele, and snowboard division. Participants are judged on speed and style as they race down the infamous Griz Chute. No registration required.

 

March 22nd North Dakota Downhill:

Slide and glide contest on the North Dakota Downhill trail. Registration is free; there are lots of prizes and fun for all ages and abilities. No registration required.

Veterans from all service branches to serve as Whitefish Winter Carnival LVI parade Grand Marshalls

For many years, the mountain town of Whitefish, Montana has celebrated its Winter Carnival based on the lore and history of Ullr, the God of Snow. February 6 – 8, 2015 will present the 56th Annual Whitefish Winter Carnival featuring this year’s theme “America the Beautiful ­- Honoring Veterans” offering locals and visitors unique ways to celebrate winter with quirky Whitefish traditions. National Geographic named the Whitefish Winter Carnival one of the “Top 10 Winter Carnivals in the World” in 2012.

 

Whitefish Winter Carnival Chair Paul Johannsen exclaims, “The community response to the theme honoring Veterans has been truly exciting. It’s a great thrill for the carnival board to feature our men and women of the military this year.”

 

Winter Carnival events and its full cast of characters kicked off Saturday, January 10th with the Merry Maker where the Prime Minister Luke Walrath and Duchess of Lark Linda Ray were introduced to King Ullr LVI.  King Ullr LVI Lin Akey and Queen of Snows Anita Welch were coronated on Saturday, January 17th. Prince Frey and Princess Freya will be unveiled on Saturday, January 24th.

 

The February 6 – 8 weekend festivities kick off with the Winter Carnival Gala at the Whitefish Lake Restaurant on Friday night. Saturday features the Penguin Plunge (a hole is cut into Whitefish Lake and participants take a dip to raise funds for Montana Special Olympics), then include an old fashioned main street parade, i, pie social, , x-country ski race, hockey tournament, a figure skating demonstration and more. Sunday culminates with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast. The festivities are open to the public and most are free of charge although Winter Carnival buttons are encouraged.

 

The Grand Parade on Saturday, February 7th will feature nearly 25 veterans as Grand Marshalls representing the Navy, Marine Corp, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard and every conflict from World War II to Desert Storm. Other Grand Marshalls will include representatives of the Montana National Guard and local VFW posts. The Grand Marshalls will follow the Whitefish Winter Carnival float and royalty in the parade riding in red, white and blue vehicles.Penguin Plunge

About Whitefish Winter Carnival
And the story goes…….Once upon a time, there lived a god named Ullr who reigned over the winter activities in the Nordic regions. Aiding him were his Prime Minister and Queen, who were skilled in creating the beauties of winter. But as time went by, his subjects became more engrossed in exploring the world and its oceans and paid less homage to their god-king and the festivities of their winter season, so Ullr became a god all but forgotten except in dim tradition.

After centuries of brooding and searching the world for a place of rest, Ullr and his two remaining subjects came to northwest Montana. So struck were they with its beauty that they decided to settle and selected the Big Mountain, looming over Whitefish, as their adopted home. Their rest was short lived as they soon found their home was also the abode of a fierce band of snowmen called Yetis, who attempted to kidnap their Queen. Ullr and his followers, being more agile and resourceful, prevailed and learned to live with only occasional skirmishes with the Yetis.

Eventually humans invaded the Whitefish area with axes, guns and wagons. Ullr, his followers, and the Yetis observed these people as they civilized the valley and some were alarmed when they saw people begin to invade what they called home. Ullr found these settlers were not aware of his presence and as he continued to observe them, he found that they not only enjoyed the sports of winter but also referred to Ullr himself as a patron saint of their small celebrations and revelries. He was honored by this reverence.

Seeing his chance after centuries of loneliness and self-banishment, Ullr assumed the garb of these people and went among them. The Yetis, however, would have nothing to do with these people except for attempts to drive them away. Ullr aided the settlers in subduing the harassments of Yetis and became their hero and true King. It was proclaimed that there would be an annual fete at which King Ullr and his court would be given the homage due to them, a celebration called the Whitefish Winter Carnival.
Now each year, on the first weekend of February, the town of Whitefish comes together and invites people from miles around to celebrate winter with a variety of activities, events and merriment. The Yetis, bolder than ever, try to steal the Queen, harass the Prime Minister, and interfere with the festivities to assert their right to Big Mountain and Whitefish. But Ullr, and his growing band of local followers continue to subdue them and send them fleeing back to their haven in the high valleys beyond Big Mountain. And Ullr again reigns as master of winter sports and frolics along with his Queen and Prime Minister, beloved in the hearts of his loyal subjects.