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.
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.
Lookout Pass Ski Area, located off I-90 on the Montana/Idaho border west of Missoula, recently announced two new skier visit records:
· Saturday, January 17th was a new single day attendance record with 2, 243 skier visits for the day;
· Saturday, January 10th was a new single day Free Ski School lesson program record with 403 kids in attendance for Free lessons.
“Thanks to all our guests,” said owner Phil Edholm.
Snowbrains.com came out with a list of the Top 10 deepest snowpacks in the USA, and several ski areas near Missoula were on the list.
Kelly Canyon, Idaho topped the list with 96 inches, but Lost Trail Powder Mountain came in 3rd with 76 inches. Lookout Pass came in 6th with 72 inches, and Blacktail Mountain was tied for 7th with 71 inches. Snowbowl came in at No. 10 with 69 inches. It’s been a great snow year in the area so far, let’s hope it keeps going!
It was a White Christmas and then some at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Three storms brought over four feet of snow in just 14 days making skiers happy and creating excellent conditions to kick off the New Year. With over 12 feet falling since mid-November, a base depth of nearly six feet at the summit, and deeper pockets spread across its 3,000 acres, Whitefish is one of the top resorts for snow conditions in North America.
“This year Whitefish is set for one of its best winters of recent memory with fantastic snow conditions and additional terrain accessible from the new Flower Point chairlift,” said Whitefish Mountain Resort President Dan Graves. “Between our ideal location for drier Rocky Mountain powder, and our highly-acclaimed grooming crew, Whitefish Mountain Resort can deliver reliable high-quality conditions throughout the season.”
Whitefish Mountain Resort also aims to deliver consistent value to its guests as demonstrated with the January White Sale package: purchase two days of skiing, and two nights of lodging and receive the third day and night free. Offer is valid through January 30 including Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, some restrictions apply; call 800-858-4152.
Getting to Whitefish keeps getting easier with the return of Amtrak’s normal schedule effective January 12. Whitefish is the Empire Builder’s most popular stop between Seattle/Portland and Minneapolis with the eastbound train, arriving at 7:26 a.m., and the westbound arriving at 8:56 p.m. Flying to northwest Montana has never been easier with the new Saturday nonstop service from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Glacier Park International (FCA), and daily nonstop flights from Denver, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Seattle.
A variety of other Ski & Stay packages are available at Whitefish Mountain Resort throughout the Winter Season. For more information on Whitefish Mountain Resort’s vacation packages, and up-to-date daily snow reports and daily video visit www.skiwhitefish.com.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
A video of a skier at Bridger Bowl near Bozeman angrily demanding a refund because he wasn’t allowed to ski in avalanche terrain without the proper safety equipment went viral over the weekend, garnering more than 120,000 views on Facebook and YouTube.
In the video, which was originally posted by Marli Stroup-Trusty on Facebook on Jan. 3, shows a man cussing and yelling at a cashier behind a ticket window. The man is upset because he wasn’t allowed to ski Schlasman’s Lift, a part of the mountain where skiers are required to have a transceiver, a device for finding people or equipment buried under snow.
The man screams:
“Show me where that lift line says when I pay 52 bucks I can’t ski it. It doesn’t! Nowhere does it say that lift line is the only one I won’t have access to when I bought the ticket. When you sold me my F%$^*&# ticket you didn’t say, ‘Hey guess what, you can’t ski that lift.”
An onlooker comes up to the man and asks him to watch his language because he has a 4-year-old child next to him, and the angry skier brushes him off and continues ranting at the poor cashier.
The man also confronts two people standing nearby: “You want to get in a fight? You guys want to pick a fight? Mind your own F^&&^% business, give me my money back!”
Bridger Bowl officials have said that the requirement to have a transceiver is noted on maps and signs above the ticket window.
Bridger Bowl marketing director Douglas Wales told KTVQ.com that he had never seen such an outburst from a customer.
We work very hard to put out information we feel is necessary to understand, and also requires them to read the literature and pay attention to the signs,” Wales told the Bozeman news station.
The map of Bridger Bowl clearly shows areas in purple where skiers are required to have a beacon.
In the comments section of the Facebook and YouTube posts, many people are clearly angry at the skiers behavior. He has not been identified. Someone even offered to buy the woman behind the window lunch.
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The Big Sky and Bridger ski resorts are reporting record turnout over the holidays.
Big Sky Resort broke its own record on New Year’s Eve for single-day skier visits with more than 8,000 skiers getting in turns at the hill.
Bridger Bowl Ski Area also set records for both the month of December and a single day that saw about 5,000 people on the mountain.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports (http://tinyurl.com/qjbvh3r ) a lot of snow and long holiday weekends contributed to the increases.
The following information comes from MissoulaAvalanche.org:
An avalanche warning is in effect for the west central Montana backcountry above 5000 feet. The avalanche danger is now HIGH on terrain steeper than 30 degrees. Natural avalanches are likely, human triggered avalanche are very likely. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.
Good morning backcountry skiers and riders, this is Steve Karkanen with an avalanche warning for Monday, January 5, 2015. This avalanche warning will expire at 0600 on January 6. The warning will be extended or terminated at that time.
This information is the responsibility of the Forest Service and does not apply to operating ski areas.
WEATHER AND SNOWPACK
Heavy new snow and high wind has increased the avalanche danger.
This morning, area SNOTEL stations have received around 1.5 to 2.0 inches of snow water or about a foot of new snow. Temperatures are in the high twenties the wind is from the west gusting to 44 mph on Point Six.
This storm is warm with increasing snowfall intensity rates expected throughout the day. This storm snow is much heavier than previous snow and is forming dangerous slabs especially on lee terrain.
These are very dangerous avalanche conditions, travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.
Avalanche specialists will be in the field Monday and Dudley will issue the regular avalanche advisory Tuesday morning.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area on the Montana/Idaho border south of Darbyalways experiences extreme weather in the winter, but Tuesday was a little different. Extreme cold temperatures, recorded at -10 degrees on Tuesday morning, forced the ski area to close on Tuesday. The mountain expects to open back up on Wednesday, but call ahead to the snow phone at 821-3211 or visit www.losttrail.com before you head up there to make sure.
Snowbowl was also closed.
Looking north past the Saddle Mountain chairlift from the top of Hollywood Bowl
The Hamilton Lions Club, which has sponsored the ski bus program for local youth since 1975, will once again be sponsoring the ski bus to Lost Trail Powder Mountain along with co-sponsor Big Sky Eye Care. The bus will run on Saturdays, Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31 and Feb. 7, 14, 21. Departure is at the Westview Center, Hamilton. Load at 8:00 a.m.and leave at 8:30 a.m. Return to bus at 3:30PM and leave mountain 4:00PM sharp. The bus will be back to Westview by 5:00PM. Parents, Guardians please be there to pick up!
The cost is $10 per rider. You can also buy ski tickets for the following prices:
Discounted Ticket Prices (purchased on the Bus):
Under 13 $20.00
13 and older $30.00
Adults Welcome $30.00
David Bacon of Missoula got some air on Thursday, the opening day of the 75th season at Lost Trail Powder Mountain on the Montana/Idaho border south of Darby.
DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic
Please bring exact amounts for riding and skiing
Please NO checks
1. Ride up on bus & Ride back on bus, unless you have parents written permission prior to leaving.
2. All skis and boards in a bag… carried in escort pickup boots and lunch bags carried on bus.
3. If rental is needed a signed rental slip must accommodate the rider…sponsors cannot sign slips. Rental forms are available on the bus. Rental fees paid at lodge when getting equipment.
Coming off its biggest season ever, Bridger Bowl Ski Area will unveil the newly built 2,400-square-foot Alpine Cabin at a public ceremony Saturday at 11 a.m.
“It was a pet project of mine,” said Kristie McPhie, a member of the Bridger Bowl Foundation, which helped raise about half of the money for the $550,000 building. “It’s always been a long way to get to the bottom and the lodge to get warm, or to go to the bathroom.”
The facility off the Montagne’s Meadow run, located on the far north side of the ski area, will provide a place for beginner and intermediate skiers as well as ski school students to get out of the weather. The cabin is serviced by the Alpine Lift, one of two new lifts (the other is Powder Park) installed in time for last winter’s skiers and snowboarders.
The cabin is the last step in the planned improvements for that side of the mountain, outlined in the nonprofit ski area’s master plan, said Doug Wales, marketing manager for Bridger Bowl. He said the addition of the new lifts was one of the reasons Bridger had such a great season last year.
“It’s definitely provided a boost to our skier visits,” he said. “And with the cabin that has become a destination for a lot of visitors — there’s about 500 acres of terrain over there.”
The 2013-14 winter ended with about 217,000 skier visits to the mountain located northeast of Bozeman. That figure was up considerably from the previous high — 211,000 skier visits two years ago. Naturally, the mountain staff would like to top that figure again in this, its 60th season.
“That was a great winter and all indications suggest there’s plenty of interest this year,” Wales said. “Pass sales were strong, and we’ve got a lot of people excited about the new lifts.”
McPhie, a Bozeman interior designer, said a generous $70,000 donation from the Ric Jonas Foundation helped to kick-start the Alpine Cabin project.
“They transferred their foundation funds, which enabled us to get it built sooner,” she said. “It’s been a great partnership.”
Another $132,000 came from a Tourism Infrastructure Investment Program grant from the Montana Commerce Division. Private donors also pitched in with smaller contributions. The balance of the expense was paid for out of Bridger Bowl’s cash reserves.
Nate Heller’s Studio H Design in Bozeman was the architect for the cabin. He said his company donated “a ton of money and time” to the project because Bridger Bowl is Bozeman’s local ski area and his snowboarding staff wants to see the mountain thrive and grow. He noted that Bridger was able to use locally sourced materials — native rock and beetle-killed pine logs — as part of the construction materials to further reduce costs.
Pat Johnson, Bridger’s mountain manager for six years in the 1980s, also helped cut construction costs when he signed on as project manager for the Alpine Cabin.
“They actually still have some of the same equipment from when I was there,” he said, a compliment to the mountain’s maintenance staff.
With his knowledge of the area and Bridger Bowl’s equipment, Johnson was able to utilize Bridger’s excavators and bulldozers to do much of the site work and save money. It wasn’t all smooth going, though, he said. After pouring the footings in early June, the mountain received about 6 inches of rain, stalling the project until the area dried out at the end of the month. Luckily, a mild fall helped crews finish up in mid-October before snow flew.
“In June I was starting to sweat bullets,” Johnson said. “If we had an early fall, I wasn’t looking forward to hauling up material on SnoCats.”
The cabin’s design, with large windows looking south toward the rest of the mountain and the valley below, is more contemporary than Bridger’s other buildings. A 9,000-pound, soapstone Tulikivi stove will provide much of the heat for the structure, fueled by the many pine trees thinned to clear runs as well as those killed by beetles, Heller noted.
The cabin is already open to the public and offering limited food service such as sandwiches, soups and bratwursts. Beer and wine are also available.
Because last year was so popular at the ski hill — on some days the mountain staff was turning vehicles away because of a lack of parking — the ski area also expanded its parking by about 250 spaces by moving 45,000 yards of dirt from behind the ski patrol cabin.
From where the dirt was removed, the ski area staff will create a new, beginning ski area to provide a wider run and move some of those skiers away from the congested base area.
“That will give us more breathing room around the lodge,” Wales said.
After opening for the season on Dec. 5, following a large snowfall prior to Thanksgiving of about 15 inches, Wales said the ski area is holding snow well despite this past week’s warm weather.
“Now we’re just biding our time and looking for another layer,” he said, adding with a laugh that he had no idea when that might come. “I swore off forecasts a long time ago.”