Eyes on Big Mountain

A healthy 13″ overnight at Whitefish’s Big Mountain piqued my interest, but the 16-24″ projected Saturday has my attention.

From the Upper Midwest, the chase to Whitefish isn’t an easy one, but those snow totals make the extra effort worth it.

The webcam as the sun rises on 13″ Thursday morning. There’s a possibility of 2′ on Saturday this weekend, making Big Mountain ripe for a chase. (Skiwhitefish.com)

Conditions

After reporting over a foot this morning (Thursday), Whitefish, better known as Big Mountain, is expecting another surge of light snow this weekend.

While just a dusting is expected until Saturday, both Saturday morning and Saturday night are listed at 8-12″ expected inches as a moist storm meets an arctic blast. Sunday will be just a dusting and nothing is expected Monday.

The tricky part are temperatures, which are expected to shrink below zero Sunday after the snow falls. There are also blustery conditions expected, but if you can layer up to brave the cold, the snow should be cold, smokey and light all day.

Getting there

If the temperatures don’t deter you, the travel might.

As of Thursday morning, flights to Kalispell, Montana are listed on Delta Airlines at $1,480 direct from Minneapolis-St. Paul. With a stop in Salt Lake City, that price goes down to $943. Both are hefty expenses, probably given how late it is and the fact that it’s President’s Day weekend. (Flight info from Kayak)

One of the nice parts about Whitefish is that the Empire Builder Amtrak line, which is likely familiar to you Midwesterners, has $170 coach tickets that take you within five minutes of the mountain. The trip is 24 hours long, however, so leaving Friday night wouldn’t get you there until Saturday night. It’s a longer trip, but it’s a very relaxing ride out there and back when you aren’t gripping the wheel. (Amtrak.com)

Which brings me to the final option: driving. This is the way I plan to get to Whitefish this weekend. From my home in Southern Minnesota, the drive will be 19 hours. (Google Maps) It’s a slog, for sure, spanning rural Minnesota, North Dakota and almost all of Montana, too.

As of Thursday morning, I am ready to take on this trip, so I’ll report back on how this aggressive chase goes. You probably shouldn’t go anyway. More for us 😉

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