Thinking about a winter ski vacation for your family this year?
Well, I have the place for you, Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish, Montana. We have been back to “Ski the Fish” for the past 5 years with our kids and have yet to ski every run and do everything they have to offer for a winter vacation. It is a perfect fit for a family skiing adventure that keeps us going back… even with the 12 hour drive.
There are many options to choose from and finding the perfect resort for a family ski vacation can be daunting. So here are a few of the things that we considered and reasons why Whitefish may be the best option for you.
Kids Centre is Spectacular
I cannot say enough about how fantastic the people are that run and work at the Kids Centre (Nancy and crew are rock stars). One of the perks with being in the United States is they can take infants after 6 weeks (so if you are okay with leaving them… you can); where as in Canada many of the resorts children need to be over 18 months before they will care for them.
The Kids Centre is right on the ski hill, easy access and very convenient. If you are a planner, you can reserve spots as soon as the winter season opens to guarantee your spots for your kids. I would recommend reserving during the busy weeks and/or if your kids are younger because they only have so many spots for each age group.
I feel my kids are safe, well taken care of and loved when I drop them off. Both our kids were infants when we first went there and I have had no issues. The facility is very well-organized with cubbies, charts, check in/out procedures and schedules. They have a various toys and activities and the childcare can be incorporated with various ski school programs.
Being able to have childcare allowed us as parents to have some time together snowboarding/skiing some terrain that our kids can’t go to yet and even lets us have a lunch date with drinks!
Kids Ski & Ride School
They have various ski/snowboard school programs for different ages, as young as 3! These programs get updated and/or changed yearly but always offer a variety of options that will work for your family. Both our kids have taken private lessons and group lessons. The kids ski school is located very close to the Kids Centre, so helps when dropping off kids at both.
We have also taken adult group and private lessons so there are many options. The ski & ride school can help you sort out what your family will need for the right lesson, rental and gear to get the entire family on the slope.
Different Types of Accommodations
Depending on what your family needs there are many options available for accommodations with different price points. We have stayed in hotels, timeshare and condos. Some information on a few of the places we have stayed:
– Half way up the mountain, so cheaper than staying on top of the hill but offers a closer location to the ski resort. Location is really nice, being snuggled in among the tress and cabin type feel.
– Indoor pool which is great for kids.
– Private condos with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms so it can accommodate different family sizes.
– Laundry on-site!
– Great for when we were travelling with other families to be able to get condos fairly close together but still have separate accommodations.
– Each unit is individually owned, so just ask and double-check from what you will have in each unit. The reservation staff is very helpful and have always been very good to deal with.
– Located in the town of Whitefish, but very close to the base of the mountain. Great location if you want to stay in the town.
– Timeshare rentals by the week, 2 bedrooms and very standard across all units.
– Heated outdoor pool & hot tub located in the centre of all the units so very easy to access. All units have Wi-Fi for the teenagers and/or adults that need it.
– Laundry on-site!
– Units are located all very close together so if you are travelling with others it is very convenient.
– Very clean units, they have recently been through some updating renovations and offer an affordable accommodation for families.
Various Hotels in Whitefish
We have stayed in a few hotels in the town, usually when we stay less than 5 nights is when we find a better value with hotels. Some things to consider when looking for hotels to save some time and money:
– Free continental breakfast
– Located close to restaurants or shopping
– Located close to “Snow Bus” stops to save on driving to the hill. The “Snow Bus” is a shuttle that will take you and your gear up to the ski resort. Schedules are posted yearly with times and locations. Very cool idea!
Do you have a family member not really a skiing fanatic, but likes to shop? Well, there is some quaint shopping on the main street of Whitefish. Local artist, clothing and enough to wander and shop for a few hours. On days off from skiing we generally head to Kalispell (about a 20 min drive) for some other shopping at some of the bigger department stores.
More than just Skiing/Snowboarding
There is always something going on in Whitefish that you and your family may be interested in.
– Visit Glacier National Park
– Dog Sled Tours
– Aquatic Centre
– Backcountry Snow Cat Skiing
Ask when you get to your hotel about what local or calendar of events are going on. They always have events going on, like fireworks, ski/snowboard competitions, music, etc.
Some of our Favourites Food Spots
Money Saving Tips
– If you have a Costco membership, you can save money by purchasing your lift tickets in Kalispell, but make sure you will need them. If you are only going to use the lower lifts it is more cost-effective to buy them at the hill.
– Use the snow bus if you can. Less walking and last time I checked it was free!
– If you can stay at a place that has a fridge, then you can pack your lunches for on the hill. If your place is equipped with a kitchen then you can make your breakfast and suppers in-house.
We have our next trip booked for this upcoming ski season, so we hope to see you there!
Looking for more information on Whitefish?