Whitefish – Basecamp for the Northern Rockies (Continued)

A view from the top of Whitefish Ski Resort

A view from the top of Whitefish Ski Resort

Who started Whitefish Ski resort?

Back in the 1930’s a group of men led by Lloyd “Mully” Muldown and Ole Dalen started skiing what was called “Big Mountain.”  This would later become fittingly named, Big Mountain Ski Resort.  The noticeable thing about Montana is the philosophy of “Support Local” was there long before it became fashionable.  It comes as no surprise, Big Mountain Ski Resort started that way as well.  Most of the $840,000 funding raised to start the ski resort came from locals.  On December 14, 1937 the ski resort opened its doors.  Even though the ski resort has changed its name and the town has grown tremendously, it still has the same charm and history that is very rare in most parts of this great country.

Hell Roaring Saloon – The last of the great ski bars

Hell Roaring Saloon standing at its prime location.

Hell Roaring Saloon standing at its prime location.

Why its considered one of the last great ski bars:

  • It has history – Built in 1949
  • Affordable drinks and great food – See Local Freshies Tip Below
  • Homey atmosphere – Friendly locals

As the day winds down, grinning ear to ear from exploring such a unique mountain, be sure to head over to one of the greatest ski bars left in America, the Hell Roaring Saloon.  Built in 1949, it is the oldest structure on the mountain.  The dark hued timber building may be intimidating from a distant but don’t let that hold you back.

The Full Order of Nachos is... a full orrder

The Full Order of Nachos is… a full order

Make your way inside.  As you sit down at the bar your eyes will dart up to the televisions to see such classic ski flicks as “Blizzard of Aahh’s” playing.  Just as you begin to settle in at the bar, it’s highly likely one of the locals will come over and spark up a conversation.  During your chat it’s almost guaranteed someone will remark how great Whitefish is.  The local will respond with the infamous statement “Don’t tell anyone,” as they smile with a sparkle in their eye.

 Local Freshies tip: Be sure to buy a hat from Hell Roaring Saloon it’s a great souvenir AND your second beer is free for every visit FOR LIFE!

What’s up with all the huckleberries in Whitefish?

The Northern Rockies are home to a unique fruit that can’t be grown in captivity and are still hand-picked in the wild to this day…we know it as the huckleberry. The legend says that huckleberries need grizzly bear droppings to grow.  Who knows if it is true, but the huckleberry is definitely something to enjoy.  Where can you enjoy them in Whitefish?  For starters, Great Northern Brewery.  At the brewery a beer called Wild Huckleberry Wheat Lager is produced.  The unique use of huckleberries in the brewing process makes it one of the best fruit beers you will ever taste. You don’t drink beer? Well, head down to Montana Coffee Traders and get some of the most phenomenal tasting coffee in the country!  Yes, you guessed it.  They have a flavored coffee that has hints of huckleberries. Don’t do coffee either?  Grab a slice of huckleberry pie at Loula’s Café. Depending on what is in season, they have all kinds of interesting and fantastic takes on what goes in a pie.

Mexican food made with Elk and Buffalo

Since Montana is in a remote, undisturbed  part of the country, it naturally has an abundant source of game and ingredients not found in other places throughout the country.  For a perfect example of this, head down to Pescado Blanco’s, a Mexican restaurant that’s fare is made with local ingredients. Unique items such as Chorizo Elk Tacos and Buffalo Enchiladas makes a person wish that the restaurant was in their neck of the “woods.”

For such a small town, there is a lot to see and do so be sure to venture out and enjoy your time in Whitefish and the Northern Rockies.

A view of Glacier National Pack in the winter

A view of Glacier National Pack in the winter

All these great things besides the skiing/riding have led to Whitefish Mountain resort posting the busiest ski season on record.  Like all great things, this “secret” may have to come to an end…the question is when will this secret become known?  My suggestion would be to come up sooner than later.  When you do, remember, “Don’t tell anyone!”

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