Montana never gets old! For a 6 year Chicago transplant, who used to pay a couple grand to ski for a week in the west every year, my weekend at Big Mountain and Ptarmigan Village was a real treat to both my senses and my pocketbook.
If you're willing to stay 3-5 minutes from the actual Whitefish Mountain Resort, Ptarmigan Village is just down the road from the resort and has a variety of different lodging choices to choose from. I found a great 1 bedroom, that slept 4 adults comfortably, for $127 a night including a cleaning fee. It had a full kitchen, a real wood fireplace, and access to a awesome indoor pool and outdoor hot tub, which could best be described as a jacuzzi pool, it was sooo big. The hot tub is all important to me after a long day skiing, and Ptarmigan Village did not disappoint.
We arrived early Friday evening, with the couple that we were meeting not far behind. We enjoyed several drinks and dinner, partook in a couple games of Yatzee, and went to bed with thoughts of powder in our heads. Unfortunately, no new snow in the morning, but with 275+ inches of snow to date at Whitefish Mountain Resort, we were not hard pressed to find great conditions all over the mountain.
My wife and I love groomers. Give us a blue run with some challenging spots and we're happy campers. The couple we were with are two of the best skiers I know. They're actually two of the most adventurous people I know who constantly amaze and inspire me with the gusto in which they take advantage of just about everything "outdoor adventure" this state has to offer, but I digress. While they can enjoy a day of groomers, they're real passion lies in the powder stashes found in the trees of black and double black diamond runs. So needless to say, they went in search of those stashes while my wife and I explored the multitude of blues at WMR.
The weather started out like most days at WMR, overcast, foggy and snowing lightly on and off. The snow ghosts that appeared out of the mist while riding the chairlift to the summit were surreal. I've really never seen anything like it (again, city boy here.) The conditions were great. Creamy is how I'd describe it, and we had sweet run after sweet run, with Hellfire in the Hell Roaring Basin being my favorite.
In the morning, it didn't look like there was any possibility of sun, but in true Big Mountain fashion, the last 90 minutes of the day were in full sun and blue sky. A perfect topper to an already memorable day.
Back to Ptarmigan Village for a long soak, many drinks, and homemade game meat chili (the best chili I've ever had. Thank you Mr. Harder), and we were totally satiated.
We're so fortunate to live in such a spectacular location, with so many cool places to spend weekends. And it's really possible to do so on a budget.