If you’re a skier or snowboarder, chances are you also excel at après ski. I myself am a Double Black Diamond après, and have the boozy fireside tales to prove it. On Friday, Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana came to Calgary to introduce a new excuse to party in the name of winter sport: Avant Ski.
Arriving for opening day at Whitefish Mountain Resort in style. Even though Saturday, December 7 ended up being so unusually cold that officials were threatening to close the main chair to the summit for safety reasons, ski bunnies and boarders came out in droves. And when the Lodge at Whitefish Lake’s complimentary chauffeur whisks you door to door, it takes the sting out of a wind chill warning.Turns out Chair 1, aka the Big Mountain Express, was open for business. That’s Chair 5, frozen in time. But those cold temps made for a bluebird day!Whitefish Mountain Resort used to be Big Mountain. But in 2007, the CEO got tired of a generic name for a hill that wasn’t easily associated with its location and decided to copy the name of the historic railroad town just 15 minutes away. Even before the resort was founded in 1947, its name was a moving target. After the first cabin was built by Whitefish volunteers in 1935 in the headwaters of Hell Roaring Creek, Whitefish skiers with a thirst for speed formed The Hell Roaring Ski Club. A moniker with moxie — but they changed it to the Whitefish Lake Ski Club to placate townspeople who weren’t fans of Hell. And let’s not even mention Haskill Mountain.At the Summit House (elevation 6817 feet) suds-sipping snowboarders enjoy a crystal clear view of Glacier National Park.I wasn’t tired at all on my first day riding this season — I was merely pausing to appreciate the view of Whitefish Lake. As a fierce proponent of fairweather riding, it was my first time ever wearing a face mask. I bought a cute black and pink one from Stumptown Snowboards on Central Avenue so I can wear it into a 7 Eleven. Kidding! In Alberta you can wear a face mask at any gas station and no one thinks a robbery is in progress. Because it is often that cold. But I digress. You may have noticed,I had the courtesy to pull down my mask to expose my teeth for the photo. But only the top row.Apres the day on the mountain, the lobby at the Lodge led straight to…… the Boat Club Lounge. Where, Canadians will be pleased to learn, they make a mean Caesar. That, my American friends, is similar to a Bloody Mary, except it’s made with Clamato juice. I know, sounds gross, but it’s soooo good.If you want to take your Apres outside, the hot tub provides a wonderful view of Whitefish Mountain Resort for the war stories.Up next: the best room at the Lodge and another fantastic night in the Fish. Do they call it that? Umm, actually, no… I don’t think so. I rescind that statement. But check back soon — Blue Besos is in Whitefish all week!