It wasn’t easy being wild and crazy but someone had to do it.
Most folks think it’s called “Whitefish Mountain Resort”. Most the old locals however call it “Big Mountain”. But for the super savvy it’s always been coined “The Big Fun”. And that my friends is exactly what happened on that mountain many moons ago-meaning WE HAD FUN.
It was a wild and crazy era.
To begin with, none of us wore helmets. Not one person I knew who skied on that mountain ever wore a helmet except for the kid in our class who got creamed by another skier who collided with him on a jeep trail and HE did wear a helmet from then on out. Doctor’s orders. Our buddy had a steel plate in his head and yes he still skied like a madman after his surgery albeit with a helmet. So much fun not wearing helmets but so stupid.
We would take a run especially on Chair 2 where we would hit just about every jump there was. Sometimes we would hit about 15 or 20 in one run. I remember jumping off of stools as a kid and my granny would quip, “Oh mercy how can you stand that? It makes my knees hurt just watching you do that.” However when you’re young and dumb and still have great knees you just jump till you break something! (So much fun!)
Imagine doing it all day long on “The Big Fun” (So much fun).
We skied on long and I mean longggggg skis. None of us wore these wimpy, fat, short, round-tipped skis you see people (who aren’t snowboarders) wearing. And not only did we don super long skis we did so ‘helmetless’ and through these mounds of trees and eight feet of powder. And we lived to tell about it. So much fun!
We dug each other out of tree wells, watched people come down that mountain on couches with skis attached and on chairs (which they drug up the chair lift) and we landed on top of one another and rolled haflway down the slope numerous times. So much fun.
Flathead County and especially Whitefish can be socked in half the winter. Fog lays thick in the valley and it can be quite dark and gloomy. But not on “The Big Fun” (well at least not as much as down below in town). In the spring (well what we called ‘spring skiing days’ meaning March when it was STILL WINTER down in town) we would wear shorts and tube and halter tops (we were starving for sunlight) and we took wine flasks and we would ski over to “The Big Drift”. There was the ‘The Big Drift’ and ‘The Little Drift’ but ‘The Little Drift’ was for sissies and five-year-olds I kid you not but even it wasn’t that small. The Big Drift was literally an (almost) 90-degree angle where your skis would clack and click together as you were going so fast. Some skiers would fly off the top and do all sorts of tricks. I felt happy just surviving and if I made two feet of ‘air’ I was ecstatic. We proudly lay on the snow wearing our French ‘Vuarnet’ sunglasses as we got the sunburns of our lives; the winter bright white snow reflected like the Caribbean sand and it was glorious in March in Montana.
Eventually, those pesky snowboarders showed up ‘NOT so much fun’ and we practically got run over by them but many of us ‘purists’ never did learn to snowboard not have any desire to do so.
Rarely were there ‘waiting lines’ on “The Big Fun” and the fries were cheap, there was always a place to park and the ski passes were pennies compared to today’s Vail and Aspen prices.
Oh, my friend those were the days.