Whitefish Mountain Resort will begin a multi-phase project this spring that will increase accessibility and improve terrain variety in Hellroaring Basin.
The initial phase will include constructing a service road from the top of Swift Creek Express/Chair 2 to the Grand Junction area, clearing timber for new runs and lift line, as well as gladed areas adjacent to runs, and re-sloping areas on the Hell Fire run to eliminate the negative grades.
Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020. Phase 2 includes relocating Chair 8 in 2021, which will allow the resort to open Hellroaring Basin earlier in the season.
“As the next major project at the resort, these improvements will enhance the guest experience by increasing access and adding more versatile terrain in Hellroaring Basin,” Whitefish Mountain Resort CEO Dan Graves said in a press release. “Additionally, relocating the Hellroaring chairlift will allow us to open the area earlier in the season due to the higher elevation at Grand Junction, as well as allow skiers to access terrain in Hellroaring Basin and the front side of the mountain from the top of the lift.”
In Phase 1 the resort will clear six runs including portions of existing runs: Glory Hole, Connie’s Coulee, Gray’s Golf Course and The Back 9. Two additional runs will be added to the northwest facing slope. The new service road will be used for construction purposes during the project and in the winter will become a green run for the easiest access into the basin. The road also will provide an evacuation route for injured skiers. Trail ratings and names have yet to be determined.
Also in Phase 1, the resort will regrade three areas on the Hell Fire run where the trail currently slopes uphill. Additionally, the plan has identified six zones to be gladed. The glading of these areas will provide more space between trees for skiing, and is beneficial for forest growth. The survey for the lift line will begin this spring and timber clearing will begin once completed.
In 2021 the resort will move the existing Hellroaring chairlift, Chair 8, from its current location upslope. The bottom terminal will be located at Grand Junction and the top terminal to the intersection of the Toni Matt and Big Ravine ski runs. This will allow guests to access more areas on the front side of the mountain including Big Ravine, Toni Matt and Good Medicine as well as access back into Hellroaring Basin providing an improved flow of skier traffic compared to the current location.
Future phases include an additional chairlift from Grand Junction the top of Hellroaring Peak as well as two runs on the west and east ridges. Additionally, a cat track will be constructed and provide access from Hellroaring Peak to the Gray Wolf ski run on the north side of the mountain. No timeline for these phases has been set.
All projects are located within Whitefish Mountain Resort’s special use permit area.