Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On Top of Big Mountain

Whitefish, MT   High 66  Low 43

Jim and I decided to ride the gondola to the top of Big Mountain. You need to know that I am not the bravest person in the world when it comes to heights and swinging conveyances. But I swallowed my stomach and said I’d ride.

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In 1937, the Whitefish Lake Ski Club obtained a special permit from the U.S. Forest Service enabling them to build cabins and trails in the Hell Roaring Creek region. A couple of Great Falls businessmen  quickly recognized the area’s potential and shortly after World War II, began efforts to develop a full-fledged ski resort on the mountain.

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Winter Sports, Inc. (WSI) was founded on March 31, 1947 and it was a community enterprise from the start with local people selling shares of stock to meet payrolls, donating labor, preparing the slopes, even giving up free time to help push through an all-weather mountain road. On the morning of December 14, 1947, a thousand townsfolk stood on the slopes of the new Big Mountain resort to watch the brand new T-Bar lift bring their vision to life.

The Chalet was erected in 1949 just in time to host the U.S. Alpine Championships that same year.

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This was the only wildlife we saw.

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Jim used to ski Big Mountain when we lived in Lakeside. So he was very familiar with the chair lift. You had your choice of riding either in a gondola or on a chair. I picked the gondola because it is enclosed which I know that if something broke it wouldn’t matter either way. But I felt more secure in the gondola.

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I was amazed at the number of mountain bike riders that were riding the lift to the top with their bikes. There are also several hiking trails at the top and all the way down if you’re interested.

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There is also an alpine sled ride that Jim would really like to do but maybe next time.

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I did okay on the way up to the top and the views into Glacier Park were amazing. There was a haze in the air so my pictures didn’t turn out all that good. So here’s a picture of what it should look like that I borrowed from their website.

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The trip back down did not go as smoothly. I knew Jim would have liked to ride in a chair rather than a gondola and I really thought about it. But I chickened out and it’s a good thing I did. They stopped the ski lift when we were about half way down, and the gondola started to swing. I had a panic attack and poor Jim tried to calm me down and keep me breathing. I was so glad when we finally touched earth again.

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23 comments:

  1. Oh dear. I don't like heights either but I think I could do that.

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  2. Oh dear. I don't like heights either but I think I could do that.

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  3. There is absolutely no way, none whatsoever, ever, that I would ride that ! Ever !

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  4. There is absolutely no way, none whatsoever, ever, that I would ride that ! Ever !

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  5. I have a similar fear, I used to ski quite a bit and learned to let it go, but I was always a little nervous on the chair lift, especially when it was extra cold and it stopped as it does when someone on one end is having trouble getting on or off.

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  6. So glad that you braved the ride, even though you had a bit of anxiety on the way down but look at the wonderful views that you would have missed otherwise. It looks absolutely gorgeous. Congratulations, on taking that extra step. :-)

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  7. We have done a few gondolas over the years and the views are amazing, glad that you braved the ride and git to experience it.

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  8. We just did that same ride in July! I am like you, don't like heights so I chose the gondola. No way was I riding in the open chair! I thought it was pretty up there.

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  9. You certainly were living life on the edge with that gondola ride. Good for you braving it out and enjoying the scenery. :c)

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  10. I enjoy riding up ski slopes, but never have skied in my life. I did take the alpine sled ride a few times and loved it. They need to put wax paper on the slides like we used to do with metal slides in playgrounds.

    I wonder if anyone out there knows what I am talking about re the wax paper on slide.

    Keep having fun out there.

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  11. we hiked up that mountain this year and were amazed at the number and speed of the mountain bikers riding down the mountian

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  12. I'm not a big fan of heights and it took me a while to be comfortable on various ski rides.

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  13. I'm pretty sure I would have stayed at the bottom and waved to Dave as he went up. He likes carnival rides; I don't. I did manage to ride the London Eye but I stayed seated in the middle the whole time.

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  14. I am not a fan of heights but for some reason ski lifts have never bothered me. I skied most of my life so maybe that's why. I do prefer the gondola though. You are in such a beautiful place. We need to get there in the RV. Was there with our kids years ago.

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  15. I ride them, but am never fully comfortable. It's like what I say about flying, people who love it have no imagination. That alpine ride looks fun, but I wonder how much control you have.

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  16. Gondola would be my choice also. Egads, I would have been a nervous wreck if I were in that gondola!

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  17. I wouldn't have gotten on either the lift or the gondola. Maybe years ago, but I've become much wiser now and like my feet on terra firma! (I can't do much about having to take a plane someplace, but I sure don't like it.)

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  18. Beautiful pictures of the area. I'm not afraid of heights, but I would have taken a seat in the gondola too.

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  19. Wow. It's great readin and the photos are so cool too.

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  20. Jo said she thought you were as afraid as she is then you go and do this.

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Thanks for visiting today. I look forward to reading your comments. Have a beautiful day.