WHITEFISH – On a Monday, of all days, 7,654 people skied at Whitefish Mountain Resort this winter.
It’s the busiest day ever in the resort’s 66-year history.
The mark was recorded Dec. 30, and helped Whitefish Mountain set a second-straight record for total skier visits over a season.
“It kind of surprised us, because we thought if we were going to do it, it would have been that Saturday or Sunday” leading up to New Year’s Eve, which fell on a Tuesday, resort spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said.
The previous daily record had been set exactly one year earlier, on Dec. 30, 2012, when 7,165 people were skiing on the mountain. That date did fall on a weekend.
In all, nearly 345,000 skier visits were recorded this winter, up 7 percent from the previous record-setting winter of 2012-13, when there were almost 323,000 skier visits.
It’s only the fourth time the resort has exceeded the 300,000 mark. The ski season at Whitefish Mountain ended Sunday.
“We are thankful for the steady growth we’ve experienced these past several years,” Whitefish Mountain Resort president Dan Graves said in a news release. “We are committed to creating a high-quality, affordable experience with exceptional, easy-going hospitality that encourages our guests to keep coming back.”
According to Polumbus, Dec. 30 and the 2013-14 season weren’t the only places numbers increased.
Whitefish’s Ski & Ride School experienced increases “across the board,” including a 31 percent jump in junior daily lessons and a 16 percent increase in seasonal programs.
Lodging also increased 7 percent over the previous winter. Polumbus said the majority of guests came from Montana, Alberta, Washington, Saskatchewan and Minnesota.
Arrivals by skiers who flew into Glacier Park International Airport were also ahead for December, January and February, Polumbus said.
Local skiers, who make up roughly half of the skiing population at Whitefish Mountain, played an important part in the record-setting winter. Season-pass visits were up 6 percent over 2012-13, and pre-season winter pass sales were the highest in the resort’s history.
In addition to the past two winters, the only other times Whitefish Mountain has exceeded 300,000 skier visits in a winter happened in 2010-11 and 2005-06.