On the 9th, we all travelled south the the US state of Montana. Our destination was Whitefish. After a unique and humour filled visit to the US border customs offices, where we were “interrogated” (filled out some forms) by an aloof customs officer who clearly enjoyed entertaining Australians. Teeny somehow sweet-talked the officer into giving us wicked Elk stamps in our passports (I know you’re jealous). After three hours or so, we arrived in the “wild west” town of Whitefish for the third time.
The town itself sits in the Flathead Valley, named so after the ancestral home of a clan of native American Indians, who still live in the area to this day. The town sits at the southern end of arguably one of the world’s greatest national parks – Glacier Naitonal Park. The stangely named town of Whitefish grew from the railway line that spans across the USA and into Canada. Today this train-line still fuels the regions industry, along with tourism.
We journeyed to Whitefish to primarily enjoy the skiing at the nearby Big Mountain Whitefish Alpine Resort. The resort gives every sense to the term. A large heated outdoor area, complete with fireplace provides the lodge with the definition. The resort sprawls out among condominiums and logging forest, with ski runs snaking through trees and buildings. The terrain, the snow and the views were all varied and utterly spectacular.
The skiing would be the best I have ever had, with Teeny and I making “first tracks” on a couple of runs after a fresh dump of pow (fresh snow). We both have taken leaps and bounds in terms of our skiing. We have now ticked off a few of the top 100 ski runs on Earth. Including “Inspiration” (No. 20 – Whitefish) and “Bear Run” (No. 56 – Fernie). Inspiration really did provide a whole range of emotions, including pure fear during gale force winds mixed with the worst visibility near the summit, to “inspiration” and awe at the views half way down the run. I tried to get some photos but my GoPro died from the cold…
Whitefish also featured my most spectacular crash so far – my superman attempt, head first down the hill after my skis both caught each-other when I started a turn too early after not finishing the one before it. Fortunately the powder snow caused a no worries crash and an instead stop. Both crashes I had at Whitefish were double ejections – where both skis popped off at once. No mean feat i am told.
While in the US, we had to sample some good ol’ American food – so we had some ribs…
I will never have ribs again. Nor will I ever have a relatively high opinion of North American food. Everything so far has been too salty, too fatty, or not fresh enough. The best food I have had in North America has been ethnic – Japanese in Fernie and Vancouver. Although a high mention goes to the last meal I had in Whitefish (can’t remember exactly what I had, or what the restaurant name was, so that may tell you something about it).
The best meal I have had overall goes to the last supper we shared with our esteemed Canadian lady friends in Halifax. The meal Gen, Linnaea and Colleen prepared for us. They have single handedly saved North American food.
On the second last day in Whitefish we had a bit of a stumble, or I should say, Teeny had a slip. While walking to the car in our hotel carpark, Teeny slipped on “black ice” – the very slippery and treacherous kind. She fell while he hands were in her pockets, onto her back and elbows, causing her head to smack on the ice itself. She had a headache for days, an extremely sore back and shoulder. We suspect she may also suffered a concussion. As a result, we forced her to stay awake for 12 hours. She has since made a full recovery and is back to her chirpy and bubbly self.
We managed to fit in a trip to the nearby Glacier National Park for a guided snowshoe tour by a ranger. We were joined by around 15-20 other “tourists” and strolled through a veritable winter wonderland. The ranger was a young lady, around my age who was very knowledgable and spoke very clearly. She pointed out beaver dams, footprints and transferred some great knowledge about the winter world, such as snowflakes and their many forms.
The last full day in Whitefish also coincided with the last full day with the family before they headed home. Teeny and I went to the movies and had coffee with mum and dad while the rest skied. The next day we said our goodbyes, tears for mum and Sarah, laughter for the rest of us. The drive home was a little quiet but also allowed time for retrospect on the past few weeks.