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Whitefish December Skiing

Whitefish in December: Overview


  • Good record of solid snow in December that allows terrain to open for the December holidays—Whitefish averages 80% open on Christmas Day
  • Whitefish also has a solid record of dodging major snow dry spells in December. Only 15% of winters at Whitefish see the mountain less than 50% open on Dec. 25
  • There is a surprisingly large lodging base between the mountain, the town of Whitefish and all of the condos and houses in the area due to the larger summer crowds bound for Glacier National Park—that helps keep prices down in the winter
  • Lift tickets during the holidays here remain one of the great bargains in skiing—less than $100 while other resorts have now pushed past $250 during peak times


  • Flights into Kalispell can be tough and expensive to track down for the holidays. This place has gotten a lot more popular in the last decade and it has attracted the holiday crowd
  • December and January don't bring much sun to this part of the Rockies, so despite the relatively low elevations here (peak is 6,817 feet), it can be cold and clammy
  • Whitefish's lift tickets are relatively affordable, but skiers visiting in December won't be able to use a multi-resort pass such as Epic or Ikon because Whitefish simply isn't on one

Whitefish snow in December

Data show December is the fifth best month Whitefish for overall snow quality when considering the following factors:

  • Snow quantity at Whitefish
  • Snow quality at Whitefish
  • How much snow is required for proper terrain coverage at Whitefish—steeper resorts require more snow to get 100% open.
  • Whitefish's snow frequency (standard deviation)
  • Whitefish's elevation
  • Whitefish's latitude
  • Whitefish's slope aspects - more north-facing slopes protect snow later into winter
Whitefish snow score by month, December in focus

What matters when it comes to snow for December skiing:

Finding good snow early in the season is often a game of chance. But there are mountains and regions that historically perform better than others. We take these factors into account when grading out our scores for resorts and the given season. That said, it's almost always a better bet, in terms of snow and open terrain, to ski in January or Feburary compared with December.

But skiing during the December holidays is a great tradition and it's also one of the only times many families can get away for extended periods.

Those skiing December should look for ski resorts with high average annual snowfalls and low standard deviations. In addition, steep and rocky ski resorts need more snow to get terrain open compared with ski resorts with more modest terrain.

This is also the time of year when slope aspects—north, east, south, west—matter the least. The sun is at it lowest angles in North America in December and has less effect on the snowpack at this time of year than at any other. So ski resorts that possess lots of south-facing and east-facing terrain will generally ski better—assuming there is enough snow—during these darkest times of winter rather than the spring. More explanation on this topic can be found on our snow rankings page.

Whitefish skiing by month:
By Month