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75 Years of Big Mountain

Furniture races, Ididitalls, Poma Lifts, and endless chairlift rides.

75 years on the Big comes to an end next week! To celebrate, we scoured the archives for some of our favorite photos that show the different eras of skiing on Big Mountain. Above, cars park in front of the Bierstube circa 1970-1971.

If you look closely, you can spot a cherry red Mustang parked out front with a rack full of skis on top! (ca 1970-1971, photographer unknown


Pictured above is the original warming hut built on Big Mountain in 1937.

George Shaw recounted this story of the cabin in 1967:

“In September of 1937, when I was ranger at Tally Lake and Lloyd Muldown was teaching in Whitefish, Muldown contacted me about a permit to build a one-room warming cabin on a spring in the Big Mountain area.

There was no Whitefish skiing organization at that time, but a few Whitefish and Kalispell people hiked up the trail to enjoy the area’s excellent skiing.

While they knew just where they wanted to build the cabin, they didn’t know if it was private or National Forest Land.

Muldown and I rode horses up the trail on Labor Day of 1937 to where they wanted to build the warming cabin. I set up my compass and took several shots at known mountain peaks in order to “3-point” the location on a half-inch scale map.

Lloyd was pleased to learn that the proposed location was on National Forest land. We placed a stake near the spring and the cabin was built there later that fall.

This was the beginning of the Big Mountain ski resort, today one of the largest and best known Montana ski areas.”

-Charlie Shaw on October 24, 1967


Straight out of the 1960s comes this photo from the base of Big Mountain. (ca 1960, photographer unknown)


It’s impossible to say the words “photos” and “Big Mountain” history without mentioning Marion Lacy. Lacy captured the fun, frivolity, and growth of the Big Mountain in its early days. The photos above and below are both Lacy photos.

Pictured above, Lacy captures a slalom racer cruising down the slope toward the lodge - circa 1955.


Circa 1970, Marion Lacy Photo


From the Archives

This clipping is from a past issue of the Whitefish Pilot. Thanks to the Whitefish Community Library and their microfilm archives of the Whitefish Pilot for this material.

This article ran on April 6, 2006.

Thanks for reading this story celebrating 75 years of history on Big Mountain!

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