As snow continues to fall, ski areas are getting ready to open. Before winter tourism season begins in Whitefish, the city wants to make sure area businesses are ready to welcome guests.
The Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce are hosting hospitality training. Any business that deals with tourists is encouraged to attend. These include local convenience stores, lodging properties, visitor information centers, and more.
The training will focus on putting the customers first. The training will also aim to teach businesses how to direct visitors to other activities happening around town.
Businesses in Whitefish are already preparing for the busy season.
It’s crunch time for people working on the slopes. The biggest priority is getting the ski lifts inspected and making sure they’re capable of holding the weight of people.
"The load testing will actually load a lift and check to make sure everything’s functioning properly with weight. So that simulates, of course, our skiers and riders who will be riding those lifts this winter," said Whitefish Mountain Resort spokesperson Riley Polumbus.
Prep work isn’t just being done on the slopes. New ski inventory has been put on the shelves and boxes of new apparel are waiting to be unpacked.
However, it’s not just the mountain getting ready for opening day, but local businesses too.
Debbie Adams owns the Bear Mountain Mercantile. This will be her 20th winter tourism season.
"We definitely see, from Thanksgiving on, a big push of people arriving in town, and then once the mountain opens it’s just great and we love to be able to support them, and that obviously supports our business too," Adams said.
That’s why she starts buying inventory a year early, before the winter season begins.
"Summer was crazy and fall has remained very strong for us. So we're anticipating a great holiday season too," said Adams.
The preparations aren’t just for sales, rather for safety too.
"Ski patrol is busy getting stuff ready, they've been doing their training and of course the days prior to opening they'll be out there putting up caution signs," Polumbus said.
For everybody else, the next couple days will be filled with orientations and trainings.
Whitefish Mountain Resort will open Saturday, December 6.