Work Hard, Play Hard: Whitefish
A community brought up in the western way of life, Whitefish residents work hard and play hard
Whitefish can thank its namesake lake for becoming the town it is today. In the early 1900s, the Great Northern railroad was looking for a division point and the location was chosen because of the practical purposes of abundant water that could be utilized by steam engines.
Railroad workers cut the first trees for the townsite and by April 14, 1905 Whitefish was incorporated. Locals and visitors alike soon discovered this same lake that provided practical resources was also great place for fishing, boating and having fun.
So began the town’s first marriage of prudent practicality and exuberant fun that has lasted all of these years.
Back in the 1920s some folks wanted to golf so they figured out how to get WPA grants to build emergency landing strips which coincidentally were used as fairways. The trees that were cleared became the log clubhouse. Today, Whitefish Lake Golf Club’s 36 holes and historic clubhouse restaurant have earned national acclaim.
And in the 1930s and 40s, the locals hiked up above the town so they could ski powder snow "on that big mountain." A couple of Montana businessmen offered to invest with the locals to build a ski mountain and everybody chipped in labor and money to make the dream a reality. Over a half a century later, Whitefish Mountain Resort is rated one of the top 20 resorts in North America by Ski Magazine.
It is the hardworking men and women who still make up the backbone of Whitefish. But when the snow falls deep overnight, locals feel no angst about putting out the “gone skiing” sign to spend a few hours whooping it up, making tracks in the powder overlooking town. And even when a full day of work calls, you can still tee off after clocking out and get a full round of golf in, thanks to an old, emergency landing strip.