This winter, United has launched new direct flights to Whitefish in northern Montana. There’s more than the upcoming Winter Carnival (February 6 to 8)—this is the place for skiers looking for something fresh. Here are four reasons to go now.

1. New Direct Flights Get You There Fast
Getting to Whitefish used to require at least one stop. Now, you can get there on a direct, three-and-a-half-hour flight that runs every Saturday between Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Glacier Park International (FCA), an awesomely tiny airport that’s only a 15-minute drive to Whitefish. The flight runs through April 4, 2015 (after which direct flights increase for the spring and summer high season). We found rates around $500.

2. Whitefish Mountain Resort is Stunning—and Wide Open
Set against the backdrop of nearby Glacier National Park, Whitefish’s 3,000-acre ski mountain—Whitefish Mountain Resort—is a huge, beautiful gem. With a summit at 6,817 feet, a vertical drop of 2,300-plus and 105 marked runs, there is endless terrain to explore, especially for intermediate skiers on up. Did we mention the scenery? Rows upon rows of giant evergreens line the mountain (many of which are heavy with snow), peaks and lakes dot the horizon, and when the sky is not bright blue, you’ll find yourself skiing through a heavenly stack of clouds. 

3. Great Deals Are Easy to Find
Once you land in Whitefish, the deals rage on. Stay right on the mountain to ski in/ski out at the cozy, woodsy Kandahar Lodge (from $151). Breakfast is included and you get direct access to Café Kandahar, where three-time James Beard-nominated chef Andy Blanton courses out a beautiful, locally inspired menu. Or stay at the luxurious, big-timber-style Lodge at Whitefish Lake for only $115 a night. Every room has a fireplace; complimentary shuttle rides are offered to and from the airport, town, and mountain; and you’d pay more than $250 for that same room in the summer high season. When it’s time to ski, $71 will get you a full-day lift ticket, $20 a night skiing pass (!), and $75 buys beginners two half-days of lessons and two full days of rental equipment and lift tickets. 

4. See Glacier National Park Sans Crowds
A 30-minute drive from Whitefish, Glacier National Park is breathtaking—and open in the winter. That means you can experience it without the crowds. Rent a pair of snowshoes from Paddlefish Sports for a walk around the park’s Lake McDonald.

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