December came to Montana with a fickle weather dance. The weather has allowed some ski areas to open while others trickle open lifts or have bumped their opening days to await more snow.
Big Sky Resort and Red Lodge Mountain, located in southern Montana, picked up snowstorms that produced powder and packed powder conditions for their opening weekends. Big Sky is running three lifts with plans to add more with the next storm. Red Lodge plans to add Cole Creek Chair to the schedule tomorrow, Dec. 3. Both resorts are open daily.
Check out Big Sky's opening day, including riding rails in the terrain park, courtesy of Toy Soldier Productions and Vimeo:
Consistent snowfall through late November allowed Lookout Pass Ski Area to open and run its normal Thursday to Monday schedule with all four lifts. The ski area, located on the western border of Idaho and Montana, has been capturing storms that opened all three sides of the mountain for skiing and riding, including gladed powder runs.
Due to consistent snowfall, Lookout Pass has opened all three sides of the mountain to skiing and riding. Photo by Becky Lomax.
Currently, Great Divide is operating Fridays through Sundays. Discovery Ski Area opened last weekend, but closed for the week. The ski area plans to re-open this Saturday and Sunday.
Montana Snowbowl has opened the lower mountain for skiing Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Along with the rope tow running for beginners, the Sunrise T-bar is operating for skiing and riding Sunrise Bowl. Lift tickets cost $10 until the upper mountain opens. Snowbowl plans to go to daily operation Dec. 16-Feb. 29, and the weekend and holiday shuttle bus commences Dec. 17.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain cranked up Chairs 1 and 2 on Dec. 1. Skiers and riders got to enjoy four inches of powder on top of the snow pack. The lifts will operate Thursdays through Sundays, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily operations commence Dec. 15-Jan. 2.
Whitefish Mountain Resort planned to open Dec. 3, but snowstorms diverted north or south of the ski area. “We feel like we're one good snowstorm away from having a solid enough base depth at the bottom of Chair 7 to open that area of the mountain,” the snow report stated. Crews are poised to open the lifts as soon as snow permits.