A break in the December high pressure that was stingy with snowfall caused resorts to celebrate over the holidays. A cycle of Pacific storms brought fresh snowfall and improved conditions. The new snow allowed Montana’s last ski area to open for the season and several other resorts to bump open more runs and terrain.

Maverick Mountain opened for the season on New Year’s Eve. The first day of the season ended with a holiday torchlight parade and fireworks that doubled as a party for the opening. The ski area plans to operate Thursdays through Sundays for the remainder of the season.

Big Sky Resort opened the Dakota Lift on New Year’s Day, adding 300 more acres of skiing and riding. The turning of the Dakota Lift signaled that all lifts, including the tram, are up and running at Big Sky.

Here’s some highlights from Big Sky this past month when the powder hit:


Moonlight Basin also has all their lifts running for the season. Skiers and riders can even access the North Summit Snowfield as conditions permit.

Red Lodge Mountain Resort got the okay to operate the Willow Creek lift once again. On Dec. 28, two skiers were injured when a chair detached from the lift, dropped from the cable, and landed on the ground. The skiers were released in good condition from a local clinic that evening, and Red Lodge closed the lift until it passed inspection on Dec. 30. Officials released a statement that identified the cause as “an isolated incident involving a localized wind event.”

Whitefish Mountain Resort opened new runs each day during the holidays. Hellroaring Basin still awaits more snow to make it safe for skiing and riding, but storms in the forecast for this week may alter its status.

Check out some telemark groomer cruising on Jan. 2 at Whitefish: