Great Divide Ski Area is once again the first Montana ski area to open. The ski area has made it a tradition in the past couple years of opening with a big party on the last weekend in October.

This weekend will mark the fourth year in a row that Great Divide opens the Montana ski season with the October PocketPark. The ski area will open Oct. 27-28, 2012 for early season fun.

On top of snowfall this week and cold temperatures, the ski area plans to fire up two snowmaking guns to lay down a 12- to 18-inch base in the BackYard. The rope tow will run to aid skiers in snowboarders in getting their legs under them along with two separate lines of four features each available for riders in the PocketPark.

The October PocketPark and BackYard tow will operate 5-9 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The entry costs $5.

Last year drew big crowds to the early season event, including riders from across the state. Skiers and snowboarders who have current season passes from any Montana ski area can get free admission for the day by picking up a ticket at the office.

Saturday’s PocketPark coincides with the PocketPark Party to launch the season. The cafeteria and bar open 5-11 p.m., and a live band supplies the music from 8-11 p.m. Entry to the party is free.

While the PocketPark Party officially launches the ski season, the party doubles as a Halloween celebration. Winners of the costume contest can take home a variety of prizes including accessories and clothing from Four-0-Six, tickets for the Nov. 1 showing of the Matchstick Productions film, Superheroes of Stoke, and Half-Price Passports from Great Divide.

For more information on the October PocketPark, click here.