[R160R, Great Divide] jibbers have been frolicking on rails for several weeks now, and the ski area threw a well-attended preview last Sunday. But Thanksgiving weekend usually serves as the official kick off for the Montana ski season.

[R048R, Big Sky Resort] loads its first skiers and riders of the season on lifts Nov. 24. Several November storms blanketed Lone Peak with snow, and the snowmaking machines blew added coverage on to high-traffic areas in preparation for the season.

Watch a bit of Big Sky’s snowmaking and grooming team in action as they prepare for the season, courtesy of Big Sky Resort and YouTube:

On opening day, Big Sky plans to run the Ramcharger Lift with Tippy’s Tumble run open. The Explorer Lift will give access to Mr. K and Mr. Ed runs. The carpets and the base area will be open, and the Swifty Terrain Park will have 13 features.

“A lot of other stuff is ready to go,” Spokesperson Chad Jones said. “Swifty and Challenger are ready, and maybe the bowl, but we need a few more inches for those. We will open as much as we can every day as soon as we can. We’re not going to hold off on anything.”
Lift tickets will sell at reduced prices on opening day. Jones also indicated that most likely lift tickets will run at reduced prices until Dec. 9. Ticket rates will go up to correspond with the amount of terrain and number of lifts in operation.

Return skiers to Big Sky’s slopes will find five new digital signs. Located at key intersections on the mountain, the signs provide real-time lift and trail updates. The signs will note open lifts and runs along with trail grooming.

Big Sky hotels will defer opening until Dec. 8.

[R133R, Discovery Ski Area] plans to open Thanksgiving Day for skiing and riding. The resort has scheduled two lifts—Rumsey and EZ—to run on opening day along with the carpet. Lifts load at 9:30 a.m. Operations continue daily until April 8.

[R335R, Red Lodge Mountain] aims to open Friday, Nov. 25. The opening day plan entails 2,000 vertical feet of top-to-bottom skiing. The resort plans to run five lifts including Triple Chair, Willow Creek, Grizzly Peak, Miami Beach and the Magic Carpet.


Great Divide Wildwood Park

Great Divide has been offering weekend fun on rails for several weeks, but now kicks into the regular ski and snowboard season with features in Wildwood Park open. Photo Courtesy of Great Divide.

Great Divide ran its Good Luck Chairlift last Sunday, Nov. 20. About 1,200 skiers and riders showed up for the preview day.

The ski area plans to operate Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 23-26 for the holiday weekend. Forty trails are open on the upper mountain, and the Wildwood and Rascal parks offer 20 features. The chairlift will run until 9 p.m. on Friday for night skiing and riding. After the holiday weekend, Great Divide will open Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 16, when daily operations begin for the Christmas holidays.

Check opening day info and conditions for Montana resorts here.