LOST TRAIL - For over three decades they’ve hosted the Bitterroot Winter Games for Special Olympics Montana. And for the family owners of Lost Trail Powder Mountain it’s a party they look forward to every year.
Over 30 years ago, Bill Grasser and his family decided to open their slopes to the fledgling Special Olympics organization, and today that welcome is still going strong. Once again this week, athletes, their families and coaches from all over West Central Montana are gathering among the snowflakes and smiles to challenge themselves and celebrate their accomplishments.
Bill passed away almost three years ago, but the family tradition of hosting Special Olympics lives on.
“It’s just a great time for a lot of communities in Montana to bring folks up for the Special Olympics games," said Lost Trail Powder Mountain Owner and Operator Scott Grasser. "The kids just really enjoy the whole week being out here. Today we’ve got a lot of snow. Pretty classic for this week to have lots of snow so the kids get to enjoy that as well.”
It isn’t just during the games the athletes can be found on the slopes. It’s a place to practice, and have fun, throughout the season.
“They start coming up in December, start training and they touch base every time they’re on the hill, saying ‘hello’," Grasser said. "And we see them out on the hill while we’re skiing as well.”
For Lost Trail, the Bitterroot Winter Games are also a chance to renew acquaintances with area business, and agencies ranging the Ravalli County Sheriff to Montana FWP, the Forest Service and others.
“All the local businesses and everybody are doing well with this. Like you said the local agencies, the Forest Service, fish and game, they bring equipment up and just help everybody make this happen.”
And the Games also mark a rough mid-way point at Lost Trail Powder Mountain, with lots of events packed into now and the end of the season.
“Our annual Ski Patrol Steak Fry. We’ve got Big Air Contest. We’ve got Cold Smoke events and our end of the year party. Lots of powder. Lots of blue skies. It’s just a festive season. Absolutely great.”
And it looks like a big weekend ahead. Lost Trail was reporting 7 inches of new powder this morning.