MISSOULA — Although it has been a slow start to the ski season now that the snow is finally accumulating, Marshall Mountain is preparing to welcome winter recreationalists.
Marshall Mountain has made headlines this year from being put on the real estate market, to a lawsuit, to a new grand opening. Now it's back, only this time for its first winter under the operation of Missoula Parks and Recreation.
Located just off I-90 in East Missoula, the favorite local recreational destination has been closed as an established ski area for nearly 20 years, but this is the first winter season that Marshall Mountain will operate under Missoula Parks and Recreation.
“After almost 20 years to be able to officially come up and access snow at Marshall mountain, So we're really excited for that,” said Missoula Parks and Recreation Conservation Land Program manager Jeff Gicklhorn said.
For those who made it up to Marshall this summer, the winter rules largely stay the same. The big ones are no camping, no dogs, no motorized vehicles and daylight operation hours. However, unlike the summer, the city will not be maintaining trails or snow conditions.
“It's a use at your own risk situation that's different than the summer where we were maintaining the condition of the hiking and biking trails,” said Gicklhorn.
Conditions can change at any given time and while there is a low avalanche danger at Marshall Mountain, that still doesn’t erase the possibility.
“But if there is a regional forecast where the avalanche danger is extreme, we may consider closing Marshall, even if they haven't assessed this area in particular, and that's just to make sure that if there is broad scale avalanche danger across the region that we don't have a potential avalanche here." - Missoula Parks and Recreation Conservation Land Program manager Jeff Gicklhorn said
Because winter recreation at Marshall Mountain means use at your own risk, it is important to make sure that we have the right gear before we get up to the hill. Missoula Parks and Rec also asks that users do not build any features, for the safety of other skiers, snowboarders, cross country skiers or snow showers.
There is a survey where the public can still give their opinions about what they would like to see at Marshall, which will be open until Dec. 21.