BOZEMAN - Eyes look to trail pass sales and mother nature to determine how often the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) will groom their network of more than 70 km of trails.
The foundation is a non-profit ski organization, based in Bozeman, that maintains trails, offers scholarships and organizes competitions. Donations from the community are one way that they fund these different programs.
“Everyone of our trailheads have been packed every weekend,” said BSF Trails Director Dan Cantrell said “To say that (amount of skiers) has doubled would be pretty accurate.”
Cantrell has been grooming for the past three seasons, "we’ve been grooming a lot, we’ve been grooming a lot more than we ever have. We feel like there’s a need for that."
But crowds on the trail aren’t the only thing growing for the foundation — the cost of maintaining the trail program is, too. It costs around $200,000 annually to pay for equipment, grooming, and labor.
The goal for the foundation this year is to sell 1,000 voluntary trail passes. The passes are not required to enjoy the trails that the BSF grooms, but they act as a donation for the work that it takes to maintain the valley’s trail system. So far, 700 passes have been sold.
“Get out, ski, tell your friends to enjoy it. If you can swing it, buy a pass, help support our trails,” Cantrell said, “It does take money to make this happen, but we’re trying to promote skiing and outdoor activity and active lifestyles.”