LAKESIDE - Lookout was one of the first. Then Discovery, Lost Trail, and Whitefish followed suit.
Snowbowl north of Missoula opened for the season on Friday and the popular ski area in Lakeside will open on Saturday.
It's a special opening for Blacktail Mountain Ski Area though, as they celebrate their 25th anniversary.
It’s Christmas Eve for skiers and snowboarders as the mountain officially opens up on Saturday, one of the earliest opening days on record.
“Conditions are excellent, it’s been a long time since we have opened with this much snow, we’re really excited about it, it’s been 10 years. I looked it up, 10 years ago we opened on December 10th and here we go again on our 25th season. We’re going to get an early opening, so we’re excited,” Blacktail Mountain Ski Area General Manager Jessi Wood said.
Wood says while only the Olympic and Thunderhead chair lifts — as well as the handle tow — will be running this weekend, she expects full operation by next week.
“The following Friday, December 16th we will open up the whole mountain, we will go 100%,” Wood told MTN News.
Wood says one new item this year will be a reloadable lift ticket, with the hope of getting skiers on the hill as quick as possible.
“Once you have that card you skip the lines entirely, load your card online and go skiing, so we have done a lot of things to try to improve the experience here and continue to be the place with no lines.”
With no man-made snow, Blacktail relies on Mother Nature to get the job done.
“The upside-down mountain gives us the ability to open, because we’re at the top and going down, the best snow is at the top and we have a midway station at Thunderhead so we can open just the top half of our ski area and still be skiing on good snow,” Wood explained.
She added that 25 years in business wouldn’t be possible without the passionate skiers and boarders that call Blacktail home.
“We’re a community ski area and we feel the love of this community in a big way,” Wood added.
The latest information on Blacktail Mountain Ski Area can be found at https://blacktailmountain.com/.