MISSOULA — Snowbowl was struggling to get enough snow to start opening its lifts back in mid-December, but now they finally have almost everything up and running -- including their newest addition to the ski area.
"There's five runs across that are just so much fun, this is exciting. Snowbowl way to go," skier Judy Frey said.
The long-awaited expansion to Snowbowl is open and the new area called Snowpark brings a whole different feel to Missoula’s closest ski area.
"It in itself, is a completely separate ski resort. Completely different than anything else at Snowbowl," skier Russ Read said.
The Snowpark runs are a little wider than the rest of the terrain at Snowbowl, opening the mountain to a whole new level of skier.
Snowbowl icon -- and season pass holder #32 Jon Jon Strutzel -- told MTN News he has been waiting for the expansion for 15 years and it exceeded his expectations.
Snowbowl spokesman Josh Gimpleson said it has been a long time coming and the project took a little while to get going but they got through everything.
"It's making it so like families can come to Snowbowl instead of having to drive an hour-and-a-half in every direction,” said Gimpleson. “So, it's bringing our local hill more of a local feel to like families who are just learning how to ski."
Snowpark might just be the beginning of Snowbowl's expansion.
"It’s kinda to be determined, but we've got another lift that going to eventually come out here at the base. Another lift on the other side," Gimpelson said. "It’s going to be dependent on timing and other things that we need to work through. There’s going to be more terrain opening as we progress through this expansion."
Meanwhile, repair work is continuing on Snowbowl's Lavell Lift and they hope to have it open as soon as possible.