It’s all good in the Rockies with tons of snowfall this year because we can’t seem to get enough of it. But that begs the question; how long into the summer can one ski, without having to travel to another hemisphere to do it?
It’s a little-known fact to city dwellers like me that the extended ski season is on us, and there are quite a few ski areas in North America that are open for skiing well into the summer months. Places like the humongous Whistler’s Blackcomb in British Colombia capitalize on their never-melting glacier; Arapahoe Basin in Colorado plays snow-roulette annually to make it to Independence Day; and Timberline at Mt. Hood, Oregon boasts the longest ski season overall by staying open every day through Labor Day.
New to the list is the Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area in Montana – now opened to the public! Since the early 1960s, the area was has been a closely guarded secret by world-famous skiers and boarders. The area, formerly known as the Red Lodge International Ski and Snowboard Camp is a training ground just on top of Montana’s Beartooth Plateau at the Twin Lakes Headwall where athletes can perfect their skills during the spring and summer months.
Now open to the public from May 24 to July 6 (longer if weather permits) the basin offers big mountain skiing, slope-style competitions, freestyle bump lines, race lanes, a terrain park and steep cornice skiing. You’ll find all 600 acres of diverse terrain just a couple of miles north of the Wyoming border close to summit of the famous Beartooth Pass near Red Lodge, MT.
The Basin, like other ski areas, is staffed with experienced ski patrol and lift attendants. But don’t expect the ski-in/ski-out conveniences of winter resorts. There are no lodges or warming hut facilities at all. And although it’s summer at 10,000 feet, the environment can sometimes look and feel like winter real fast.
Beartooth’s lifts are open and daily passes are available $45 full-day, $35 half-day or $20 for as many runs as you can squeeze in one hour’s time. They have the capacity to accommodate teams, camps and groups of all kinds, and there are plenty of races and competitions for spectators to watch.
It’s a break from the same ole same ole for a summer vacation and it’s certainly on my bucket list. Aren’t you at least curious? Do you think you’ll check it out?