Summer ski area opens in Rockies

30th May 2013, by Abi Butcher

A former private summer training camp, Beartooth Basin offers brilliant cornice skiing

A former private summer training camp, Beartooth Basin offers brilliant cornice skiing

A ski area that is open for the summer only has begun its season in Montana.

Beartooth Basin, the only summer ski area in the Rocky Mountains, opened on 26 May. Lifts will stay open between 9am and 3pm until 13 July, depending on conditions. During the winter, access to the resort, via Beartooth Pass, is closed.

Previously known Red Lodge International Ski and Snowboard camp, the area was established in the 1960s by Austrian skiers Pepi Gramshammer, Eric Sailer and Anderl Molterer as a summer training ground.

A new ownership group including locals Justin Modro, Austin Hart and Kurt Hallock has now opened the area to the public. Operated under a special permit with the Shoshone National Forest, Beartooth Basin is served by two Poma button lifts, and nine trails with a big air park, rails, moguls and ski racing.

Beartooth Basin provides 600 acres of skiing terrain that varies in pitch from 15 to 50 degrees, with a summit elevation of 10,900ft (3,322m) with 1,000 vertical feet (305m) of lift-serviced terrain. It also claims to have some amazing cornice skiing.

Lift passes cost US$45 (£30) for a full day, $35 (£23) for a half day or $20 (£13) for a “power hour” in which skiers can take as many laps as they can in 60 minutes.

The ownership warn skiers at Beartooth not to be complacent in the summer conditions.

“The ski area is staffed with professional ski patrol and lift attendants just as any other ski area, but with a summer like setting above 10,000 feet that can sometimes turn to winter at a moments notice,” they say. “Please note, there is no lodge or warming hut facilities. You could call it backcountry skiing with a lift.”

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