By SAM BROWN/Montana State News
This winter, Bozeman has seen a dramatic decrease in snowfall and overall winter conditions. Nearby ski resorts like Bridger Bowl have been struggling due to the lack of snow coverage for their slopes.
Conditions up the canyon in Big Sky, however, are significantly different. Although Big Sky Ski Resort has had a slow start to their ski season many people don’t realize just how good the conditions are compared to other resorts.
In other areas of the United States ski resorts are seeing much worse. With the exception of Alaska and New Mexico, many ski resorts are have recorded the worst pre-season conditions they have seen in a long time.
Many ski resorts reported the driest December in history; the first week of January 1,500 ski resorts broke record temperature highs.
Bachelor Ski Resort in Oregon was forced to shut down ski operations on weekdays due to increased rainfall and deteriorating ski conditions.
Vail Ski Resort, the biggest ski area in Colorado, is only running six of its 31 lifts. Squaw Valley ski resort in California, notorious for its 700 inches of snowfall received last year are struggling with a 12-inch base and only a few runs open.
Big Sky Resort has 95 percent of its terrain open and reports a solid base of 35 inches.
Although considerably less compared to La Nina’s strong influence last year bringing record amounts of early season snowfall to Big Sky, conditions are better then most parts of the United States. The skiing is so good that Big Sky opened its lifts to all Epic Ski Pass holders in Colorado.
An Epic Ski Pass is a season pass that is used at seven different resorts in Colorado. Unfortunately those seven resorts cannot satisfy the skiers begging to make some quality turns.
With Big Sky’s famous tram, all of their lifts open, 3,622 acres of terrain and a consistent snowpack, it is no wonder they have seen an increase in visitors using their Epic Pass.
Although conditions might not be ideal, skiing is Big Sky is about as good as it gets this year.
This story was edited by Mary Koppy.