For the first time this winter, Red Lodge Mountain was packed with skiers hitting the slopes. It's a day Montanans look forward to every year, and some even race to get on the first chairlift.
Long-time friends Belgarion Rickard, Dylan Neves and Tom Baker try every year to be on the very first chairlift. Last year, they made it, but this year they came up a little short.
“We were here at about 6:30," Rickard said. "Yeah, 6:30. We got up in the van, left around 5:30."
To him and his friends, the first day of ski season is like Christmas morning.
“Oh I love it," Neves said. "Trying to go to bed early, but I can’t because I’m so excited. Then you finally get here and get on the lift. That cold breeze, feels good."
The group of friends was the first to buy their tickets today, but they weren't able to get to that first lift. They weren't too bummed, as it's hard to beat a good day on the slopes.
“Everything is going great," Rickard said. "It’s a really awesome start to the season we got a lot more snow."
And these three weren't the only ones chomping at the bit for the season to be underway. Marketing manager for Red Lodge Mountain Jack Moore said it's a day the entire staff looks forward to.
“I’m really fired up for this season," Moore said. "It’s a lot of work from our fantastic team of employees that’s gone into it these last couple weeks."
Moore said this year, just like previous ones, had a certain energy about it.
“Leading up to 9 o'clock, this place gets buzzing on opening day," Moore said. "Once everything clears out the lines tend to go away. People are excited to ski Red Lodge Mountain this year, and we are too."
The mountain had three lifts open — the triple chair, Willow Creek, and Miami Beach — along with the magic carpet for beginners, but it will slowly open up the rest of the mountain as more and more snow falls.
But for opening day, you won't hear any complaints from this group of friends.
“When we first got here up near the top it was a little icy, a little chunky," Baker said. "But as the days gone by and it’s warmed up a little bit, it’s gotten softer and it’s pretty good snow."
And they had no plans of getting off the mountain early.
“We’ll be here until the last lift,” Rickard said.
“We’ll be here when it’s two minutes after begging to let us go one more time,” Baker said.