RED LODGE — After last ski season came to an abrupt halt in early March because of the pandemic, this season was shrouded with questions. The most distressing: Would the ski areas even open?
The season- which ends this weekend- started off with limited capacity for mountains and indoor areas such as lodges, restaurants and rental shops throughout the region. Restrictions lessened as the season went on, but challenges remained.
In Red Lodge snowfall was light early in the season but as is often the case, the spring skiing was fantastic, according to mountain management. Feet of snow were dumped between late February and early April, making late season that much better.
Although the snow deposits were slightly above average, Red Lodge saw fewer out-of-state visitors, said Spencer Weimar, Red Lodge Mountain's assistant general manager. Thankfully, skiers from around the state took up the mantle and made it a great season at Red Lodge, Weimar added.
Weimar says having reduced food and beverage capacity, as well as smaller ski school class sizes, hurt revenue.
Red Lodge got permission from the U.S. Forest Service to thin some of the older and decaying trees on the mountain to keep the forest safe, but with it may come more glade skiing for advanced skiers who love to go in the trees.
In the Red Lodge's multi-year plan, there is hope to begin summer activities, such as hiking and mountain biking.
The last day to ski at Red Lodge this season is Sunday, April 11. The resort announced that it would reopen for a "bonus weekend" on April 17 and 18.