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Big Sky Resort will open Thursday with twice the snow it has had in the past five years — a base of 45 inches at midmountain.

"The snow we do have is absolutely amazing," said Greer Schott, public relations and special events coordinator.

For sure, the mountain will have the Swiftcurrent and Explorer lifts open. But the continuing snowfall, wind and cold temperatures have left in question whether it will be safe to open the Triple Chair and Challenger lifts, Schott said.

"We hope to open the bowl, but we can't say until tomorrow," she said. "It's a lot of snow. It's hard to keep up with."

Since the entire mountain isn't open, tickets are reduced to $55 through Dec. 10. On Dec. 3, tickets will be $20 for the day.

The frigid weather is forecast to continue Thursday with Big Sky's high predicted at 11 degrees.

 

Red Lodge opens Friday

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The recent snowstorm has also benefited Red Lodge Mountain Resort, piling up 14 inches since the weekend for the ski area's opening day on Friday.

"The way it came in was good for us," said Jeff Schmidt, mountain manager, allowing the ski area to mix machine-made snow with natural snow.

As it did last year, Red Lodge Mountain will open Grizzly Peak, in addition to the Triple Chair, Willow Creek, Miami Beach and the Magic Carpet. The packed base measures 16 inches.

For the best skiing and boarding, Schmidt recommended runs where snow was made, including Turnpike, Bobcat and Lazy M. The terrain park is open. The mountain will also allow backcountry access to Cole Creek for those who don't mind hiking back out of the drainage.

All facilities will be open on the mountain and tickets will be full price — $49 for an adult all-day ticket.

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Contact Brett French, Gazette Outdoors editor, at french@billingsgazette.com or at 657-1387.

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