America’s Sole Summer-Only Ski Resort, Beartooth Basin, WY/MT, Pushes Opening Back to This Saturday

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America’s summer ski resort Beartooth Basin will open for Memorial Day Weekend in 2023. | Picture: Beartooth Basin Facebook Page

America’s only summer-only ski resort, Beartooth Basin, WY/MT, will open this Saturday, May 27, 2023. The ski area is located at the border of Wyoming and Montana at almost 11,000ft (3,322m) and is not accessible by car in the winter due to snow accumulations on Beartooth Highway, which can be as high as 26ft in snow drifts.

The Beartooth Highway opens for the season Saturday, May 26th, at 8 am after pushing back the opening from Friday in order to meet lift inspection requirements.

“Tomorrow the Beartooth Pass opens. Beartooth Basin needs a day to meet lift inspection requirements. We will be up there working, but please avoid the parking lot as equipment will be moving. Saturday is a go!! See you at the Basin! Ps.. Tickets are back on sale for Beartooth Basin 2023 from Saturday until the snow melts.” –Beartooth Basin

This All-American Road is the highest-elevation highway in the Northern Rockies. On the Road’s Charles Kuralt called it the most beautiful drive in America, and it is also hailed as “The Most Scenic Route to Yellowstone Park.”

The Montana Department of Transportation (‘MDT’) is responsible for Beartooth Highway, the highway along the Montana/Wyoming border, and has been clearing the highway since April 18, 2023. The National Park Service (‘NPS’) is responsible for the highway through Wyoming into Yellowstone Park, and both MDT and NPS coordinate closely to ensure the safety of this winding mountain pass.

Beartooth Pass
The Montana Department of Transportation is working on opening the Beartooth Pass for Memorial Day Weekend. | Picture: MDT Website

Opening the Beartooth Pass is no small feat and requires several weeks of clearing the thick snowfalls off the road. Clearing Beartooth Highway during winter is simply impossible and can only start once the seasonal snowfalls subside around April, hence the Beartooth Basin ski resort is only open once the roads open.

Beartooth Basin offers 600 acres of skiable area serviced by two surface lifts across 1,000ft of vertical. The ski resort was established in the mid-1960s by Austrians Pepi Gramshammer, Erich Sailer, Toni Spiess, and Anderl Molterer as an Alpine Ski Racing summer training ground and was known as Red Lodge International Summer Racing Camp. When the Austrian ski coaches handed over management of the resort to its new owners in the late 1990s, the resort was renamed Beartooth Basin and opened up to the public. The resort is typically open from Memorial Day Weekend to July. Last year, Beartooth Basin was unable to open due to low snowfalls.

Beartooth Basin trail map

Beartooth Basin is one of only six summer-only ski areas in the world. While some resorts can offer year-round or close to year-round skiing, there are only six ski areas that are either completely inaccessible during winter or simply too cold or dark to operate during the winter months, and thus only able to open in summer: Beartooth Basin (USA), Stelvio Pass (Italy), Gassan (Japan), Stryn Sommerski, Folgefonna and Galdhøppigen (all latter three in Norway). Riksgransen in Sweden is usually open from late February to May, so does not technically count as a summer-only resort.

Beartooth Basin is getting ready for summer skiing. | Picture: Beartooth Basin Facebook Page

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