Beartooth Basin, the only summer-ski only ski area in the US, is crowd-funding to raise much-needed finance to maintain and improve its existing operation.
The centre, then known as The Red Lodge International Ski and Snowboard Camp, was originally established in the mid-1960’s by Austrians Pepi Gramshammer, Eric Sailer and Anderl Molterer as an Alpine Ski Racing summer training ground.
It aims to open every year from late May to early July with a mission to keep the spirit of skiing alive with two surface lifts atop the iconic 10,000 foot elevation Beartooth Pass, over the Montana/Wyoming border. The centre usually opens when the road is cleared.
Since 2003 a younger generation of skiing enthusiasts now open the area to the public and not just the private groups and teams as had been tradition in the past. The newer ownership describe the experience as like backcountry skiing with a lift.
“We enjoy being owned and operated by local ski enthusiasts, and not some big corporate entity. We would rather measure success in smiles than the bottom line. We’ve been successful in many ways the past couple seasons – but finances have not been one of them,” a statement from the centre reads, continuing,
“The Basin has survived many seasons without turning a profit, but this year we have to put a lot of $$ into our operating infrastructure to keep this place alive.”
The centre is aiming to raise $65,000 by the start of June with a crowd-funding campaign. The biggest part of that due for a new gearbox on the centre’s top lift (Lift #1) which is described as essential for Beartooth Basin to operate, it has a $35,000 price tag.
The remaining $30,000 is required for operation insurance, biofuels, renting a groomer and a potential terrain expansion with the possibility of two additional surface lifts, the first of which, serving lower terrain, could be in place this spring. But the centre needs to fund installation and engineering requirements.