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Extreme cold impacts Big Sky Resort, Bridger Bowl and other operations around Gallatin County

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Big Sky Resort is operating under its cold weather protocol Wednesday and Thursday. COURTESY OF BIG SKY RESORT


Forecasted temperatures between minus 9 and minus 18 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday have caused Big Sky Resort to follow its cold weather protocol, with officials anticipating a delayed opening without a clear time frame.

Typically, Big Sky Resort’s lift operations are suspended with temperatures below minus 15, and Big Sky is expecting lows colder than minus 25 tonight at base area elevation. Skiers are encouraged to visit the Resort Updates page to find up-to-date information regarding opening. The resort has additional warming space and overflow seating for the Exchange and Vista Hall available Wednesday and Thursday in the Yellowstone Conference Center located in the lower atrium of the Huntley Lodge.

The cold is the result of an Arctic high pressure system sitting on top of Montana, Ray Greely, forecaster with the National Weather Service, told EBS on Monday. Greely said the forecasted low for Thursday morning—likely the coldest this system will reach—is minus 40 degrees. The current record low at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport for Dec. 22 is minus 41 degrees, which was set in 1983.

In addition—and effective immediately—the resort’s night operations are canceled through the end of Thursday, which includes headlamp night skiing, Enchanted Forest and dining at Everett’s 8800.

The combination of cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills has led the Bridger Bowl ski area to close Wednesday and will issue an update on its website on whether it will open Thursday. The nonprofit ski area reported the temperature at minus 23 degrees Wednesday morning, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts windchills as low as minus 50 on Thursday.

The Nordic Center at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, just north of Bridger Bowl, is closed Wednesday and Thursday due to the cold.

Also, Bozeman’s annual 12 Days of Bikemas—which offers daily prizes to people who bike or walk to downtown Bozeman—will be suspended until Friday, when temperatures are expected to rise above zero. The event typically runs from Dec. 13 until Dec. 24, but now will run through next Wednesday, Dec. 28.

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