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Icy roads cause dozens of accidents, snarl Tuesday evening traffic 

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Stopped cars were sliding on black ice on Lone Mountain Trail (Montana Highway 64) last night as rain turned to snow. PHOTO BY KALEY BURNS

EBS STAFF 

BIG SKY—On Tuesday evening, standstill traffic and countless accidents occurred on Montana Highway 64, also called Lone Mountain Trail, connecting Big Sky to the Mountain Village at Big Sky Resort. Drivers reported numerous vehicles abandoned on the side of the road. 

Air temperature around Big Sky on Tuesday stayed above freezing at lower elevations including the Big Sky Meadow Village. At sunset, all temperatures dipped below freezing and rain turned to sleet, freezing surface water on roads and creating extremely hazardous driving conditions during one of the busiest times of the year. Requests for information from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Department of Transportation were unsuccessful Wednesday morning, as Tuesday night’s responding officers were off duty.  

The following reports are quoted from community posts on the public Gallatin Canyon Road Conditions Facebook page, with small revisions for clarity: 

(6:47 p.m.) “Road from town center up to the resort is a mess. Lone Mountain Ranch to Northfork and the hill by Antler Ridge are the worst. Cars can’t make it up or down the road. Police on scene above Lone Mountain Ranch. Drive carefully.” 

(7:07 p.m.) “Avoid going up or down the mountain at all costs right now. Numerous cars off on several corners. The road is pure ice.” 

(8:06 p.m.) “30+ cars in the ditch including a [Montana Department of Transportation] plow blocking one lane… The plow that’s supposed to be sanding the roads… Only handful of tow trucks en route.” 

(8:18 p.m.) “I just got turned around above [Lone Mountain Ranch]… It’s sheer ice and downhill traffic was still at a standstill… Uphill travel must keep slow yet steady momentum. Do not head up or down if you are not already in it!” 

(8:32 p.m.) “I was at a pullout above [Lone Mountain Ranch]. Cars in front of me were literally sliding into the guard rail while at a full stop.” 

(9:11 p.m.) “We are not moving. Trying to get up the mountain. It’s 9 p.m. no movement.” 

(9:14 p.m.) “Sheriff has officially stopped all traffic going up the mountain at Little Coyote [Road]. Cars were sliding off the road at a standstill. I stopped counting cars off after 20… There were 7 cars off [the road] by the sand/snowplow that was off [the road]. Took me just under 3 hours to get from Moonlight to town center.” 

(9:19 p.m.) “If you live in Big Sky, stay home at all costs. We’ve been stuck trying to drive up very icy [Lone Mountain Trail] for hours… Literally not even moving an inch still for hours up the highway.” 

(9:50 p.m.) “Have not moved one inch uphill for an hour [plus].” 

(11:16 p.m. in response to post asking about roads from Bozeman) “Stay in Bozeman… Seriously… Took me an hour and a half to go from Roxy’s to the resort and the road was a solid sheet of ice [with] at least 20 cars in the ditch from [Lone Mountain Ranch] to resort including a [Skyline bus] and massive snowplow.” 

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