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Snowbowl road

A mountain biker coasts down one of the service roads to Point Six above Montana Snowbowl Ski Area. While early snows in the fall of 2018 forecast a good ski season, the weather change has delayed efforts to add a new lift to the complex.

Snow has started piling up on the Montana Snowbowl Ski Area north of Missoula, but anticipated lifts may not be finished before the ski season opens.

Meanwhile, Flathead National Forest planners have released proposed designs for an expansion at the Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Hellroaring Basin. The changes start a public comment period that lasts until Nov. 20.

Snowbowl owner Brad Morris said Wednesday "the weather's not working for us right now. People can hike back there, and the runs are cut. But it looks doubtful at this point the new lift will be running.”

Morris said the lift’s haul rope was in place and ready to splice together, but several wiring and hook-up tasks remained unfinished. Lolo National Forest officials approved Snowbowl’s expansion plans in 2014 after 13 years of analysis. The complete plan calls for four new lifts serving just over 1,000 acres of additional terrain known as the Snowbowl Park ski area.

Snowbowl’s pre-season ski pass sale ends Nov. 11. The area is expected to open on Dec. 7.

Whitefish Mountain plans to open on Dec. 6.

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In Whitefish, resort managers want to relocate the existing Hellroaring chairlift and install a new lift from the Grand Junction area up to Hellroaring Peak, clear eight new runs and some glade areas, build a service road, construct a cat track from near Hellroaring Peak to the Gray Wolf Run; complete three terrain modifications on the existing Hell Fire Run and one modification on the existing Swift Creek Run; and rehabilitate Purgatory Run and the portion of the existing Hell Fire Run below Grand Junction.

Comments on the Hellroaring project may be emailed to comments-northern-flathead-tally-lake@fs.fed.us; or sent to Tally Lake Ranger District, Attn: Hellroaring Basin Improvements Project, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901. Site-specific comments received by November 20, 2018, are the most helpful in project development. The District also welcomes those who do not have a comment, but wish to be notified of additional public comment opportunities, to only provide their contact information at this time.

In order to reduce costs and increase efficiency, email is the preferred method of contact. The next public input opportunity is anticipated to be on the environmental analysis document. Additional project Information is available at: fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55012.

Questions regarding the project should be directed to Hans Castren, Recreation Specialist, or Bill Mulholland, District Ranger, at 406-758-5200.

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