What new snow in May means for Red Lodge and the Beartooth Pass

Posted at 3:14 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 18:37:54-04

RED LODGE – The Beartooth Pass near Red Lodge is expected to be at least partially open in time for Memorial Day travel, according to the Montana Department of Transportation off in Billings.

The area has been hit with a foot of new snow in recent days.

With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, the Red Lodge community – which makes a lot of its money during the tourism season – is hoping that the Beartooth Pass will be open soon.

State officials said that by Tuesday plow crews had the road clear up to Vista Point.

MDT said they expect to get to the Montana/Wyoming state line in time for the weekend to have the pass at least partially open.

Red Lodge businesses hope the tourists will still make the trip to Red Lodge, even if the sun isn’t necessarily shining.

Staff at Bogart’s Restaurant hope the weather won’t affect business too much.

“We have a couple of slow months from April to the end of May,” said Mia Guzman, Bogart’s assistant manager. “With Memorial Day we usually expect some big numbers. It usually coincidence with Red Lodge graduation. Especially if the weather is bad, you don’t have the people that are going to go camping. We’re a little concerned about a rough start, but I’m sure it will pick up.”

With all this talk of snow, it begs the question: With a town that has a storied history as a skiing destination, what do skiers think about getting some fresh turns in May?

“I mean, it snowed, so why not ski,” said Jesse Anderson, an 11-year-old Red Lodge resident.

Obviously, they love it but the lifts stopped turning in April. So how do you get up the mountain?

“After school we came up here with our moms and the dogs and we decided to hike up,” said Brennan Freeman, an 8-year-old Red Lodge resident.

In the skiing world, this is called earning your turns. It’s not easy work, but the reward is well worth it.

“If you don’t ski, ski because it is the best thing in the world,” said Aiden Freeman, an 11-year-old Red Lodge resident

Reporting by Mitch Lagge for MTN News