GREAT FALLS — Colored Snow is taking center stage on Central Avenue in Great Falls. “With my shaved ice machine, we shave a solid block of ice down so you’re getting fine literal particles of snow, so the syrup absorbs into it amazingly, it’s really delicious,” explained owner Darby Bogden.
The new business officially opens on Saturday, April 24, at 426 Central Avenue. Most recently the space was home to the Last Straw Bistro, which closed in October of 2020. It has also been home to Chopz and before that a Subway sandwich shop.
What started as a food truck with 25 flavors mostly in her hometown of Cascade has now blossomed into a storefront for Bogden. Colored Snow boasts 72 sweet and savory flavors complemented by an array of toppings. Customers can also add ice cream fillings. Darby says shaved ice shouldn’t be confused with its frozen crunchy cousin, the snow cone.
“We have a saying here that 'snow cone' is a curse word because shaved ice really doesn’t compare, even though some people might think they’re the same thing,” said Bogden.
With the help of her brother Ryan, she created a business plan. With patience and the help of her fiancé Leo Imperi along with her sister Sydney Ridings and her husband Blake, they were able to move forward in a location where others had hit a roadblock.
“The last few places were unfortunately places that we also had around the block, other ice cream shops other sandwich shops,” said Bogden. “With shaved ice there’s nothing like it in Great Falls, actually we’re the only one in the northwest region of the United States to have a store front.”
Customers can choose from three sizes ranging from $3.50 to $5.50 in price with an additional charge for extra toppings. Although the new venture is in its infancy, people are already picking favorites. “The most popular flavor is Tiger’s Blood,” said Bogden. “It’s a strawberry coconut so it's simple but it’s a fun name and people like that.”
Other flavors include blue raspberry, egg custard, strawberry cheesecake, even dill pickle. The store also offers sugar free and gluten free options. For skeptics, Darby says just give it a try.
“I know it’s a new thing,” said Bogden. “We actually had some friends here last night. One of them had heard of snow cones, he’d never heard of shaved ice, he’d never tried it before and last night he was just in awe.”
Initially, Colored Snow will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Sundays, they’ll be open from 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. Bogden says they may have expanded hours during the summer.
Colored Snow doesn’t allow pets in the store, but will offer "pup cup" shaved ice to go with a Milk Bone treat for $1. For more information, click here to visit their Facebook page.
WEB EXTRA: Bogden talks about making the decision to open: