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From the Hill - Busy weekend of skiing at Bear Paw

Byron Ophus

Saturday, January 20th, marked the third weekend of 2023 for skiers and boarders to enjoy Bear Paw Ski Bowl.

Warm weather from the prior Saturday and subsequent below freezing temperatures made conditions a mixed bag. From the midway ramp to the bottom the slopes were groomed and very skiable. Conditions from the top were, and I’m being kind, brutal. Few intrepid soles ventured to the top and fewer still made the trip more than once. The Hill has a base of 14” to 30” and the weather Saturday was warm (25 - 30 degrees F) and breezy.

The crowd Saturday was huge. More than 70 college students rented equipment from Bear Paw Winter Sports. Students with their own equipment likely made the number of students on the hill even greater. On top of that there were at least 5 faculty members, some with families, enjoying the day at Bear Paw. One faculty member was manning the grill on the deck of the world famous Yellowsnow lodge. Northern was well represented, making up nearly half of the 200 skiers and boarders on that day.

A group of more than 20 students from Rocky Boy made the trek to the hill under the supervision of Shannon Howland. Most were beginners but received excellent instruction from Shannon, and help from Erin, Kerry, Les, Kelly and others. By the end of the day many of the Rocky Boy students had graduated from the rope tow to the chair lift.

Sunday’s numbers were at about 100, still a good turnout for the Hill. The temperatures were warm for this time of the year. Snow started falling in the afternoon and continued throughout the day. The conditions from midway down were excellent and improved throughout the day. The snow was better with each run. The top was becoming a little less brutal. The predicted snowfall along with the snow that fell on Sunday should make conditions dynamite for the upcoming weekend.

The ski patrol reported no serious injuries for either day. Don’t be alarmed if you see patrollers navigating sleds down the hill this coming Saturday. They will be participating in toboggan training, learning and/or refreshing that skill.

This weekend should see dynamite snow conditions with temperatures a bit cooler — bundle up. 10:30am first chair up on Saturday and Sunday. Chair 2, the solar coaster to our mile-high summit, and the Little Bear rope tow will be the only lifts in operation. Rack up the boards, raccoon the eyes, rack up some runs, rack up some fun and ski knee deep cheap at the steep and deep.


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