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From the Hill - Warm weather hits Bear Paw Ski Bowl

from Byron Ophus

Warmer weather welcomed another great crowd of skiers and shredders to Bear Paw. This writer was in Spokane celebrating with his mom on her 91st birthday, but a good report was made by others. While the relatively warm weather made skiing very comfortable, it was not so warm as to melt the ample snow. Less than 6 inches of new snow had been received in the prior week. Skiing and shredding were done on drifted snow that softened by noon.

Another group of students from Rocky Boy made a day of it at Bear Paw. They and other beginners kept the Little Bear rope tow busy all day. Close-Up was kept busy providing Hermie Burgers and Aagie Dogs to skiers and shredders made hungry by awesome physical activity in fresh mountain air.

The Ski Patrol practically had the weekend off as there was no toboggan training and no serious injuries were reported. No doubt they were still marking hazards and otherwise working to ensure the safety of those enjoying Bear Paw's slopes.

Did you know? The first ever season of skiing at Bear Paw (and yes it was only skiing in those days) occurred in the winter of 1960-1961. There was a beginner rope tow located near where the current rope tow is found. In addition, there was a Poma Lift that started near where the Yellowsnow Club Lodge now sits and delivered skiers to a point in the proximity of the current midway dismount ramp. Remnants of the Poma Lift can still be found in the same location where they served skiers so many decades ago. A narrow trail remains where skiers in those days "rode" the Poma to their destination. A daily adult pass could be had for the price of $2.50. That seems downright cheap compared to today's price of $25, but two points: 1) According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics handy online inflation calculator, $2.50 at the end of 1960 is equivalent to $24.90 today, nearly identical to our current ticket price of $25. And 2) The Poma lift is gone and in its place a chairlift has added access to probably three times as much terrain. The new terrain added a number of runs with a greater degree of difficulty.

The coming week may bring more snow and weekend temperatures are projected to be very accommodating. So, rack up the boards, rack up some runs, rack up some fun, and ski knee deep cheap at the steep and deep.


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