HELENA — With no snow and the chairlifts not moving you would think there is not a lot going on up here at Great Divide outside of Helena this summer, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead of skiers and snowboarders hitting these slopes it’s the Great Divide’s crew putting in thousands of work hours of trail maintenance, 12-hundred linear feet of fence repair, over $150,000 into snow-making improvements and of course the chairlifts.
“We test every single system on the chairlift," said Great Divide General Manager Travis Crawford. "We go through each one individually until we can make sure it is as ready as possible for the upcoming season. We want maximum up-time.”
That maximum up-time will even go longer this upcoming season after another addition the crews have made.
“Our big new project for this year is permanent night lighting on the Meadow chairlift," said Crawford. "Last season we added the Meadow chairlift into our night skiing line-up, and it was a great success. Having two lifts available really spread everyone out and just added some additional options and variety. We also worked out on the south side expansion area, continuing that timber clearing clean up and removal project to make that a skiable area.”
But the biggest changes coming to Great Divide are set to make a difference in the ski experience before you even strap on the skis.
"Our biggest projects are multi-year projects," added Crawford. "With the pandemic that came in last year, it really made us have a hard look at all our indoor facilities and we decided that our lodge spacing was inadequate for our current needs along with our parking lots. So we’re working with local architects and engineers to come up with a new base lodge design. We’re going to work with the BLM and our land partners to work with our parking lot options, what we can do for expanded terrain there. Just really focus on our main base lodge infrastructure.