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Snow Shortage Shuts Down Ski Resort

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The Teton Pass Ski Area in Montana closed for the season due to lack of snow and warm temperatures, making it the driest winter in 55 years.

The owner cited financial challenges and the need to ensure future seasons as reasons for the closure.

“It is more representative of a September snowpack than mid-winter,” Teton Pass Ski Area owner Charles Hlavac wrote.

Despite expecting more snow, he believed it wouldn’t be enough due to the El Niño pattern.

“All that to say, we have received very limited snow this season, and the current conditions are not good,” he said.

“The financial hole we have dug is large, and we don’t think we could operate our way out of it even if the snow showed up,” Hlavac said. “The correct decision from a truly non-emotional business perspective is to ‘cut off the limb, to save the life’ or, in other words, end this season now, so we can ensure more seasons in the future.”

“We are becoming delinquent on all of that, and the weight of that stress is real,” he said. “Continuing to wait for winter feels like continuing to gamble, but now we are gambling with someone else’s money. It does not feel financially responsible.”

The decision was made after considering weather forecasts and the impact on operations.

The ski passes for this season will be honored in the next season.

“I spent a bunch of time this week looking at longer range weather models of the jet stream, and everything I can see from 16-30 days out is more of the same ‘El Niño’ pattern, which does not favor Montana for significant moisture,” Hlavac said.

“We don’t see ourselves as quitters, and we recognize that this decision might be viewed that way by some now or in the future,” he said. “This decision will linger, but we have weighed the alternatives.”

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