‘The Spirit of Skiing’ is plastered across a small summer ski area near the summit of the Beartooth Highway.
A generator fueled by Montana biodiesel buzzes in the background as faces cheer and gather around a small trailer selling lift tickets and merch. It’s early June and skiers have gathered from around the west to enjoy a field of summer corn snow near the border of Montana and Wyoming.
At the bottom of the Poma lifts provides a view of the entire headwall- from left to right includes a wiggle, some moguls, cliff hits, and the iconic Beartooth Basin cornice. In between it all is a plethora of lime green ski bases, as well as old friends and new ones alike gathered together under the hot summer sun to enjoy something that seems to dictate our lives: skiing.
Last weekend was my second visit to the annual ON3P x Beartooth Summer Session, and fourth time experiencing the magic of skiing these zones in the early summer. Which brings me back to the black and white stickers I found all over Beartooth Basin.
You see, if you’re reading this you’re probably as enamored by the sport as I am, but the ‘Spirit of Skiing’ I would argue is more than just a love for the sport. The ‘Spirit of Skiing’ is driving through the night to go skiing in the summer, it’s seeing friends you know from all realms of your skiing history at this small resort, laughing, sharing beers, and getting rowdy on the snow.
Beartooth Basin represents all of that. It brings worlds together at 10,900 feet in the middle of the summer, it shows us that the reason we love skiing is so much more than the sport itself. We’re addicted to the community and the feeling it gives us that it doesn’t matter if the snow is icy, corn, mashed potatoes, or deep powder- we’ll keep showing up.