Moonlight Expansion

Moonlight Expansion

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Stifter, John
In only its second year of existence, Moonlight Basin has already become a household name in the Bozeman area. Their marketing efforts can be best described by one word: relentless. With an extremely enthusiastic and passionate staff, the ad campaign has caused people to ask themselves, why not ski Moonlight?

This winter season, Moonlight offers twice the trails and runs as last year. This huge expansion is due primarily to the new Lone Tree quad chair, which dumps skiers into expert and intermediate terrain previously accessible by snowcat only. All in all, there’s about 700 new acres of skiable terrain.

“Last year we received a lot of positive reviews,” says Rich Hohne, Vice President of Marketing at Moonlight Basin, “but people commented that the terrain was limited, especially regarding the absence of black-diamond terrain. This year we offer much more advanced terrain, gladed tree runs, and a backcountry access gate.” The hike-to-only terrain from the top of the Six-Shooter and Lone Tree lifts—known as the Headwaters and Deep Water Wild, respectively—are avalanche-controlled and are open in zones as the ski patrol deems safe, says Hohne. Headwaters alone offers nine north-facing double-black chutes with 40- to 50- degree pitches. One intermediate run, called Horseshoe, is a whopping three miles long from the top of the new lift.

Another notable reason to ski Moonlight this year is the season pass rates. Even with the addition of new terrain, the pass prices decreased. Regular season pass rates are $350 for adults and $300 for seniors, juniors, and nearly-broke college students. Day lift tickets went up a buck, from $39 to $40.

Better known as diversions from responsibility than sources of scholarly inspiration, ski resorts do not generally motivate students academically—but with the Moonlight Basin Aspirations Reward Team (MBART) program, Moonlight seems to be setting a new standard. First- through fifth-grade (10 and under) children ski for free, but any young aspirant in Gallatin or Madison counties (grades 6-12) has the opportunity to achieve a free season pass by attaining honor roll status. Students have to maintain their good marks to preserve their season passes. Rewards are also given for GPA increases. MBART acts as a value-added program while providing a tremendous motivational tool.

Whether it’s supporting the arts in Bozeman with the Hatch film festival, distributing stickers at ski movie premieres, offering a new evening daycare system at the mountain, implementing a dinner theater four nights a week at the Jackass Creek Saloon in the Madison Lodge, or introducing new, steep double blacks runs off the new lift, Moonlight Basin is definitely getting its name out to local skiers and snowboarders this year. And from the looks of it, Moonlight’s sophomore season offers an exceptional skiing opportunity.
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