SAM Magazine—Lakeside, Mont., Nov. 19, 2021—The owners of Mission Ridge, Wash., have purchased Blacktail Mountain Ski Area in Lakeside, Mont. Blacktail has been on the market since 2017.
The purchase price was not published. At one point, the 1,000-acre ski area was listed for sale on Craigslist for $3.5 million. Transition of ownership will begin immediately, and all Blacktail Mountain staff will be retained.
“We are really excited to get to know the Montana ski community and feel that Blacktail Mountain is a great fit for our culture,” said Mission Ridge owner and president Larry Scrivanich. “Blacktail Mountain is a treasure of the Flathead Valley and loved by local skiers and snowboarders as well as folks from outside of the area.”
“I, along with my three partners, Tom Sands, Dennis Carver, and Jeff Sorg could not be more pleased about the sale of Blacktail Mountain to Larry and his team at Mission Ridge,” said Blacktail founder and president Steve Spencer. “They are proven ski area operators that are community minded and see a bright future for Blacktail Mountain.”
Blacktail is quite young, as ski areas go, having opened in 1998. It is located entirely within Flathead National Forest, operating under a special-use permit from the United States Forest Service (USFS). According to published reports, it was the first new special-use permit granted by the USFS for a ski area operation since Beaver Creek, Colo., secured its permit in 1978.
“We have enjoyed working with Steve and appreciate his vision and hard work to create the Blacktail Mountain Ski Area on the Flathead National Forest, which has provided a great recreational opportunity for the community,” said Swan Lake District Ranger Chris Dowling. “We are enthusiastic about this new partnership with Mission Ridge to continue providing the public this use and unique experience.”
Blacktail has operated continuously since it first opened. It has no snowmaking, relying entirely on natural snowfall, which averages about 250 inches a year. When it was listed for sale in 2017, ownership said Blacktail averaged around 40,000 annual skier visits and, other than some lean snow years, the business consistently turned a profit. It is one of a handful of “upside down” ski areas in North America, with the lodge and parking located at the top of the mountain rather than the base.
All 2021-22 season passes and other pre-purchased products will be honored. New benefits for season passholders will be announced in the next few weeks.