Summer Shredfest: Beartooth Basin FWQ
In mid-June Riley Bathurst, Kenzie Morris, and I made the pilgrimage to Beartooth Basin, just south of Red Lodge, Montana on the scenic Beartooth Highway for the Summer Shredfest and Freeride World Qualifier 2-Star competition.
The inspection day was cloudy and wet, and the dirt parking lot was filled with mix of competitors and participants in the SheJumps event. At 33 degrees with a mix of rain and snow, the weather was not quite what everyone had expected (or prepared for), but spirits were high. The generator powering the tows at the ski field didn’t quite want to cooperate, but athletes took advantage of the easy-to-access road laps and skied off of the Gardner Headwall and Hellroaring Plateau road pull-outs. Check out the stats from our mission to the Rock Creek Chutes below.
One of the very best aspects of the Beartooth summer skiing experience are the multiple camping options at the base of the pass. That evening we set up camp in a large open field along the Rock Creek river, cracked a few beers, and cooked up sausages around the campfire.
We’re up bright and early the next morning and made the scenic drive up the Beartooth Highway to Beartooth Basin, ready to inspect the venue for the competition. The ski field is right off of the road and tickets are purchased in a trailer run by Beartooth founders Austin Hart, Justin Modroo, Kurt Hallock, and David Leuschen. The terrain is short, but definitely sweet as an impressive cornice stretches out a half a mile and offers amazing views down on the alpine lakes below and the rugged Beartooth Range beyond.
The conditions in the morning were cool and firm as the athletes assessed their line options. If the sun comes out and softens up the snow, a lot of big airs and fun lines will be in play, but it’s hard to know when (or if) that will happen. Regardless, there’s a lot of interesting terrain to work with and the bottom of the venue doesn’t disappoint, with a kicker and a handful of rails.
The sun started to peek out by the time the Women’s Snowboard group kicks off. The runs are technical and solid as Ashley Nold wins the day. Next up, Men’s Snowboard. A smooth aggressive line from Canadian Rob Hopkins takes the win. On the Women’s Ski side, Sophie Dasaro secured the victory with a fast, fluid line, while Snowledge Ambassador Kenzie Morris had herself a good one, finishing in 6th. By the time Men’s Ski kicks off, it’s a full-on sunny slush-fest. Parkin Costain grabbed the win with a big three off the cornice, fast fluid skiing to a sizeable air in the middle of the venue, before topping it off with a flat three over the kicker at the bottom.
As the competition wrapped up, the party was just getting started at the top of the hill. Sego Skis brought their sweet custom school bus/food truck, and served up brats and beers for all of the competitors. Cheers guys!
The skiing was awesome, the people were great, and the competition was a blast. It’s off the beaten path, but the unreal scenery and the collective passion for skiing make Beartooth Basin a destination worthy of every skier and snowboarder’s bucket list.
Snowledge Stats for the Rock Creek Chutes Mission:
- Vertical: 1,696
- Runs: 1
- Top Speed: 25 mph