After 19 years in operation, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area in northwestern Montana is up for sale, at an asking price of $3.5 million. The four blacktail esizepartners who own it are looking for new owners who will be able to realize the mountain’s potential.
“The owners are all getting a little long in the tooth, I guess,” said general manager and part owner Steve Spencer. “We just thought we’d start looking for an exit plan, and hopefully we’ll find someone that will make the improvements to take it to the next level.”
The owners built Blacktail to provide local skiing to the surrounding communities, but it is far from a typical community ski hill. The mountain has 1,000 acres of skiable terrain and 1,440 feet of vertical, with a summit elevation of 6,780 feet. Average annual snowfall is 250 inches. The area relies 100 percent on natural snow, and attracts around 40,000 skier visits a season. Other than some lean snow years, the business has consistently turned a profit, according to the owners.
Blacktail first opened in 1998, under the first new special-use permit granted by the National Forest Service for a ski area operation after Beaver Creek’s permit was issued in 1978—and no other area has secured one since.
According to a report by area newspaper Inner Lake, Gary Danczyk, a staff officer with the Flathead National Forest, said his office has received inquiries from interested buyers. If the ski area and its special-use permit are sold, the buyer will have to prove they have the financial ability and expertise to continue operations before the permit is transferred.
If the owners cannot find a suitable buyer before next ski season, they plan to open as usual.