You and I both know that your foot's natural home is not, as you might think during these seductive days of spring, in a pair of greasy flip flops or some no-arch-support-having skate shoe. But rather, your foot belongs in the cozy confines of a ski boot. Tight, snug, warm, stinky, delicious.
Which is why, come June 14-17, you should pack up all your favorite possessions—i.e. ski equipment—and head to Beartooth Basin, the little summer-only ski area that sits on a high mountain pass on the border between Wyoming and Montana. The ski area will play host to the Second Annual Summer ShredFest, an event launched last year by the Mountain Rider's Alliance to recognize the value of community ski areas.
The event offers the perfect excuse to set aside your mountain bike, fly rod, and trail runners one more time for a weekend of skiing in June, as well as partying in the best ski town you've never heard of—Red Lodge, Montana—located in a picturesque valley about 45 minutes from Beartooth Basin.
"It's a mecca for summer skiing," says Justin Modroo, one of the ski area's owners. "You can be up on the pass and skiing winter-like conditions, and down in the valley it feels like summer. We call it Basin Season."
Beartooth Basin officially opens June 2, weather and conditions permitting. Modroo says the snowpack is above average this year, thanks to the heavy snows that blasted Montana all winter. A nearby snotell site lists the snow depth at 7.5 feet, but the cornice atop the ski area is likely much bigger.
This year, the Shredfest will again host a level 2 Freeride World Qualifier on Saturday, June 16.
"It's really steep, pretty crazy terrain," says Sidney Simard, an 18-year-old Bozeman native who took third place in last year's comp, and finished this past season ranked fifth on the FWQ. He'll be competing at the Basin again this summer. "It's really short but there are a lot of cliffs off the top, and the cornice can be massive. This year the cornice will probably be 30 feet high."
The ShredFest is more than just skiing, however, and encourages dialogue on the many issues facing skiing. This year, Tom Winter, the event coordinator and Americas manager for the Freeride World Tour, has organized a series of speakers at the historic Roman Theater in downtown Red Lodge for a new program called Shred-X. Produced by the Montana non-profit Friends of the Beartooth All-American Road (FBAAR) and funded by a grant from Yellowstone Country Montana Cultural Tourism and Events, Shred-X is free to attend and will feature 15-minute presentations from several speakers, including snowboarding legend Julie Zell, Aspen Ski Company's director of communication Jeff Hanley, and Carl Kish, the founder of STOKE, the world's first sustainability program specifically designed for ski areas. (See the full list of speakers and bios below.)
Shred-X takes places Friday, June 15, at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
ShredFest will also host a helmet exchange to support the Montana-based RYDE Foundation. Founded by professional skier Scottie Williams after he suffered a traumatic head injury, RYDE accepts your donation of lightly used and unwanted helmets and offers them to disadvantaged skiers and snowboarders across the state. As you know, #helmetsarecool.
It’s just one more element that makes the trip to Red Lodge worth it. Ski boots and flipflops encouraged.
"These are the glory days, man," says Winter. "There's a lot of stuff that makes us tick as skiers, and being up there this time of year, meeting all these cool people, it's just a gathering of the tribe that makes the ShredFest so special.”
6 p.m., June 15, 2018
Historic Roman Theater, Red Lodge, MT
Jeremy Jensen—Adventurer, Media Entrepreneur, Athlete
Jeremy is a community builder, speaker, entrepreneur, and mountain athlete. He’s passionate about helping people lead authentic and intentional lives, rich with experiences that make them thrive, not merely survive. Jeremy's current projects include the Adventurepreneur Playbook Podcast, which shares the inspiring stories of outside-the-box thinkers who have built their passions for adventure, travel, and the outdoors into successful startups, lifestyles, or personal brands; and WildWork, a startup that designs remote co-working experiences for those looking to trade-in their routine 9-5 jobs for a more meaningful and adventurous lifestyle. Jeremy holds an MBA from the American University and a BA in Spanish from the University of Utah.
Julie Zell—Professional Snowboarder, Mother
Julie Zell is outspoken, funny, inspiring, and sometimes controversial. A former professional snowboarder, Julie has appeared in numerous magazines, movies, and advertisements as well as at the top of countless podiums in the most prestigious freeride and big-mountain competitions in the world. Zell is a fascinating and intriguing individual who has always marched to the beat of her own drum.
Carl Kish—Cofounder, STOKE Certified
An honors graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Recreation and Tourism Management, Carl has developed and implemented sustainability management, community development, and renewableenergy strategies for several surf resorts around the world, five ski areas in the U.S., three global conferences, one municipality, and was the project manager of the first LEED Platinum hotel in Central America. Having completed the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Course and the LEED Green Associate designation, Carl is well-versed in certification and sustainability reporting processes and is an expert on all things sustainable, from making simple changes in your home to complex projects for international businesses.
Jeff Hanley—Director of Communications, Aspen Skiing Company
Jeff Hanley is an industry veteran who has extensive communications, branding, and marketing experience. Currently the Vice President of Communications for the Aspen Skiing Company, Hanley oversees all corporate and brand communications for one of the most renowned resort destinations in the world.
Chris Allen—Operations Manager, Bald Mountain Ski Area
Christina "Chris" St. Germaine-Allen has spent the past 20 years working in community and economic development in rural Idaho. Chris's professional life is driven by forming proactive partnerships that leverage resources to meet identified needs. Her personal passions revolve around having proudly raised a son who now serves in the U.S. Army, gardening, and keeping Bald Mountain Ski Area alive for the next generation.
Shred-X is moderated by Tom Winter—Americas Manager, Freeride World Tour; Founder, TomWinterMedia
Former professional skier and award-winning journalist and photographer, Tom Winter has extensive brand, communications, and event production experience. Focusing on organic and authentic messaging and experiences, Winter has collaborated with some of the world's best-known companies to develop effective branding, event and communications strategies that engage, excite and inspire. He currently divides his time between Boulder, Colorado, and Val di Susa, Italy.