On a clear day (copy)

On a clear day Blacktail Mountain offers views of the Swan Range and Flathead Lake. The ski area is located above the small community of Lakeside, about 45 minutes south from downtown Kalispell.

BRETT FRENCH, GAZETTE STAFF

LAKESIDE — A small Montana ski resort is open for the holiday season thanks to a last minute boost from this week's snow.

Blacktail Mountain Ski Area south of Kalispell opened Saturday for its 20th season with a total of 38 inches of natural snow at the summit, enough to make all of its terrain available.

The Daily Inter Lake reports that the resort lacks the snowmaking equipment that bigger resorts use, making it hard to guarantee an opening date.

Blacktail general manager Steve Spencer says the prospect of opening by Christmas didn't look good a week ago after a warm and dry start to December.

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