BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Bridger Bowl Ski Area near Bozeman is planning to complete a $5 million expansion by next summer to accommodate an increase in visitors.
The Billings Gazette reports that administrative assistant manager Bob Petitt says the ski area sold a record of more than 10,000 season passes this year. He attributes an 18 percent increase in sales over the last two years to development in the surrounding Gallatin Valley and the lack of a low-priced competitor in the region.
The expansion will add 14,000 square feet to the Saddle Peak Lodge to provide more room for the ski school and additional lockers. The ski area also plans to replace its oldest chairlift and add a new lift for beginners.
The project is being funded with cash reserves.
Missing snowboarder found dead near Grand Targhee Resort
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Searchers have recovered the body of a Grand Targhee Resort worker who failed to return from snowboarding in the backcountry.
The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports 34-year-old Lee Kidd was found dead Thursday under about 2 feet of snow at the bottom of a 500-foot cliff. Rescuers believe he had been buried since Dec. 23, when he did not show up for work at the resort.
Natalie Kidd told the newspaper her older brother was working his first season at Grand Targhee and had recently moved to Driggs, Idaho from Bozeman, Montana.
Officials believe Kidd intended to ski Steve Baugh Bowl and hiked up along a nearby ridge. Sgt. Matt Carr with the Teton County Sheriff’s Office says it appears Kidd was walking with his snowboard when he moved out too far onto a cornice, which broke off.
3 killed in head-on crash on US 93 in western Montana
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say three people were killed in a head-on crash in western Montana.
The Missoulian reports two pickups crashed on U.S. Highway 93 between Lolo and Florence on Thursday afternoon. The highway was dry at the time, and the Montana Highway Patrol is investigating.
No other information was released.
Montana Republicans set fee for US House candidates
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Republican Party is charging a $1,740 fee to people interested in replacing U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, who has been nominated to lead the Interior Department.
Party chairman Jeff Essman of Billings tells The Billings Gazette that party leaders met Dec. 20 and decided on the fee, which is equal to the state filing fee for the office.
He says the money will defray the costs for delegates traveling to the nomination convention.
If Zinke is confirmed as Interior Secretary, the parties will convene to select candidates for a special election, which will have to take place within 85 to 100 days.
Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Nancy Keenan criticized the fee and said the Democrats would not introduce a similar fee.
The Latest: Senator, activist clash on ways to save bird
DENVER (AP) — A Republican lawmaker is assailing a list of proposals for limiting Western mining to protect the vulnerable sage grouse, while an environmental group says it’s a chance for the new administration to help with conservation.
The proposals released by the Obama administration on Thursday range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.
Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller calls the options an “11th-hour attack on Nevada and the West.”
Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity says all mining is harmful to sage grouse. She says President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for interior secretary, Montana U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, could emulate the conservationist President Theodore Roosevelt by protecting the bird.
Zinke describes himself as “a Teddy Roosevelt Republican.”
New wood technology may offer hope for struggling timber
RIDDLE, Ore. (AP) — A new technology that can create resilient and lighter-weight wood panels out of trees damaged by wildfire and pests is giving hope to the Pacific Northwest’s timber industry.
The technology is called cross-laminated timber, or C-L-T.
It has been used for years in Europe and Canada, where architects have even built all-wood skyscrapers.
But it’s only starting to catch on in the United States.
A 12-story “plyscraper” will go up in Portland this spring.
C-L-T is made by stacking two-by-fours in perpendicular layers and then gluing together the layers like a sandwich. Damaged wood can make up the inside layers without sacrificing its look or strength.
But questions remain about its safety in skyscrapers.
Supporters say testing on the Portland building will help.