As an organization, we’ve raised the necessary funds to purchase and support several avalanche beacon training areas in Western Montana.
1. Lolo Pass Visitor Center
A Beacon Basin training facility is installed and operable at Lolo Pass. The Beacon Basin was installed through cooperative efforts of the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation, private donations, and the U.S. Forest Service. The training opportunity will be available 7 days per week. Snowmobilers will have to walk from the parking lot to use the site. You must have a transceiver to use the site.
Winter hours of operation at the Visitor Center are Thursday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. Day and season winter recreation passes can be purchased at the Visitor Center during hours of operation. Passes can also be purchased at Lolo Hot Springs Resort, in Missoula at The Trail Head, Outdoor Supply and Rental and the Lolo National Forest Supervisors Office at Fort Missoula. Season passes cannot be purchased at the Visitor Center when it is closed, but you can purchase an after-hours day pass at the front door.
Organized groups who want to use the site for an educational or training program need to contact Buffie Cerutti at the Powell Ranger Station (208) 942-3113 regarding special use permit requirements.
2. Snowbowl Ski Area
The Snowbowl beacon park is located at the Point Six exit to the backcountry, just off the trail to Nutcracker. The control box is located on-site (there is a sign, a stand and a yellow waterproof box). You must purchase a lift ticket or have a ski pass to access this park.
3. Lost Trail Ski Area
The Beacon Basin training facility at Lost Trail Ski Area on Highway 93 at Lost Trail Pass is located at the top of Chairs 1 and 2 (south of the ski patrol shack). You must purchase a one ride lift ticket ($5) to access the park during ski trea operating hours.