Red Lodge Montana Hosts FWQ Summer Shred Fest
It’s high and lonesome up on the Beartooth Pass. The wind blows strong here, closing the road in the winter months and piling the snow up into drifts the size of Godzilla, monstrous and deep and immobile until the summer sun tracks high in the sky and these hulking bulks of the winter’s bounty start to be reduced slowly, vanishing drop by drop into the melt water flooding the valleys below.
Beartooth Basin is not your “normal” ski area.
It’s summer when the loneliness ends up on the Pass, when the road opens and the most unlikely ski areas in North America spins up the lifts. A humble affair of two surface Poma and terrain that in some spots is so steep that it leaves you with your stomach in your throat. Far below in the warm and green valley is Red Lodge. A picture perfect western town with honest-to-God saloons and ranchers and rednecks, a place so distinctly itself that once you’re here you can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Grooming and beginner terrain no. Steeps, massive views and no lift lines, yes.With plenty of line choices, no people and a unique location, this small ski area might be one of the best kept secrets in freeriding.
And it’s here in Red Lodge where you should be on June 19 as the 2020 Freeride World Qualifying season kicks off in the Americas region with the first 2* event of the new FWQ points cycle.
Now in its third year, the Friends of the Beartooth All American (FBAAR) MadeMT Shredfest is more than just a freeriding competition, with the off-snow ecosystem including the educational and inspiring Shred-X talks and the open to all B-Roll participatory mountain film festival.
There’s also the skiing and riding. Given the June timing it’s either the last gathering of the freeride tribe or perhaps the first. With the season over across North America and Europe, for many it’s a last hurrah, the chance to fight off summer one last time and make some turns before all the snow truly melts out and the sun is so high in the sky that all you want to do is find a cold beer and a place in the shade and dream about powder days past.
For others, particularly the more competitive-minded, it’s the start of a new winter, and the chance to improve upon middle-of-the-pack FWQ results or to kick-start a run at FWT qualification.
Snowboarding action during a previous FWQ event. Fun cliffs and playful terrain make the Beartooth Basin FWQ venue a great start to the FWQ 2020 competition season.
But regardless of what mentality you bring to Red Lodge, if it’s the end of your season or the start of it, this small ski area hidden high in the Beartooth Mountains and this simple and authentic town down in the valley below are exactly where you need to be the third week in June. With interesting terrain, a cool vibe and the chance to experience a unique location, this is an event that should be on every athlete’s radar.
Registration for the FBAAR MadeMT Shredfest Schedule opens on May 10. The complete Shredfest schedule can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/439002466644876/