Blacktail Mountain 25th Anniversary Film to Premiere at Bigfork Center for Performing Arts

The 30-minute documentary-style film will be one of three ski films shown at the March 27 event

By Mike Kordenbrock
A skier rides up the lift at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area outside of Lakeside on Jan. 8, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, Blacktail Mountain will be premiering a new film about the ski mountain at a March 27 event that will feature two other ski-related short films.

Jessi Wood, the general manager for the ski area, said that the production process included filmmaker David Zuccarelli spending a week documenting life for staff and patrons at the 1,000-acre ski area near Lakeside and also exploring both the history of Blacktail, and what the future may hold.

“In that time he was really able to capture the heart and soul of Blacktail, and it’s so darn good, that we just decided to dress it up and take it out for a party,” Wood said.

Wood only just recently saw the final product, and said she had some nerves heading into her viewing. The story of Blacktail is a personal one for Wood. Her father, Steve Spencer, was one of three cofounders who launched the effort to open up Blacktail Mountain Ski Area, which first welcomed recreationists in 1998. That’s when Wood herself became involved.

Calling it, “a little soul baring,” Wood said she’s still a little anxious for the screening, but she’s excited, too. Premiering a film is a first for Wood, and to her knowledge, Blacktail hasn’t been the subject of any other films, although it was featured in a 2012 film project called “Montana’s Sweet 16,” which documents an effort to tour all 16 of Montana’s ski areas at the time in 16 days.

There is some terrific skiing in the new Blacktail anniversary film’s footage, and Wood said she even got to take some powder turns, but she said it’s more of a documentary than it is a traditional ski flick.

Skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes of Blacktail Mountain Ski Area outside of Lakeside on Jan. 8, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

“I think it really honors what we’ve done to become who we area. And I feel it kind of looks forward. A lot of people were nervous when Blacktail sold, and the last two years have proven that we’re still Blacktail, and we’re still doing all the things we’ve always done. I just kind of feel like it affirms all of that,” Wood said, adding that she thinks the screening event will have the feeling of a celebration.

The film screenings will start with Teton Gravity Research’s short film “In Pursuit of Soul,” which Blacktail Mountain described in a press release as a film that “explores the fiercely authentic culture of independent resort towns across the country while meeting the people that call those mountains home.”

That will be followed by a viewing of “In Pursuit of Soul 2,” which focuses on ski and snowboard communities in the Midwest. After an intermission break, the new Blacktail 25th anniversary film will be shown. It has a run time of 30 minutes, and the entirety of the film screenings planned will take about 90 minutes.

The film premier will take place at the Bigfork Center for Performing Arts at 526 Electric Ave. Doors will open on March 27 at 6 p.m. for a social hour, before the films start at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 and includes one free drink token, as well as an entry into a 2023/24 Blacktail Mountain Ski Area season pass giveaway taking place that night. Seating will be limited and tickets can be purchased online at www.blacktailmountain.com.

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