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After brief shutdown due to cold snap, Ridge Waters offers summer fun once again

Lifeguards at Ridge Waters in Butte
Posted at 11:25 AM, Jun 20, 2024

BUTTE — It's hard to believe after the snow that blanketed much of southwest Montana earlier this week caused Butte's water park to close down for several days, but it’s summer and the team at Ridge Waters is ready to welcome you.

"So we opened June 8. That was our official open date," says Stacey Butler, aquatics manager for Butte-Silver Bow County. "And then it snowed and, you know, so we closed down for a little bit but, you know, if the sun’s out, we’re up and running."

Butler is the new aquatics manager for Butte-Silver Bow. She oversees about 70 employees including 52 lifeguards. The majority of the young lifeguards are taking on their first job and the big responsibility of saving lives, like 17-year-old Colby Jensen who used to be a patron at Ridge Waters.

"It’s really weird to think that I was here doing dumb stuff like these little kids are ... and now I’m here, like, enforcing the rules and keeping them safe," says Jensen.

"It gives them a type of responsibility that not very many other jobs offer. When we have a teenager who discovers that they can pull a person off the bottom of the pool who weighs a couple hundred pounds and save a life, it’s transformative," says Butler.

Before Ridge Waters opened, just under a decade ago, Butte went for a long time without a public pool for kids to learn how to swim. Shawn Fredrickson, Butte-Silver Bow’s new Parks and Recreation director says the public pool gives kids an opportunity to learn the crucial skill of swimming and it provides an activity for kids.

"It gives kids an opportunity to learn to swim, which is so important and then the whole aspect of giving kids something to do in Butte. It opens at noon. It closes at 3 p.m. for a break and cleanup and then it opens from 4 p.m. to 7 and it is packed every day, all day so it's a great thing for kids," says Fredrickson.

"Yeah, summer has definitely started and we have had some really great days and I think that we’re going to have a pretty warm summer," says Butler.

The cost to swim at Ridge Waters is $5 for kids ages 5 to 17 years old and $7 for adults. Children two years and under are free.