Irrespective of the time of the year, Montana is capable of delivering when it comes to adventure. When the winter season arrives, visitors and residents trade their trekking poles and hiking boots for all-mountain skis to shred down the numerous ski slopes located in the western part of the state.
Whether seeking a nice long groomer or knee-deep skiing powder, Montana has a long list of snowboarding and skiing options. This article will help you discover the best Montana ski resorts.
1. Big Sky Resort
The Big Sky ski resort is phenomenal. While it has always been big, in 2013, it acquired 2 adjacent mountains – tiny Spanish Peaks and the small but interesting Moonlight Basin. This brought the total skiable terrain to 5,800 acres.
Although the ski resort is visited by numerous snow hobbyists every week, ski lift lines are basically non-existent. The 36 high-speed lifts serving the terrain are capable of whisking 29,000 skiers up the slopes every hour.
People looking for a unique experience, after putting on their ski helmets and ski jacket, prefer to take the Lobe Peak Tram to the 11,166 feet summit. This offers 300 degrees of skiable terrain.
With the ski season dates spanning 4.5 months, it is easy to assume that the snow may not be enough. This, however, is not the case. The snowfall in this resort for skiing in Montana averages 400 inches every year. This guarantees skiers enough snow throughout the ski season.
The off-the-mountain amenities at Big Sky resort feature a large number of lodges, restaurants, and resort accommodations. If staying indoors is not your thing, you can enjoy the live music and night winter sports events that fill the winter season.
Why We Love Big Sky Resort
- Winters are filled with live music.
- Abundant accommodation options.
- You will not have to deal with lift lines.
- The resort offers the biggest skiing in the United States.
- The resort gets ideal snowfall annually.
2. Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Bridger Bowl, a community-owned ski area, is just 14 miles from the cool cowboy town of Bozeman and just an hour’s drive from the Big Sky Resort.
While the resort may not be extremely fancy, it is super fun – its 2000 acres of skiable terrain feature bowls, chutes, glades, gullies, and open runs. Of the 105 runs lying at Bridger Bowl, 12% are ideal for beginners, 28% for intermediate skiers, 18% for advanced, and 42% for expert skiers.
Although crowds do congregate at Bridger Bowl on the weekends, you do not have to worry about wasting too much of your time in the lift lines. The ski resort’s 8 chairlifts are capable of handling the crowds.
If you have invested in kids’ ski pants and kids’ ski boots, you can take them with you when heading to Bridger Bowl. The ski school available at Bridger Bowl can introduce the kids to skiing. If your kids do not feel like skiing, you can always leave them at the onsite daycare facility.
Why We Love Bridger Bowl Ski Area
- It has daycare facilities.
- It features varied terrain.
- Absolute beginners can find a ski school in the resort.
- It is well-served by ski lifts.
3. Whitefish Mountain Resort
Since its renaming back in 2007 (before, it was called Big Mountain Resort), Whitefish Mountain Resort has managed to transform into one of the world-class Montana ski resorts. Despite continuously improving its facilities over the years, the resort has still managed to retain a laid-back vibe – this is a major drawcard for those who would like to ski with their kids.
2 T-bars and 11 chairlifts lend skiers access to more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain. On this terrain, there is something for everyone. Beginners and intermediates can enjoy a combination of superfast, thigh-melting groomers, and skiable powder stashes. The resort’s glades, bowls, and trees offer perfect off-piste skiing excitement and challenges for the advanced skiers.
Expert terrain is probably not one of the best drawcards at Whitefish. However, the resort does feature enough gnarly terrain to keep all the thrill-seekers entertained.
Why We Love Whitefish Mountain Resort
- It gets more than 300 inches of snow every year.
- You can enjoy the scenic view of Glacier National Park.
- The resort is well-served by ski lifts.
- Places to eat and spend the night are available close by.
4. Montana Snowbowl
You haven’t explored Montana if you haven’t skied at Snowbowl. It is one of the few Montana ski resorts featuring some serious steeps and trees.
The resort for skiing in Montana is actually huge, with a lactic acid inducing vertical of 850 meters (2,600 feet) which can be easily skied in just one agonizing hit from the top to the bottom. To go with the massive vertical, Snowbowl receives approximately 300 inches of snow annually.
The 1,200 acres of skiable terrain is serviced by 2 double chairs – the LaVelle and the Grizzly – plus a short T-bar and rope tow located in the base area.
The vast majority of the terrain in Snowbowl can be described using one word – steep. Over 40% of the terrain is rated, expert. Intermediate skiers are perfectly served up top by the LaVelle chair.
For those looking for real action, this can be found between the West Bowls and the Grizzly chair and around the ‘closed’ cliff area located on the opposite side. In these areas, the only thing that saves the skiers from a premature meltdown is the fact that the Snowbowl ski resort is not located at oxygen-depleted heights – the top of the skiable slopes is only 7,600 feet (approximately 2,300 meters) above the sea level.
Why We Love Montana Snowbowl
- The ski resort features a laid-back atmosphere.
- It is ideal for intermediate to advanced skiers.
- You can use your all-mountain snowboard on the slopes.
- You should be able to enjoy great après-ski menu items.
5. Discovery Ski Area
Lying in the heart of Montana, in a secluded and scenic setting near Georgetown Lake, the Discovery Ski Area is capable of offering superb skiing for all abilities. A wonderful mix of terrain can keep beginners to advanced skiers occupied all day.
The front-facing slopes feature groomed runs ideal for beginners, intermediates, and expert skiers. The backside, on the other hand, features exclusively double-black and black diamond routes to test the legs of advanced skiers.
Downhill skiing is not the only type of skiing you can enjoy at Discovery. The ski area has nearly 20 miles of cross-country ski trails. Also, the resort has 2 terrain parks.
While the area for skiing in Montana may not get huge amounts of snow annually (it gets 210 inches every year), the snow it receives tends to stick around. Its high base elevation (6,480 feet) along with its location in what is known as the “cold pocket” of Montana inhibits melting.
Why We Love the Discovery Ski Area
- 20 miles of cross-country skiing.
- The back-facing slopes offer a good challenge to the advanced skiers.
- You can have fun on 2 terrain parks.
6. Lost Trail Powder Mountain
Lost Trail was opened back in 1967. In 1938, Bill Grasser purchased the resort. Today, the ski resort is run by his children.
To people who visit the resort, Thursdays are known as “Powder Thursdays”. This is the first day of the week when the resort is open and it is usually well powdery. The resort crosses on Sundays.
Once open, 5 double chairs and 3 T-bars lend the snow hobbyists access to more than 1,800 acres of skiable terrain. The 60 marked trails and more than 1,800 vertical feet have something for every skier. 20% of the slopes are rated blue (easy), 50% are rated red (intermediate), and 20% are rated black (advanced).
Why We Love Lost Trail Powder Mountain
- Numerous discounts.
- Affordable rates.
- Easy to advanced slopes are available.
- The ski resort is ideal for families.
- Great powder skiing on Thursdays.
7. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area
Lookout Pass sits conveniently on the Idaho-Montana border, just off Interstate 90. It is one of the best Montana ski resorts for skiers looking for uncrowded skiing.
1 triple chair and 3 double chair lifts allow the skiers to access more than 540 acres of skiable terrain. The terrain features 34 named runs and prime powder glades. The longest run is about 1.5 miles
With a summit elevation of 5,650 feet and a base elevation of 4,500 feet, the ski resort gives the skiers access to approximately 1,150 feet of vertical drop.
For people hitting the rail for the first time and the skiers who are looking for the big air, 2 terrain parks do exist at Lookout Pass. The fun does not end at the 2 terrain parks. Skiers can find a separate natural feature terrain that has a 1,000 feet long quarter pipe – this pipe should allow you to execute all your tricks.
Why We Love Lookout Pass & Recreation Area
- It is family-friendly.
- It features a free ski school for kids.
- Affordable lift tickets.
- Varying route difficulties.
8. Showdown Montana
Lying in the heart of the Little Belt Mountains, Showdown is one of the few areas for skiing in Montana we can confidently call home to natural snow for over 8 decades. The ski resort was established back in 1936 and has been developing at an admirable rate over the years.
Today, 3 chairlifts and an amazing magic carpet conveyor lend skiers access to the 8,200 feet summit. From the summit, skiers can explore 35 runs of varying difficulty down to the 6,800 feet base.
Showdown Montana is open Wednesday through Sunday. Being more popular on weekends, visiting the resort on Wednesdays can help you avoid the long lift lines. Also, since the resort still snows during the 2 non-operational days, you should be able to find stellar skiing conditions on Wednesdays.
Why We Love Showdown Montana
- It features a magic carpet conveyor belt.
- It is ideal for families.
- It features over 640 acres of skiable terrain.
- It has a vertical drop of 426 meters.
9. Great Divide Ski Area
While the Great Divide is a minor ski resort, it boasts a respectable 1330 feet (405 meters) of vertical descent. The descent, combined with more than 1,600 acres of skiable terrain, makes the resort an ideal destination for every skier who knows how to mount and adjust ski bindings.
Being the most popular lift, the Mount Belmont chairlift often features bigger lift lines. If you would like to ski blue and black diamond runs and also avoid the crowds, you should consider boarding the Wild West chairlift.
If you have just started using your beginner skis, visiting the Great Divide Ski Area maybe one of the best things you can do. On top of featuring a wide variety of terrain ideal for beginners, the ski area features a reputable ski school.
Why We Love the Great Divide Ski Area
- It is just 20 miles from the state capital of Helena.
- It has a reputable snowboard and ski school.
- It features blue to black diamond runs.
10. Red Lodge Mountain
Pocket-friendly prices and proximity to the Yellowstone National Park are some of the best drawcards to Red Lodge Mountain Resort.
Although the 1,600 acres of skiable terrain surrounding the laid-back ski resort are more ideal for the intermediate and advanced skiers, new skiers can still find low-angle runs close to the base of the South-Central Mountain.
The ski resort is snow sure throughout the ski season. It receives approximately 250 inches of snow annually.
Why We Love Red Lodge Mountain
- Laid-back atmosphere.
- Short ski lift lines.
- Pocket-friendly prices.
Globo Surf Overview
From the internationally-renowned destinations and huge acreage found in places like Whitefish Mountain Resort to the family-owned resorts such as Lost Trail and Bridger Bowl, everyone can find something to suit their ability while skiing in Montana. The Montana ski resorts feature chutes, stunning scenery, glades, and groomers.
If you are an expert or advanced skier, you should find black runs ideal for challenging your abilities. Absolute beginners can find ski schools featuring qualified instructors on some of the ski resorts located in Montana.
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- The top 10 places to ski in Montana, Billingsgazette.com