Montana truly has some of the best ski resorts around. From the big name, iconic Big Sky and Whitefish Mountain, to the smaller, hidden gems such as Showdown and Maverick Mountain. Throughout this blog post, we'll be taking a look at ten of Montana's ski mountains/resorts. We'll give you personal insight and overviews of the different mountains. This list isn't ranked in any order or fashion, we think that all of the mountains are equally great. Ski on!
. Photo by zachd1_618 (Flickr) copyright (CC BY 2.0)
Montana's Hidden Gem Ski Areas
Even people living outside of the large state of Montana have heard of bigger mountains like Big Sky and Whitefish Mountain, but some of the greatest experiences we've had can be had at smaller, more intimate mountains. Let's take a look at a few.
Showdown is nestled in the Little Belt Mountains of Montana near White Sulphur Springs. It's the local mountain for those living around Great Falls and the surrounding areas. It is a fun mountain with a cozy, intimate lodge, three chair lifts, and 100% all-natural snow. The main run you see from the lodge is their iconic Big Seven (blue diamond). Some of their more advanced, fun runs are James Bond and Geronimo. A budget-friendly mountain, compared to large resorts such as Big Sky or Whitefish Mountain. It's a great mountain to learn on, it's where I learned to ski and snowboard in fact, yet offers fun for more advanced skiers as well!
Missoula's local gem of a mountain is Snowbowl! Just a short, 20 minute or so drive from downtown Missoula is an impressive and fun ski area located in the Lolo National Forest. The mountain offers deep, powder-filled bowls and large amounts of vertical drop. It is more of an advanced mountain, yet there are runs for every skill level. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area! A budget-friendly mountain, compared to large resorts such as Big Sky or Whitefish Mountain.
Located in Southwestern Montana, south of Butte near a small town called Polaris is Maverick Mountain. This mountain is truly one of Montana skier's best kept secret mountains, offering uncrowded runs, and a lot of snow. The elevation at the summit of the mountain is 8,520 feet and drops down to 6,500 at the base. The runs are for every level of skier with lots of intermediate blue runs, yet also some solid black diamond runs.
Located in the Gallatin National Forest is a beast of a mountain (boasting 8,000+ elevations) known as Bridger Bowl. Bozeman's equivalent of Missoula's Snowbowl is the amazing Bridger Bowl! Driving through downtown Bozeman is the iconic sign "Bridger Bowl 16 Miles" (to the North). This mountain and the runs it offers are truly one of the most varied I've ever been to. The bottom portion of the mountain is dedicated to beginners with a lot of green, easier runs. Moving up higher are some very fun blue and black diamond runs. They recently added an additional 500 acres on the north side of the mountain as well! Definitely worth checking out when you're in the Bozeman area.
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Since you're in the area, why not swing near Disco, right outside of Butte near Anaconda, MT!? Discovery is a more well-known Montana mountain with a front and backside to the mountain. It is large, has amazing freestyle terrain parks, and gets some nice snowfall. The Limelight lift brings you to some of the steepest terrain in Montana. Definitely worth checking out Discovery!
A short jaunt outside of the biggest city in Montana, Billings, is Red Lodge and Red Lodge ski mountain. This is a very popular area for both locals and visitors alike. They get some amazing snow here and have a variety of runs across two mountains. Similar to Big Sky and Whitefish, just on a smaller scale, Red Lodge is another cool little, artsy town. Enjoy yourselves on the variety of slopes and then go downtown for a nice bite and a brew.
Outside of Helena near Marysville, MT is Great Divide Ski Area. Boasting 1600 acres of the fluffy stuff, its a great place for any level of skier or snowboarder. They did have to downsize the run count a bit due to the pine beetle infestation that is happening in parts of Montana. They currently offer 107 runs (woah!)! These runs are wide open ranges, yet there are tighter black diamond chutes as well. This mountain isn't anything to just blink at, give it a shot if you're ever near the capital of Montana.
Situated south of Missoula outside of a town called Hamilton, nestled in the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains is Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area. Lost Trail has great snowfall, great ticket prices, and runs for every level of skier or snowboarder. Lost Trail offers some very fun terrain parks, lots of blues and black runs and a very large area of land in the Bitterroot National Forest. It really is a large area and transitions us into nicely into our next section of larger ski mountains.
If you think Montana skiing, chances are you are thinking either Big Sky or Whitefish Mountain. These are among some of the best skiing areas nation-wide! I mean 11,166 feet in elevation...what!?! Big Sky Ski resort is only about an hour to an hour and a half outside of Bozeman (depending on the road conditions). Beyond the skiing, it truly is a resort that offers a beautiful, high-end town that's bustling with a community full of art, good wine, and great food! It's worth mentioning that you might run into a celebrity or two if up here, especially if going into the Yellowstone Club, an elite, buy-in private resort, and ski area.
. Photo by jburka (Flickr) copyright (CC BY 2.0)
Up in the northwest corner of the state of Montana is the town of Whitefish and the amazing mountain, formerly known as Big Mountain, Whitefish Mountain. This blog article is focused on skiing, but I must say that a trip to Whitefish Mountain in the summer months is well worth it! They offer amazing hiking and biking opportunities, lift rides, ziplines, mountain bobsled slides, and much more. Moving onto the winter activities though, Whitefish Mountain has it all on this great, big plot of 3,000+ acres. With views of the snow-capped mountains of Glacier National Park, moonlight ski and dine, night skiing, terrain parks, and more - there is truly something for everybody!
Some other great Montana ski areas to check out are Lookout Pass on the Idaho-Montana border, Blacktail Mountain, Teton Pass, Turner Mountain, Bear Paw Ski Bowl, and more.
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