7 Most Popular Ski Resorts To Visit When In Montana (2023)
Winters in Montana goes out extreme, both with the temperature and the snow possibilities. To the surprise, more than half of the State of Montana receives excellent snow. The heaviest snowfall in the State occurs from November to March, with literal snowstorms everywhere. It is true, but it is hard to believe that it can literally snow till May and from mid of September in Montana. This is the time of the year when most of the West enjoys summers, but it’s Montana that have a picture upside down.
However, the snowing disaster (not literally) in Montana also opens up skiing and other opportunities. The State of Montana has more than 64 Mountain Ranges and 17 well-known Ski Resorts. Snow adventure here doesn’t actually get the exposure as other western states, but this fact also means that you can enjoy in the lesser crowd and lower prices in Montana. Even though Skiing in Montana is underrated, the fun actually doesn’t compromise. So why wait? Choose a skiing resort and plan your ultimate winter vacation in Montana. Have a look at our choicest picks:
7 Most Popular Ski Resorts To Visit When In Montana
1. The Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort
Also known as the Big Mountain, the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort is visually the most stunning space of its kind in Montana. The resort features over 3000 acres of skiing land and over 2000 acres of vertical slopes. There are over 100 different trails (some of them goes over 3 miles as well), a terrain park, a magic carpet conveyer belt, two T-bars, and several high-speed quad chairlifts. For experts, Whitefish ski resort offers great adventures, whereas, for beginners and kids, the skiing instructors here are top-notch.
What makes Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort different is the abundance of snow here. To the surprise, the mountain (due to its elevation) receives over 300-plus inches of snow each year. Though on days with sun, skiers can capture splendid views of the northern Rockies and the Glacier National Park. Whitefish skiing area also offers night time skiing sessions that are wildly fun. If you are into skiing and belong to Montana or its neighbourhood, then visit Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort at least once in your lifetime.
2. The Big Sky Resort
One of the biggest ski zones in the United States and the most luxurious ski terrains in Montana, the Big Sky Resort needs no introduction. The resort is home to 5,800 skiable terrain and 4,350 vertical feet, which is also the highest vertical drop in Montana. This terrain features four different mountains, close to 300 runs, 39 lifts; everything served with the latest developments. What interest visitors the most are the number of lifts and their high speed, so despite the crowd, there are usually no waiting lines here.
The huge terrain in Big Sky Resort serves for Beginners, Intermediates and Experts alike. If you are into adventures skiing, take the Lone Peak Tram to the 11,166-foot summit and enjoy the 300 degrees of skiable terrain. Skiing season spans here for 4.5 and sometimes even a little over 5 months. And why not? It alone receives over 400 inches snow annually on average. However, the Big Sky Resort is so grand that one may require seasons to explore it all well.
3. Showdown Mountain
Showdown Mountain is the oldest skiing area in Montana that has been operating for over 80 years now, since 1936. Providing seasons after seasons, it has grown considerably and has entertained the greatest number of adventure hearts. Today it offers 640 acres of skiable terrain 35 ski trails that run between the 8,200-foot summit and 6,800-foot base. There isn’t a better skiing stop for someone who is just beginning with the skiing art or is looking for a day of fun.
Showdown Mountain operates in the peak winter season, from Wednesday through Sunday. Skiing season here goes typically from mid-December through early April. While the weekend here is crowded and popular, weekdays experience less crowd. One of the best times to be here is either during Christmas or New year. It is when everything from views to vibes and experiences turns out great.
4. Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Bridger Bowl isn’t as huge as Whitefish or Big sky, but in popularity, it competes well. Famous amongst University students and Bozeman community members, this skiing area is spread over 2000 acres of terrain. This spread features 2,700 ft of vertical drop, 75 trails, a huge terrain park and eight chairlifts. With glades, chutes, open runs, gullies, and bowls, the Bridger Bowl ski area provides for the experience of both beginners and professional skiers. Or, if you are highly skilled, there are some steep and highly technical landscapes for you.
Bridger Bowl Ski Area is just 30 minutes drive away from Bozeman and is quite known amongst locals here. The speciality or call the highlight of this skiing space is its fluffiest, driest powdery snow. It is opposite from the slush and ice combination you may find in various other skiing areas. The best time to visit Bridger Bowl is during weekdays as the crowd is mostly low, and you do not need to wait in long queues for your turn.
5. Montana Snowbowl
Another stop for powder snow fans; the Snowbowl is an alpine ski area and one of Montana’s most popular ski resorts. Being located right outside the university city of Missoula, it is quite popular amongst the locals here. Snowbowl features 950 acres of skiable terrain, a 2,600-foot vertical rise drop, and a 7,600-foot top elevation. There is a total of 39 ski runs, with the longest one spanning nearly 3 miles. Ski runs here are steeper, long, and techniques developed, making Montana Snowbowl ideal for intermediate and advanced-level skiers.
Montana Snowbowl has very limited beginners’ terrain and only two chairs and two surface lifts. Some of the terrains here require extra effort to reach, and if you aren’t someone who knows the skills, the day might turn difficult for you. What adds to the fun and warmth here is the range of restaurants, bars, cafés and pizza places nearby. For individuals who stay close or visit the region, this is a great skiing area.
6. Great Divide Ski Area
The Great Divide Ski Area is 1,600 acres of skiable terrain and a popular ski resort in Montana. It is just half an hour drive from the capital city of Helena, which also makes the Great Divide a frequently visited ski area. There are 140 trails, three well-groomed mountain peaks, six trail parks, a pod for beginner’s trails, bowls and glades. One of the highlights and most attractive feature of this skiing area is night skiing. While most of the ski resorts close with the sun going down, the Great Divide keeps operating with different opportunities.
The Great Divide Ski Area operates first and closes last every season, thanks to their most extensive snowmaking operations. Unlike other American states, the ski areas in Montana does not make snow to cover mountains but just to layer the patches. It doesn’t feature too many extra amenities, but there are a lot if you want to have skiing fun. The best part is skiers of all experience levels can have ultimate fun and adventure here.
7. Red Lodge Mountain
With an authentic Montana setting, the Red Lodge Mountain is the popularity of Southern Montana. Its proximity to Yellowstone National Park and the Wyoming border brings endless visitors throughout the season. The skiing area at the Red Lodge Mountain encompasses over 1,600 acres catering primarily to intermediate and advanced skiers. Or, if you are a beginner to the skill, there are low-angle runs near the base of the mountain for both your safety and enjoyment.
Red Lodge Mountain isn’t the biggest ski area in Montana but still boosts close to 71 runs. The highest vertical drop here is 2400 feet, high and impressive enough. The vibes are charming old-school western town-like all through the Red Lodge. It is so simple that there are no lift lines, no attitude staff, no high prices, but epic snow and classy atmosphere. Once you are done with skiing, dining options too are available here.
Other Popular Montana Ski Resort That Is Worth Visiting:
- The Maverick Mountain (A smaller but great option in Southwestern Montana).
- The Blacktail Mountain Ski Area (A 1,000 skiable acres right inside the Flathead National Forest in northern Montana).
- The Lost Trail Powder Mountain (A family-operated small skiing area near the Montana/Idaho border. It remains less crowded and, if quite affordable).
- The Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area (A famous Ski School for kids. It by far receives the most amount of snow anywhere in Montana).
- The Turner Mountain Ski Area (An affordable, family-friendly Ski area in Montana).
Skiing Season in Montana:
Montana’s Skiing season begins from either late November or early December. The most optimal snow condition here appears from Mid-January through Early March, which is also the peak skiing season. The season though, lasts up till mid of April. In the entire West, Montana offers by far one of the most affordable snow skiing experiences.