Montana offers the best of the best in downhill skiing and snowboarding: acres of powder, miles of verticality and the easiest lift lines in the West. So get out there this winter and explore Big Sky Country’s big snowy open!
Here’s a look at each of Montana’s ski areas, with basic info on location, lift tickets and terrain.
•Bear Paw Ski Bowl: Located 29 miles south of Havre, this ski hill has adult tickets for only $20 a day, $18 for students 9 to 18. Children 8 and younger and adults older than 80 ski free. The hill is open only Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays, January through April (snow permitting), from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. With one chair, one hand tow and a vertical drop of 900 feet, this is a small mountain, just perfect for beginners. Ski and snowboard rentals are available in Havre. Phone: (406) 265-4712. Website: skibearpaw.com.
•Big Sky Resort: This is the state’s biggest resort – no one else can compete with the amount of terrain, vertical drop and number of lifts. Big Sky offers instant access to some of the most diverse skiing and snowboarding amid breathtaking vistas. Float down a 2,000-vertical-foot, powder-filled bowl beneath Lone Peak; bob and weave through the Bavarian Forest; ride the Lone Peak Tram for a bird’s-eye view of untamed wilderness. You’ll find almost twice as many acres as skiers. Snowboarders will find a halfpipe, rails and other features to grind on. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. An adult ticket is $89 a day, but deals are offered throughout the year, as well as discounts available online and through package and pass deals. Youth ages 11 to 17 are $69, and children younger than 10 are free with an adult. Big Sky is located about an hour south of Bozeman through Gallatin Canyon. Phone: (406) 995-5900. Website: bigskyresort.com.
•Blacktail Mountain Ski Area: Overlooking Flathead Lake about 15 minutes from downtown Kalispell, Blacktail provides skiers and snowboarders with 1,400 feet of vertical serviced by one triple chair and two doubles. It has an average snowfall of 250 inches. The family-friendly resort offers a variety of terrain from beginner to advanced. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and holidays. An adult ticket is $36. Teens ages 13 to 17 are $25. Ages 8 to 12 are $16, and children 7 and younger ski free. Seniors ages 70 and older are $16. College students or active military with ID are $30. Phone: (406) 844-0999. Website: blacktailmountain.com.
•Bridger Bowl: Skiing enthusiasts have enjoyed the area known as Bridger Bowl since the mid-1940s. Skiers love this hill, which is known for its “cold smoke” powder. Bridger Bowl is a nonprofit community ski area offering world-class skiing at small-town rates. The Bridger and Deer Park lifts have been replaced by one triple chairlift. An adult lift ticket price is $49. Ages 7 to 12 are $16, seniors 70 and older are $22, and children 6 and younger are free. Bridger Bowl is about 20 minutes northeast of Bozeman. Phone: 1-800-223-9609. Website: bridgerbowl.com.
•Discovery Ski Area: Only minutes from Fairmont Hot Springs, Discovery provides 1,670 feet of vertical on 63 trails. The ski area, overlooking Georgetown Lake, has a good variety of terrain to suit many abilities for skiers and snowboarders. Annual snowfall is 215 inches. Adult tickets are $40 for a full day and $32 for a half day. Ages 12 and younger and seniors are $20. Ages 5 and younger are free. Phone: (406) 563-2184. Website: skidiscovery.com.
•Great Divide: Twenty-three miles north of Helena near the old mining town of Marysville, Great Divide offers 1,560 feet of vertical on 140 trails. Tickets are $36 for adults, and $30 for middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, seniors and military. There are five terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders. The mountain has five double chairs. Special lift and rental packages are available for beginners. Phone: (406) 449-3746. Website: skigd.com.
•Lookout Pass Ski Area: A family ski area since 1935, this resort is located 30 miles northwest of St. Regis off Interstate 90. The high mountains generate about 400 inches of snow annually. With 1,150 feet of vertical, the hill has 34 runs at a midweek rate of $35 for adults, $38 weekends and holidays, with reduced rates for students and seniors. The mountain is open Thursdays through Mondays, as well as during Christmas break and on holidays. Phone: (208) 744-1301. Website: skilookout.com.
•Lost Trail Powder Mountain: Lost Trail sits atop the Continental Divide on U.S. Highway 93 where Montana and Idaho meet. With more than 300 inches of snowfall every year, these still-undiscovered slopes await your visit. The terrain includes 1,800 feet of vertical. Adult tickets at the ski hill are $37. Ages 6 to 12 are $27, and 5 and younger are free. Seniors ages 60 to 69 are $29, and 70 and older are $14. The area is open Thursdays through Sundays with extended hours over the Christmas season and on holidays. Phone: (406) 821-3211. Website: losttrail.com.
•Maverick Mountain: Hidden in southwestern Montana’s Pioneer Mountains, Maverick boasts low rates and two nearby places to plunge into hot water – Jackson Hot Springs Lodge and Elkhorn Hot Springs. The ski hill features 2,020 feet of vertical spread out across 24 trails. The mountain’s annual snowfall is 180 inches, accessed by one double chair and a rope tow. Adult tickets are $32. Juniors and seniors are $20. Phone: (406) 834-3454. Website: skimaverick.com.
•Montana Snowbowl: Located only minutes from downtown Missoula, Snowbowl is famous for its tricky terrain. Two high-capacity double chairlifts quickly carry skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain for the 2,600-foot drop. Forty-two runs – including one that cruises for three miles – spread out winter enthusiasts. The adult rate is $43 a day. Students and seniors are $40, while ages 6 to 12 are $19 and children 5 and younger are free. Phone: (406) 549-9777. Website: montanasnowbowl.com.
•Moonlight Basin: Big Sky’s next-door neighbor may be smaller, but it has some grand terrain. Located on the north side of Lone Mountain, the hill boasts 4,150 feet of vertical and 92 runs. Experts can try the ridge’s upper chutes, while beginners and intermediates can stick to the lower mountain. Average snowfall is 400 inches. An adult full-day ticket is $59. Ages 11 to 17, college students, seniors and active military are $50. Children 10 and younger are free. Phone: (406) 993-6666. Website: moonlightbasin.com.
•Red Lodge Mountain: Red Lodge Mountain is Montana skiing pure and simple. Just minutes from downtown Red Lodge, at the base of the magnificent Beartooth Mountains, the ski area has 2,400 feet of vertical accessed by 65 trails. Average snowfall is 250 inches. Snowboarders can frolic in the terrain park, or take to the trees to track powder. The adult rate is $50 a day. Ages 13 to 18 are $40, ages 6 to 12 are $20, ages 65 to 69 are $42, ages 70 and older are $16, college students are $36 and military are $32. Phone: 1-800-444-8977. Website: redlodgemountain.com.
•Schweitzer Mountain: If you’re looking for big hits and rails, the three-hour-plus drive to Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint, Idaho, is worth it. Schweitzer’s premiere attraction is its terrain park, the Stomping Ground, which was named the best terrain park in the Pacific Northwest by Powder magazine. Schweitzer also offers a beginner park for the less daring. For those looking for steep, fast runs, be sure to check Siberia and Pucci’s Chute in the Outback Bowl. Schweitzer also has smooth, mellow groomers for the whole family. Average snowfall is 300 inches. Schweitzer is open seven days a week. Lift tickets are $68 for adults, $58 for students and seniors, and $50 for teenagers. Kids 6 and younger ski for free. Phone: (208) 263-9555. Website: schweitzer.com.
•Showdown Montana: High atop the Little Belt Mountains, Showdown offers a family environment, while nearby White Sulphur Springs serves up a hot pool. Showdown, which celebrated its 70th season last year, is famous for its early snowfalls that average 245 inches a year. The mountain’s 1,400 feet of vertical drop are serviced by one triple and two double chairlifts. Adult full-day tickets cost $38. Ages 6 to 12 are $20, and ages 70 and older are $28. Phone: (406) 771-1300. Website: showdownmontana.com.
•Silver Mountain: Located 130 miles from Missoula in the Idaho Panhandle, just a short hop from Interstate 90 in Kellogg, Silver Mountain is a ski resort and indoor water park. On the mountain, skiers have access to 2,200 feet of vertical, with the longest run measuring 2 1/2 miles, all serviced by seven lifts that include a gondola and magic carpet. Average snowfall is 300 inches. It’s $52 for an adult lift ticket. Ages 7 to 17 are $37, college students and military are $47, seniors ages 62 and older are $42, and children 6 and younger are free. Phone: 1-800-204-6428. Website: silvermt.com.
•Turner Mountain: Located 22 miles north of Libby, Turner Mountain sells adult tickets for $37, $25 for ages 13 to 18, $20 for ages 7 to 12, and $30 for seniors, while children 6 and younger ski free. The ski area has 25 runs with 2,110 feet of vertical drop. While only one chair serves the mountain, half of the terrain is considered expert. The hill is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, except during the Christmas break and on holidays. Phone: (406) 293-2468. Website: skiturner.com.
•Whitefish Mountain Resort: The second-largest ski area in the state, Whitefish Mountain provides northwestern Montana with its own bragging rights. Located eight miles northwest of Whitefish, the mountain has 2,353 feet of vertical crisscrossed by 94 trails. Three quad chairlifts quickly whisk skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain, which sees 300 inches of annual snowfall. A terrain park features gaps, berms and tabletops for snowboarders. The adult rate is $67. Ages 7 to 12 are $36, ages 13 to 18 are $59, ages 65 to 69 are $52, ages 70 and older and 6 and younger are free. Phone: 1-877-754-3474. (406) Website: skiwhitefish.com.