There are lots of mountains in Montana, particularly in the western part of the state in the Rockies. It’s for good reason that the name of the state was derived from “montaña”, the Spanish word for mountain!
Montana offers an expansive wilderness. Montana is the fourth largest state in the USA, yet the population is less than a million folks. Such a low population density is great news for powderhounds, because they don’t have to compete with huge local crowds at the Montana ski resorts.
Montana Ski Resorts
There are approximately 18 Montana ski resorts which vary from huge resorts to little mom and pop type ski areas where the lift tickets are super cheap and the amenities are very simple.
Big Sky is the biggest of the Montana ski resorts at 3,832 acres (1,551 hectares) and 4,350 feet (1,326 metres) of vertical drop. Big Sky Resort
caters to all ability levels but is well known for the large proportion of black and double black terrain. The infrastructure is also big, and there’s an abundance of accommodation, restaurants and off-slope activities. Big Sky is located about an hour southwest of the town of Bozeman.
Next door to Big Sky is Moonlight Basin which offers another 1,900 acres (769 hectares) of skiable terrain. The two interconnected ski resorts form a behemoth ski area; the largest in the USA!
Even closer to Bozeman is Bridger Bowl
, a not-for-profit community run ski hill. The lift infrastructure is not particularly impressive, but who cares when the lift tickets are so cheap and the expert (and extreme) terrain is delightfully scary.
Whitefish Mountain Resort
, formerly known as The Big Mountain, is another big Montana ski resort. Located near the town of Whitefish, this ski resort has a bit of something for everyone.
Other Montana skiing but on a much smaller scale is Montana Snowbowl
, located near the city of Missoula. This simple ski area can be summed up as good old fashioned no frills, friendly, low priced, big vertical, and steep trees.
Other small Montana ski resorts include Discovery Ski, Showdown, Teton Pass, and the tiny Maverick Mountain.
Characteristics of Montana Skiing
Despite the variety of the ski resorts with regards to the infrastructure on offer, there are a few typical characteristics of Montana skiing. Firstly is the general lack of skier and boarder traffic which culminates in short or non-existent lift lines, and plenty of fresh pow for powderhounds.
Skiing in Montana is dirt cheap, particularly when you venture away from the high profile Big Sky Resort
. Not only are the lift tickets very affordable, accommodation, equipment rentals, and food is also rather inexpensive.
Most importantly, the snow quality is pretty impressive. Montana also does well in the quantity stakes. As examples, Moonlight Basin and Big Sky receive a big 400 inches (10.2 metres) of snow on average per season, whilst Bridger Bowl
is blessed with 350 inches (8.9 metres) of cold smoke powder per winter.
Tours that include Montana ski areas