Montana Snowbowl

Montana Snowbowl Ski Resort
The compact base area
Dropping off the top of Big Sky Mt
Well spaced trees at the top
Montana Snowbowl Ski Resort
Plenty of steep terrain at Montana Snowbowl
Snowbowl Ski Resort Montana
The cliff area drops off North Dakota Downhill trail
Montana Snowbowl
LaVelle Creek Chair at Montana Snowbowl
Montana Snowbowl Ski Area
On-mountain lodging
The cafeteria serves up incredibly inexpensive fare
Cheap fare at the cafe
The day lodge is delightfully old school
Low frills amenities and services
The best wood fired pizza on a ski hill at Montana Snowbowl
Great apres ski bar
Caesars on the deck
Apres ski beverages will be well earned

Montana Snowbowl

Readers Ratings


Snowbowl3.5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit

Montana Snowbowl Missoula

Met a bloke once that said if you’re ever in Montana make sure you ski the local mountain at Missoula called Montana Snowbowl. His description was that ‘it's a nasty little bitch of a hill’. As for his description of the Montana Snowbowl ski hill. Nasty – not really, but it has some serious steeps and trees. Little – it’s actually huge with a lactic acid inducing vertical of 2,600 feet (850m) that can be skied in one agonising hit from top to bottom which is where the bitch comes in. He was right on the money, it’s one place you should be sure to visit if you’re in the vicinity and it snows.

The Montana Snowbowl Ski Resort is a kick arse gem of a hill that has a delightfully simple approach. Enjoy it whilst you can in case a big developer gets hold of it one day.

Pros and Cons of Montana Snowbowl

  • The Montana Snowbowl ski area is a friendly and relaxed mom and pop ski hill with no uppity attitude.
  • The Snowbowl ski area has plenty of steep terrain and big vertical.
  • The tree skiing is phenomenal when the snow tap is turned on.
  • The Bowl has super cheap lift passes, equipment rentals and food, and the Missoula hotels are very reasonably priced.
  • People come here for the best wood-fired pizza on a ski hill.
  • The nightlife in Missoula can be very vibrant.
  • The Montana Snowbowl Ski Resort has slow antiquated lifts, but this is part of what makes it a gem.
  • Montana Snowbowl is not particularly good for beginners.
  • Most of the amazing steep terrain has an aspect that’s not conducive to maintaining good snow quality. Whilst the snow and tree skiing may be amazing near the top, the quality can deteriorate quickly as you descend. This would be fine if there were nice groomed runs to retreat to, but there are just bumps, and the bottom half of the ski hill is often heinous unless it’s a powder day.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The Snowbowl ski area is very no-frills rustic with limited infrastructure.
  • Every second uni student and professor in Missoula turns up on a powder day and lift queues ensue because the lifting capacity is quite poor, however fresh tracks last all day due to the size of the ski area relative to the lift capacity.
  • The ski area isn’t open every day, especially during the fringes of the season (which helps to improve university class attendance!).

Snowbowl Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Montana Snowbowl has 2,200 acres of skiable terrain and a really long vertical of 2,600 feet. All of this is serviced by three slow double chair lifts, the Grizzly, LaVelle Creek and the new Snow Park, plus a short T-bar and rope tow in the base area.

Complete novices hang out on the aptly named “First Run” off the rope tow, whilst most of the other green runs are quite challenging for your average beginner. Intermediates spend most of their time playing off the LaVelle chair at the top where the snow’s nice and the runs relatively mellow. The new Snowpark chair has added options for blue runs off TV Mountain.

The vast majority of the rest of the terrain at Montana Snowbowl is one word – steep. Bowls, spur lines, natural features, gorgeous tight trees, and some cut trails stream down the full vertical from the summit. There is the potential for more whooping, yipping and yee har action here than one could poke a stick at.

Some of the real action is between the West Bowls and Grizzly and around a ‘closed’ cliff area on the opposite side. The only thing that saves one’s body from going into premature meltdown after skiing a full one of these puppies that has a lack of a nice egress, is that Snowbowl isn’t at the oxygen depleted heights of Colorado ski resorts. The top of the mountain is a very civil 7,600 feet (a tad over 2,300m) above sea level.

Snowbowl Snow

Snowbowl on average has 300 annual inches (760cm) of fine Montana white stuff falling on the ski hill. When it gets the snow, the tree skiing in particular is an absolute blast, but unfortunately aspect is not on its side. Many of the epic lines have a southerly aspect or derivations thereof, and combined with low elevation, the snow in the lower half of the mountain can be shabby and/or thin.

Where is Montana Snowbowl?

Montana Snowbowl Ski Resort is located in central Montana, 12 miles (19km) north of the quirky beer loving city that is Missoula. Access is easy off Interstate 90, but the access road can be a little rough in places depending on how much snow has fallen.

Snowbowl Lodging

The Gelandesprung Lodge in the base area is the only accommodation on the hill. It has basic but comfortable rooms with ensuite or shared bathrooms, a hot tub, and communal kitchen facilities, but it’s pretty much not open unless there’s a party on because there’s not a destination market for Montana Snowbowl.


Nearby Missoula has a massive range of hotels that cater for all budgets.

C’mon Inn Missoula is located out near the highway on the road to Snowbowl, so it’s very geographically convenient. Best of all, you’ll enjoy all the hot tubs after the pounding you will have received skiing at Snowbowl.

Or if you want to stay downtown in the heart of the action, the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown is a lovely hotel that offers good value for money.

Missoula Hotel Listings

Missoula is one of two Montana university towns and it has plenty of character. It has lots of thrift stores to match the many casinos, and Missoula has an abundance of breweries and brew houses which may be part of the reason that the locals don’t turn up to the ski hill until lunch time.

Montana Snowbowl Ski Resort Facilities

Snowbowl’s base facilities might not pass muster at some ski resorts, but are perfectly adequate for the task – shelter, toilet, food and drink. With all the boxes ticked the details don’t really matter aside from mentioning that the Last Run Inn has fabulous wood fired pizzas, open fires, lovely local brews and a deck for sunny days. The ancient A-frame building (the Double Diamond Café) serves up freshly cooked cafeteria food at dirt cheap prices.
No listings were found for Snowbowl.