Snowbowl

Snowbowl

Overall Rating

Snowbowl

Snowbowl3.5/57
Snowbowl3.5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
  • Recommend
    86%
  • Would Revisit
    71%

Snowbowl - Reviews

Snowbowl - Reviews

Steep and Cheap

26/10/2019

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Steep and Cheap

26/10/2019
Some of the amazing terrain
Short pitches of open terrain before the tree skiing starts
Plenty of steep terrain
A compact no-frills base area
Montana Snowbowl is a throw back ski resort that’s mostly suited to the local folks from Missoula who can pick and choose their days and make an assault on the amazing terrain on a powder day.

Snowbowl used to hold some record for having the longest vertical in some region, but our visit highlighted that its vertical along with the steep terrain are both a strength and a major weakness. The snow quality was quite nice for the upper third before it deteriorated quickly at lower elevations. The rock features near the top were amazing as were the trees, but the tree skiing became unfun once we got to the soured snow. Traversing out to the icy or crunky mogul runs wasn’t fun either and made us forget the phenomenal terrain further up, and made us reluctant to do too many laps off the Grizzly chair. If only there had been 3 or 4 groomed runs for egress (which due to the pitch would require winch cat grooming), then the terrain would have been amazing!

We had lunch at the Double Diamond Café which was very cheap, and the locals were so friendly and up for a chat. Après ski bevvies were at the Last Run Inn, which is an institution and the way all ski bars should be!

Missoula was enjoyable and more cosmopolitan than we’d expected for a town out in the middle of nowhere, which is likely due to the university influence. It was amazing how some of the trendy eateries such as Sushi Hana were packed on a weeknight.

Considering the great terrain, Snowbowl is definitely worth a visit if you’re doing a road trip of Montana ski resorts, but it’s probably not somewhere you’d hit up on a broader USA safari unless you really like seeking out the diamonds in the rough.

Our thoughts on the pros and cons are outlined on the Montana Snowbowl overview page, and you can see how we rated Snowbowl versus other western USA ski resorts.

Bowl is Best *

Megan
23/01/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    December
  • Admin Rating
    4

Bowl is Best *

Megan
23/01/2019
*if you're in shape and capable. The bowl is not a revered hometown mountain by all, its very polar in Msla, but the people who love it are the best kind of people. Hardworking, gritty, raw, unfettered, no-frills, passionate and fine-honed to their craft. You will find a group of "old-timers" up there 5-7 days a week skiing East/West Bowl laps until their octogenarian limbs are satisfied for the day. You will find a LOT of east coast transplants that moved to Missoula for school at UM and never left, and are still to this day challenged by the vertical, terrain, and south facing slope challenges. This is not JHOLE or ASPEN, nor is it Big Mountain aka Whitefish or Big Sky Resort, you will not find bells and whistles here, if you're a good skier and humble you will find challenges and character. The Last Run Inn (bar) is full of regulars and locals which makes for some great people watching and better wood stove fired pizza. Garland should be running around somewhere behind the scenes humming and ha'ing. Make sure to be guided to Meadows or South of the border while you're here. If you're really lucky you'll meet someone who will let you poach Rick's Neff-Land just off of Paradise.

Bigger isn't always better

bob legasa
12/12/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Admin Rating
    4

Bigger isn't always better

bob legasa
12/12/2013
For a Mom and Pop ski hill, Snowbowl has turned out several of the worlds best freestyle skiers! Montana Snowbowl is steep with some great tree runs and if you like groomers they have some down right, haul ass groomers.

We're talking true Americana here, what skiing used to be like before the mega resorts. Make sure you get one of their Award winning Bloody Marys and a big slice of their Pizza pie.

Snowbowl is the real deal. Sometimes Big things come in little packages!

Give Snowbowl a wide berth

SkiYouLater
04/03/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    N/A
  • Admin Rating
    4

Give Snowbowl a wide berth

SkiYouLater
04/03/2013
Montana Snowbowl is a local embarrassment. From the abysmal customer service to the small skiable acreage (950 acres) to the two chairlifts dating back to the Tenth Mountain Division era (these lifts are over fifty years old, slow, and notoriously breakdown-prone) and the delights of the access road, the place is not worth your US$40.00.

On the two antiquated chairs, it'll take you 35 minutes to get to the mountaintop, where you'll find, on a good day, some decent snow and some short, enjoyable runs, on and off-piste...for maybe the first thousand feet of vertical. Enjoy this while you can; quickly, you'll hit ice and slush. The west-of-the-divide stuff that falls on Snowbowl is often the consistency of elephant-snot. As the climate changes, Snowbowl's elevation is not adequate to collect good powder; frequently, what falls at its base (elevation 5,000 feet) is rain.

If you are unlucky, a chairlift will break while you're riding it. You'll wait half an hour, then another half an hour, and then along will come the cavalry in the form of the Ski Patrol (paid minimum wage), who will throw you a harness on a rope. They will suggest you fasten this harness around you because they're gonna LOWER YOU DOWN FROM THE CHAIRLIFT. This is the routine Snowbowl evacuation method. When you're safely on the snow, and have made your way to the base, don't imagine you'll get a rain-check to ski another day. Customer service at Snowbowl competes with that of wait staff at restaurants formerly behind the Iron Curtain. From the owners to the managers, the place specializes in alienating its skiers. The hard core of locals who frequent the area are a philosophical lot; they'd have to be.

A quote from a fellow skier at another local Montana area: "Snowbowl is the only place I've skied where I realized the stuff they were referring to as 'firm powder' was actually ice that was transparent all the way down to rock." From Missoula, you can gaze north, directly at many of Snowbowl's south-facing runs. Look closely and you'll see the glint of sun on ice.

Skip Snowbowl; head ninety miles southeast to the Flint Creek Range and Discovery Basin, a local gem of an area and the opposite of Snowbowl in every way. It's very friendly, inexpensive, and loaded with beautiful runs for skiers of every ability - everything from uber-gentle to great, north-facing double-black chutes and trees - with dry, high-elevation powder and chairlifts that don't break down. You'll dig it.

Snowbowl

Nick
04/03/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35

Snowbowl

Nick
04/03/2012
Cheap, short lines, great snow and great terrain--trees are amazing. Wish they would improve on the lifts, though.

Big Fun

Adam
07/08/2011
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    4

Big Fun

Adam
07/08/2011
Snowbowl is a skiing gem in a world of high class over priced ski resorts. Snowbowl is a bit of a step back in time.

Two older fixed grip chairs haul two at a time up to the top for some of the best tree and glade and bowl skiing in the rocky mountain west. I like the slow oldies. They let you take time to enjoy the view and meet a lot of really awesome people.

You don't come to snowbowl for the groomers or the park but for the killer skiing 20 min. from downtown Missoul. This is a real gem. Just get adventuresome and tear off into the trees or any run, and from the top you get 2600 ft of major fun. You can knock off 2000' from the griz chair and add more from the top.

So come on by and I'll be happy to show you why Snowbowl is so dear to my heart.

Bitchy

03/07/2011

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    4

Bitchy

03/07/2011
Montana Snowbowl is a locals' ski hill and with that comes some huge pluses. Riding at Snowbowl comes cheaply and the ski area is completely uncrowded and freshies last a long time on a powder day. You don't need to be bitchy to get to the goods! The steep terrain is pretty good, so it's somewhat surprising that Snowbowl has stayed under the radar.

As to be expected, Snowbowl is no-frills. The lift infrastructure is far from world class and the facilities are very simple. You definitely won't find any day spas at Snowbowl! There is negligible nightlife, it's not ideal for beginners and park junkies can forget it.

With all that simplicity comes a fantastic relaxed vibe and plenty of friendliness.

For more detailed ratings of Snowbowl and to see how it compares to other ski resorts around the world, see our powderhounds resort ratings.