Best Ski Resorts in Montana

If you’re an adventurous spirit who’s looking for quality ski resorts that warrant you will have an amazing time during winter, then look no further than Montana. Although it’s not as famous for skiing as some other states like Utah or Colorado, Montana boasts wonderful ski resorts and natural scenery that’s guaranteed to take your breath away.

Regardless of whether you’re solely looking to have a good time in a cozy winter resort, or you want to ski your days away, or perhaps you just want to spend some quality time with your family doing outdoor activities, Montana has something to offer for everyone.

With its wide range of ski resorts to choose from, unparalleled mountains and scenery,  you’re bound to find the resort of your dreams in this gorgeous place. Without further ado, here are the best ski resorts Montana can offer at the moment.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

This popular ski resort is located at The Big Mountain, in northwest Montana. This resort was renamed in 2007 and it gets its name from the Whitefish Lake that’s located in the town of Whitefish, just four miles away from the resort. This outstanding resort is quite popular among tourists for a variety of reasons. 

Apart from the great ski trails and the proximity of the picturesque town of Whitefish, one of the most striking things about this resort is its ambiance. Since fog is not a rare occurrence in this part of the US, both locals and tourists enjoy the view of the mountains engulfed in fog. It may not create a perfect environment for skiing in some instances, but it sure is a breathtaking view on its own.

Pros

  • Great trails
  • Not very crowded
  • Very affordable prices
  • A great variety of restaurants to choose from
  • Breathtaking views

Cons

  • Cold temperatures
  • Cloudy weather that can potentially ruin the amazing views
  • Hikes can be difficult and exhausting

Famous for: amazing ambiance, diverse terrains

Town 

As we mentioned before, the town nearest Whitefish Mountain Resort is called Whitefish. One of the best things about this town is the food options it offers. Apart from that, the town offers affordable accommodation in case you want to spend the night there.

Not only is it cozy and charming, but it also provides visitors with many cultural events that are bound to make any tourist happy. There are many events happening in Whitefish throughout the year, so you’ll be in no shortage of things to do and places to visit there.

Ski Terrain

The ski terrains are spread across 3,000 acres, an area no ski enthusiast would be disappointed with.. There are currently 105 marked trails and 4 terrain parks. The great thing about its terrains is that they range from easy to difficult, so regardless of whether you’re an experienced skier or someone who has just entered the world of skiing, you’re bound to find a terrain that fits your current levels of expertise and experience.

If you’re the type that’s looking for a challenge, look no further! You have many steep trees and glades at your disposal that will provide you with the adrenaline rush you’re longing for.

Accommodation

You’ll be able to find some amazing lodging options in the mountains as well as some affordable options in the town of Whitefish. These options are great if you’re traveling with family or if you’re traveling alone. The prices in Whitefish Mountain Resorts vary depending on the place you choose, but the price is usually around 150$ per night.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Since this area isn’t majorly popular yet, you’re not likely to find a lot of people there, even during peak season. There are a total of 14 lifts available. As far as the prices of the ski lifts are concerned, cheap tickets are available, averaging around 80 dollars a day.

Verdict

Whitefish Mountain Resort is an incredible option for both beginners and advanced skiers. It’s family-friendly and it has an incredible location, so you’ll be able to visit Whitefish and join in on some cultural events. If you don’t like crowds, this is the perfect place for you.

Big Sky Resort

True to its name, this wonderful resort is jeweled with jaw-dropping high terrains and scenery that looks as if it belongs in a travel catalog. With available ski terrain of around 5,800 acres, it’s the perfect location for anyone who’s looking to become a better skier or simply spend some quality time with their loved ones enjoying the fresh mountain air and the beautiful scenery at their disposal.

This resort is famous for its wide range of activities to do in the snow. Any ski lover will be more than welcome at Big Sky Resort, but there is a lot more to do than skiing, which is good news for anyone who doesn’t particularly enjoy skiing. You can choose any of the following activities: snowboarding, zip-line, hiking, biking and snowshoeing. Plus, there are a lot of options for people who aren’t interested in sport in general, like shopping and going to the spa. 

If you have a day off from skiing, don’t forget to visit the Yellowstone National Park which is accessible by snow coach or snowmobile.

Pros

  • Friendly and welcoming staff
  • High-speed lifts
  • Beautiful location and views
  • Great terrains
  • Spa available
  • Free public transport

Cons

  • Expensive food
  • Long lift lines during peak hours
  • A lot of people during the winter season
  • It’s a big resort, so you might get lost

Famous for: welcoming staff, high-speed lifts, stunning views

Town Area

Big Sky Resort is located about an hour from Bozeman, one of the largest cities in Montana. Although this distance doesn’t make it particularly close, you can still reach this city easily and enjoy all it has to offer. There are lots of charming shops, restaurants, and parks to visit.

Ski Terrain

You can choose from a wide range of terrains covering the Spanish Peaks, Lone Park, and Moonlight Basin. Needless to say, you can expect to encounter beautiful terrains that are easily accessible to anyone. The snowfall averages around 400 inches.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Big Sky Resort contains 36 lifts. You can purchase your lift tickets directly from the resort. If you want to get the best deal possible, then make sure you buy your tickets online or get a multi-day ticket. Prices average around $150 a day.

Since it’s one of the most popular resorts in the area, you can expect to encounter quite a crowd, especially if you visit the resort on popular dates. This might be a problem for anyone who doesn’t like big crowds of people or waiting in lines.

Accommodation

There are many packages available for anyone who chooses to lodge at Big Sky Resort. These are especially popular among family groups. The average price for one of these family packages is around 1,300 dollars a night.

Verdict

Big Sky Resort is an incredible option for big families and ski enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a place with stunning terrains and picturesque mountain peaks, look no further. There are a few drawbacks, however, like crowds and expensive food options.

Montana Snowbowl

If you’re an experienced skier who wants a challenge, then this is the place to be! Located outside the city of Missoula, this resort offers steep terrains, lots of activities and a magical, cozy atmosphere. Montana Snowbowl is famous for its steep runs especially The Grizzly Chair and LaVelle Creek Chair. This is the perfect opportunity for experienced lifters to practice their skill and improve, which is why this place is a go-to for so many adrenaline junkies. It’s known to have some of the steepest slopes in the Pacific Northwest.

Pros

  • A variety of activities to choose from
  • Challenging terrains
  • Friendly staff
  • Family-friendly
  • Tree skiing
  • Reasonable prices

Cons

  • No dogs allowed
  • Isn’t really suitable for beginners
  • Not all trails are signed
  • The lifts can be a bit slow

Famous for: steep runs, challenging terrain, tree skiing

Town Area

Missoula is the closest city to Montana Snowbowl. It’s regarded as a university city since it’s home to the University of Montana. Even though it might seem like there aren’t many options for tourists who aren’t students, there is a lot to do in Missoula. You can choose to visit some of the popular parks like Caras Park, visit the Bitterroot River, or dine at the local restaurants. It’s the perfect getaway if you want a change in scenery from the mountain slopes.

Ski Terrain

Like we mentioned before, if you’re a beginner then it’s best to choose another resort. If you’re experienced, however, then expect to have a great time. The trails are wide and accessible, although they can be quite challenging. There is a trail that gets you from the top to the bottom of the mountain. Even though the terrain is wooded, you can find a clear pathway. One of the most popular activities is tree skiing. 

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

The snow averages around 300 inches. There are two double and two surface lifts that access most of the trails. There are not as many crowds of people at Montana Snowbowl as there are in Big Sky Resort, but it can get pretty crowded during peak season.

Accommodation

As far as lodging is concerned, there are many properties you can choose from. You can choose to stay closer to the town or up in the mountains. The prices of these properties per night range depending on the place and the conditions they offer. You can choose between many family packages and get great deals, both on and off-season.

For motels and inns, the prices reach as low as 50 dollars per night. You can expect the prices to be a little higher if you choose a hotel.

Verdict

To sum up, Montana Snowbowl is a great option for experienced lifters who are looking to practice their craft. Unfortunately, it’s not beginner-friendly, so if you don’t have much experience it’s best to look elsewhere. You can access the town of Missoula easily which offers some great spots with nature-based activities. Apart from skiing, there are plenty of activities to do with your family and loved ones, like tree skiing.

Showdown Ski Area

This popular resort offers some of the most family-friendly environment ever. With terrain ranging from beginner-friendly to advanced-appropriate, there is something for everyone. 

This is one of the best ski resorts to visit if you’re traveling with family. The staff is warm and welcoming, and you can expect to get help with anything you might need. They accommodate children of all ages and there is something to do for everyone, so even if you don’t like skiing, you could wait for your loved ones at the lodge or in some of the restaurants. The children can learn to ski from the wonderful instructors that are at your disposal.

Pros

  • Friendly staff
  • Affordable prices for delicious food and drinks
  • Close to town
  • Family-friendly
  • Not very crowded
  • Great instructors

Cons

  • Not as many terrains as some of the other places
  • Some bumps and uneven terrain
  • Lifts can be quite slow
  • Limited food options

Famous for: lack of crowds, inexpensive, family-friendly

Town Area

The town that’s nearest Showdown Montana is Neihart. There is no shortage of things to do in Neihart. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can visit popular food places like Cougar Canyon Café or R & R Lounge, or you can relax at the Spa Hot Springs Motel. During the day, you can visit some of the parks and sports facilities, or you can go shopping in some of the local shops.

Ski Terrain

You can choose from difficult runs like Glory Hole to less problematic runs that are suitable even for beginners such as Golden Goose. There are 36 open trails and the snow averages around 20 feet. You can easily access daily snow and weather reports on their website. Whatever your experience with skiing might entail, you’re bound to find a terrain that suits you.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

The crowd in Showdown depends on several different factors. During the peak winter season, you can expect to see larger crowds, although not as large as some of the other resorts. It’s especially popular during weekends, so if you’d like to avoid crowds you should be wary of that.

There are four ski lifts in total: one triple, two double and one conveyor. You can purchase lift tickets – the price for a day adult ticket is around $50, whereas the kids one is $25. If you’d like, there are half-day options available.

Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, there are several options to choose from. You can decide to stay either in Neihart or closer to the ski area. You can choose between inns, suites, hotels, motels, cabins, and even spa hot springs. The prices vary according to the type of accommodation you’re looking at, but you can get many spacious and comfortable options for as little as $100 per night.

Verdict

Showdown Montana is a popular place especially among family folk who are looking to spend some quality time with their families. Any level of skiing experience is welcomed here. There are various options for accommodation and there is no shortage of things to do.

Discovery Ski Area

Discovery Ski Area is located in Granite County. This place offers a variety of activities, breathtaking scenery, terrains that run across 2,200 acres and accommodate all levels of experience for keen skiers. In short, there is something for everyone.

Even people who don’t like skiing and prefer sitting on the sidelines can enjoy the spectacular scenery and beautiful nature. This area is known for one of its steepest terrains, the great weather conditions, and its overall friendly atmosphere and staff.

Pros

  • Various activities to choose from
  • Great customer service
  • Amazing instructors
  • Good value for money
  • Variety of terrains for every kind of skier
  • Incredible scenery
  • Nice selection of food and drinks

Cons

  • No lift lines
  • A shortage of signs

Famous for: gorgeous scenery, great options for dining, lots of activities to choose from

Town Area

The town that’s located near Discovery Ski Area is Phillipsburg. Here you can find many things to do and places to visit. Enjoy breathtaking views, amazing museums and tourist attractions, parks and walking trails. Our personal recommendation would be to visit Granite Ghost Town State Park, which is considered as one of the most special places in Phillipsburg.  You could also visit the Phillipsburg Public Library or the Opera House Theatre.

Ski Terrain

There are many terrains to choose from, all of which cater to different levels of experience when it comes to skiing. Since the trails are so diverse, you can expect anyone to find their place easily, whether it’s a child or a parent. The terrains run across Rumsey Mountain and Jubilee Peak. You can choose between the southern side, which is more appropriate for beginners and inexperienced lifters, and advanced skiers can enjoy the challenging trail on the front side of the mountain.

Jubilee Peak is especially great for those who are just starting out with skiing. The expert-level ski terrains that can be found on the northern side are some of the steepest in Montana, so you’ll need to be extra careful.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

There are five triplets, two doubles, and one surface lift currently available in Discovery Ski Area. The annual snowfall averages around 215 inches.

Even though this Montana ski resort can be crowded at times, frequent visitors claim that however many people there are at the area, you never feel crowded or claustrophobic, which is perfect for those who want to be surrounded by people without feeling suffocated.

Accommodation

Even though this area doesn’t contain any lodgings in itself, you can find various lodging options around the area, such as in the closest towns surrounding it, like Anaconda and Phillipsburg. The perks of being located in one of these towns are that you get to have the best of both worlds – there is no shortage of things to do in the town, and you’ll also have incredible ski terrains at reach.

Verdict

If you want to stay close to the ski centers, then Discovery Ski Area is probably not the best option for you. However, it’s an amazing option for ski lovers filled with awe-inspiring scenery and a variety of ski terrains.

You can check out more on our USA Ski Resorts page.

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated

May 2020