Montana Skiing

Montana skiing is ideal whether you are just learning how to ski or you are a seasoned expert. Montana is known for its big mountains and its soft snow, and unless you come on one of the bigger weekends, such as those that fall around Christmas, waiting around in lift lines isn't something that you'll have deal with. While sticking to the easier slopes at the Montana ski areas is the way to go for some, heading into the backcountry by way of snowcat, snowmobile, or helicopter will pique the interest of others. Montana skiing doesn't have to include slopes at all, however, as in the winter, the state offers plenty of cross-country trails. However and wherever you choose to ski in Montana, the experience should prove to be an unforgettable one. Many resorts and ski areas in Montana offer some tantalizing vacation packages that include things like your accommodations and your lift tickets, and they also boast ski schools and equipment rentals if you should need one or the other.

Western Montana is the part of the state where all the top ski areas and resorts can be found, and none is more renowned than Big Sky. That's not to say that there aren't some other spectacular Montana ski areas and resorts to choose from, but Big Sky is the most popular. Not only can skiers and snowboarders access the more immediate slopes at the Big Sky resort when visiting, but they can also purchase special passes that also include the runs at Moonlight Basin. Between the two ski areas, more than 5,512 skiable acres await you, and the runs here come in all shapes and sizes. You can hit the trees, take to moguls, swish down a groomed track, and hop off of small cliffs into the powder below at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin. Since more than 400 inches of snow fall on the two resorts annually, finding fresh powder usually isn't an issue. Breathtaking vistas are everywhere to be seen in the Big Sky-Moonlight Basin area, and a lively apres-ski environment helps to keep things interesting once the slopes close for the evening.

While Big Sky and Moonlight Basin are easy enough to reach from Bozeman, Bozeman visitors and locals alike can also head to the Bridger Bowl Ski Area, which is closer to town. Bridger Bowl is one of the more popular Montana ski areas, partly because of its relative affordability. Lift tickets here don't cost as much as they do at Big Sky, and you won't have to worry about enjoying a diverse ski experience. At Bridger Bowl, there are runs that cater to beginners, intermediate skiers, and advanced powder junkies. There are even some extreme runs here for those who want to test their merit. One of the newer lifts at the Bridger Bowl Ski Area can get you to the more extreme backcountry, which is known as Ridge Terrain. If you are thinking of taking your skis or snowboard back there, it's required that you bring an avalanche transceiver. Anyone looking to backcountry ski in Montana should also arm themselves with a shovel, and under all circumstances, they should go with a friend.

Heading up to the northwest part of the state, the Whitefish Mountain Resort is just one more destination that you'll want to consider when looking to ski in Montana. Originally opened in 1947, this resort near the town of Whitefish has been entertaining wintertime vacationers for quite some time now. Ski Magazine ranked the Whitefish Mountain Resort among its top U.S. ski destinations, so you know it's got quality written all over it. The laid-back character of this Rocky Mountain resort is what brings some visitors back time and again. As is the case at the other top Montana ski areas and resorts, a number of local shops, restaurants, and bars help to keep Whitefish Mountain Resort visitors both busy and content. You're just twenty miles from Glacier National Park when you choose the Whitefish Mountain Resort as your Montana skiing destination, and side trips are recommended.

The three Montana ski areas listed above are among the most highly-recognized ski areas in the state, but by no means are they the only good ones. Anyone who is visiting Missoula or Butte can easily reach the Discovery Basin Ski Area, for instance. It boasts powder-filled bowls, free-flowing groomed runs, intense moguls, and opportunities to ski among the trees. Close to Helena, the Great Divide Ski Area is just one more place where you can make some scintillating turns in the snow during your wintertime Montana vacation. Wherever you go in western Montana, a ski resort or ski area is never too far off. As for cross country skiing in Montana, the trails abound as well. National Forests like the Bitterroot National Forest and the Gallatin National Forest offer miles of cross country trails, and there are plenty of nordic centers, guest ranches, and lodges that offer trail access as well.

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