12 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Montana

Written by Brad Lane
Nov 19, 2019

No matter the time of year, Montana delivers on adventure. Come winter, residents and visitors often trade hiking boots and trekking poles for skis and snowboards and head for the ski resorts to shred down the many great slopes found throughout the western part of the state.

From world-renowned resorts and the big acreage found at places like Big Sky and Whitefish Mountain Resort to family-owned operations like Bridger Bowl and Lost Trail, every level of skier and snowboarder can find something to suit their ability. Groomers, glades, chutes, and stunning northern Rocky Mountain scenery can be expected on any ski trip in Montana. Find the top slopes with our list of the best ski resorts in Montana.

1. Big Sky Resort

Big Sky Resort | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

With over 5,800 skiable acres accessed by 36 lifts, Big Sky Resort is well known for providing the biggest skiing in America. This abundant space and plethora of high-speed lifts lends to little or no lift lines, despite the crowds of people that come to make turns every day of the week.

An hour south of Bozeman, and equidistant north of Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky is a ski destination of the northern Rockies that caters to beginners, intermediates, and especially those looking for big terrain.

For a unique Montana ski experience, visitors to Big Sky can take the Lone Peak Tram to the 11,166-foot summit for 300 degrees of skiable terrain. With snowfall averaging over 400 inches annually and projected season dates spanning more than 4.5 months, it takes multiple seasons to explore all the terrain Big Sky and Lone Mountain encompass. Restaurants, lodges, and other resort accommodations fill the off-the-mountain amenities at Big Sky, including a winter season full of live music and winter sport events.

Address: 50 Big Sky Resort Road, Big Sky, Montana

Official site: https://bigskyresort.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Big Sky

2. Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Also known as Big Mountain, Whitefish Mountain Resort borders Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. Eleven chairlifts and two T-bars lend access to over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain at Whitefish, including a variety of glades, groomers, and powder stashes. Though Whitefish is sometimes socked in by the winter weather that produces snowfall of 300-plus inches each year, on clear days, the views of Glacier National Park and the northern Rockies from Big Mountain add a real scenic appeal to the slopes.

Visitors can take a scenic Amtrak ride to access Whitefish, and a wide variety of events and live music comprise the resort's activity calendar throughout the winter. The neighboring resort town of Whitefish is filled with charm and plenty of places to catch a bite to eat, as well as great places to spend the night, like the celebrated Lodge at Whitefish Lake. A recommended route for those looking to avoid the crowds, the Flower Point area on the backside of the mountain often has shorter lift lines.

Address: 1015 Glades Drive, Whitefish, Montana

Official site: https://skiwhitefish.com/

3. Bridger Bowl Ski Area

Bridger Bowl skier

Popular with Montana State University students and Bozeman community members, Bridger Bowl features over 2,000 acres, incorporating a wide variety of terrain. Open runs, glades, gullies, chutes, and bowls provide something for every level of skier or snowboarder, including highly technical, steep terrain for advanced skiers only, and the eight chairlifts at Bridger easily handle the crowds that congregate on the weekends. The ski and snowboard school at Bridger is great for beginners, and the on-site daycare facility lets parents hit the slopes solo throughout the day.

Address: 15795 Bridger Canyon Road, Bozeman, Montana

Official site: https://www.bridgerbowl.com/

4. Discovery Ski Area

View from Discovery | Glenn Harper / photo modified

An hour west of Butte, skiers and snowboarders from across the state travel to Ski Disco, and all three faces of this Rocky Mountain resort provide terrain for all abilities to enjoy. The front-facing slopes at Discovery include beginner, intermediate, and expert groomed runs and tree routes, while the backside features exclusively black and double-black diamond routes that test the legs. Alongside 2,200 acres of patrolled terrain, Discovery Ski Area also features nearly 20 miles of cross-country ski trails and two terrain parks to enjoy.

Address: 180 Discovery Basin Road, Anaconda, Montana

Official site: https://www.skidiscovery.com/

5. Montana Snowbowl

Montana Snowbowl | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Just outside the university city of Missoula, this local ski and snowboard area has a laid-back atmosphere with big mountain terrain. Best suited for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, Snowbowl's steep routes are more technically inclined and longer than your average resort, lending to often less crowded conditions on the slopes. The fun doesn't stop on the ski slopes at Snowbowl, and this local-favorite ski resort is as well known for its many sidewinding tree routes as it is for its poutine and other après-ski menu items.

Address: 1700 Snow Bowl Road, Missoula, Montana

Official site: https://www.montanasnowbowl.com/

6. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area

Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

On the Montana/Idaho border, off Interstate 90, Lookout Pass often receives the most generous amount of snow of any resort in Montana. Featuring ski and snowboard slopes in both Montana and Idaho, Lookout Pass has garnered a great reputation as a family friendly place to ski with affordable lift tickets, varying route difficulties, and the unique Famous Free Ski School for kids. Two terrain parks at Lookout Pass cater towards those looking for big air and those hitting a rail for the first time, and a separate natural feature terrain park features a 1,000-foot-long quarter pipe.

Address: I-90 Exit 0, Mullan, Idaho

Official site: https://skilookout.com

7. Lost Trail Powder Mountain

Lost Trail Powder Mountain | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Family-owned and operated since 1938, Lost Trail Powder Mountain can be found near the Montana/Idaho border, off Highway 93. With affordable lift tickets and some of the most abundant snowfall in the state, a ski weekend at Lost Trail is a longtime tradition for many families in Montana. The resort is open four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, and if any snow accumulates during the three consecutive non-operating days of the week, winter enthusiasts can expect to find some great powder stashes at Lost Trail, especially on Thursdays.

Address: 9485 US-93, Sula, Montana

Official site: https://www.losttrail.com/

8. Great Divide Ski Area

Great Divide Ski Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

With some of the most affordable lift tickets in Montana and over 1,600 acres to explore, the Great Divide Ski Area features an unbeatable value for family ski trips or impromptu weekend getaways. Located less than 20 miles from the state capital of Helena, this locally owned mountain and ski area features a wide variety of terrain and a well-reputed ski and snowboard school for beginners. While the Mount Belmont chairlift might be the most popular to ride, the Wild West chairlift accesses numerous blue and black diamond routes, often with less crowds.

Address: 7385 Belmont Drive, Marysville, Montana

Official site: https://skigd.com/

9. Showdown Montana

Open Wednesday through Sunday throughout the peak winter season, Showdown Montana is one of the oldest ski areas in the state and continues to be a family favorite for locals and out-of-town visitors alike. Featuring three chairlifts and a magic carpet conveyor, the 8,200-foot summit provides access to over 35 runs varying in difficulty down to the 6,800-foot base. The resort is popular on the weekends, and Wednesdays can often be a good time to go for less crowds and stellar conditions if it has been snowing the previous two non-operating days.

Address: 2850 US-89, Neihart, Montana

Official site: http://www.showdownmontana.com/

10. Blacktail Mountain Ski Area

Blacktail Mountain Ski Area | Kate Brady / photo modified

Near the western shore of Flathead Lake in northern Montana, Blacktail Mountain provides access to over 1,000 skiable acres within the Flathead National Forest. Featuring a more local feel, alongside a comfortable and less crowded atmosphere, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area also provides great views on clear days and plenty of untouched powder stashes throughout the tree-lined routes. For après-ski, the Blacktail Lodge provides affordable on-site dining options and fireplaces to warm up between runs.

Address: 13990 Blacktail Road, Lakeside, Montana

Official site: http://www.blacktailmountain.com

11. Red Lodge Mountain

Young skier on the slopes | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

In south central Montana, near the Wyoming border and Yellowstone National Park, Red Lodge Mountain features beginner-friendly prices and big mountain terrain. The area encompasses over 16,000 acres, and longtime skiers and snowboarders at Red Lodge Mountain appreciate the laid-back atmosphere and small lines at the six chairlifts. Visitors from across the state often enjoy the average 250 inches of annual snow. The mountain caters primarily to intermediate and advanced skiers, but beginners at Red Lodge can find low-angle runs near the base of the mountain.

Address: 305 Ski Run Road, Red Lodge, Montana

Official site: https://www.redlodgemountain.com

12. Maverick Mountain

Maverick Mountain

A mom and pop ski area in Southwestern Montana, Maverick Mountain encompasses 450 acres within the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Friendly rates and virtually non-existent lift lines keep Maverick popular throughout the season, especially for those living or visiting Dillon, Montana 40 miles away. It's really the views at Maverick Mountain that make this local ski resort stand out, though, and on clear days from all 24 named routes, the jagged Pioneer Mountains landscape makes for enough reason alone to visit.

Address: 1600 Maverick Mountain Road, Polaris, Montana

Official site: http://www.skimaverick.com/

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

More Ski Resorts in the West: For great skiing in the United States, Montana is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the best ski resorts in Colorado really earn their international appeal, as do the top-rated ski resorts in Utah. For some Pacific Northwest appeal, the best ski resorts in Washington deliver with abundant snow throughout the winter.

Ski Resorts across the Country: If you are trying to search out a budget-friendly ski destination, be sure to check out our article on Cheap Ski Resorts in North America. For skiing in the East, see our articles on the best ski resorts in Vermont, New Hampshire, and even the sunny slopes in the mountains of North Carolina.

Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired.

More on Montana