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8 Best Ski Resorts in Montana, 2022/23

8 Best Ski Resorts in Montana, 2022/23
Karl Sander
Written by Karl Sander / Photos by Jack Lee
Last updated May 23, 2022

Home of the northern Rocky Mountains, Montana offers excellent snow and seemingly endless terrain. It doesn’t always get the same exposure that other western states do, but the friendly locals don’t mind since that often means lower prices and smaller crowds. Here are our top 8 resorts!

1. Big Sky Resort

The second largest resort in the US!

Why Ski Big Sky Resort

An hour south of Bozeman and two hours north of Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky features more than 5,800 acres of terrain and a 4,300 feet vertical drop. That makes it the second-largest resort in the U.S. behind Park City, and second in vertical behind only Snowmass. More than 30 lifts, many of them high-speed, whisk skiers to more than 300 runs on three mountains. Terrain ranges from beginner slopes and relaxed groomers to exhilarating chutes and expansive bowls. Despite its size, Big Sky doesn’t see near the number of visitors as other resorts, so you probably won’t have to worry about lift lines and crowded trails!

Known for

Vast terrain and uncrowded slopes at one of North America’s largest resorts

Highlights

  • Massive amount of terrain and vertical
  • A wide array of slope-side accommodation
  • Uncrowded
  • Relatively quiet après scene

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Nov 24 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 23 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Bozeman Yellowstone Intl. Airport - 52 miles (1 hour drive)
Map View
The second largest resort in the US!

Why Ski Big Sky Resort

An hour south of Bozeman and two hours north of Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky features more than 5,800 acres of terrain and a 4,300 feet vertical drop. That makes it the second-largest resort in the U.S. behind Park City, and second in vertical behind only Snowmass. More than 30 lifts, many of them high-speed, whisk skiers to more than 300 runs on three mountains. Terrain ranges from beginner slopes and relaxed groomers to exhilarating chutes and expansive bowls. Despite its size, Big Sky doesn’t see near the number of visitors as other resorts, so you probably won’t have to worry about lift lines and crowded trails!

2. Whitefish Mountain Resort

Ski with incredible views of Whitefish Lake

Why Ski Whitefish Mountain Resort

Perched atop northwest Montana’s Big Mountain, Whitefish Mountain Resort offers more than 3,000 acres and over 2,000 feet of vertical. Low light and limited visibility can be a problem when storms roll in, but those storms bring about 25 feet of snow annually. And on clear days, you can take in spectacular scenery from the summit that includes Glacier National Park and Whitefish Lake. The base area features a variety of dining and lodging options, and the town of Whitefish itself is only 7 mi away. Whitefish is served by regularly scheduled passenger trains, and Glacier Park International Airport is only 30 minutes away.

Known for

World-class skiing with the intimate feel of a locals’ hill

Highlights

  • Great variety of terrain
  • Excellent snow
  • Incredible views on clear days
  • Prone to challenging light conditions and limited visibility

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Dec 08 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 09 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Glacier Park Intl. Airport - 19 miles (30 minute drive)
Map View
Ski with incredible views of Whitefish Lake

Why Ski Whitefish Mountain Resort

Perched atop northwest Montana’s Big Mountain, Whitefish Mountain Resort offers more than 3,000 acres and over 2,000 feet of vertical. Low light and limited visibility can be a problem when storms roll in, but those storms bring about 25 feet of snow annually. And on clear days, you can take in spectacular scenery from the summit that includes Glacier National Park and Whitefish Lake. The base area features a variety of dining and lodging options, and the town of Whitefish itself is only 7 mi away. Whitefish is served by regularly scheduled passenger trains, and Glacier Park International Airport is only 30 minutes away.

3. Bridger Bowl

Locals love the resort's laid-back vibe

Why Ski Bridger Bowl

While not as large as Big Sky or Whitefish, with more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and 2,700 feet of vertical, Bridger Bowl still offers plenty to explore. A mere 30 minutes outside of Bozeman, it’s popular with locals and college students with the laid-back atmosphere to match. Although known for its extreme terrain (one chairlift requires an avalanche beacon just to ride up!), like any good locals’ hill Bridger Bowl also features excellent beginner terrain and great instructional programs. Although there are no on-mountain accommodations, winter’s actually the off-season in the Yellowstone area, so there should be good lodging bargains to be found in nearby Bozeman.

Known for

A real locals’ mountain with extreme inbounds terrain

Highlights

  • Legendary expert terrain
  • Excellent ski and snowboard school with great beginner slopes
  • Great value
  • No lodging at the mountain

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Dec 09 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 09 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Bozeman Yellowstone Intl. Airport - 25 miles (30 minute drive)
Map View
Locals love the resort's laid-back vibe

Why Ski Bridger Bowl

While not as large as Big Sky or Whitefish, with more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and 2,700 feet of vertical, Bridger Bowl still offers plenty to explore. A mere 30 minutes outside of Bozeman, it’s popular with locals and college students with the laid-back atmosphere to match. Although known for its extreme terrain (one chairlift requires an avalanche beacon just to ride up!), like any good locals’ hill Bridger Bowl also features excellent beginner terrain and great instructional programs. Although there are no on-mountain accommodations, winter’s actually the off-season in the Yellowstone area, so there should be good lodging bargains to be found in nearby Bozeman.

4. Montana Snowbowl

Ideal terrain for intermediate to advanced skiers 

Why Ski Montana Snowbowl

Less than a half-hour from Missoula, one of the largest cities in the state, Montana Snowbowl might initially seem relatively small at 950 acres of skiable terrain. But the resort offers 2,600 feet of vertical and trails as long as three miles. With only two chairs and two surface lifts as well as very limited beginners’ terrain, Snowbowl is better suited to intermediate and advanced/expert skiers. Some of the terrain requires extra effort to reach, but if you’re up to it you’ll likely have the run to yourself and may well find powder days after the latest dump.

Known for

An excellent choice for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders

Highlights

  • Big mountain terrain
  • Relaxed atmosphere
  • Close to one of Montana’s biggest cities
  • Limited lifts

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Dec 17 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 30 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Missoula Intl. Airport - 12 miles (25 minute drive)
Map View
Ideal terrain for intermediate to advanced skiers 

Why Ski Montana Snowbowl

Less than a half-hour from Missoula, one of the largest cities in the state, Montana Snowbowl might initially seem relatively small at 950 acres of skiable terrain. But the resort offers 2,600 feet of vertical and trails as long as three miles. With only two chairs and two surface lifts as well as very limited beginners’ terrain, Snowbowl is better suited to intermediate and advanced/expert skiers. Some of the terrain requires extra effort to reach, but if you’re up to it you’ll likely have the run to yourself and may well find powder days after the latest dump.

5. Discovery

With two faces of the mountain, there's terrain for everyone (Photo credit: Discovery Ski Area)

Why Ski Discovery

Located between Missoula and Butte, family-owned and operated Discovery offers 2,200 acres of terrain on three faces. There’s something for everyone on the front two faces and an expert’s paradise on the other side, with some of the best lift-served steeps you’ll find. Thanks to its location next to a designated wilderness area, you can enjoy a backcountry feel without having to duck any ropes! Meanwhile, its beginner runs are favorites for families across the state. There’s no lodging, and dining and après are limited to the base lodge, but loyal regulars like it that way as the mountain retains an old-school relaxed, uncrowded and inexpensive atmosphere.

Known for

Terrific in-bound steeps, reliable snow, and a wilderness setting

Highlights

  • Some of Montana’s best terrain
  • Consistent snowfall
  • Inexpensive
  • Limited amenities

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Nov 24 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 03 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Missoula Intl. Airport - 98 miles (1.5 hour drive)
Map View
With two faces of the mountain, there's terrain for everyone (Photo credit: Discovery Ski Area)

Why Ski Discovery

Located between Missoula and Butte, family-owned and operated Discovery offers 2,200 acres of terrain on three faces. There’s something for everyone on the front two faces and an expert’s paradise on the other side, with some of the best lift-served steeps you’ll find. Thanks to its location next to a designated wilderness area, you can enjoy a backcountry feel without having to duck any ropes! Meanwhile, its beginner runs are favorites for families across the state. There’s no lodging, and dining and après are limited to the base lodge, but loyal regulars like it that way as the mountain retains an old-school relaxed, uncrowded and inexpensive atmosphere.

6. Blacktail

Enjoy amazing views from the mountain top (Photo credit: Blacktail)

Why Ski Blacktail

Blacktail is a relatively new ski area overlooking Flathead Lake, 28 mi from Kalispell. It offers just over 1,000 acre and with the lodge at the top of the mountain, everyone can take in the panoramic view. The area caters to families, with extensive intermediate terrain, well-groomed beginner runs and an excellent ski school. Although 20% of the terrain is rated for experts, it’s generally suitable for advanced intermediates. Seasoned shredders used to more challenging terrain might be underwhelmed, though there are some glades for excellent tree skiing.

Known for

Family-focused ski-area with extensive beginner and intermediate terrain

Highlights

  • Friendly staff and excellent service
  • Light, dry snow
  • Amazing views from the mountaintop lodge
  • Limited expert terrain

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Dec 10 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 02 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Glacier Park Intl. Airport - 38 miles (1 hour drive)
Map View
Enjoy amazing views from the mountain top (Photo credit: Blacktail)

Why Ski Blacktail

Blacktail is a relatively new ski area overlooking Flathead Lake, 28 mi from Kalispell. It offers just over 1,000 acre and with the lodge at the top of the mountain, everyone can take in the panoramic view. The area caters to families, with extensive intermediate terrain, well-groomed beginner runs and an excellent ski school. Although 20% of the terrain is rated for experts, it’s generally suitable for advanced intermediates. Seasoned shredders used to more challenging terrain might be underwhelmed, though there are some glades for excellent tree skiing.

7. Red Lodge Mountain

Enjoy quieter slopes (Photo credit: Red Lodge)

Why Ski Red Lodge Mountain

In southern Montana 90 minutes from Billings, near the Wyoming state line and Yellowstone National Park, Red Lodge is one of Montana’s best-kept secrets. It’s not the biggest ski area in the state, but with 71 runs on nearly 1,650 acre of skiable terrain and 2,400 feet of vertical drop, there’s plenty to keep everyone busy. The town of Red Lodge, a few miles away, is an authentic old west town where you can walk in the footsteps of Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane among modern shops and dining as well as historic saloons and hotels.

Known for

Skiing how it used to be in an authentic Montana setting

Highlights

  • Zero lift lines
  • Good variety of terrain
  • Quaint, historical town
  • Dated, slow lifts (but you might need the rest!)

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Nov 25 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: Apr 16 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Billings Logan Intl. Airport - 69 miles (1.5 hour drive)
Map View
Enjoy quieter slopes (Photo credit: Red Lodge)

Why Ski Red Lodge Mountain

In southern Montana 90 minutes from Billings, near the Wyoming state line and Yellowstone National Park, Red Lodge is one of Montana’s best-kept secrets. It’s not the biggest ski area in the state, but with 71 runs on nearly 1,650 acre of skiable terrain and 2,400 feet of vertical drop, there’s plenty to keep everyone busy. The town of Red Lodge, a few miles away, is an authentic old west town where you can walk in the footsteps of Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane among modern shops and dining as well as historic saloons and hotels.

8. Great Divide Ski Area

No shortage of snow at Great Divide! (Photo credit: Great Divide Ski Area)

Why Ski Great Divide Ski Area

Spanning the continental drive less than 30 mi from Helena, Great Divide has 140 trails on 1,600 acres of skiable terrain. Three mountain peaks offer long groomers (the longest stretching out to 3 mi), bowls and glades, a nice pod of beginner trails, and six trail parks. It’s one of the largest ski areas in the state, but it’s also one of the least expensive, which makes it an excellent choice for families. All of Montana’s ski areas rely on natural snow, but Great Divide augments it with the state’s most extensive snowmaking system, so it consistently opens earlier—and stays open later—than any other mountain in the Big Sky State.

Known for

A budget-friendly choice for families

Highlights

  • One of the lowest priced ski areas in the state
  • Multiple terrain parks
  • The longest season in the state
  • Small lodge with limited amenities

22/23 Ski Season:

  • Opening Date: Dec 10 2022(Estimated open date based on historical data)
  • Closing Date: May 01 2023(Estimated close date based on historical data)

Closest airports

Helena Regional Airport - 25 miles (35 minute drive)
Missoula Intl. Airport - 137 miles (2.5 hour drive)
Map View
No shortage of snow at Great Divide! (Photo credit: Great Divide Ski Area)

Why Ski Great Divide Ski Area

Spanning the continental drive less than 30 mi from Helena, Great Divide has 140 trails on 1,600 acres of skiable terrain. Three mountain peaks offer long groomers (the longest stretching out to 3 mi), bowls and glades, a nice pod of beginner trails, and six trail parks. It’s one of the largest ski areas in the state, but it’s also one of the least expensive, which makes it an excellent choice for families. All of Montana’s ski areas rely on natural snow, but Great Divide augments it with the state’s most extensive snowmaking system, so it consistently opens earlier—and stays open later—than any other mountain in the Big Sky State.

8 Best Ski Resorts in Montana, 2022/23
Big Sky Resort