November 20, 2010 in Awayfinder destinations

Winter Wonders in Western Montana

Tia Troy Glacier Country Regional Tourism Commission/Special to Awayfinder
 
Darrin Schreder photo

Montana has wonderful snow and unique features at every ski location.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Winter is serious business in these parts. After all, Western Montana gets covered with 300+ inches of snow that cover our mountain peaks and ski hills.

Touted as the ultimate playground for skiers and boarders alike, Western Montana’s six ski areas set the stage for visitors to create their own Montana moment. Ranging from mom and pop ski hills to a notable world-class resort, Glacier Country has plenty of diverse options for hitting the slopes.

Whitefish Mountain Resort, Whitefish

A notable world-class ski resort, Whitefish Mountain Resort has been one of American’s favorite destinations since 1947. Located on Big Mountain above the historic railroad town of Whitefish, the resort has gained notoriety for its laid-back vibe, stellar skiing and incredible amenities. Known as the premier ski resort in Western Montana, it boasts more than 3,000 skiable acres of terrain and breathtaking views of the peaks in Glacier National Park.

The Low Down

Whitefish Mountain has 94 marked trails, on-site dining, lodging, shopping, entertainment and family-friendly activities. Plus, it’s ranked in the top 20 of SKI Magazine’s annual reader survey.

Getting Here

Travel east on I-90 through Idaho and Montana, taking MT-135 (Exit 33) at St. Regis. Travel on MT-135 about 22 miles. Turn left onto MT-200 and follow for about 8 miles. Turn right onto MT-28 and follow for about 46 miles. Turn left on US-93 and continue north about 50 miles until you reach Whitefish. Or jump aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder.

Ticket Prices

Full day adult: $64

Full day teen: $56

Full day junior: $34

For more information on Whitefish and Whitefish Mountain Resort, visit www.glaciermt.com/whitefish and www.skiwhitefish.com.

Lookout Pass, MT/ID border

Located on the Montana/Idaho border, the snow comes early and in full force to Lookout Pass, dropping around 400 inches per year. Operating every winter season since 1935, Lookout Pass is known for legendary powder, its early opening date and long ski season. With 540 skiable acres, 34 named runs and two terrain parks, there’s plenty of action to keep you occupied.

The Low Down

Lookout Pass straddles the Montana/Idaho border and offers skiers and boarders the opportunity to tear it up in two states from one mountain.

Getting Here

Travel east on I-90 toward Idaho. From the Idaho/Washington border, it’s 73 miles to Lookout Pass. Lookout is located on I-90 at mile marker zero. Follow the Lookout Pass-marked signs to the ski area’s parking lot—located 200 yards from the I-90 ramp.

Ticket Prices

Full day adult: $32 - $35

Full day junior/teen: $19 - $25

For more information, visit www.skilookout.com

Turner Mountain, Libby

Located in northwest Montana and billed as “Steep, Deep and Cheap,” Turner Mountain offers excellent snow conditions, wide-open slopes and no crowds. Combine all that with a vertical drop of 2,110 feet and 25 named runs and you’ll feel like you have the mountain to yourself.

The Low Down

On non-operational days, the mountain is available for rent. Plus, Turner Mountain was awarded “Friendliest Locals” in Skiing Magazine’s 2010 Resort Awards.

Getting Here

Travel east on I-90. Take the US-94 exit (Exit 12) toward Sandpoint. Turn left on US-95 and travel through Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry before turning right on US-2. Follow US-2 until you reach Libby.

Ticket Prices

Full day adult: $30

Full day junior: $25

For more information on Libby and Turner Mountain, visit www.glaciermt.com/libby and www.skiturner.com.

Blacktail Mountain, Lakeside

With 250 inches of snow each year, Blacktail Mountain is an ideal family-friendly ski destination. Ski its light, dry snow as you take in the brilliant views of Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park and the Mission Mountains.

The Low Down

Blacktail Mountain is an upside-down hill, meaning you ski down to the bottom before riding the chair.

Getting Here

Travel east on I-90. Take the MT-135 exit (Exit 33) toward St. Regis. Turn left onto MT-135, left on MT-200 and right onto MT-28. Next, turn left onto US-93 and follow until you reach Lakeside.

Ticket Prices

Full day adult: $36

Full day teen: $25

For more information on Lakeside and Blacktail Mountain, visit www.glaciermt.com/lakeside and www.blacktailmountain.com.

Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Conner

Lost Trail Powder Mountain straddles the Montana/Idaho border on top of the Continental Divide. Well-known for its reliable 300 inches of snowfall each year, Lost Trail offers consistently good snow conditions in the Bitterroot Range of the Northern Rockies. Lost Trail is family-owned and operated and offers ample room for all types of skiers and boarders, whether you’re a beginner or novice.

The Low Down

Lost Trail has three terrain parks, ideal for tricks, jumps and big air.

Getting Here

Travel east on I-90 until you reach Missoula. Turn right on North Reserve Street and continue south. Turn right on to Brooks/US-93 South and follow for nearly 68 miles to Conner and Lost Trail.

Ticket Prices

Full day adult: $35

Full day child: $25

For more information on Conner and Lost Trail, visit www.glaciermt.com and www.losttrail.com.

Montana Snowbowl, Missoula

Located minutes from Missoula, Montana Snowbowl is a local’s favorite and a vacation’s gem. With deep, powdery bowls and 2,600 feet of continuous vertical drop, Snowbowl is an extremist’s dream, while still offering plenty of runs for all skill levels.

The Low Down

Snowbowl is known just as much for its Bloody Marys, as it is for its extreme skiing.

Getting Here

Travel east on I-90 until you reach Missoula. From I-90, take Exit 101 (Reserve Street), turn north on Grant Creek Road, then left onto Snowbowl Road.

Ticket Prices

Full day adult: $40

Full day student/senior: $37

Full day child: $18

For more information on Missoula and Snowbowl, visit www.glaciermt.com/missoula or www.montanasnowbowl.com.

Need help planning your winter trip to Western Montana? Visit www.glaciermt.com for more information.


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