Missoula is a haven for winter sports. The valley offers milder temperatures and the perfect amount of snow for days spent cross-country skiing along well maintained trails. While up in the mountains, the snow dumps making Montana skiing some of the best and most affordable in the country. With the popularity of Colorado and Utah skiing taking front page, Montana has managed to fly under the radar while offering some amazing big mountain skiing without the long lines and hassle found elsewhere.
Don't forget about the backcountry touring options. The Rocky Mountains form the western border of the Missoula Valley and dotted with fantastic alpine touring options. Just check the avalanche report.
Whether you are looking for downhill speed, cross-country gliding, or backcountry tracks you will find it right here in and around Missoula.
If you want to play with the locals, this is the spot. Montana Snowbowl offers big mountain skiing with small mountain prices. Snowbowl boasts 2,600 ft vertical and over 300 inches of powder a year. The 950 acres of mixed terrain provide great skiing and boarding for all ages. While those looking for a thrill head down the backside bowls, beginners can check out Lavelle Creek Area, recently added to help you get a feel for the snow.
Discovery Ski Basin
Discovery is an extreme skiers paradise. 30% of the mountain is designated for experts with 15 double-black diamonds and an amazing backside vertical drop of 2,388 ft. If this sounds a bit too intense, stick to Discovery's other two faces where you will find moguls, gently rolling slopes, and steeper groomed runs.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain
Lost Trail straddles the continental divide and is powder heaven, averaging over 300 inches of snow a year. Though it may not be the biggest or hardest mountain, the 45 runs provide great skiing and snowboarding for all ages, perfect for families.
Lookout Pass Ski Resort
Ski two states in one day! Lookout Pass, located on the Montana/Idaho border has 34 runs, multiple acres of prime powder glade skiing and riding, and an awesome terrain park. Lookout wins the prize for most powder in the area with snowfall averaging over 400 inches annually.
This “upside-down” mountain lets everyone start at the top! Here, you get a run in even before you hit the chair lift. Blacktail offers 1,000 acres of National Forest land, three chairlifts, and over 250 inches of snow a year. The diverse runs allow everyone in the family to hit their perfect line. The scenic view of Flathead Lake is an added bonus.
Whitefish may be a little far from Missoula, but it is a great place for a winter weekend get away. Offering the complete experience, this resort offers night skiing, 94 groomed trails, an awesome terrain park, a 2,353 ft vertical drop and runs for all levels. Multiple chairlifts keep the lines down.
Alpine touring is gaining momentum and with good reason; it is a fantastic way to spend a snowy winter day. Hiking to the steep pitches of the Montana Rocky Mountains in search of clean lines and fresh powder is the ultimate in outdoor recreation. Luckily, Montana has managed to fly under the backcountry radar. Check out Lolo Pass for a great ride. Always, remember to check the avalanche report before heading into the backcountry.
Down in the valley, Missoula offers a fairly mild winter with just the right amount of snow for cross-country skiing. Glide through the trees of Pattee Canyon, Blue Mountain, and Rattlesnake Recreation Areas where you will find well maintained trails. Cross-country skiing is a great way to enjoy a winter day without the hassle or crowds that sometimes coincide with downhill adventures.