- Board with the locals and dip into the bowls at Montana Snowbowl.
- Frontcountry Terrain Park at Lost Trail is where big air meets big egos.
- Missoula area snowboarding still fly’s under the radar and offers cheap tickets and sick terrain.
- Take a lesson and learn how to snowboard.
Missoula has traditionally been a hot bed for skateboarders so the transition to snow is not surprising. The ski areas around Missoula have stepped up and focused on creating some of the sickest terrain parks you have seen.
Unlike large, more popular snowboarding areas, Missoula is just being discovered. The price is right, the parks are incredibly creative, the powder is deep, and the bowls and chutes offer amazing natural features.
Where to go Snowboarding Around Missoula
Snowboarders drop into the the bowls and into the backcountry, check out Point 5, at Snowbowl. Averaging 300 inches of snow a year and boasting a 2,600 ft vertical this mountain will not disappoint. For the tricksters, Sunshine bowl offers plenty of boxes, rails, and jumps. Hang with the locals and enjoy a great ride at Montana Snowbowl. Check out the annual Snowboard Jam, usually held at the beginning of March.
Only 15 miles north of Missoula. Take I-90 to Grant Creek Rd. east and then hang a left on Snowbowl Rd. This will take you up to the parking lot and lodge.
Discovery Ski Basin
Catering to extreme tastes, Discovery is not for the faint of heart. While Snowbowl's vertical is technically longer, Discovery's vertical of 2,388 ft is undeniably steeper. The backside simply drops off. But, if vertical isn't your thing, you can ride the other two faces which offer steeper groomed runs in addition to gentler slopes.
If you want to practice your tricks, hit the two and a half acre terrain park. The rails and jumps will keep you busy all afternoon.
From Missoula, take I-90 east to Hwy 1, exit 153, east toward Philipsburg. Continue past Philipsburg and Georgetown Lake. Take a left just past the dam at the sign for Discovery Ski Basin. The ski area is 4.5 miles up the road.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain
With 45 groomed runs, Lost Trail offers a run for everyone. Not the largest mountain in the area but with plenty of snow and diverse terrain you are sure to get in some great boarding. Over 300 inches of powder each year will bring pleasure to your inner powder hound.
Two terrain parks await your play. The Frontcountry park, located front and center in front of the lodge is the ultimate proving ground. Show off your skills and let your inner airdog shine as you hit the kicks for big air. This park is where big air and big ego collide for the ultimate in terrain fun. Or if layered back-jib lines are your preference the Powder park is for you. Natural bumps and jumps mixed with boxes, tables, and over two feet of powder make this park epic.
From Missoula, head south on Hwy 93, past Hamilton, and take a right at the sign for Lost Trail.
Lookout Pass Ski Area
Hit two states in one day at Lookout. Located on the border of Montana and Idaho, Lookout receives more snow then any other mountain in the area with 400 plus inches. No need to worry about wind blow outs here as you board through the prime, open glades because the mountain is naturally protecting.
Let your inner jiber shine at the two terrain parks. Hit the 1,111 ft vertical quarter pipe at the newly redesigned Exit 0 park, while the classic B-52 offers rails, boxes, and mounds for the seasoned trickster or those looking to polish a new move. Either way, come closing time, you won't want to leave.
To reach Lookout Ski Pass simply take I-90 west from Missoula to the Montana/Idaho border and exit at the Lookout Pass Ski Area sign.
This is a great place to learn how to board. With 85% of the mountain designated for beginners and intermediate levels, you will feel right at home. At 6,780 ft, the summit can be accessed using one of the three chairlifts. Blacktail is a great place to get your feet strapped in and get a feel for the board at an affordable price. Not to mention the great views of Flathead Lake. From Missoula, it is a quick and easy 2 hour drive north on Hwy 93.
Whitefish Big Mountain
Whitefish is by far the largest ski mountain in Montana. The 2,353 ft vertical and 94 groomed trails are just the beginning. Multiple chairlifts keep lines down while the three terrain parks keep the tricksters happy for days.
Fishbowl Terrain park boasts the most progressive park in Montana with three separate areas and dedicated chairlift, in case you want to do a couple of laps in between tricks. The parks are staggered offering features for each level of boarder.
Start small at the Depot Terrain Park where you'll find smaller boxes, rails, and jumps to help you hone your freestyle skills. Move up to the Central Avenue Terrain Park, where you will be happy your moves are honed. The flow here is sick, hit up to 10 features in one run with three jumps, a packed rail garden, and various other features. You'll be talking about your sick moves all day.
Armory Park is the big kicker, with just that, one big kicker to show off your big air skills. Usually not prepped till February, so practice your skills on the other two parks while you prep for serious airtime. And finally, the Fishbowl Quiver, where you will find the gear to meet all your jibbing desires in small, medium, and large features.
A tad far from Missoula, but weeks could be spent boarding this place,especially if you are a trick hound. From Missoula, head north on Hwy 93 until you reach Whitefish and then follow the signs to the mountain.
Rentals & Fees
All of the listed ski areas offer rental shops on sight. Or beat the lines and get your boots and board at one of the many shops in Missoula. Prices, styles and sizes vary so make sure the store has a set-up that works for you.
If you just want to hit the terrain parks, you will still have to pay for a lift ticket.
Lessons and group boarding are also available for those looking to improve upon their skills. Inquire at specific resorts for prices and schedules.