When the weather changes from brisk fall temperatures and the winter chill starts to sweep in, the countdown to ski season begins. For many families and ski enthusiasts, this is the time of year for fun, adventure, and making memories. One of the many advantages of living in Missoula is being within two hours from four ski hills. Each ski hill is different from the next, with a wide variety of offerings that create a unique experience no matter your ski ability. Here is a quick rundown of four nearby ski hills.
Snowbowl Missoula, MT
Ever wake up and suddenly decide that you want to go skiing? No problem, skiing on a whim is within reach when you have Snowbowl just fifteen minutes north of your hometown. Missoula is home to Snowbowl and many locals find their weekends spent winding down the slopes and enjoying lunch at the lodge. Located up a winding road at the top of a mountain in the Lolo National Forest, Snowbowl is a beloved spot for many living in and visiting Missoula. When teaching kids how to ski, Snowbowl’s location makes it easy for anyone to be on the mountain each weekend enjoying the bunny hill and accessing the ski school. Along with its proximity to Missoula, the Snowbowl is beloved for its challenging runs, community aspects, and welcoming feel. Just walk into the lodge and you will feel like you are walking into an old friend’s home. When visiting, be sure to sit around the open fire enjoying a local beer and some of the best pizza in the Missoula area. Snowbowl is one of those places that you can’t miss if you are passing through Missoula in the winter and the one place that you can find your friends and family on weekends.
Discovery Ski Area Philipsburg, MT
Discovery Ski Area is a perfect casual ski spot. Just an hour and a half east of Missoula, nestled between Philipsburg and Anaconda, you find Discovery Ski Area, one of Montana’s most family-friendly ski resorts. Discovery is the ski hill many families visit when in search of a fun ski day with runs for every member of the family. This ski hill has both front-facing and rear facing runs for groups with a wide variety of abilities. If you’re accompanied by someone who is just starting out, Discovery Ski Area is a great place to bring that novice skier. The runs are enjoyable for more advanced skiers while still manageable for the beginner. The bunny hill, with its Magic Carpet, is a great place to for the beginner. After a day on the mountain, Discovery Ski Area has a welcoming lodge that is perfect for large groups with lots of seating. This is the perfect ski area for families.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain Sula, MT
One of Montana’s best-kept secrets is Lost Trail Powder Mountain, in Sula, Montana, just two hours south of Missoula. This is a resort that really does have it all. Lost Trail has some of the most difficult runs in the area but also has some of the best runs for less experienced skiers. Skiers visit Lost Trail for the change of scenery, deep snow conditions, and the highest elevation of the four ski hills near Missoula. Lost Trail is a mom-and pop ski hill that exudes the feeling of small-town Montana and is a favorite spot to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. After getting off the hill, you can take the fifteen-minute drive north to Lost Trail Hot Springs. This locally run establishment is a must-stop on your way back home after a long day on the slopes.
Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Mullan, ID
Travel on I-90 over Lookout Pass. While you enjoy the views along the highway, a special treat awaits you at the top. Just off the highway at Exit 0, in Mullan, Idaho, is Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area. Of the four ski hills in the area, this is the hill to visit if you are looking for big jumps and some of the most challenging terrain anywhere. This year, Lookout Pass is introducing Snowcat Skiing. Cat skiing is new to Lookout Pass and if you enjoy skiing in groups and are an advanced skier, this is an activity you will want to try. Cat skiing runs throughout the day and requires a reservation beforehand to ensure you have a spot. Ride up in comfort with snacks, heat, and water to Eagle Run trail. Then enjoy the afternoon skiing Eagle Run and experience some of the best snow conditions anywhere.
Get out there. Each of these hills offers amazing terrain and challenges. Each area creates a sense of community amongst the skiers. Escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life is easy when you live in Montana. If you are ready to make country living your new “normal”, take the first step of your adventure and look at some of our beautiful rural Montana properties here.