Big Sky, Montana

Montana Ski Resorts Ranked & Mapped

Montana doesn’t have as many ski resorts as its neighboring states of Colorado or Wyoming. However, what it does have is Big Sky. More specifically, Big Sky Resort, which is one of the most recognizable names in US ski slopes.

List of All Montana Ski Resorts

Montana has 14 ski resorts, with all of them on the western half of the state.

IKON, INDY and the Mountain Collective all have associated slopes in Montana. These are national passes that can be purchased and used throughout the year at all the ski resorts within their network.

ResortPassLocation
Bear Paw Ski BowlHarve, MT, 59501
Big Sky ResortIKON,COLLBig Sky, MT, 59716
Blacktail MountainLakeside, MT, 59922
Bridger BowlBozeman, MT, 59715
Discovery BasinAnaconda, MT, 59711
Great DivideMarysville, MT, 59640
Lost Trail PowderINDYSula, MT, 59871
Maverick MountainPolaris, MT, 59746
Montana SnowbowlMissoula, MT, 59808
Red Lodge MountainINDYRed Lodge, MT, 59068
Showdown MontanaNeihart, MT, 59465
Teton PassChoteau, MT, 59422
Turner MountainLibby, MT, 59923
Whitefish MountainWhitefish, MT, 59937

Most Popular Ski Resorts in Montana

1. Big Sky Resort – With over 400 inches of snowfall per year, and a season lasting 4.5 months, Big Sky is Montana’s premier skiing destination. Big Sky Resort has over 5,800 skiable acres accessed by 39 lifts, leading it to be known for providing the “Biggest Skiing in America.” While the resort does get crowded, the sheer amount of lifts and runs means that the lines never really get overcrowded.

Other non-skiing attractions at Big Sky include guided dogsledding adventures, sleigh rides, and an adventure zipline.

2. Whitefish Mountain Resort – Whitefish Mountain Resort borders Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. Getting over 300 inches of snow per year, this ski resort has 11 chairlifts and two T-bars, which provide access to over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain. Whitefish has four terrain parks (start out at Minnow Park), and a ski cross course is also accessible from lift #7.

3. Bridger Bowl Ski Area – With terrain that has something for every ski level, Bridger Bowl is located right in Bozeman. With 2,000 acres of skiable area and eight chairlifts, this popular ski resort can easily handle the crowds. However, expect the weekends to get a little busy since it is so close to town. This is a perfect ski area for beginners, since it has plenty of trails rated at moderate to easy.

Explaining Our ‘Difficulty Score’

Parks & Trips created a proprietary Difficulty Score that is generated by looking at the number of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort.

Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then gives each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.

The Most Difficult Montana Ski Resorts

To no one’s surprise, Big Sky wins as the most difficult ski area in Montana. It has the steepest drop, the highest summit, the most trails and skiable acres. It really is the complete package, and is easily one of the top 10 best ski slopes in the US.

Bridger Bowl and Turner Mountain round out the top three challenging ski resorts in Montana. Bridger is much larger than Turner, but they both have a large percentage of their trails dedicated to advanced skiers.

Rank ResortGreen TrailsBlue TrailsBlack TrailsDifficulty ScoreTM
#1Big Sky Resort15%25%60%82.5%
#2Bridger Bowl12%28%60%72.5%
#3Montana Snowbowl10%40%50%69.1%
#4Turner Mountain10%30%60%68.1%
#5Red Lodge Mountain19%25%56%67.0%

The Easiest Ski Resorts in Montana

Teton Pass comes out on top as the easiest ski resort in Montana due to its overwhelming amount of beginner-level trails. Funny thing is, that its difficulty score of mid-20’s easily beats out some of the best ski resorts located on the East Coast. So keep that in mind… “easy” is relative here.

Rank ResortGreen TrailsBlue TrailsBlack TrailsDifficulty ScoreTM
#1Teton Pass45%35%20%32%
#2Blacktail Mountain15%70%15%42%
#3Showdown Montana30%40%30%44%
#4Lost Trail Powder20%60%20%46%
#5Bear Paw Ski Bowl25%25%50%50%

The Largest Ski Resorts in Montana

Choosing the largest ski resorts is a bit of a tricky proposition. Do you look at just the summit elevation? How about the total acreage, most trails, or steepest vertical drop?

Well, we decided to combine all four of those metrics into one ranking to get the best idea, although we fully admit this is completely subjective. We’ve given you all the data in the following table to make your own decision.

Big Sky is the largest ski resort in Montana. It takes first place in all four metrics we have listed below: summit elevation, base elevation, vertical drop, acres and total trails. Red Lodge Mountain has the next highest summit elevation, while Whitefish Mountain has the next highest amount of skiable acres.

Rank ResortSummit ElevationBase ElevationVertical DropAcresTrails
#1Big Sky Resort11,166 ft7,500 ft3,666 ft5,800317
#2Bridger Bowl8,700 ft6,100 ft2,600 ft2,000105
#3Red Lodge Mountain9,416 ft7,016 ft2,400 ft1,63570
#4Discovery Basin8,158 ft5,770 ft2,388 ft2,20067
#5Whitefish Mountain6,817 ft4,464 ft2,353 ft3,00098