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.
Most people will fly into Bozeman International Airport [BZN] when skiing the biggest and best ski resorts in Montana.
The Montana Ski Season
The best time to ski in Montana depends on a variety of factors, including your personal preferences, your ability level, and the specific ski resort you are planning to visit. If you are looking for airports that are close to these resorts, browse through that list here.
In general, the ski season in Montana typically runs from November through April, depending on the weather and snow conditions. Montana is known for its cold winters and ample snowfall, which make for excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions.
If you are looking for the best snow conditions, January and February are often considered the best months to ski in Montana, as the snowpack is usually well established and the skiing and snowboarding conditions are at their best. March and April can also be good months for skiing and snowboarding in Montana, as the weather tends to be more stable and the ski resorts are often less crowded.
List of All Montana Ski Resorts
Montana has 14 ski resorts, with all of them on the western half of the state.
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.
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 extremely relative here.
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.