things to do in the winter
There’s one winter pastime we can’t live without—downhill powder play. Discover a skier’s paradise in Glacier Country, with seven well-rounded, full-service downhill ski areas offering 11,500+ acres of skiable terrain and 385+ marked trails, affordable lift tickets, virtually no lift lines and over 300 inches of yearly snowfall. Plus, our backcountry is epic and our ski towns will knock your ski socks right off with their charm. Also, the views are incredible.
Many downhill skiers wisely plan their trips to include both of our national parks: Glacier and Yellowstone. To help make the most of your time, we’ve put together several downhill skiing-based itineraries. For inspiration, visit Glaciers to Geysers.
Remember to recreate responsibly by staying inbounds at ski resorts. If you are an experienced backcountry skier and plan to ski out-of-bounds, make sure it is permitted. Avalanche safety should always be top of mind when you’re headed into the deep stuff. Carry avalanche safety gear, know the red flags of an unstable snowpack, check the avalanche forecast, and get educated in avalanche safety.
Sled the best of the West in the unreal landscapes and premier small towns between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. Plan ahead, play it safe and tread lightly.
The notable world-class Whitefish Mountain Resort has been one of America's favorite ski resorts since 1947. Located on Big Mountain above the historic railroad town of Whitefish, the resort has gained notoriety for its laidback vibe, excellent skiing and summer recreation. Each year, Whitefish Mountain Resort receives 300+ inches of snow on its 3,000+ acres of skiable terrain. The summit also offers breathtaking views of Glacier National Park and the expansive Flathead Valley. A full-service resort, it offers a wide range of amenities, including dining, lodging, shopping, entertainment and family-friendly activities. Plus, it’s only a short 20-minute drive from Glacier Park International Airport.
Whitefish Mountain Resort is 8 miles north of Whitefish and 23 miles north of Kalispell. Glacier Park International Airport is only 11 miles from Whitefish, offering nonstop flights from 18 major U.S. cities. Shuttle service and car rentals are available at the airport. The historic Whitefish Depot is served daily by rail (Amtrak's Empire Builder) from Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and Chicago, as well as points in between.
Whitefish Mountain Resort ranked No. 3 Top Ski Resort in the West by SKI magazine's annual reader survey. And, if you wake up in the middle of the night eager to know how much snow is dumping on the mountain, there’s a new “snow stake” at the summit featuring a camera and light so you can log onto the website and see the 24-hour new snow totals and base depths.
Located in northwest Montana, Turner Mountain offers excellent snow conditions, wide-open slopes, beautiful scenery, no crowds and affordable lift tickets. Combine all that with a vertical drop of 2,110 feet and 22 named runs and you have a successful day on the slopes. Another bonus: you can be king of the hill. Turner Mountain is available for full-day (or more) rentals.
Turner Mountain is located 22 miles north of Libby on State Highway 567 (Pipe Creek Road). Libby is serviced by Amtrak's Empire Builder and commercial flights are available into Glacier International Airport and Spokane, WA.
Turner Mountain was named "the ski area with the friendliest locals" in Skiing magazine's 2010 Resort Awards.
With 250 inches of snow each year, Blacktail Mountain is an ideal family-friendly ski destination. Ski its light, dry powder and take in the brilliant views of Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park and the Mission Mountains.
Blacktail Mountain is 45 minutes from downtown Kalispell and two hours north of Missoula. When traveling from Highway 93 south, turn west at Blacktail Grocery in Lakeside. Then follow Blacktail Road 14 miles to the ski area. Commercial flights are available into Glacier Park International Airport and Missoula International Airport, while Amtrak's Empire Builder stops in Whitefish.
Blacktail Mountain is an upside-down hill, meaning you ski down to the bottom before riding the chair.
Located on the Montana/Idaho border, the snow comes early and in full force to Lookout Pass, dropping around 400 inches per year. In operation since 1935, Lookout Pass has 1,023 skiable acres, 52 named runs and 1,650 ft. vertical drop. It also has two terrain parks with huge banks, mounds, launches, rails and an 1,111-foot quarter pipe. The full-service lodge offers food, drinks, rentals and lessons.
Lookout Pass is open daily in January and February, providing skiers and snowboarders with more access to fresh snow.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain straddles the Montana/Idaho border on top of the Continental Divide. Well-known for its reliable 300 inches of snowfall each year, Lost Trail offers consistently good snow conditions in the breathtaking Bitterroot Range of the Northern Rockies. Lost Trail is family-owned and operated and offers ample room for all types of skiers and boarders, whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain is located 90 miles south of Missoula on U.S. Highway 93. Commercial flights are available into Missoula International Airport. Car rentals are available at the airport.
Lost Trail has two terrain parks, ideal for tricks, jumps and big air.
Located minutes from downtown Missoula, Snowbowl is a local favorite. With deep, powdery bowls and 2,600 feet of continuous vertical drop, it's an extremist's dream, while still offering plenty of runs for all skill levels. At the end of the day, skiers make their way to Snowbowl’s Last Run Inn for their famous bloody marys and wood-fired pizza.
Montana Snowbowl is located 12 miles northwest of Missoula. From I-90, take Exit 101 (Reserve Street), turn north on Grant Creek Road, then left onto Snowbowl Road. Commercial flights are available into Missoula International Airport. Car rentals are available at the airport.
The new Snowpark chairlift is open, and it almost doubles the size of Snowbowl with the addition of just over 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. Snowpark carries riders to the summit of TV Mountain at 1,300 feet. Most of the new runs serviced by the chair are beginner and intermediate.
One of the area’s best-kept secrets, Discovery offers an expert's brand of thrills at a local's hangout. The north-facing Limelight lift offers some of the steepest lift-served terrain in the region, while the variety of beginner and intermediate runs on the Anaconda and north-facing Granite lifts provide great skiing for all abilities. Easily reached from Missoula, Butte and Helena, Discovery offers beautiful views and uncrowded slopes with enough tree skiing, powder bowls, groomed trails and mogul runs for all skill levels.
Discovery Ski Area is located 90 miles east of Missoula and 23 miles west of Anaconda at Georgetown Lake on the Pintler Scenic Route. From Missoula, take I-90 to Drummond, then State Highway 1 through Philipsburg to Rumsey Road, all the way to the base area on the back side of the mountain.
National Geographic magazine featured Philipsburg in a write-up of the Best Secret Ski Towns of North America that “deliver some of the most unspoiled skiing North America has to offer.” (2013)
1200 U.S. Highway 93 (Whitefish Lake Golf Course)
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