You have an entire day to do anything you want and you’ve decided to head up the mountain for a day on the slopes. Whether you ski or board, these (in no particular order) are by far Missoulian’s Best Choices for Skiing in Western Montana.

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    Montana Snowbowl

    Celebrating 50 years of mountain fun, Snowbowl has been a staple in the Missoula ski community since 1961. People seem to either love Snowbowl or they hate it, but you can’t argue the fact that it’s literally in our backyard. Some say the runs are too difficult for most skiers and boarders, while others say they want more extreme runs. I love Snowbowl’s close proximity to Missoula and the super quick commute up the mountain! Did I mention Snowbowl’s ‘Last Run Inn’ has been consistently voted ‘Missoula’s Best Bloody Mary‘? How can you go wrong?!? Whether it’s a short half day or a full on weekend of fun, Snowbowl is always first on my list.
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    Discovery Ski Area

    When it comes to skiing the whole family can enjoy, ski Discovery! Located a short hundred or so miles from Missoula, outside the beautiful and quaint town of Philipsburg, Discovery has three faces: Front Face: “the perfect blend of gently sloping runs and more advanced groomed cruisers.” Granite Chair: “things step up a notch with steeper groomed runs and mogul skiing.” Backside: “imagine, the Chugach without the costly helicopter ride.” The point is, if you’re just beginning or super advanced you’ll find great terrain and lots of it. No matter what kind of mountain you like, you just ‘discovered’ it.
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    Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area

    Getting started in the world of skiing and boarding doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, Lookout Pass Ski Area has it covered with their Famous Free Ski School! …and when I say free, I mean just that. For over 75 seasons the Lookout Pass Free Ski School has introduced about 60,000 kids to the wonderful winter world of skiing and riding. Take advantage of FREE SKIING AND RIDING lessons for boys and girls age 6-17 EVERY SATURDAY MORNING from January 7 through March 10, 2012. In addition to Lookout’s Famous Free Ski School, the short 90 mile drive along I-90 is usually clear and the ski area is literally on the interstate at the Montana/Idaho boarder.
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    Lost Trail Powder Mountain

    Lost Trail Powder Mountain sits atop the Continental Divide on Highway 93 where Montana and Idaho meet. With over 300 inches of snowfall every year, these still undiscovered slopes await your visit. Check out Lost Trail on Facebook for up to the minute conditions. For the boarders reading this list, Lost Trail may be THE spot for riding with TWO Terrain Parks – that’s two more than anywhere else in the region! Plus, you’ll find the most affordable ski & stay packages at the Sula Country Store & Resort starting at only $61.50 per night. Call 406-381-8769 for details.
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    Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain

    They don’t call it Big Mountain for nothing! This is the place for 3,000+ acres of terrain (most of it is accessible with a single 7-1/2 minute lift ride) and some of the friendliest people on the planet. Don’t let the size of the mountain intimidate you, just show up at the top or bottom of Chair 1 any day at 10am or 1:30pm for a free tour with the Mountain Ambassadors. They’ll show you the ropes and fill you in on all the local secrets about where to ride, eat and play! Plus, the folks at the Info Center are always quick to help and just a phone call away at 877-SKI-FISH. Make a weekend out of your trip to Whitefish with plenty of places to eat and shop!