Montana’s Under-the-Radar Slopes

Photo Courtesy of Red Lodge Mountain

On a Montana ski vacation, you don’t have to contend with swarming crowds and high prices―that is, if you know where to go. Montanans tend to keep the best-kept-secret ski hills to themselves, but now you can get in on the action too. If you’re one who likes to go to a ski resort for the skiing, you’ll love these four ski areas that offer ideal conditions and low-volume traffic, all at prices that won’t empty the wallet.

Red Lodge Mountain is located along the eastern front of the scenic Beartooth Mountains, about eight miles from the town of Red Lodge. With a history of early skiers that harkens back more than a half century, Red Lodge Mountain has built on and maintained its legacy. With 250 inches of annual snowfall, the 1,635-acre terrain offers 69 marked runs geared for all experience levels. If you time your ski vacation in March, you might catch the National Skijoring Finals. Lodging is in the town of Red Lodge.

About 17 miles from Bozeman, Bridger Bowl is another glitz-free zone for skiers who just want to ski. It also happens to be one of the few remaining community-owned ski areas in the country. Like Red Lodge Mountain, there are trails for every level of skier at Bridger Bowl. The 2,000-acre terrain is home to 75 marked runs and gets 350 inches of snowfall a year. Lodging is in nearby Bozeman.

With three faces, Discovery Basin (aka Disco) literally has something for every skier: everything from beginner runs, to family friendly slopes, to mogul skiing and advanced runs. Skiers choose from 67 runs on 2,200 acres with nearly 2,500 feet of vertical drop. Nearby Philipsburg is about 30 minutes from Discovery Basin and has several lodging and dining choices and even a brewery for an après party. A day of skiing plus a hot-springs soak equals bliss; check out the ski and stay package at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort (, about 40 minutes from the slopes.

Unless you are a local, you’ve probably never heard of Maverick Mountain. Located in Southwest Montana, about an hour from Dillon and 15 minutes from Polaris, there are plenty of lodging and services nearby. Besides skiers and snowboarders from the surrounding area, you may be the only non-local on the mountain. A single lift takes skiers up the mountain, and 24 trails cater to every skill level. Two hot springs are located nearby: Jackson and Elkhorn.

This article appeared in our November/December, 2018 issue.

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