Montana Snowbowl

Ski resorts in USA
Skiers and snowboarders looking to enjoy the snow with a traditional take find their fix at the Montana Snowbowl. The ski area nestles within the Lolo National Forest, just a dozen miles outside of western Montana's college town of Missoula.

Those driving into the region will likely use Interstate 90, which will get travelers to Missoula. The town can also be reached by US Route 93 and Montana Highway 200. Those choosing to fly in can use the town's airport, and all visitors can then travel 20-minutes north to reach the ski area.

Sking the Big Drop in Big Sky Country

In 1962, when Montana Snowbowl first opened, it advertised itself as having the most verticle drop in the Pacific Northwest. Times have changed, but skiers and snowboarders note that steep skiing still exists. A base at 5,000 feet and the highest lift reaching 7,600 feet means visitors here have a 2,600-foot vertical drop with lots of potentials.

Built between two summits, the inbounds portion of the ski area provides both lengthy runs and drops within steep chutes. There are 39 groomed runs within the resort area, with the longest measuring three miles in length. Several of the other trails are also long-winded, allowing plankers to enjoy their time on each run.

There are over 950 skiable acres at Montana Snowbowl, which give off an alpine resort vibe due to the steep terrain found here. While daytime skiing is dominant here, a small portion of the trails is skiable after the sun goes down.

Montana Snowbowl has a reputation for decent treeline skiing, especially during the snowiest months, like December. Missoula has a humid continental climate that creates four distinct seasons, providing cold weather at Montana Snowbowl with highs near freezing and lows in the high teens (Fahrenheit).

An Antiquated Family Vibe

Montana Snowbowl has just a handful of double-chairs, and surface lifts, to move guests around. It gives off a no-frills vibe that many plankers enjoy, but it might seem too old-school to visitors used to the latest in lift technology.

Rippers and shredders are likely more focused on bombing down the mountain than they are on the mom-and-pop feel that the resort exudes. Nevertheless, visitors here will enjoy the space that smaller crowds (and ski areas) can offer.

Intermediate and advanced terrain dominate activities here, with blue and black diamond ratings dividing the trails equally. Beginners have access to 20-percent of the mountain on green-rated terrain, but these trails are located exclusively on the lower portion of the trail map. The steep terrain at Montana Snowbowl prevents newbies from trying to bomb down from the summit.

Overall, glade skiers and experts will thrive here. There are plenty of opportunities for speed, and rippers and shredders will find plenty of places to land tricks.

The no-frills of Montana Snowbowl means that visitors will discover most amenities in Missoula. That is fine, as the college town doubles as the cultural center for the western half of Montana.

Montana Snowbowl Snow forecast

  • Friday
    0 ft
    Sun/clear sky
    4 mph
  • Saturday
    0 ft
    Sun/clear sky
    4 mph
  • Sunday
    0.04 in rain
    Partly cloudy
    5 mph

Facts about Montana Snowbowl

Number of slopes:37
Easiest Green slopes:20%
Intermediate Blue slopes:40%
Advanced Black slopes:40%
Expert Only Double black diamond slopes:0%
Longest slope:15748 ft

Lifts (Total: 4)
Chair lifts:2
Platter lift:2
Lift capacity:  3800 persons/hour

Vertical drop
Montana Snowbowl Vertical drop
Highest Point: 7598 ft
Vertical drop: 2598 ft
Base Point: 5000 ft

Start:29 November
End: 6 April

Country: USA
Show all ski resorts in Montana

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Trail map

Trail map Montana Snowbowl