Skiing the Back Side of Discovery
bottom of the East Bowl at Discovery Ski Area
backside of Discovery Ski Area contains the bulk of the
expert and advanced level skiing terrain. And advanced
is the apt word to use. All of the ski trails on the backside
of Discovery are challenging, to say the least. The true “expert” level
trails (the double black-diamonds) are exceptionally steep,
have many bumps, cut through trees and chutes, and in general
are some of the most challenging skiing terrain you’ll
find in Montana. The “advanced” level ski trails
(the single black-diamonds) are also very challenging. While
the “advanced” ski trails have a steep gradient,
they aren’t as steep as the “expert” level
trails are. However, while the gradient may be a bit gentler,
even on these “advanced” trails you’ll
find many rocks, trees and other “obstructions” on
the trail to contend with.
The backside of
Discovery Ski Area consists of two sections,
the East Bowl and the Granite area, each of which are serviced
by their own chairlifts. The East Bowl has by far the most
challenging ski terrain at Discovery, with virtually ALL
but two of the ski trails rated as a double black-diamond.
The Granite area, by contrast, contains primarily single
black-diamond ski runs with a few steep intermediate ski
trails thrown in along the edges.
The East Bowl
East Bowl is magnificent expert level ski terrain, to put
it quite simply. The terrain is very steep throughout
the entire East Bowl. As mentioned, virtually all of the
runs in the East Bowl are rated double black-diamond (true “expert” level
terrain). These expert runs in the East Bowl cut through
a variety of terrain. Some of the trails are pretty open
while other trails pass through more gladed terrain. Regardless,
they all share one common characteristic – they are
steep – especially at the top. Rocks are another obstruction
frequently found back in the East Bowl, too.
to See East Bowl Trail Map (92K)
which expert trail should you take back in the East Bowl?
Well, that is a good question and not easy to answer!
And the reason for this is because all of the trails are
good. Really, the best thing to do is to figure out what
runs you want to ski once you get there. Looking at a trail
map just can’t quite convey the massive variety of
expert level of skiing in the East Bowl at Discovery Ski
Area. But, if you do want some quick recommendations, try
the Terminator, Mother Lode, Good Finger and Catcha
Wave trails. You won’t be disappointed!
in the East Bowl at Discovery Ski Area
there is one single black-diamond (advanced) ski trail
in the East Bowl. This ski trail is called Limelight and
runs right below the chairlift. To be honest, the only real
reason this is a single diamond instead of a double diamond
is because it has a bit less of a gradient than do the other
runs. However, watch out for the rocks on the lower part
of this trail – especially if the snow is below normal.
skiers will find no terrain for them in the East Bowl.
However, there is one intermediate ski run that leads
back to it called Medicine Ridge. This ski trail is rated
as an intermediate trail ONLY because it is far simpler than
the other ski runs back in the East Bowl and is groomed (the
only groomed trail in the East Bowl).
see, Medicine Ridge is very steep for an intermediate ski
run – and lots
of fun to ski on. Indeed, many ski areas would classify the
Medicine Ridge trail as an “advanced” level ski
run due to the gradient. So, if you are a solid intermediate
skier, be sure to take a run down Medicine Ridge. But if
you are a beginner or advanced beginner, stay off it, since
this trail is not your typical “intermediate ski trail” that
most beginners can usually manage to safely manage to ski
down without too many problems beyond bad form and style!
the Granite Area
Granite area is the newest skiing terrain at Discovery.
This part of Discovery, like the East Bowl, has its own triple
chair (the Granite Chairlift) and is located on the back
side of the mountain. The Granite area has some excellent
skiing and snowboarding as well – consisting of a few
intermediate and advanced (single black-diamond) ski trails.
While the ski terrain isn’t as challenging as is found
in the East Bowl, it is much more difficult than what is
found on the front side. In short, intermediate and advanced
skiers should enjoy skiing back in the Granite area.
Granite Area at Discovery Ski Area
Granite area at Discovery consists of intermediate
ski trails on the edge with advanced level (single black-diamond)
ski runs in the middle. The Granite area has also has a solid
vertical drop exceeding 1600 true vertical feet.
Unlike the East Bowl, which is relatively open, the Granite
area is much more wooded. The lower part of Granite is especially
thick with woods. Happily, glade skiers will find some excellent
terrain on the upper half of the Granite area. The woods
next to the ski trails Granite and Center Stage have all
been thinned out to some extent, providing for some nice
to See Granite
Area Map (104k)
will also find some nice terrain in
the Granite area. On each edge of the Granite area are two
intermediate ski trails, Winning Ridge and Medicine
Ridge (which turns into Boiler
Maker). These ski runs are very
well groomed. But they are also pretty steep in comparison
to most other typical intermediate ski runs. So be forewarned.
if you do like to ski steep, groomed terrain, several of
the expert level trails in the Granite area also
are generally groomed. Tap’er Lite and Truefisher,
both quite steep, are groomed frequently.
Ski Area : Conclusion
anyone who wants to ski at a wonderful ski area that has
not been discovered by people from out-of-state, Discovery
Ski Area should be a mandatory stop. The prices are affordable,
the base lodge is great, the slopes are generally un-crowded
and the skiing is excellent.
snow conditions are right, the East Bowl at Discovery provides
some of the most challenging
skiing terrain in Montana. The front side of Discovery,
by contrast, is well groomed and contains a number of excellent
intermediate and especially beginner ski runs – making
Discovery Ski Area a perfect place to learn how to ski.
if you have never skied, or heard, of Discovery Ski Area,
make a point of visiting it if you happen to be in the
area. You’ll be happy you did.
Next Page : Discovery
Ski Area Pictures
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