Montana Snowbowl :
Snowbowl is one of the best kept skiing secrets in Montana.
Laying just a short hop from downtown Missoula,
Montana Snowbowl is a wonderful ski area that is affordable,
receives plentiful snowfall, is laid back and has a wide
variety of excellent skiing terrain. In short, it is a great
place to go skiing – especially if you like to ski
in the trees.
a solid – and true – vertical
of 2600 feet, which is one of the higher lift-served verticals
in Montana. The ski area itself is spread out over 950 acres – 500
of which is designated glade skiing! To top it off, Montana
Snowbowl gets an average of 300 inches of snow each year.
Thus, if you like to ski in powder and in the trees, Montana
Snowbowl is an excellent place to go.
of Lifts :
double chairs, 2 surface lifts.
Beginner, 40% Intermediate, 40% Extreme
to Montana Snowbowl is relatively simple. The ski area
lays just a short 8 mile drive from down Missoula. The
road up to Montana Snowbowl is, by ski road standards, not
bad. The first couple of miles are paved. The remaining 5
miles are along a gravel road. However, for much of this
roads length, the road is pretty flat – although a
bit twisty. And for a gravel mountain road, it is reasonably
wide and pretty well plowed. While common sense needs to
be exercised in driving up the road during snowy or slippery
conditions, the drive is not a death defying experience by
The base area at Montana Snowbowl is typical of what is
found at most other smaller, Montana ski areas. The ski area
has a very nice and functional base lodge, with a few smaller
buildings housing the ski patrol and ski rental facilities.
And, somewhat surprisingly, Montana Snowbowl also has some
limited slope-side lodging available, too. The Gelandesprung
Lodge is a European style lodge with shared and private baths;
hot tub; and kitchen facilities. It is also, considering
the cost of slope side accommodations at other ski areas,
is essentially one big bowl, built off
a peak named Big Sky Mountain, which has a summit elevation
of 7560 feet. When looking up to the top of the mountain
from the base area, the bowl looks rather intimidating. And
for intermediate and beginner skiers, truthfully, it is.
Virtually all of the skiing terrain that begins at the summit
and heads down to the base area through the giant bowl is
rated for expert skiers. In general, the terrain in the bowl
is steep, has lots of bumps (or powder after a good snowstorm)
and has extensive glades.
View from the summit at Montana Snowbowl
ski area itself only has two chairlifts, both double-chairs.
The first chairlift, the Grizzly Chair, takes you from the
base area up to the ridge beneath the summit. To get to the
summit, you then have to ski down a fairly flat cat-trail
that leads down the backside of the bowl. From here, you
pick up a second chair, called the LaValle Creek double – which
will take you to the summit. While on the summit, you get
both a great view of the Bitterroot Valley and the Bitterroot
Mountains – as well as Missoula itself.
Montana Snowbowl Trail
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