Located on the west shore of Flathead Lake, with panoramic views into Glacier National Park and the Mission Mountain Range, the Blacktail Mountain ski area is the newest in the state and has a completely different feel from any other ski area in the state.
The first thing that you’ll notice about Blacktail Mountain is that the “base” of the ski area is actually at the top of the mountain. That’s right. Every skier starts their day at Blacktail Mountain with a top to bottom run of the hill before they ever relax on the chairlift. Lots of locals call it an “upside-down hill”, because of this unique feature.
It is worth mentioning that starting at the top also means you have quite the drive to get to the parking lot. Though only 14 miles from the town of Lakeside, the road is curvy and steep and should be taken slowly and with caution.
Blacktail Mountain is the place where locals bring their kids to learn how to ski. Its ski school has a reputation for being exceptionally kid-friendly. The mountain itself is also great for beginners.
With 85% of the runs dedicated to beginner and intermediate skiers and riders, this is a great place to enjoy some wide-open, groomed runs that aren’t packed with people and have a fun, relaxed vibe.
Blacktail Mountain Ski Area Statistics
- Summit Maximum Elevation: 6,780 feet
- Number of Trails: 29
- Number of Lifts: 4 (1 triple lift, 2 double lifts, 1 handle tow lift)
- Season: Fall/Winter/Spring (Oct – April)
- Trail Difficulty: Beginner (15%), Intermediate (70%), Advanced/Expert (15%)
Tickets and Passes at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
Blacktail Mountain doesn’t have a lot of the fancy amenities of other resorts, but if you want a great day of no-frills skiing or riding, you’ll find it here for a great price. And like the simplicity of the ski area, there are limited, yet straightforward options for lift tickets and passes.
However, Blacktail Mountain does offer some perks that we haven’t seen at other ski areas. Season pass holders at any Montana ski area can ski Blacktail Mountain for the half-day rate. Additionally, the Indy Pass is also accepted at Blacktail Mountain.
- Full-day Lift Ticket – $50 (adult), $35 (Teen 13-17), $25 (Kids 8-12), $26 (Seniors over 70), free (Tots 7 and under)
- Half-day – $40 (adult), $30 (Teen 13-17), $20 (Kids 8-12)
- 6–Pack Pass – $250
- Season Pass – $595 (Adult), $395 (Teen 13-17), $205 (Kids 8-12), $100 (Seniors over 70), $10 (Tots 7 and under)
Accommodations at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
Since Blacktail Mountain is a small, privately owned ski area, you won’t find fancy condos or hotels slope-side. This small family-friendly ski area caters to locals and out-of-towners that want to enjoy a day on the hill without the added frills that make lift ticket prices so large at larger ski resorts.
This lack of frills also means that you’ll have to find lodging accommodations away from the ski area. Most visitors to Blacktail Mountain find great lodging options in the Town of Lakeside.
This quaint community has a variety of lodging options ranging from your chain hotels to cozy B&Bs and even condo rentals for larger groups and families. Lakeside is just a 15-mile drive from Blacktail Mountain so you won’t have to spend all day in the car to get there from your hotel.
If you’d rather stay in the “big city”, Kalispell is 35 miles away and offers a much larger variety of lodging options.
Trail Routes at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
Blacktail Mountain is basically split into two hills, each serviced by one chairlift, and the two hills are connected by a third lift that runs along the shallow part of the mountain that is home to the ski area’s beginner runs. If you’re into riding rails and the fun of terrain parks, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Blacktail Mountain does not have a terrain park at this time.
The Thunderhead double chair services the half of Blacktail Mountain that has mostly advanced runs. At the top of the hill you’ll drop into a small bowl, dotted with trees. This bowl, while listed as advanced, can be easily handled by more experienced intermediate riders. It isn’t terribly steep, but the trees throughout the bowl add some fun challenges for advanced and expert riders and skiers. Advanced skiers should check out Luna Bowl, The Glades and Ponchelon’s Powder for some great ungroomed runs.
Intermediate skiers will like the long sweeping trails on this lift like Lakeside Run and Emmons Ridge. These two groomed runs are long and have a nice mix of narrow and wide spots that allow you to work on honing your turning skills.
Olympic Chair Routes
The Olympic triple chair is a short chair that really is intended to provide an easy ride for the ski area’s beginner riders. This gentle chair starts at the top of Blacktail Run and heads up to the lodge area where beginners can ski Widow Maker and Cold Camp.
Furthermore, while the Olympic chair is really for those just getting started on skis and boards, advanced riders can shoot down Little Salmon, a fun tree-dotted run that gives you a different line to the base of the Thunderhead chair.
Crystal Chair Routes
We really like the area that is serviced by the Crystal double chair. With only eight runs, this area is quiet and has plenty of wide, sweeping spaces combined with fun trails in the trees. Blacktail Run is a great intermediate trail that is perfect for new skiers that want to start challenging themselves a bit.
Advanced riders will enjoy shredding down Tail-Dragger and White River, the two black runs accessed from the Crystal Chair. While these are considered advanced runs, more experienced intermediate riders should be able to handle them easily.
Events at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
Despite its small size, Blacktail Mountain does play host to a few fun events each year. You’ll not find details of events on their website, so check out their Facebook and Instagram pages for up-to-date information on events and happenings on the mountain.
Mountain Top Music Series
This great series gets going in mid-January and runs through the end of the season. When you’re done on the slopes for the day, get a drink and a chair in the lodge and get ready for some great local music.
The Mountain Top Music Series brings in great local and regional music acts to round out the week at Blacktail Mountain. Live music starts at 3PM on Friday afternoons in Muley’s Pub.
Ladies Ski and Cocktail Series
This popular series combines women-focused ski instruction and après ski cocktails in Muley’s Pub. Each Friday throughout the season, ladies can get small group ski and board instruction in a fun, social atmosphere. The clinics start at 12:45 and run until 3:00 PM. After your clinic, head to Muley’s Pub for a drink and music from the Mountain Top Music Series.
Blacktail Bunny Egg Hunt
A great event for the whole family, the Blacktail Bunny Egg hunt happens on Easter Sunday and gives visitors to Blacktail Mountain a chance to hunt for prizes and Easter eggs using clues provided at the start of the day. The hunt runs from 10 AM to 1 PM and is located on the Never-ever Land run.
Blacktail Mountain does have a number of ski race series that locals and visitors can participate in while visiting the ski area. One of the most popular ski races is the Family Cup Ski Race. This race allows skiers to take on their family members head-to-head racing down the slalom-style course on Emmons Run. While this race series is the most popular on the mountain, it’s not the only option.