A short way from Helena, MT is the Great Divide ski area. This gem of a ski mountain is full of amazing ski and boarding terrain for every family member, and for every skill level. Covering over 1,600 acres, the Great Divide was once a small but thriving ski area.
Today, it is one of the best ski areas in Montana and it offers a small ski area feel, despite over 100 trails, bowl skiing and a whopping 6 terrain parks.
Great Divide is often called Montana’s sunniest ski area. Its location makes it a prime spot for good weather skiing. However, this does come with its own challenges. Many locals will tell you that there are days when they ride at Great Divide in the sun but watch the snow pound the surrounding areas.
One of the best things about the Great Divide ski area is the diversity of runs. There are sweeping groomed cruisers, fun bumps, tree skiing and plenty of glade skiing. With so many options, you won’t be bored skiing or riding multiple days at the Great Divide.
Though not a ski resort, Great Divide does have plenty of on-mountain amenities like food and drinks at three restaurants, equipment rentals and purchases, and ski school. You won’t find any slope-side lodging here, but all the other amenities that your family can need you’ll find at the Great Divide ski area.
Great Divide Ski Area Stats
- Summit Maximum Elevation: 7,330 feet
- Number of Trails: 107
- Number of Lifts: 6(5 double lift, 1 handle tow lift)
- Season: January – March
- Trail Difficulty: Beginner (15%), Intermediate (40%), Advanced/Expert (45%)
Tickets and Passes at Great Divide Ski Area
Great Divide has a variety of ski pass options. From single-day lift tickets to multi-day punch passes and season passes, there is a ticket option for visitors and locals that want to enjoy this fun ski area.
- Full-day Lift Ticket – $50 (adult 18-69), $44 (Military), $44 (Junior 12-17), $26 (Kids 6-11), $26 (Seniors over 70), free (Kids under 6).
- Winter Weekdays – $44 (Every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday January – March)
- Friday Night Under the Lights – $12 (Fridays 4-9 PM)
- Back Yard Beginners Tow – Free
- Six Pass Punch Card – $55 (Each punch gives you half off the lift ticket price. Never expires, fully transferable)
- Three Pass Pack – $99 (3 full-day lift tickets can be used any time. Never expires, fully transferable)
- Season Pass – $550 (Adult 18-96), $440 (Military), $440 (Junior 12-17), $250 (Kids 6-11), $50 (5th Grade Students with proof of enrollment), $250 (Seniors over 70), $25 (Kids under 6)
In our research of ticketing options, we found that Great Divide has some unique ski programs that have their own lift ticket deals. Want to ski for an hour or two, Great Divide offers an hourly ticket where you can pay $14 to ski for up to two hours.
Ladies enjoy their own social hours on Fridays from noon to 9 PM tickets for Girls Fun Friday are just $12. Holders of season passes at other Montana ski areas can enjoy half-price lift tickets all season, and college students get a break on daily lift ticket rates during the winter break.
Accommodations at Great Divide Ski Area
Most visitors to Great Divide Ski Area stay in Helena. It is an easy 40-minute drive from Helena to Great Divide. Additionally, Helena has an airport so if you are coming to Montana to ski, and the Great Divide is your destination, you have an easy place to start.
In Helena, you’ll find a variety of chain hotels including low-cost options like the Budget Motel in downtown which has seasonal winter rates at around $65 per night. If you are wanting something a little nicer our pick is the Great Western Premier Great Northern Hotel.
Located near downtown Helena, you’ll find nice rooms here within walking distance from many restaurants and amenities. Nightly winter rates start at around $180 per night.
In general, the Helena area offers plenty of accommodation options for less than $200 per night, so there is certainly a space to meet your needs.
Trail Routes at Great Divide Ski Area
The Great Divide Ski area is split into three faces. The whole resort sits on Mount Belmont, a 7,300-foot peak in central Montana. Each face offers a different skiing and riding experience, though most of the higher portions of the ski area are designated for intermediate and advanced/expert skiers and riders.
Great Divide also has 6 awesome terrain parks for those that love rails, boxes, and jumps.
The Rawhide Gulch portion of the Great Divide ski area offers the most extreme skiing opportunities on the mountain. This face has great runs like Big Open (including Lower Big Open), Waterfall, and Miner’s Basin that are packed with challenging terrain and obstacles like rock cliffs, trees, and steep faces.
While there are some intermediate runs on the Rawhide Gulch face, you’ll find that they are more well suited for advanced intermediate riders who want to start working their way into advanced/expert runs.
The Mount Belmont face is the most diverse face on the mountain. It is serviced by the Mount Belmont double chair that takes you all the way to the summit. From here you can work your way down intermediate runs like Surprise or pick-up Snow Fields and Belmont Bowl for some wide open and slightly steeper intermediate runs.
For the advanced and expert skiers, Mount Belmont offers runs like Dago Face, Snaggletooth, and Old Doug. These runs have plenty of trees and obstacles to challenge even the most adventurous of skiers and riders.
The bottom of the Mount Belmont face is home to the ski area’s beginner runs and terrain parks. At the base, you’ll find fun beginner runs like Sunnyside, Good Luck, and Snowshoe. Portions of Good Luck are considered intermediate, and on this run, you’ll also find the Rodeo and Wild Wood terrain parks.
The bottom of Mount Belmont also has one short but tricky advanced run. Pick up Outback as it runs beneath the Meadow Mountain double chair.
The Wild West face lives up to its name, and if you like steep runs with bumps and trees, you’ll find them on this face of the Great Divide. The Wild West face is serviced by the Wild West double chair. You can get by taking Upper Wild Acres from the top of the Mount Belmont chair or take Scout to Blazing Saddles from the Good Luck chair.
Most of the runs in Wild West are perfect for advanced and expert riders. There are some nice intermediate runs here as well. For the brave, there’s Hibernation and Macho dotted with trees and steeps.
Northwest Traverse takes skiers and riders from the lift to a nice grouping of parallel runs that include Saddle Sore, Ghost Owl, Quick Draw and Way Out West.
Events at Great Divide Ski Area
Unfortunately, through all our research, we could not find any annual events hosted by Great Divide at the ski area. However, there are some fun opportunities for unique ski experiences in the ski area.
Fridays are the day to have fun at Great divide. Girls Fun Friday starts at noon on Fridays and ladies can ski for just $12 until 9 PM. Great Divide does have limited night skiing and riding that opens at 4 PM and goes until 9 PM on Fridays.
For locals whose children participate in the All-Mountain Ski Team, there is the All-Mountain Moms (and Dads) program. This neat opportunity allows parents of kids on the All-Mountain ski team to take lessons with other ski team parents.
It’s a seven-week program starting at the beginning of January. It’s a great way to hone your ski and ride skills, make friends with other parents, and enjoy some time on the slopes while your kids are in practice.