Thought of as one of Montana’s greatest hidden gems, Lost Trail Powder Mountain is one of the state’s best ski experiences. Situated on the Continental Divide, on the Southern End of the Bitterroot Valley, this ski area stretches across the Montana-Idaho border.
Home to record-deep snowfall, two mountains, and a friendly, family-owned establishment, Lost Trail is less than two hours south of Missoula.
Lost Trail boasts ski runs for every skill level and welcomes every aspiring skier. All ski gear is available for rent for those who don’t have their own, and the area also hosts a snow sports school for children and adults of all ages.
The documented history of the area dates back to the Lewis and Clark expedition. Clark attempted to follow the nearby Salmon River to Colombia in 1805, but upon failing, took the mountainous Lost Trail Pass instead. The pass received its name when Clark’s Shoshone guide lost the trail on the Idaho side.
There is a collection of small towns nearby Lost Trail, where visitors can enjoy a range of winter activities when they’re not racing down the slopes. Distilleries, boutique stores, cafes, coffee shops, and even hot springs are waiting to be discovered throughout the Bitterroot Valley around the ski area. The quaint towns of Sula and Darby are the closest to Lost Trail.
Lost Trail Powder Mountain Ski Area Stats
- Highest Elevation: 8,200 feet/2,499 meters
- Number of Trails: 60+
- Number of Lifts: 5 double chairs and 3 rope tows
- Season: December – April
- Trail Difficulty:
- Easy – 30%
- Intermediate – 50%
- Difficult – 20%
Tickets and Passes at Lost Trail Powder Mountain
There are a few ticketing options available at Lost Trail Powder Mountain. The basic lift tickets can be bought online or at the window and do not need to be reserved in advance. Adult prices start at $48 for half a day, with full-day options also available. Discounts are also run for children, golden agers, and seniors. Kids under five are free.
Additionally, cheaper tickets are available for those who only want a one-ride pass, or who will only be visiting Bunny Hill. For a full list of the ticket prices, please see the official website.
Season passes are also available and come with many benefits, including unlimited skiing and boarding when the resort is open, discounts on rental demos and private lessons, Buddy Pass discounts, discounts at the retail shop, and more. For more information, please see the official website.
There is also the option for a 10-day transferable pass, the most flexible ticket option which offers a bundle of 10 tickets at a discounted rate. If not all the tickets get used, guests can transfer them to other people or to another season.
Please note 10-day transferable passes can’t be purchased at the ticket window; they are only available at the main office, by phone, or by email. Prices begin at $380 for children and $480 for adults.
Alternatively, guests can consider purchasing an Indy Pass, which can be used at more than 50 independent ski resorts around the USA. For more details, please see the official website.
Accommodation at Lost Trail Powder Mountain
Lost Trail offers several different accommodation choices to suit every taste. Ridge Line Yurt is the only lodging on the premises and contains bedding enough for 10, heated wood stoves, a camp-style kitchen, outhouse toilet facilities, and solar lighting. The next closest lodging is the Lil’ Bit of Heaven ranch, which is located near Waugh Creek.
Also found nearby the ski area is a range of other mountain cabins, bed and breakfasts, inns, and retreats. Among the most popular are the Mountain Spirit Inn in Darby and Moraine Bed & Breakfast, located between Darby and Hamilton, bordered by the Bitterroot National Forest.
For a full list of the accommodation options available, please visit the official website.
Trail Routes at Lost Trail Powder Mountain
Across the two mountains and 1,800 acres of Lost Trail, there are more than 60 marked ski trails. Some of the most popular include:
The Upper Oreo trail is an easy ski run, safe for beginners, featuring a vertical drop of around 500 feet. It runs for .8 of a mile and is located nearby the Saddle Mountain Chair 4, around 1.8 miles away from the Lost Trail Lodge.
Meadow Run is situated near the boundary of Lost Trail, a short distance from the Thunder trail. It is one of the easiest ski runs in the area and is closest to Chair 2, extending for around 1,289 feet.
Southern Comfort is a moderate trail that’s appropriate for skiers who are at an intermediate skill level. It runs parallel to Far Out and Corkscrew for 2,769 feet, before meeting them in the slow area near the base of the mountain.
The Chicken Out trail is one of the shortest and easiest at Lost Trail, ideal for beginners and nervous skiers. The pint-sized trail of 485 feet cuts through between the intermediate trails of Far Out and Southern Comfort.
Far Out is one of the intermediate trails at Lost Trail that curves slightly, ending up in a slow area. It runs next to Salmon on one side and Southern Comfort on the other. The beginner’s trail Chicken Out cuts through from Far Out to Southern Comfort.
Located beside Far Out trail, Salmon is another intermediate trail in the area. It runs beside Moose Creek Glades for 813 feet and meets at a point with Moose Creek Trail, just to the side of the slow area.
Moose Creek trail is a long, difficult trail that should only be attempted by confident, advanced skiers. It runs for .6 of a mile near the boundary of the mountain and finally ends in the slow area next to the Salmon trail.
Running near the center of the mountain, Thunder is another difficult trail only suitable for advanced skiers. It travels down the Idaho side of the mountain below Chair 2 and features a vertical drop of 1000 feet.
The Lightening trail forms a T-junction with the Meadow Trail and runs down into the slow area. It is a moderate trail suited to intermediate skiers and above, with a length of 1,633 feet.
Drifter is found near the center of the mountain, close to the Idaho-Montana borderline. It is one of the easiest ski runs at Lost Trail and is situated close to the Lodge, near the parking area.
North Face is a difficult trail that’s right next to the mountain’s borderline, slightly on the Montana side. It’s a short trail running for 1,624 feet that you can find near Chair 1, near South Face and Femur Ridge.
South Face is located nearby North Face on the Idaho side of the borderline, near the middle of the mountain. Another hard trail only suited to advanced skiers with a vertical drop of 383 feet, South Face is a slightly wider trail that runs near Thunder.
Femur Ridge is located near North and South Face, on the Montana side of the borderline. It is a short and difficult trail of 849 feet that ends up in the slow area and is only a short distance away from the Lodge.
Living up to its name, Outlaw is one of the most difficult trails in the area and should only be attempted by expert skiers. This short trail of 859 feet is found near the Powder Bowl terrain park close to the Montana side of the mountain’s central borderline.
North Bowl is a short, intermediate trail found close to Outlaw and Hideout. It runs into the Lower Oreo trail for 1,007 feet, continuing down to the Lodge.
Elk Point Trail
One of the easiest ski runs at Lost Trail, Elk Point Trail is a short run on the Montana side of the mountain. It is located in between Lower Oreo and the Area 51 trail and is perfect for beginners and nervous skiers.
The Lower Oreo trail is found running diagonally for 3,021 feet towards the borderline of the mountain, on the Montana side. This is an intermediate trail and is located in between Bear Claw and Elk Point Trail.
Winding down the mountain on the Montana side, Bear Claw is a difficult trail for advanced skiers only. It begins near the Lower Oreo trail and ends near the easy Candy Stick trail, stretching for 3,166 feet.
Located far on the Montana side of the mountain, Sacajawea is one of the longer trails in the area with a vertical drop of 1,502 feet. Beginning at the top of the mountain and ending in the slow area near the Ridge Line Yurt, Sacajawea is a medium-difficulty trail best suited to intermediate skiers.
Area 51 is a ski run with an expert rating, meaning it’s among the most difficult at Lost Trail and should only be attempted by capable seasoned skiers. The run is located near the top of the mountain on the Montana side, close to the borderline, and sits close to the Elk Point Trail.
Featuring a wide curve, the Odyssey trail is another intermediate trail in the area perfect for skiers with a medium skill level. It crosses the Two Dot trail and ends up at a point between Super G and Bob’s Run after running for 1,049 feet.
Lewis and Clark
Another of the longest ski runs at Lost Trail, Lewis and Clark runs for the entirety of the mountain from top to base, just over a mile in length. It is found next to Sacajawea and features a straighter route with fewer turns.
Candy Stick is an easy trail that runs from the central mountain borderline diagonally towards the Montana side. Suited to skiers of all abilities, the straight trail begins and ends in two different slow areas.
One of the most popular curved trails, Super G is an intermediate trail of moderate difficulty. It runs on the Montana side of the mountain for .6 of a mile with a vertical drop of around 902 feet.
Raven is a short, easy trail for all skiers, from beginners to advanced. Located on the Montana side of the mountain, it cuts through from Lower Oreo to Bobcat and Bear Claw.
Another short trail, Bobcat is a medium-level ski run on the Montana side of Lost Trail. It runs just below Chair 5 and ends up in the slow area, near Candy Stick. This trail has a length of 2,332 feet with a vertical drop of 475 feet.
Events at Lost Trail Powder Mountain
There are many exciting events held at Lost Trail Powder Mountain throughout the year, ranging from snow sports competitions to festivals. Here are a few of the main events that take place during the year.
The Gilson Snowboard Demo Day
The Gilson Snowboard Demo Day is held in January. As part of their winter tour, Gilson sends out their 1970s Airstream to put their snowboard and ski equipment on display. They offer free demonstrations to allow skiers to choose their boards and skis based on what feels the best.
Cold Smoke Freeride Competition
One of the most popular competitions on the Lost Trail calendar is the Cold Smoke Freeride Competition. Taking place between February 26 and 27, the freeride is a chance for athletes to show off all their mountain skills. Every skier gets two runs and can make use of the cliffs, chutes, powder, kickers, and tree lines to impress the judges.
There is currently a cap of 100 competitors so people are encouraged to register in advance. People of all ages can sign up, though those under 18 will need to have a parent sign a liability waiver. Judges score riders based on style, aggressiveness, tricks, fluidity, creativity, and smoothness.
A-Rob’s Smashed Life Banked Slalom
A-Rob’s Smashed Life Banked Slalom is a snowboarding and para snowboarding competition that takes place on a twisty course with banked turns. It is held every year in honor of snowboarders Aaron Robinson and Dillon Candelaria and is a fundraiser for the A-Rob Plant a Seed Project. The project aims to give less-fortunate children in Montana’s Flathead Valley the opportunity to get involved in snowboarding and skiing.
The event will take place on March 12, 2022 at Lost Trail, with competition winners receiving a golden ticket to the iconic Mt. Baker Banked Slalom in 2023. For more details, please visit the official website.
The end of the winter ski season is a bittersweet time. At Lost Trail Powder Mountain, the farewell is celebrated with the fun Skiesta, which takes place in April during the last weeks of the ski season.
Party attendees are encouraged to dress up in their best costume and join in the festivities, which include food, live music, and a pond skim.
More details about the Skiesta will be released closer to the event date.