The magical winter scenes of Montana’s landscape, with its snow-capped mountains and endless miles of cross-country terrain, are irresistible for many outdoor-winter types.
Yet the fact that places like Big Sky and Whitefish are home to renowned, world-class ski destinations, takes a lot of less-experienced skiers and boarders too far out of their comfort zone. Unless they embrace something slightly less formal, like snow tubing!
If you’re traveling to Big Sky country with younger kids, snow tubing is a great way to experience the joy of skiing or snowboarding in a less intimidating and safer environment.
For anyone who doesn’t quite feel they’re a ‘serious’ skier or snowboarder just yet, the abundance of snow and mountains across this state means there are plenty of other, lower-pressure options for non-skiers. So if you are skiing that means skiing. Otherwise, you are tubing!
Anyone can get involved in tubing and it’s a great way for families to make lasting winter memories by grabbing a tube and heading for the hills.
The typical popular sledding spots are ideal for tubing, and many resorts in the Treasure State have dedicated areas with sleds and tubes provided. Let’s take a look at where you can find the best snow tubing in Montana.
Snow Tubing in Montana – The 4 Best Spots
This is a popular recreation area close to Missoula with plenty of hills and over 40 miles of trails that make it ideal for snow sports. The area is southwest of Missoula by just a couple of miles and can be reached along Highway 93.
The 4,900-acre Blue Mountain Recreation Area is open for day use the whole year, so this is a good place for anyone who wants to find their own space for a spot of tubing action.
The trails here are specified by a map system as being maintained for the sole purpose of an individual activity such as hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even some kind of motorized activities. This means you can enjoy a few of the trails for tubing without too much concern about running into horses.
Whitefish Mountain Resort personifies a lively Montana outdoor winter sports scenario. It features close to 100 marked trails with plenty more back-country options besides.
The terrain in and around the resort offers multiple levels of difficulty, all with the premium powder that makes this such a popular winter sports destination.
There are hundreds of miles of Nordic trails to explore and even non-serious, non-downhill-skiers can find plenty of terrains that suit their level.
As part of the services of this luxury resort which is home to 100 artfully designed guestrooms and suites, Montage Big Sky offers up its own Tubing hill for those staying at the resort.
The tubing hill is open daily from 4:30 to 6:30 PM, as well as special events such as Tubing Under the Lights. This is an all-ages experience perfect for families who are looking for some additional fun during their stay.
There are a couple of different tubing options at this ranch-style resort. You can opt to tube down a hill or through a meadow, and there are runs to suit 3 different skill levels.
Each run includes curves that allow you to take in the entire landscape. The meadow option includes a snowmobile ride through the ranch land just outside of Missoula. The tubing locations usually have large bonfires as well to help warm things up a bit.
The surrounding hills and meadows of Paws Up provide some excellent scope for the kind of tubing only normally found at ski resorts. This is probably one of the reasons you’ll commonly see Paws Up featured in ‘Best Snow Tubing in the U.S.’ lists
Tubes in various sizes are provided for downhill tubing if you don’t bring your own. Blast Mountain at Paws up is where the tubing goes down, offering up some impressive views at the same time.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it’s never going to be too difficult to find some quality snow-sport terrain in Montana, whichever pursuit you decide to chase.
It’s also safe enough to say that there’s no need to be put off by the thought of professionally clad, seasoned ski families whizzing past you in a zig-zagging blur while you fumble with your phone and the angle of your tube.
Tubing is usually approached from more of a fun angle, often by non-skiers, so it’s more likely to be far removed from the culture of skiing.
Whether you want to go the resort route and make use of the specially-designated tubing areas or bring your own tube and go hunting for some prime powder, you won’t be disappointed in the Treasure State come winter.