Montana has the kind of winter conditions ideal for producing lots of the light powder so beloved by snowboarders.
This makes for some ample and impressive opportunities for snowboarding in Montana which keep both the locals and the winter board explorers happy. Certainly, they will find lots of great snow and no shortage of exciting and challenging terrain.
The Treasure State may often be associated with world-class skiing and boarding resort scenarios like those in Big Sky and Whitefish. But many explorers may not be aware of the fact that much of the region’s open and expansive terrain considered ideal for snowboarding is not necessarily to be found in the majorly-developed resort areas.
Some of the best powder can be found ensconced within small community mountains. And there’s definitely something of an old-school vibe to many of these mountain areas, which are typically family-run and much cheaper than the great resorts.
This is a far cry from the well-publicized, high-end resort villages with top lodgings and other amenities that many people may ordinarily associate Montana with. But it’s good to know there’s another side to the scene that’s more about the actual boarding.
Much of the Montana terrain is a powder-seekers dream, particularly for experienced snowboarders. And there are plenty of great mountain scenarios to choose from across the state that thankfully caters to all snowboarding requirements.
In this article, we will take a look at the best snowboarding in Montana by looking at six pristine locations you will want to check out.
Six of Montana’s Best Snowboarding Spots
- The Great Divide
- Bridger Bowl
- Showdown Montana
- The Lost Trail
- Discovery Ski Center
- Blacktail Mountain
1. Great Divide Ski and Snowboard Area
The Great Divide is just over 20 miles and a bit more than a half-hour drive from the state capital Helena. It features 1,600 acres of the kind of terrain generally attractive to intermediate and advanced-level skiers, though not entirely at the expense of easier-to-manage stretches of the mountain slope.
The ski and snowboard resort features different themed boarding routes and experiences like the Rawhide Gulch Area with its exposed runs, and the glade-laden Wild West Area. This is a great value snowboarding location not too far removed from civilization and is comparably one of the much cheaper resort areas in Montana.
Overall a great stop-off point for a half-day or a full day’s worth of boarding fun. It’s an obvious spot for families with multiple itineraries as well as anyone on a budget.
- Location: 7385 Belmont Drive, Marysville, MT 59640
- Hours of Operation: Typically from around mid-November to around April between 9 am and 4 pm/9 pm according to conditions. After April operations are according to weather, more details HERE.
- Office: Tel: 406.449.3746 between 7 am. and 6 pm, email: email@example.com
2. Bridger Bowl
Bridger Bowl is one of those places where there’s always ample opportunity to make good use of beloved cultural colloquialisms such as ‘powder hounds’ and ‘cold smoke powder’ etc.
Especially when you consider the diverse, 2,000 skiable acres of terrain containing over 100 trails among 6,000-8,000-feet elevations and a 2,700-feet vertical rise.
It might have something to do with the fact that the main area is close to the steep terrain surrounding Montana State University—an institution renowned for attracting skiers and snowboarders to undertake studies in Bozeman.
And yet Bridger Bowl—alternatively known as the Montana Snowbowl—is not to be mistaken, much less written off as a posh kids’ playground. In fact, this mountain skiing and snowboarding area have plenty to offer on a variety of levels.
Bridger Bowl’s popularity is influenced by the fact that it leans more towards the smaller, less-developed ski center affair.
Nevertheless, it provides some fantastic snowboarding opportunities among some friendly and low-key vibes. All levels of ability and confidence can find space on the terrain and its ‘no pressure’ vibe at the center.
There’s a bar at the base area, too which is great for food and a good atmosphere—not to mention the local Montana prices geared towards students.
Many ‘in-the-know’ riders will head straight for the open powder fields laden with steep chutes by way of ‘The Ridge’. Only the dedicated and stubborn snowboarders enter here and take on the 20-minute or so hike beforehand. With the number of named trails past 75 and plenty more on top of that—hiking snowboarders are quickly compensated for their efforts.
From the equally trendy and buzzing Bozeman, Bridger Bowl is just a half-hour’s drive away. Alternatively, there are shuttles running out of Bozeman to Bridger according to seasonal requirements.
- Location: 15795 Bridger Canyon Road, Bozeman, MT 59715
- Hours of Operation: Typically between December and April 9 am-4 pm
- Office: (406) 587-2111
3. Showdown Montana
Showdown is closest to Great Falls and can be reached in around an hour by road from the city.
Snowboarders looking for the old-school and low-key-leaning variety of ski and snowboard resorts in Montana’s central regions will favor Showdown, which also happens to be the oldest ski and snowboard area in the state.
Boarders will find nothing too fancy here and just 4 chair lifts to help them access the mountain’s 640 skiable acres. All the terrain is below the treeline, and the 8,200-foot summit allows some fantastic tree skiing and some steep runs.
The staff at Showdown has a friendly and laid-back reputation here which is one of the reasons people keep coming back, as is the fantastic, straight-ahead authentic Montana boarding experience.
- Location: P.O. Box 92 59465 Neihart, MT
- Hours of Operation: Typically between December and April 9 am-4 pm
- Office: (406) 236-5522, firstname.lastname@example.org
4. The Lost Trail Ski Area
The Lost Trail Powder Mountain is another small and unrefined Montana ski and snowboard area. The area around the lost trail has a touch of a historic connection related to the name which you can read about HERE.
The mountain stands at elevations of 7,000 feet on the Montana border with Idaho in the charming small town of Sula. This location is two hours to the south of Missoula or two hours west of Butte, depending on where you are located and potentially traveling from.
Most snowboarders warm to the service and pride behind this family-run concern that offers 1,800 skiable acres of fun.
The terrain at this small but renowned local mountain is serviced by five double chairs and three rope tows, and there is enough diversity in the terrain to provide enjoyment for snowboarders of all levels.
- Location: 9485 US-93, Sula, MT 59871
- Hours of Operation: Seasonally between 9.30 am-4.00 pm
- Office: (406) 821-3211
5. Discovery Ski Center
Somewhere between Butte and Missoula, you can find the Discovery Ski Center in Anaconda. This ski center is based around a mountain of a similar size to the one at Bridger Bowl, and this one has 3 faces and features around 2,200 acres of skiable terrain with a vertical drop of 2,388 feet.
Discovery certainly caters to smaller numbers of clientele compared to your average Montana Ski Center. But that’s more a reflection of the location than the quality of the boarding here—which is excellent.
The center is in fact quite a ‘Discovery’ for many out-of-towners who will largely encounter only a few locals on the slopes—which may seem surprisingly devoid of anything looking like crowds to newcomers unused to such luxury.
The ski center is serviced by 5 different lifts and features a terrain park that includes a beginner section. The Old Limelight double chair will get you close to some great laps on some steep glades. Day lift passes and season tickets can be purchased in advance HERE.
- Location: 180 Discovery Basin Rd, Anaconda, MT 59711, United States
- Hours of Operation: May to October between 9.30 and 5 pm
- Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/discoveryskiarea/
6. Blacktail Mountain
Blacktail Mountain is probably the best 1,000 skiable acres you are likely to encounter near Flathead Lake—in fact just west of it. The ski area actually overlooks the lake and is easily accessible along Highway 93 South, and you can get here from Kalispell in less than an hour.
The mountain has something of a unique layout which means everyone starts from the top! The lodge and the car park are at the top of the mountain which expands out across the Rocky Mountain regions of Montana. The longest run at the center is 1.75 miles.
The 3 lifts are not the fastest in the world and these are hardly the longest runs you’ll ever encounter, yet locals and visitors alike love the authentic vibe and sheer, no-nonsense fun to be had here.
The Blacktail Mountain Ski Area stands as a prime example of the many small but fantastic community-based snowboarding destinations spread across the state.
- Location: 13990 Blacktail Rd, Lakeside, MT 59922
- Hours of Operation: December to April, 9.30 am-4.30 pm with some limited openings
- Office: (406) 844-0999, email@example.com
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, Montana is one of the best places on the planet for a spot of snowboarding—period!
You can enjoy glitzy and breathtaking resort experiences like those around Whitefish and Big Sky, or, if you are simply interested in boarding in authentic surroundings you’ll love some of the options featured in this post.
Put it this way—do you think the young, local snowboarders spend all their time hanging around the most famous places in the state watching the visitors coming and going? Unlikely!
Even though the merits of the high-end resorts are unquestionable, they are probably better suited to holiday experiences than a half or full day’s worth of no-frills boarding surrounded by friendly and helpful locals who genuinely love what they do. Can’t say fairer than that!