With new snow falling weekly and many of our mountains capped in white, skiers and snowboarders all around Montana are anxious to get back on the slopes. Amidst all the excitement, there’s no doubt resorts will be adjusting operations this year due to the ongoing pandemic. Naturally, the question on everyone’s minds is… What’s going to happen at the resorts?
Whether you’re a die-hard rider, a fair-weather skier, or planning on dabbling this year for the very first time - this quick and dirty guide will give you the information to help you plan your alpine adventures during this unprecedented time.
*Opening Days may be subject to change.
BIG SKY RESORT - BOZEMAN
Opening Day: November 26
With 5,850 skiable acres, 38 lifts, and 4,350 vertical feet, it’s no wonder Big Sky Resort is often referred to as “the biggest skiing in America”. While there is something for every level of skier at this resort, there is also impressively massive, steep terrain - and lots of it - available for advanced skiing (and all-level gawking).
COVID UPDATES: “To accommodate private groups and social distancing, some elements of the resort are running at reduced capacity. We strongly suggest that you book your lift tickets, activities, lessons, and dining early to reserve your spot.”
BLACKTAIL MOUNTAIN SKI AREA - LAKESIDE
Opening Day: TBD
This family-friendly mountain affords everyone the opportunity to catch incredible summit vistas, since the lodge and parking are located at the top! Perched above Flathead Lake, and with views stretching all the way from Glacier National Park to the Mission Mountains, skiing Blacktail is a sight to behold.
COVID UPDATES: “Our website has been completely rebuilt this summer to accommodate online sales… there will be an option to purchase your lift ticket online and collect it by scanning the barcode you receive at one of two kiosks in the lodge.”
Skiers enjoy powder skiing under a blue sky at Bridger Bowl. Photo: Bridger Bowl Ski Area
BRIDGER BOWL SKI AREA - BOZEMAN
Opening Day: December 4
Bridger Bowl Ski Area is a non-profit operation that is all about the skiing. With no shopping, lodging, or fine dining, Bridger is community-focused and offers extensive terrain with options for all skill levels.
COVID UPDATES: “Reservations (will be) required for all skiing and riding this season due to the pandemic. At this time, reservations will open online as far as three (3) days out."
DISCOVERY SKI AREA - PHILIPSBURG
Opening Day: December 7 (pending snow conditions)
Discovery Ski Area offers mixed terrain on both a front side and back side of the mountain. For those in the party who would rather not downhill ski, plentiful nordic skiing options exist at the nearby beautiful Georgetown Lake.
COVID UPDATES: “Lesson reservations need to be made by noon of the previous day. For all lessons, please plan to show up at least 30 minutes prior to the posted lesson start time so that staff can conduct COVID-19 symptom screenings.”
LOST TRAIL SKI AREA - SULA
Opening Day: December 3rd (pending snow conditions)
The lodge at Lost Trail sits at a lofty 7,000 on the Idaho-Montana border and is open Thursdays through Sundays, plus all major holidays. With 1,800 acres of skiing spread across two mountains, and the longest run being 2.5 miles, there is plenty to explore at this ski area.
COVID UPDATES: “To maintain social distancing, we will only be loading related groups (guests skiing/riding together) on chairlifts. If you arrive together, ride together. Single skiers/snowboarders will be provided the opportunity to ride alone.”
MAVERICK MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT - POLARIS
Opening Day: TBD
Maverick Mountain is family-owned and operated, touting minimal lines - and minimal cloudy days as well. Elkhorn Hot Springs Resort is just a few minutes away, where you can extend the fun with a relaxing soak in the hot springs.
COVID UPDATES: Contact the resort for updated information: Ski Maverick
MONTANA SNOWBOWL - MISSOULA
Opening Day: December 4, limited hours (and pending snow conditions)
Missoulians love to flock to nearby Montana Snowbowl, just 30 minutes from their downtown. This ski area has a “Mom and Pop” feel with friendly service, zero high-speed quad chairlifts, and it boasts steeper runs which advanced skiers tend to love.
COVID UPDATES: Snowbowl "(does) not plan on limiting the number of skiers on any day but masks will probably be required where there are waiting lines including lift lines”.
RED LODGE MOUNTAIN - RED LODGE
Opening Day: November 27
The summit of Red Lodge Mountain stretches all the way up to 9,416 feet. Although high in elevation, this ski area is "down-to-earth", priding itself on hosting good, old-fashioned Montana skiing with affordable prices, smiling faces, and lots of varied terrain minus the crowds.
COVID UPDATES: “…barring any changes set forth by state and local governments, our plan is to stay open through Sunday, April, 11, 2021. At this time, we do not anticipate enforcing a reservation system.”
WHITEFISH MOUNTAIN RESORT - WHITEFISH
Opening Day: December 10
Located just 7 minutes from downtown Whitefish, Whitefish Mountain Resort offers 3,000 acres of terrain including wide open bowls, tree skiing, and beginner to intermediate pristinely groomed runs. Panoramic vistas of Glacier National Park - and even as far as the mountains of Canada - delight visitors on clear days.
COVID UPDATES: “We do not plan to limit ticket sales or require a reservation to ski. Advance bookings are recommended!”