Self-Proclaimed Montana Ski Hicks Lead Us to Powder Freedom on the Montana Slopes

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 7, 2010 10:57 am

It’s not overrated but it is ignored. Montana has some of the best all mountain riding in the Pacific Northwest. Lines (in the sense of waiting for the lift) don’t exist. In fact, you’re lucky if you get the pleasure of sharing a chair ride with one of the few people out.

I spent my Saturday riding virtually untracked powder all day without a single line. I never had to stop for someone in front of me and I never saw a single run shredded by the general kookery. Montanan’s know how to ski and they like their wide open spaces. I’m not sure…did I mention there are very few of them!

Although, there is one detail to note when choosing Montana as your resort destination, this is no Aspen. There are no epic terrain parks or fancy lodges. There are no wine bars, clubs, or ski bunnies. Riding Montana is just Wild Turkey, guns, local cougars, and pure powder.

You can expect face shots without owning a beacon or a pair of skins for most of the day as long as you play your cards right. The locals are often really friendly and will take you around to som

e good spots if you promise to buy them a tallboy après ski. From Big

Sky to Big Mountain it is all big mountain riding with no business, just pow. Next Page>>> 


I personally grew up riding ‘Big Mountain’ in Whitefish, Montana (now know as the Whitefish Mountain Resort) and I am a loyal seasonal rider no matter how far away I get. Big Mountain is famous for their unique “snow ghosts” and fog (although I think you really don’t need to see when your floating) which makes it a difficult mountain if you are not used to riding blind. The mountain isn’t huge, with only 11 lifts and 3000 acres although it has some great terrain, cliffs to drop, and jaw dropping tree skiing.

When I am at ‘Big Mountain’ I know exactly how to navigate (as the locals take very seriously). When there is powder we all ride strategically to see who can resist any sort of responsibility and get the most untracked turns. This is not the place to make friends. It is okay to be completely selfish, shine your gun, and love your country music. Hell

it’s Montana. If you have a shotgun in your back window it’s like driving a Beemer. Although you may find this intimidating at first, the locals are great as long as you respect their stomping grounds.

Mountains like Big Sky, which has three mountains to itself and over 4000 acres, are a lot more forgiving with a more diverse crowd. With 21 lifts and 150 trails Big Sky is bigger ‘Big Mountain,’ which means it is also untouched. Like ‘Big Mountain’ you ride with locals all week and get the pleasure of untracked lines and non-stop face shots.  I have not ridden Big Sky myself but I have never been contested on these facts. If it is like all the other Montana riding I have done it must be nothing short of “no friends just powder” heaven.


On a last note, let’s not forget about the little guys. Because in Montana there are lots of small hidden gems that feel like backcountry with the convenience of lifts. Mountains like Bridger Bowl, Blacktail, Red Lodge, and Moonlight Basin offer exclusivity, deep snow and some hefty terrain.

Although in mentioning these , there is one gem that may cost me my life for sharing with you. Turner Mountain in Libby Montana is a single two-man chair mountain only open from Friday thru Sunday.  Imagine all that weekly powder build up! I am shaking in my Burton Ion’s just letting you in on this secret but sometimes you got to share or your ski mates may stop waking your ass up on powder days. Possibly the most exciting part about Turner is the fact that you can rent it out. My brother and I both contacted the mountain and were quoted at $2500 for one day of riding on a non-operational day. Which means if you take one hundred ski bums at $25 a head (as the normal ticket price) you can ride with all your favorite ski buddies on your own private mountain. If you are an executive and you are about to organize another golf trip you may want to look into this instead. If you are an enthusiast and you have buds that are equally as A.D.D. this is absolutely the place for you.  To all my friends who may want to kill me for divulging this secret, just think of all the more peeps we have to rent out the mountain with!

Article by Jenna Hannon