It’s no secret that Montana attracts outdoor adventure enthusiasts year-round, but if you like carving deep powder, laying fresh tracks, and off-piste shredding, you have got to experience Yellowstone County this winter.
Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin interconnect, giving you access to more skiing than anywhere else in the United States. With the Biggest Skiing in America lift ticket, you can access 5,532 skiable acres and endless ways to navigate 4,350 feet of vertical drop. Lots of resorts have big peaks on the horizon. But the one here—Lone Peak—is actually on the trail map. The Lone Peak Tram takes you right up to the top, where you'll have some eight square miles of runs and 4,350 vertical feet laid before your wide eyes. A vast diversity of terrain—from greenhorn to grab-your-avalanche-beacon—means nobody in the family gets bored. Add in 400 inches of dry, light powder, and short lift lines, and you'll begin to see why "big" applies to every turn on the hill.
Moonlight Basin boasts a wide variety of sublime ski and snowboard terrain — 1,900 acres of pristine groomers, tree glades and challenging steeps with a huge terrain park. Located on the north side of Lone Mountain, which it shares with Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin is a collection of steep chutes and gullies, wide open bowls, long groomers, moguls, beginner runs, and tree skiing. One of America's newest resorts, Moonlight Basin has not let youth stand in its way when it comes to high-end amenities, personalized service and Montana hospitality. Family-focused and friendly, the staff at Moonlight makes visitors feel welcome, while the surroundings make them feel privileged. From the gourmet trappings of Jack Creek Saloon to the pristine ruggedness of the Montana wilderness and the crowd-free slopes, vacationers will feel as if they’ve arrived at their own private ski resort, which, in a very real way, they have.
Red Mountain Lodge
Offering big mountain experiences without the crowds, at Red Mountain Lodge, you'll find a down-to-earth ski area at an affordable price. Opened in the 60s by a local ski club, Red Lodge has spent the last 50+ years growing into a resort that attracts visitors from all over the country. The Mountain offers something for everyone—from beginners on Miami Beach, to intermediates skiing Lazy M (the 2½ mile signature run), to the experts looking for a challenge in the double black diamond chutes of Cole Creek. It's no frills, but there are still rental/repair services, bars, and food.
Bridger Bowl is the gem of the Northern Rockies. 16 miles north of Bozeman, this charming ski area is well known for offering some of the most exciting ski, snowboard and telemark experiences that you will find anywhere. Not a resort, the bowl operates as a nonprofit community to keep costs low and accessible to all. Opened in 1955, it has over 2,000 acres, 2,600 vertical feet, and all the services you need in one of three big day lodges. Recently selected as one of the "world's top 25 ski towns" by National Geographic, this active university town (it's right near Montana State) offers multiple lodging opportunities and an impressive list of dining, nightlife and entertainment options to round out your stay. If you’re an alpine ridge adventurer looking for a natural, undeveloped, big mountain playground with a friendly local vibe, we highly recommend you visit Bridger Bowl.
Rendezvous Ski Trails
When gold medal grooming and reliable snow come together, it's a nordic skier’s dream. This cross-country wonderland is easily accessible from the town of West Yellowstone and consists of over 35 kilometers of gently rolling, beautifully groomed trails that wind through tall stands of lodge pole pine and open meadows. The trail system is located entirely on U.S. Forest Service land and it is managed through a cooperative partnership between the Forest Service, the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce and the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation (WYSEF). Ideally situated at just over 6,800 feet, the Rendezvous Ski Trails provide perfect conditions for high altitude training or recreation any time of the year. The altitude and location adjacent to the Continental Divide also mean that snow comes early and stays late for true powder hounds.
Lone Mountain Ranch
Voted the #1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Country Skier magazine, the warm western hospitality, dependable snow, nearby Yellowstone National Park, meticulously groomed cross country trails, snowshoe trails and experienced staff create an unrivaled Rocky Mountain winter vacation experience. Right outside your cabin door is Montana's original Sleigh Ride Dinner, snowshoeing and Yellowstone tours by skis, snowshoes or snowcoach. A diverse 85 km trail system is groomed for both classic and skate skiing and many of the instructors are PSIA-certified (Professional Ski Instructors of America) who have been with the resort for many years, making it feel like you're part of the family.
Area Hot Springs
For more than 100 years, visitors have come to relax and rejuvenate in Montana's mineral-rich natural hot springs. In Bozeman, what started as a small pool enjoyed by a few in the late 1800s, has evolved into a destination with nine different pools (ranging in temperature from 59 to 106 degrees) fed by a geothermal well with both dry and wet saunas. It's the perfect place to soak after a hard day of skiing or just for an energizing swim in the therapeutic water. Another local gem is Chico Hot Springs Resort. Located in the heart of Paradise Valley, just north of Yellowstone, the hot springs at Chico flow into two open-air mineral pools with temperatures that fluctuate slightly due to natural elements.
Yellowstone National Park
Explore the natural wonders of the country's first national park during the winter season. Choose from activities like snowshoeing, backcountry cross-country skiing or wolf and wildlife watching, or sign up for a guided snowmobile or snowcoach tour. Established in 1872, and covering 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone National Park is the obvious namesake of Montana’s Yellowstone Country. Populated by a large variety of wildlife, including both grizzly and black bears, moose, elk, bison, wolves, eagles and a number of other species, it also provides the backdrop for a large number of geologic and geothermal features, such as geysers, hot springs, rivers, waterfalls and canyons that are the iconic signatures of the park. The park is home to more than 300 different species of birds and its blue-ribbon streams and rivers host Brook, Brown, Cutthroat and Rainbow trout. Lodging options, including camping, cabins, and hotels exist within the park and in the gateway cities of West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cooke City.
Known as the Snowmobile Capital of the World, the areas of West Yellowstone, Cooke City and Yellowstone National Park are to snowmobiling what Sturgis is to motorcycling. Early season snowfalls—as well as consistent late-season snow, and over 600 miles of groomed trails—mean that sledding conditions are unparalleled for a snowmobiling vacation in “America’s Winter Playground." A snowmobile tour of America’s first National Park is an adventure you'll never forget. It’s an opportunity to see eagles, bison, wolves, elk, and numerous other animals up close, as well as a way to explore the geologic and geothermal features of the park from a vantage point few others can attest to.
On the eastern side of Yellowstone Country, Cooke City is one of the most desirable areas in the world for snowmobiling, receiving an average of 500+ inches of snow per year with 60 miles of groomed trails. Trails like Daisy Pass take riders up to 10,000 feet for beautiful mountain views and a panoramic over the Beartooth backcountry, while Henderson Mountain trail takes you to great high marking peaks and meadows of deep powder with some of the world’s best tree riding. Round Lake Trail leads to more tree filled meadows, while Lulu Pass Trail heads into old mining country and takes you over the top to the best backcountry riding in the Western States. Not only can you ride in the Cooke City area, but you can also access the Beartooth Mountain Range—referred to as the Top of the World. The Beartooths offer expansive meadows, hill climbing and spectacular scenery where you'll literally feel like you're on top of the world.