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10 Reasons Why We Love Montana in the Winter

When the snow hit Montana in September this year, we were especially glad to see it. Snow marks the end of fire season and the beginning of ski season.  Along with skiing, Montanan’s find other fun things to do in the winter months. Check out our top 10 below. 


A Visit to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a natural wonder at any time of the year, but it is especially magical in the winter. You can take an actual sleigh ride through snow-blanketed, awe-inspiring wilderness and make lasting memories of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Want to see something really neat? Mount some cross country skis and trek to your favorite geyser in Yellowstone.  A much less crowded view of the natural wonder is enough to make me glide through the park on skinny skis. You can also tent camp at Mammoth Campground, the park’s only campground that is open year-round.

Downhill Skiing

Bridger Bowl

Bridger Bowl Ski Area is a staff favorite. One of Montana’s smaller downhill ski areas, Bridger is known for its fluffy, “cold smoke” snow and offers some of the best skiing in Montana. The ski hill with a 2,700-foot vertical rise officially opens Friday, December 8, this year and I have a feeling some of our team will be up on the chairlift on opening day instead of in their offices. Bridger Bowl is also a non-profit ski area which is another reason it is unique.  The mission of The Bridger Bowl Foundation is to provide funding for recreational activities and educational programs at Bridger Bowl that facilitate skill development and improve life experiences for present and future generations of area residents throughout southwest Montana. How cool is that?  A ski hill with social responsibility.

Discovery Ski Area

Discovery Ski Area is located just minutes from my favorite Montana small town, Phillipsburg.  This ski area is centrally located in the western half of the state and offers a family-friendly atmosphere. Disco offers something for every skill level and is always a good time. Après ski, soak your bones at Fairmont Hot Springs in Anaconda. To top off your trip, stop at Philipsburg Brewing or Quarry Brewing in Butte on your way home.

A Visit to Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park in the winter is a spectacular site and you practically have the park to yourself. The pristine beauty of the “Crown Jewel of the Continent” in its solitude is even more impressive in the winter. You can enter Glacier from the east or the west side of the park in the winter but you cannot drive completely over Going to the Sun Road which is closed just inside entrances because removal of the massive amounts of snow is impossible. The park offers ranger-led snowshoe tours for more access in the winter months. It may be chilly, but Glacier is an incredible sight to see for the cold-weather explorer, especially when the lakes are frozen over in the winter and snow-capped mountains are visible in all directions.

Cross Country Skiing

One of our favorite places to cross country ski in Montana is at Homestake Lodge located high on the Continental Divide. With 35 kilometers of trails to choose from, guests can enjoy hours and hours of cross country skiing while enjoying Montana’s beautiful landscape.  Homestake Lodge is actually in its own private valley near Whitehall and they even offer dog-friendly trails so you can ski with your best friend.

Dog Sledding

Spirit of the North Dogsled Adventures

Spirit of the North Dogsled Adventures located at Moonlight Basin at Big Sky is a unique way to see the Montana wilderness this winter.  Dog sled adventurers will enjoy an up-close view of Lone Peak, the crown of Big Sky Resort, and the Spanish Peaks. Alaskan Huskies will pull you along with their energy and excitement that is a sight in itself.

Race to the Sky

Every February, Helena celebrates the Race to the Sky. A Montana tradition since 1989, it is an Iditarod Qualifier. Race to the Sky commemorates the Camp Rimini War Dog Reception and Training Center just outside of Helena. Dogs were used during World War II at Camp Rimini; it was set up as a training camp so the soldiers could invade Norway. The invasion of Norway was canceled but the efforts of the dogs and soldiers were used in search and rescue operations. They were sent to Newfoundland, Baffinland, Labrador, Greenland, and even Alaska to retrieve equipment and supplies from downed airplanes in remote areas.

Natural Hot Springs

Elkhorn Hot Springs

Looking for something off the beaten path in your hot springs travels?  Elkhorn Hot Springs could be right for you. Located in near Dillon in Southwest Montana, Elkhorn Hot Springs offers cabins, natural pools, and a friendly atmosphere to enjoy your soak.  The springs offer ski and stay packages with Maverick Mountain (another downhill ski area in Montana) in the winter.  The hot springs is primitive, but it could just be your new favorite spot this winter.

Norris Hot Springs

Another unique hot spring for you adventure seekers is Norris Hot Springs in the Madison River Valley. This hot spring has wooden planks lining the pool to offer some rustic charm to the “Water of the Gods.”  The springs offer regular live music for soakers to enjoy with no harsh chemicals used to clean the pool. Soaking in hot springs is a long-treasured Montana tradition and Norris offers a great experience.

Ice Climbing

For the true adventure seeker, Hyalite Canyon offers ice climbing on frozen waterfalls. Yes, this actually exists. A fast-growing hobby for Bozmanites, ice climbing can begin as early as October depending on how fast the waterfalls freeze. Hyalite Canyon has over 250 routes for ice climbers with difficulty ranging from moderate to “only a true professional should try this” routes.  Just down the road from Hyalite Canyon, Bozeman hosts the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival every December. The festival offers events in-town as well as clinics up Hyalite Canyon.

Get out there and enjoy some of the awesomeness that Montana has to offer this winter.  Also, let us know what your favorite winter time activities are by reaching out on social media.

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