If you love to ski or snowboard, then you’re probably already considering Montana as your next vacation destination. The state offers a wide selection of ski resorts with slopes and runs catering to beginners and advanced skiers. After a long day of skiing, return to your Montana vacation rental and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate next to the warm fireplace. Whether you’re looking for a popular resort or a low-key ski area, Montana has something for everyone. Here’s a look at the six top ski resorts in Montana.

1. Big Sky Ski Resort

Sun beaming over snowy slope
Source: Flickr/Ian D Keating

More advanced skiers flock to Big Sky Ski Resort for its slew of black diamond and double black diamond trails. However, the resort offers a variety of trails open to all skill levels, including beginners. This large resort offers almost 300 trails and more than 30 lifts to take you to the packed powder snow trails. Take a break from the slopes to spend an afternoon on a dog sled, or opt for a horse-drawn sleigh ride through this white wonderland. Join the group for a snowshoe tour. Even in the winter months, you can take a thrill ride on the zip line courses or opt to navigate a ropes course high above the ground. The Solace Spa and Salon offers massages to work out any sore muscles after a couple of days of skiing.

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2. Whitefish Mountain Resort

skiing across the snow
Source: Flickr/Paul Jerry

Looking for a laid-back vibe to go with your days of skiing? Whitefish Mountain Resort fits the bill as an old-school resort with three mountain faces to give you the trails you want. This resort offers great value for the money, more than 100 ski runs of varying skill levels, and 14 lifts to take you to the fresh powder snow. The Kids Center offers daycare services for infants along with activities for older children who don’t ski. Practice your jumps and tricks at the park’s terrain area. After the sun goes down, this mountain lights up and three of the lifts run skiers up the mountain for a little night skiing. Since the area sees many late afternoon snowstorms, this can actually let you ski on the freshest snow.

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3. Bridger Bowl Ski Area

majestic view of snowy trees and mountains
Source: Flickr/Bensonk42

The Bridger Bowl Ski Area is perfect for all levels of skiers; however, its a much more intimate ski area than many of the others in the state. This resort is close to Bozeman, so it’s ideal if you’re flying in from out of state. Expert skiers enjoy the lift that requires a beacon to find you and take you up the mountain. Ski one of the 105 trails, and use the eight lifts to navigate the area. It’s easy to select a vacation rental in Bozeman and use the Bridger Bowl’s carpool bus to go skiing each day of your trip. Each year, an average of 350 inches of fresh snow falls on the resort that offers a terrain park and has a run that measures three miles from the top to the base.

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4. Red Lodge Mountain

trees along the snowy slope
Source: Flickr/Kate Brady

Red Lodge Mountain features seven lifts and 70 trails of machine-groomed ski slopes of varying skill levels. This unique ski area dates back to the 1960s when it was founded by a local group of skiers in the Silver Run Ski Club. Many adults enjoy a class of Pints and Poses Yoga in a yurt at the ski area that combines a yoga class with an excuse to enjoy a pint of your favorite ale. Enroll in one of the frequent races held at this ski area. On the weekends, tap your toes to the Live Music in the ‘Stube that features a variety of genres of music depending on the date. Each year, there’s a day-long Winter Carnival with a different theme that includes a snow parade and other fun activities.

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5. Montana Snowbowl

cutting through the snow on skis
Source: Facebook/Montana Snowbowl

This old-school ski area is not the spot for beginners or families with young children who are just getting their legs on skis. Montana Snowbowl doesn’t have all the amenities of the larger resorts, but it offers some amazing trails for advanced and expert skiers, and the crowd is one of the more serious skiers. The ski area offers 37 trails but only four lifts to get up the mountain. If you enjoy the packed-powder snow, then these are trails for you. Missoula is only about 12 miles from the area, so those flying in from out of town don’t have far to go. In fact, there’s a shuttle bus from the ski area to the Missoula area. Friday afternoons in January are dedicated to women who want to ski, and only females are allowed on the trails.

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6. Discovery Ski Area

stunning overhead view of snowy trees
Source: Flickr/Javier Carcamo

Located in Philipsburg, Discovery Ski Area includes three mountain faces so that no matter your experience level, there’s a trail for you. Choose one of the 70 trails for skiing or snowboarding on fresh powder, and ride up on one of the eight lifts. The on-site equipment rental stores allow locals to rent their equipment for the entire season to save the hassle of picking it up on each trip. The ski school offers lessons for children as young as 3 years old and a five-week school for adults. If you prefer Nordic skiing, there are backcountry trails for cross-country skiing.

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