From world-class skiing to soothing hot springs to national parks, Montana is an extraordinary Spring Break destination for families.
Longer days and warmer temperatures make springtime in Montana special, with plenty of ways to enjoy the snow.
Today, here’s a look at five Montana ski destinations, with suggestions for additional experiences to make your family’s visit even more memorable.
Discovery Ski Area
Discovery Ski Areais centrally located in the mountains of western Montana, close to four cities: Butte, Helena, Missoula and Bozeman.
Discovery is big, with 2,200 patrolled acres, 2,388 feet of vertical, 8 lifts and 67 trails.
From the base, you’ll see a ski area with long, broad runs for every ability. Go over the top of Rumsey Mountain and find steeps, moguls, trees and chutes, with 30 percent of the terrain rated double-black.
Spring Skiing at Discovery Ski Area
Stronger skiers and riders start spring days on the backside, which is north facing and has the best morning snow.
As the day warms, the south-facing front side softens up. Ski like a hero!
Go Nordic skiing at Echo Lake, with 14km of groomed and 15km of ungroomed cross-country ski trails.
Or, visit Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, with two soaking pools, two Olympic size pools, a waterslide, spa, steam rooms, fitness center, dining and lodging. They even offer family ski and stay packages and Spring Break discounts.
Maverick Mountain Ski Area
South of Butte and deep in the Pioneer Mountains, Maverick Mountain Ski Area has an unspoiled, friendly feel that suits locals and visitors just fine.
Maverick Mountain isn’t large, but it offers excellent value with 22 runs, 350 skiable acres, and 2,000 vertical feet. Terrain ranges from green to double-black, including a terrain park.
According to Erik Borge, Maverick’s General Manager, a big selling point is that “guests can ski all day without waiting in a lift line and the runs are never crowded.”
Maverick Mountain is open Thursday – Sunday through March 31. Adult full day lift tickets are $39 on weekends and just $29 on Thursdays and Fridays. Children’s tickets are $25.
Spring Skiing at Maverick Mountain
Bring your fat bike or demo one during the Fatty Fools Day Fat Bike Festival (March 30-31) and enjoy lift served bike access to the mountain and a banked slalom course just for bikes.
Stay at nearby Elkhorn Hot Springs, an enclave of rustic log cabins and an historic lodge. Relax and warm up in one of two geothermal hot pools or the indoor wet sauna.
Elkhorn Hot Springs is a popular basecamp for snowshoers, Nordic skiers and snowmobilers with many miles of trails winding through the surrounding Pioneer Mountains.
Big Sky Resort and Bridger Bowl
If you’re flying in, these two ski destinations near Bozeman offer fast access to spring skiing.
Spring Skiing at Big Sky
Springtime at Big Sky means live music. On April 6, enjoy a free concert featuring Galactic, a “pop ’n’ roll” band from New Orleans. Or, get your bluegrass on at the Big Sky Big Grass festival on April 11-14.
For deals, check out the 21 day Big Sky April Pass. Its $299 for unlimited April skiing and savings on resort lodging.
Spring Skiing at Bridger Bowl
We have friends in Bozeman who frequently ski Bridger Bowl.
When I asked their teenage son about spring skiing at Bridger Bowl, he offered this: “Paradise doesn’t have to be tropical. To me it’s a bluebird day on the mountain.”
Spring is busy at Bridger Bowl. Upcoming Bridger Bowl events include the Point and Chute Film Festival, the Spring Equinox Dual Giant Slalom, the Dirt Bag Ball, and the Carve Out Hunger food drive.
Closing day is April 7.
Don’t miss Bozeman Hot Springs. With twelve natural pools of varying temperatures, Bozeman Hot Springs is open from early morning to late night, six days a week with live music on Thursday and Sunday evenings. Please note that Bozeman Hot Springs closes at sundown on Friday nights.
The north entrance to Yellowstone National Park is nearby and spring can be a good time to snowshoe or cross-country ski while looking for wildlife in the Lamar Valley.
Whitefish Mountain Resort
Ranked by SKI Magazine as the #4 Family Friendly Resort in the West, Whitefish is known for being uncrowded and low-key with a genuine small town atmosphere.
I’ve written about family skiing at Whitefish recently, so follow the link for more information.
Spring Skiing at Whitefish
If your kids hanker to throw down in the park, come for the Fishbowl Slopestyle Series on March 23. Open to all, ages 8 and up, there is a division for those new to terrain park riding.
On March 30, crash test dummies take to the air during the Dummy Derby, while a closing weekend Pond Skim finishes out the season.
Try fat biking at Whitefish Bike Retreat, about 30 minutes from the ski resort. A year-round destination, Whitefish Bike Retreat grooms between 10-18 miles of fat bike trails. Bike rentals are available trailside.
Cross-country ski or snowshoe into the backcountry of Glacier National Park. Trails ranging in length from three to 16 miles, of varying difficulty, are found at six trailheads. The stunning scenery and gentle terrain at the Lake McDonald trailhead makes these trails especially rewarding.
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