We've talked before about the many perks of settling in Belgrade. There is a reason this little town has proven to be incredibly popular with locals and those coming from out-of-town. Belgrade residents enjoy all the perks that await them in the sister city of Bozeman just a quick jaunt down the interstate while still enjoying that authentic, small-town Montana feel homeowners crave. Best of all? Some of the best skiing in the country exists just up the road, with more than one mountain an hour outside your backyard. Here are four ski destinations to visit within a short day-trip from Belgrade.
1. Bridger Bowl
The most conveniently located to Belgrade, Bridger Bowl is home to some truly fabulous Montana skiing. About thirty minutes down the interstate from Belgrade toward Bozeman, Bridger Bowl is the local hangout in southwest Montana. Less pricey than its counterpart in Big Sky, Bridger Bowl is a much more affordable option, making it ideal for larger groups and families. Don’t let the affordability fool you. These runs are anything but second-rate. The mountain, which can be seen from your Belgrade backyard, is home to over 2,000 acres of in-bound ski terrain, with 11 lifts to get you up the mountain.
For more advanced skiers, a heyday awaits. Bridger is known for its advanced terrain and challenging runs, as well as the cold smoke powder that will thrill any ski bum. If you are hoping to take a more laid-back route to running around the mountain, have no fear. Bridger Bowl offers plenty of beginner slopes for taking it easy. The best part? You can be on the road back to the home in time for dinner while still getting in a full day on the slopes!
2. Big Sky
For those who are willing to head out a little farther, Big Sky holds some of the best skiing in the country. Just an hour away, the scenic drive along the Gallatin River is half the pleasure of Big Sky. Your trip starts in the valley, where hills roll on as far as you can see, and eventually cuts through the canyon, the road lacing through staggering rock faces that plunge into the Gallatin River. Once you have made it to Big Sky, the real adventure begins. Lone Mountain awaits you, with 300 ski runs, 4,350 feet of vertical drop, 22 chair lifts, and nearly 6,000 acres of skiable terrain. It is no wonder they call this place the biggest skiing in America. Even in the busiest months, Big Sky still feels like a roomy spot with enough elbow room to really let go on the mountain.
3. Red Lodge Mountain
This one feels more like a best-kept secret when it comes to skiing in Montana. Red Lodge Mountain doesn’t attract the national tourist traffic the same way Big Sky does, which is exactly what makes it so enjoyable. Nestled in the Beartooth Mountains, Red Lodge Mountain prides itself on a no-nonsense, no-frills ski experience. Six chairlifts deliver skiers to over 70 different runs across 1,600 acres of skiable terrain. The mountain can comfortably hold more than 10,000 skiers an hour and the resort highly encourages more adventurous guests to seek out their own trails and make the most of the backcountry. A two-hour drive from Belgrade, this trip is worth getting out of the hustle and bustle.
4. Lost Trail Mountain
Like so many places across Montana, Lost Trail is a mountain with rich history. It earned its title from the expeditions of Lewis and Clark, who tried in vain to cross the mountain despite risky conditions that led to a few lost men and a few lost ways. For the last 80 years, however, locals have been enjoying the ski opportunities the mountain has to offer. Located in Sula, Montana, Lost Trail Mountain is a bit more tucked away than some of its neighboring geographical sites. You will not find many west coast visitors here. Instead, you will find locals who are less worried about having champagne in the warming hut and more about the inches of snowfall from the night before. When Owner Bill Grasser purchased the Lost Trail Ski Area, he wanted to create an environment that stood as a foil to the corporate, destination ski areas of other regions throughout the state. The result is a family-friendly mountain with great skiing and even better times to be had.
Try them all as you settle into your new home at Prescott Ranch – the gateway to Montana's winter wonderland.