Skiing in Montana: a Hidden Gem
Montana houses approximately 1 million people within its borders, most of who know all about the various options of winter recreation available, namely skiing and snowboarding. The massive mountains that extend through the state of Montana reach some of the highest heights and offer some of the best snow in North America. This allows a plethora of ski and snowboard resorts to be constructed. These ski resorts have grown to be some of the better places to ski in the nation. However, outside of Montana, the multiple exceptional ski resorts on the mountains of the northern Rockies go relatively unnoticed. Skiing in Montana has become somewhat of a hidden gem.
When the best places to ski in North America is brought up, Montana is usually not part of the conversation. Big names are brought up to the table, the more popular resorts and mountains that nearly every skier has heard of, such as Whistler (B.C.), Jackson Hole (WY), Vail (CO), Squaw Valley(CA), Aspen (CO), Alta/Snowbird (UT), Mammoth (CA), and many more. These mountains are all very big, get lots of snow, and offer exceptional skiing and snowboarding. Most of them are also known for something, they are famous for a reason. For example, the powder is so good in Utah that Alta/Snowbird is where modern-day powder skiing techniques were created, as well as were avalanche control techniques were created and refined. These two large resorts that are connected by a tram give truth to the motto on the Utah license plate ‘the best snow on earth’. Another example is Squaw Valley, which gained huge popularity from the game of G.N.A.R. and Shane McConkey. The California resort gained massive popularity from the don’t-care attitude, his fame, and his love of Squaw. According to many athletes and experts who have researched some of the best mountains in North America have rated mountains in Montana just as well as these famous slopes, the difference is that the general public does not know this. Outside of Montana the casual skier might have heard of Whitefish or Big Sky ski resorts, but many athletes and experts will have heard of the Big Sky, a resort that is very big, and offers some of the best big mountain skiing on the continent, second in vertical to only Whistler in all of North America. Located an hour south of Bozeman in small town Big Sky, Montana, the mountain offers some of the most varied big mountain skiing. It is one of the biggest skiing resorts that has some of the least crowded runs. The lack of popularity or fame makes the slopes of Big Sky open and far from crowded. “Big Sky has arguably the most Alpine terrain of any U.S. resort, and with only 2,000 skiers a day… it gives skiers and snowboarders so much space they can feel positively lonely” (Kelton). While in the city, combining Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks creates an ever bigger and greater skiing experience. “With more than 30 lifts, 4,350 vertical feet and 5,750 total acres of skiing, the combination of Moonlight with Big Sky and Spanish Peaks resorts makes skiing Big Sky bigger and better. Big Sky offers instant access to some of the most diverse skiing and snowboarding amid breathtaking vistas. Float down a 2,000-vertical-foot, powder-filled bowl beneath Lone Peak, bob and weave through the Bavarian Forest, or ride the Lone Peak Tram for a bird’s-eye view of untamed wilderness. You’ll find almost twice as many acres as skiers” (Khameneh). For hardcore skiers the challenger chair and the tram offer steep slopes and dangerous runs, more intermediate trails run through the woods on the lower mountain for family friendly skiing. A study from the experts at Skiing magazine rating the top 25 individual ski resorts in North America had an overall score of number seven on the list. They came to this conclusion after taking input from readers of their magazine (a rather educated population in terms of skiing) and professional skiers and snowboarders, athletes. The...
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