This article, and distribution, was paid for by Visit Montana and produced in conjunction with POWDER.
ABOUT 45 MINUTES SOUTH OF BOZEMAN, Big Sky Resort is known for its immense size, consistent snow and modern slopeside accommodations. Whitefish Mountain Resort, which is only 26 miles from Glacier International Airport in Kalispell, has some of the best tree skiing in the country, a quintessential ski town and legendary après. Both resorts also offer great skiing for any ability, fantastic restaurants and options for other forms of outdoor adventure, like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The ride to the 11,166-foot summit of Big Sky’s Lone Peak, a pyramidal mountain that dominates the skyline, is almost as breathtaking as the skiing it offers. This is one of the most unique ski experiences in North America—a massive playground of steep, technical descents, wide-open powder fields and the bucket list-worthy Big Couloir. Of course, with 5,800 skiable acres, 4,350 vertical feet, limited crowds and 36 lifts at its disposal, Big Sky has plenty of terrain for every type of skier. The rolling groomers of Andesite Mountain are as great for families as Lone Peak is for thrill seekers, and the deck surrounding Everett’s 8800 is an amazing spot for hot cocoa (get a bloody mary for yourself); the perfectly spaced trees off the Challenger Triple and Lone Tree Quad hold powder for days after a storm. There are so many distinct areas throughout Big Sky, comparisons to the Alps aren’t far off—it’s so big and varied, it certainly has what any skier is looking for on any given day.
Andiamo Italian Grille
Located at the base of the ski area, this casual fine-dining spot has delightful pastas and entrées, like the wild boar rack and veal chop.
Gallatin Riverhouse Grill
In Meadow Village, eight miles down the road from the resort, Riverhouse has great bbq, especially the ribs, and live music.
Arguably some of the best Thai food of any ski area in the U.S., Lotus Pad offers fresh Asian cuisine with original spices and creative dishes.
Ousel & Spur Pizza Co.
A casual dining spot right in the Meadow Village, this spot features authentic thin-crust Italian pizza, including the Montanan, which includes locally sourced elk sausage.
A short walk from the base area, this local classic includes the usuals—affordable beer, bar food (try the chicken wings) and salty bartenders.
A popular après spot, the Carabiner sits right at the base and often features live music to pair with pub food fare and good drinks.
Wash down a delicious burger with one of 30 beers on tap at the base of the lifts.
Lone Peak Cinema
Right next door to Ousel & Spur and Lotus Pad in the Meadow Village, this independently owned theater features a full bar and happy hour.
Whitefish Mountain Resort perfectly reflects one of the most beautiful stretches of wilderness in the country. The dramatic pitches of Hellroaring Basin, East Rim and Connie’s drop into lower angle glades like those found off the new Chair 11 or wide groomers like Big Ravine, Toni Matt and Inspiration. A day exploring all this terrain will help you understand why people fall in love with the mountains of northern Montana. New to skiing? The resort has one of the premier ski schools in the country—especially for kids. This is the backyard resort for the passionate outdoorsmen and women of nearby Whitefish, which may be why the mountain allows uphill traffic. Check the trail maps for designated routes and, for a real challenge, try earning your turns for a morning. Regardless of whether you skin up or take the lift, don’t miss the view of Glacier National Park from Chair 1. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world.
One of the top culinary experiences in the region, this local gem has been operating for 28 years and is a great place for creative fine dining.
Whitefish Lake Restaurant
Built in 1934 as part of FDR’s new deal, this restaurant on the golf course is a bit off the main drag and a nice alternative with good food and views.
Located in downtown Whitefish, this is a great casual dining spot with a diverse menu full of delicious options.
Wasabi Sushi Bar
Sushi in a ski town? Chef Phil aims to please and surprise with delicious sushi after a long day skiing and riding.
The Hellroaring Saloon
Order a plate of nachos and toast the mountain’s oldest building, constructed in 1949.
Enjoy one of the best ski bars in the country, where dancing in ski boots shoulder to shoulder with strangers is encouraged.
Spotted Bear Spirits
A new, locally owned distillery that produces its own whiskey and vodka.
The Great Northern Bar & Grill
Entertaining locals and tourists since 1919, The Northern is an ideal spot to have one more beer after dinner, or anytime, especially when live music is on the bill. The bar also serves pretty good hamburgers, has 29 beers on tap and $2 tall-boy Kokanees every Tuesday.