Why Bozeman Is One Of The West's Best Ski Towns

In the heart of Montana’s Big Sky Country, you’ll find a captivating small city just a short distance from two entrances to Yellowstone National Park and surrounded by skiable mountains in all directions. That’s right, we’re talking about Bozeman, Montana, a place that’s long been recognized by adventure enthusiasts as a veritable outdoor playground but is quickly becoming known for much more. 

If skiing and mountain sports are your passion, you’ll find two world-class ski resorts, Big Sky Resort and Bridger Bowl, both within an hour’s drive of downtown Bozeman. A plethora of backcountry and cross-country skiing spots are also nearby, offering excellent terrain for experienced athletes as well as opportunities for anyone brand new who wants to give snow sports a try. And if that’s not enticing enough for you, there are dozens more reasons why Bozeman is truly one of the best ski towns in the West. Keep reading to find out why!


Explore Big Sky’s Ski Runs and Backcountry

Big Sky Resort features more than 5,800 acres of terrain and an impressive vertical drop of 4,350 feet. One of the largest ski resorts in the U.S. in terms of acreage, Big Sky encompasses four large mountains connected by chairlifts and offers European-like skiing with powder stashes and minimal wait time. Big Sky fans eagerly await the opening of the new Lone Peak Tram, which will have a capacity of 75 people and offer panoramic views of the mountains. The tram, which is expected to open during the 2023-24 season, is just the beginning of an ambitious “lift system overhaul” that will transform the Big Sky experience, to be completed by 2025. 


Wine and Dine in Big Sky Village

After a fantastic day of skiing the slopes, nothing makes the après-ski scene like a hot meal, a strong drink and relaxing with friends. Big Sky boasts an impressive selection of options for wining and dining. Local favorites include Montana Jack for burgers and craft beers, Scissorbills Saloon for live music, drinks and a quick snack and the Carabiner Lounge, where large windows and a big deck offer the perfect respite to relax and watch the snow fall. Big Sky’s first microbrewery, Lone Peak Brewery, offers 12 taps with rotating seasonal and award-winning brews.


Ski With The Locals At Bridger Bowl

Bridger Bowl is known as the ski hill that locals prefer. A vertical rise of 2,700 feet and 2,000 skiable acres of terrain challenge even ski-savvy Bozeman residents, and with an average snowfall of 350 inches, odds are good that visiting skiers will get a chance to sample the mountain’s famous powder conditions, too. One quad, five triple, and two double chairlifts mean it’s easy to move around the mountain, and a terrain park keeps trick-happy athletes occupied, too.



Get Going With Cross-Country Skiing

Locals know the best-groomed cross-country trails are a mere 20-minute drive from downtown Bozeman in the Bridger Mountains. Crosscut Mountain Sports Center (formerly Bohart Ranch) offers a scenic, relaxed cross-country skiing experience through gorgeous trails teeming with wildlife. Over 30 kilometers of regularly groomed trails over varying terrain offer classic and skate-style tracks for beginners and advanced skiers alike. If you prefer to stay closer to home (and by that, we mean Bozeman), the Bridger Ski Foundation grooms community Nordic ski trails at six venues in town, including the easily accessible Bridger Creek Golf Course and Sunset Hills Trails. Local ski shops offer half-day and daily rentals of cross-country ski gear, making it easy for anyone to enjoy cross-country skiing in Bozeman.



Fuel Up With a Bozeman Breakfast

It is essential to fill your tank with a yummy, energy-giving breakfast before a day on the slopes. Fortunately, Bozeman doesn’t slack in the breakfast department. Many downtown, cafes⸺including Wild Joe’s Coffeehouse, Treeline, Rockford, Studio Coffee, and the Daily⸺offer expertly made espresso drinks as well as quick but hearty breakfast options. If you’re looking for a more leisurely, sit-down meal, try Jam, Feed Cafe, Nova, or the Western. We don’t have a favorite; they’re all really that good. 


Take a Soak in a Hot Spring

When the air feels icy cold, sometimes it’s best to retreat to a soothing, natural hot springs. The recently renovated Bozeman Hot Springs, located 15 minutes from downtown in nearby Four Corners, has been around for more than 100 years and offers multiple indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, food and more. Or try Norris, Chico, Boulder, or Yellowstone Hot Springs...whatever your mood or vibe, Bozeman has a nearby hot springs that will float your boat.



Snowshoe Hyalite Canyon

Hyalite Canyon is a year-round favorite of Bozeman locals. A leisurely drive up the canyon road leads to a scenic reservoir and a selection of trails offering bountiful wintertime options. Choices include a marked trail system and an endless supply of wintery backcountry. Grotto Falls Trail #42, a short hike leading to a scenic frozen waterfall, is the perfect option for a post-brunch stroll in the snow.


Enjoy Life in Bozeman

While Bozeman’s easy access to incredible skiing is enough for it to easily qualify as one of the best ski towns in the West, we think that part of what makes it exceptional is that there are so many fabulous things going on off the mountain, too. In Bozeman proper, you’ll find world-class dining, amazing shopping, exciting nightlife, engaging entertainment, plus rest and relaxation opportunities galore. So even if you’re here to ski, be sure you get to spend some time in Bozeman, where the magic of Montana is happening all day, every day. 


We know that you can’t wait to get to Bozeman! Check our guide to lodging at VisitBozeman.com to find the perfect place to stay. 


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