Skip to main content



Guiding the Way to Adventure

Teacher inspires next generation of adventurers in the mountains of Montana


Guiding the Way to Adventure

In Training Ground, the latest installment in The Sky's the Limit video series from Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development, former professional skier Billy O'Donnell helps students find their full potential in the mountains of Montana. O'Donnell is the founder of RIDGE Mountain Academy, an American Gap Association accredited gap year enrichment program that focuses on mountain sports and education. Located in the world famous ski town of Whitefish, RIDGE Mountain Academy trains the next generation of elite mountain athletes and adventurers in a variety of areas-including skiing, snow science, mountain sports coaching, and more. Using the Rocky Mountains as a classroom, students are encouraged to discover their love for the outdoors and reach their full potential.

"To make an outdoor classroom you've got to have a great environment," said O'Donnell. "And that's really what we found here in Montana."

Billy's story highlights one of the many ways adventure seekers can find a guided experience in Montana. For more information about Montana's world-class ski areas for both beginner and experts, find a list of ski resorts here. For more story ideas, check out our list of six guided tours that bring you closer to Montana than ever before, which includes:

  • Snowcoach Tours -- Exploring Yellowstone in the winter doesn't have to be cold. Snowcoaches take you far into the country's first national park in style and comfort. For more information, find a list of snowcoach guides here.

  • Breweries and Distilleries -- Brewery and distillery tours offer a behind the scenes taste of local craft beers and unique Montana spirits. Go here for more information about brewery and distillery tours.

Check out our Flickr page for more photos of RIDGE Mountain Academy and contact us for interview requests.