At Red Lodge Mountain & Discovery Ski Area
Montana has an unpretentious, accessible ski culture that’s ideal for families that want a true winter experience. Ski areas across the state offer affordable lodging and package rates that include rentals and lessons, and varied terrain that suits everyone’s needs. Discovery Ski Area, 18 miles south of Philipsburg, and Red Lodge Mountain, about 60 miles southwest of Billings in the Beartooth Mountains, are two quaint ski areas—especially for kids. Both are situated near charming Western towns and have fun events, slopes, and amenities the whole family will enjoy.
Red Lodge’s Miami Beach is a whole lot more kid-friendly than its more well-known counterpart of the same name. Montana’s version is a very low-angle green circle run that’s ideal for children and adults who are learning to ski. The ski area sells tickets to access just the Miami Beach double chair. All-day tickets for kids ages 6 to 12 on this lift are only $15. Meanwhile, the magic carpet is also free for anyone and kids 5 and under always ski and snowboard for free throughout the ski area. For those ready to graduate to blue squares, the Palisades quad offers a friendly stepping stone. The Columbine and Paradise runs are both slow rolling groomers with little risk. Of course, it isn’t all pizzas and french fries at Red Lodge. Skiers looking for something a little more challenging will have plenty to explore, too. The Grizzly Peak chair tops out at 9,416 feet and accesses steeper blue circles and easier black diamonds. The zone is a natural progression from the blue squares off of the Triple and Willow Creek chairs. Want it spicier yet? The Cole Creek quad leads to a number of steeper, narrower double-black diamonds, like the tight trees in the Headwaters.
At Discovery, the experience is the quintessential Montana ski experience: authentic, big-hearted, family-oriented and lots of challenging, fun terrain full of untracked powder. Beginners should start on the Easy, Totemoff, or Jubilee chairs, where green circle and blue square groomers are perfect for getting comfortable linking turns together. When those runs feel natural, the Rumsey and Anaconda chairs access steeper blues and a few less technical blacks. As much as Discovery is known for how it caters to family, its wild terrain on the backside is equally as famous. The lifts at Discovery access 2,200 acres and 2,388 vertical feet of skiing, none of which has more sustained, steep fall line skiing than the runs off the Granite and Limelight chairs. For steep trees, narrow chutes and sporty lines, the backside of Discovery, in particular the double-black diamonds from Limelight, are as technical as any lift-accessed terrain in Montana. Hit it on a powder day and the experience could be enough to keep you in Philipsburg forever