Missoula Events

Discovery Ski Area to open December 14

Discovery Ski AreaWHAT: Discovery Ski Area will open its front side for early-season skiing and snowboarding on Saturday, Dec. 14. The mountain will be open seven days a week the rest of the season. Accessing the area’s extensive beginner and intermediate runs, Discovery will run its Jubilee Chairlift, Easy Chair and Totemoff Magic Carpet opening weekend, as well as additional lifts as snow conditions allow. Visit www.skidiscovery.com for early-season discount lift ticket prices.

WHEN: Saturday, December 14, 2013

WHERE: Discovery Ski Area, Philipsburg, Mont.

THIS SEASON: For the 2013-14 season, Discovery is offering a discounted 5-Pack pass, which includes five transferable lift tickets for $175. These passes will be on sale through Dec. 25, and are available for purchase online at www.skidiscovery.com and in Missoula at Bob Wards and The Trail Head, as well as at Bob Wards in Helena and Butte. Regular-season adult, full-day lift tickets will be $40. Beginner skiers and boarders of all ages can ride the Easy Chair for $12 daily and the Totemoff Magic Carpet for free. Children 5 and younger accompanied by an adult can ski anywhere on the mountain at no cost.

To stay updated on snow conditions throughout the season, visit www.skidiscovery.com, or subscribe to email snow alerts from the website.

About Discovery Ski Area
Discovery offers the best of Montana’s most diverse terrain, from beginner runs perfect for learning to shred to advanced and expert lines that challenge the most experienced powder hounds. The area’s 2,200 acres, 2,388 vertical feet and 67 trails are all accessed from eight lifts that span the mountain’s three faces. www.skidiscovery.com

Grand Targhee Resort 120” of natural snowfall to date

(Alta, WY – December 6, 2013) Grand Targhee Resort has some of the most snow in the US and the most snow in the Northern Rockies. Powder chasers from across the nation have been descending upon Grand Targhee Resort for some of the best early season conditions. The resort opened 100% of their terrain for their 45th winter season on November 22, 2013 with 97” and powder turns for all. Grand Targhee Resort is currently leading the Northern Rockies with the most snowfall and some of the most snow in the United States. To date the resort has seen 120” and is sitting on a 58” base. The season continues to deliver powder turns and fresh snow. Tony Perez from The Arbor Collective said, “This is my 26th day at a few different resorts and Grand Targhee has the best conditions so far.”


Thursday, December 5 was opening day for Grand Targhee’s Snowcat Adventures. The snow cat was full of anxious skiers and riders who were excited to enjoy 2 feet of fresh snow. Early season Snowcat Adventure packages are on sale now through December 19 and start at $413 per person. Package includes 3 nights lodging, 1 full day cat skiing and 1 full day lift skiing.


With cold temps and predictions of frequent snow in the Rockies, Grand Targhee Resort is settling in well for winter. The resort’s value priced Stay and Ski Free package offers slopeside accommodations for skiers and riders who are chasing the powder. Room and lift ticket packages start at $65 per person, per night when booking 4 or more nights. With 7 plus inches expected through the weekend, the conditions continue to be great for early season skiers and riders.


Rocky Birdsey, from Truckee California, recently visited Grand Targhee Resort and said, “After watching the jet stream pass up California, I packed up the car and headed to Grand Targhee Resort. From the conditions and employees to the rooms and dining, Grand Targhee met and exceeded all my expectations. I will definitely make another early season trip.”


Opening day: Lost Trail Powder Mountain kicks off 75th season of skiing

David Bacon of Missoula got some air on Thursday, the opening day of the 75th season at Lost Trail Powder Mountain on the Montana/Idaho border south of Darby. DAVID ERICKSON - Ravalli Republic

David Bacon of Missoula got some air on Thursday, the opening day of the 75th season at Lost Trail Powder Mountain on the Montana/Idaho border south of Darby.
DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic

LOST TRAIL PASS – There are certain mythical days on the mountain – when the sky is deep blue, the pristine powder is piled up waist-high and the cold air bites the lungs – that make every skier and snowboarder feel like they’ve won the lottery.

Thursday, the opening day of the 75th consecutive season at Lost Trail Powder Mountain south of Darby, was one of those days.

With an accumulated base of 53 inches of sugary snow and temperatures maxing out at no more than 5 degrees, the conditions at Lost Trail for the first day of the 2013-14 season were so perfect that everyone in the lift line at 9 a.m. had the same blissful grin on their face. The parking lot was only half full by lunchtime, so there was enough untouched cold smoke for everyone who wanted it. Every few minutes, the frozen air was pierced by the triumphant shouts of a powder addict getting their fix and releasing a dreary offseason’s worth of pent-up frustration.

“It’s a great opening day,” said Scott Grasser, who manages the ski hill with his sister Judy. “My foreman Justin thinks it’s the best we’ve had in 10 years, and I agree. It’s just absolutely insane out there. The cold temperature is helping the snow, so we’ll take it.”

Grasser, taking a break from changing out a beer keg, said that employees from other ski hills in Montana have been amazed at how much of the white stuff has fallen on Lost Trail’s slopes in the past few weeks.

“We’ve got folks here from Big Sky and Bridger, all over the place, and they are saying we have the best conditions in the state right now,” he said.

The first “Powder Thursday” of the year, as it’s known locally because the mountain is open Thursday through Sunday during the ski season, is always an occasion for catching up with the hill’s loyal customer base, according to Grasser.

“It’s just like all our family has come back for Christmas, it’s really cool,” he said.

The mountain first officially opened in the winter of 1937-38, and Grasser’s father, Bill, bought the ski hill in the late 1960s. The family has made numerous upgrades since then while avoiding the corporate feel that pervades many other resorts in Montana and Idaho. There are no electronic ticket-scanners, apparel shops or lattes to be found here.

This past summer, crews removed dead or diseased lodgepole pine from about 230 scattered acres on the mountain to ward off a mountain pine beetle infestation and to reduce safety hazards. The thinning left dozens of new 15-foot-wide trails through the remaining timber, which powderhounds eagerly took advantage of on Thursday. Grasser said he’s seen a lot of changes and improvements to the area over the years.

“From when I was a kid just having chairs 1 and 2, we’ve added chairs 3, 4 and 5,” Grasser said. “And all the thinning the new glades on the Idaho side are just epic.”

Judy Grasser said she looks forward to opening day every year.

“Today was really cool, watching all the season pass people come in,” she said. “The new terrain and everything, it’s really cool. The conditions are really good, other than the cold. This has been one of our better openings in quite some time. Obviously we have gotten a very nice snow niche. It’s a nice secret family.”

Aaron Hoffman of Salmon, Idaho, was definitely appreciative of the conditions and the new terrain as he exchanged high-fives with his buddies at the lodge during lunchtime.

“It’s a powder day to remember for sure,” he said. “It’s as good as we get normally like in January or February. I mean it was like three feet, easy. It was just soft snow. I could stick my pole all the way. And it’s like a new mountain with all the thinning they’ve done, it’s really great.”

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

Big Sky Resort hosts annual Military Appreciation Weekend

Big Sky, Mont. (December 4, 2013) – Big Sky Resort is hosting Military Appreciation Weekend, December 13-15, 2013, to thank our Armed forces for their service to our Country. Active duty or retired military men and woman ski or snowboard for free on Saturday and Sunday with military identification.
“It’s great, the fact that the resort recognizes the sacrifices these people have made, being away from family and Montana” commented Dick Fast, retired Air Force Colonel and ski instructor for Big Sky Resort.
Active duty and retired military with their immediate family receive discounts on lessons, activities and equipment rentals with military identification. Immediate family members receive $40 lift tickets on Saturday and Sunday. Military lodging specials are available for Friday and Saturday nights.
“This weekend is going to be extremely fun for our military families. It’s important for military families to be able to play together and what better way than skiing,” commented, Sheila Chapman, Big Sky Resort Public Relations Manager and daughter of retired Air Force Major, Craig Chapman.
Coinciding with the Military Appreciation Weekend is Big Sky Resort’s 40th Birthday Party. Celebrating with $40 lift tickets, live music all weekend, and free cake and ice cream on Sunday.
To learn more about the Military Appreciation Weekend, visit www.bigskyresort.com/events for more information.
About Big Sky Resort:
Big Sky Resort is owned by Boyne USA Resorts, a Michigan-based corporation and the largest family run four-season resort company in North America. Boyne USA Resorts owns and/or operates award-winning mountain and golf resorts and attractions throughout the United States and Canada including Cypress Mountain near Vancouver, British Columbia, official freestyle skiing and snowboard venue of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Big Sky Resort in Montana, Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, The Inn at Bay Harbor – A Renaissance Golf Resort and Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark in Michigan, Brighton in Utah, Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington, Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, Sugarloaf/USA and Sunday River Resort in Maine and Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Tennessee.

65th day of the 65th season at Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain celebrated the 65th day of its 65th season on chair 65 with Great Northern Brewing Company sales manager Orie Roberts, who rode the chair throughout the day doling out prizes.

Posted out on lift 65, Roberts made laps on Big Mountain’s Chair 1, riding to the summit and then circling back down to the lift station. Those lucky enough to hop on the chair with Roberts had the opportunity to answer trivia questions (a la the Discovery Channel’s television game show “Cash Cab”) and win prizes. To commemorate the occasion, bars on the mountain sold pints of beer for $.65.

Check out WMR’s video of the celebration here.

The Weather Channel lists WMR as a Top 10 Scenic Resort

Photo by Brian Schott

Whitefish Mountain Resort was named one of The Weather Channel’s “Ten Most Scenic Resorts,” ranking No. 6 on the list. It’s not difficult to see why.

A crystal clear day on the summit of Big Mountain reveals spectacular views into Glacier National Park, its snow-white fortress of mountains rising like a parapet to the east before intersecting the blue peaks of the Great Bear Wilderness. The diamond glitter of Flathead Lake can be spied to the south while Whitefish Lake lies at the foot of Big Mountain, and the Flathead Valley sprawls out below.

The Weather Channel describes the summit view: “Full 3-D views sweep from the ramparts of nearby Glacier National Park to Flathead Lake and the white spires of the Mission and Salish ranges.”

The number of blue bird days that afford such a panorama are limited in Whitefish, but a Big Mountain summit view is a breathtaking experience, indeed – whether it’s for the first time or the 50th – while steep glades flanked by Dr. Seuss-like “Snow Ghosts” make the descents just as visually stimulating.

It’s Winter Carnival in Whitefish, and that means Skijoring

Read a little about the history of skijoring in Whitefish, and why it’s one of the centerpieces of Whitefish Winter Carnival. Hint: it’s a lot of ski, a little “joring,” and a lot of hometown love.

New lifts coming to Bridger

James Woodcock/Billings Gazette

Bridger Bowl ski area has announced plans to spend $4.1 million on two new lifts this summer, which will more than double the capacity on the northern end of the ski area.

The new lifts will replace the 46-year-old Alpine double-chair lift, which carried about 1,100 skiers an hour, while the new triple-chairs will increase the haul capacity to 1,500 and 1,800 skiers per hour, respectively.

National Geographic’s “Digital Nomad” visits Whitefish

Photo by Andrew Evans

Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain was recently featured on National Geographic’s travel blog “Digital Nomad,” and blogger Andrew Evans chronicles his trip here. He writes about the trepidation of ascending Big Mountain having not skied in more than a year, and describes the awesome experience of gazing at Glacier National Park’s jagged peaks from the summit. Thanks for visiting, Andrew!

On Big Mountain, DREAM is a reality

It was an inspiring day skiing with these three gentlemen,who have lower-leg paralysis as the result of traumatic accidents. That doesn’t hold them back, and last week we were fortunate to ride the slopes with them as they tried the “sit-ski” for the first time.

Every day in the winter, children and adults with disabilities – both cognitive and physical – converge on Big Mountain seeking the opportunity to play outdoors through the DREAM program. DREAM is an acronym for Disabled Recreation Environmental Access Movement, and executive director Cheri DuBeau is trying to build the 27-year-old program to include year-round opportunities like rock climbing, biking, hiking and adaptive golf. Currently, there is the winter program and a summertime program that offers water skiing.