The police report offerings have been unimpressive lately (though there was a report last week of a search for a women clad only in a hat wandering around late at night in freezing temperatures) so, instead, after a fresh six inches of snow over the last 24 hours, this Saturday we’ll have a look at this National Geographic story that picked Bozeman, Montana as one of the 25 best ski towns in the world.
We’re #4 after Zermatt, Switzerland in a series that, apparently, is in no particular order.
Best For: Diehard skiers who wear their duct tape with pride (and beginners who look forward to doing the same someday)
The adventure capital of the Northern Rockies, Bozeman is an old Montana university town of cowboys and ski bums, pickups and unleashed dogs, and two of the premier ski hills in America. More of a working town than a traditional “ski town,” here overpriced lodges and fine dining are the exception, though there are a few high-end options and classically trained chefs. But being Bozeman, there’s nowhere you can’t wear blue jeans.
You don’t come here for the restaurants, you come to ski the two wild Montana mountains. Bridger Bowl is the storied, scruffy little brother, a condo-free, nonprofit ski area 20 minutes out of town and where some of America’s original extreme skiers—Scot Schmidt, Tom Jungst, and Doug Coombs—cut their teeth and began preaching the steep skiing gospel. Hardcore skiers flock here for The Ridge, hiking terrain with a murderer’s row of hairball chutes, and the new Schlasman’s Lift accessing expert-only, backcountry-style terrain (avalanche transceivers required for both).
An hour’s drive south of town in the majestic Madison Range, Big Sky Resort is the brash, lusty big brother, a gigantic ski area that offers joint lift tickets with the adjacent Moonlight Basin to create one of the largest ski areas in America. The tram to the vaulting, exposed 11,166-foot summit of Lone Peak opens up a Euro-style world of high-alpine, big-mountain skiing. Beginners and intermediates will find plenty of terrain at both, with Big Sky the deluxe option and the smaller Bridger a no-frills, low-cost choice. Yellowstone National Park, a 60-minute drive away, features back-of-beyond cross-country skiing and wildlife watching.
We spend a fair amount of time at Bridger Bowl where season passes are unbelievably affordable. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle ran this story the other day on having achieved this honor and Whitefish, Montana in the northwest corner of the state was also selected.