Pros: price, friendly atmosphere, good food, family oriented
Cons: snow, small, family oriented
This is my home area, where I've skied for the past 11 years and where I teach. The area was family owned from 1960, when it opened, until three years ago when it was purchased by JMA which also owns Alpine Meadows and Homewood Mountain Resort near Lake Tahoe. Season passes for RLM are also valid at those areas, but if you ski more at those two areas than at RLM, the season pass will be revoked. RLM has a wide variety of terrain including plenty of double black chutes and glades, bump runs, and lots of groomed runs including some groomed black runs. The beginner area now has a "magic carpet" which makes teaching younger kids a lot easier than the old rope tow with embedded plastic handles. There is a terrain park but since I don't ski there I can't comment on it. There are no accommodations at the area so people who come from out of town stay in Red Lodge which is about 6 miles away or Billings which is about 60 miles away. The base area has a rental and repair shop, cafeteria, bar/cafe, which has live music most Saturdays, as well as a small shop for necessities people might forget. There is also a cafeteria at midway that serves food and beer/wine. The food at all three places is quite good, better than most areas I've skied. RLM also has what is considered the most extensive snow making operation in the western US which is good considering that traditionally it gets most of its snow late in the season. Tickets for 2010-11 season are only $49 which is pretty cheap compared to some other areas in Montana and Wyoming. When the snow is good, this is a great place to ski and the only place one generally encounters a wait at a lift is at the two lifts that serve the base area. There are two high speed quads, one in the Cole Creek area and the other in the Palisades area. There is one triple chair and three double chairs. The main lodge can get taken over by families bringing their coolers and non-skiing relatives who then camp out at tables on the main floor of the lodge even though they are supposed to only use the upper floor. I try to avoid the main lodge at lunch time on weekends for that reason.