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Bridger, Red Lodge or elsewhere (between Christmas and New Year's)?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi Folks:

 

We are planning to drive out from Minnesota to ski for a few days in Montana. I am an intermediate skier, my wife skied a lot as a kid but is just getting back into skiing.  My 13 y.o. son snowboards, and enjoys moderate terrain parks.  My 10 y.o. daughter likes to ski the black runs locally, but would probably like the greens and blues out west.  

 

We reserved a hotel/lift package at Bridger in Bozeman on the recommendation of a friend, but I am concerned about the lack of snow.  I hear the conditions are much better at Red Lodge currently.  Is Red Lodge fairly family-friendly?  Can anyone recommend a decent, reasonably priced place to stay around there?  Would it make any sense to stay in Billings?

 

Any other recommendations?  I am open to other suggestions, thought about Colorado, but that would probably be quite a bit more expensive, correct?

 

Thanks,

Brian

post #2 of 20

I do hear that Red Lodge has more snow at the moment.  You might go the the epic group page for that area of Montana.  The link is http://www.epicski.com/groups/show/3/bozemania.  Also, the "local" for Red Lodge is mtcyclist.  He could probably tell you more.

 

I personally have never been fond of staying in Billings, even though it's pretty much the only sensible choice when I drive to Denver to see my family.  I'd stay in Red Lodge myself.  I've been to Red Lodge twice, can't say I remember much about it, though.  I was there as a race parent, which sort of colors your experience a bit.  As I recall, the area did have possibilities, but I consider it to be more of the "locals" area than a destination area.  

post #3 of 20

The town of Red Lodge is a great little town with some good restaurants and a lively bar scene, probably something you're not interested in.  I really enjoy the town but there really isn't a lot to do there in the evening for families. They do have an old movie theater that gets movies in a couple months after most places get them.

 

The biggest drawback to the town is its limited lodging which leads to inflated prices in the summer....I'm not sure how the winter rates are. The drive from Red Lodge to Billings is 72 miles and an easy ride in the summer where it takes around an hour and 20 minutes in nice weather. It is prone to winds so I'm not sure I'd want to do it in the dark multiple days in a row in the winter.

 

Bridger has minimal snow right now, about the worst conditions for Xmas break I've seen in my 12 winters here. They need at least another foot of base to open up the decent intermediate terrain and more to open up the black terrain. They are predicting only a light snow between now and Xmas day.

 

 

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies sibhusky and Rio.

 

I hear that Big Sky has gotten some decent snow lately.  Seems like lodging is pretty expensive there.  Would it be a huge pain to stay in Bozeman and ski at Big Sky?  Is the drive a little over an hour in decent weather?

post #5 of 20

I saw the Big Sky is ADVERTISING, but I see lots of stuff poking through their snow....  Who knows?  The promos here look good as well.  Maybe some locals will chime in...

 

Frankly, after a long day of skiing, I don't like that drive.  I've done it on the way home from races, but....  It wouldn't be my choice.  

 

Link to Montana snow conditions:  http://www.snocountry.com/index.php/ski-reports/montana


Edited by sibhusky - 12/19/11 at 3:13pm
post #6 of 20

The commute between Bozeman and Big Sky is around an hour and a half this time of year. I really haven't got the foggiest how Big Sky is skiing right now. They got a lot more snow out of our November storms than Bridger,thus the deeper base, plus they have much more snow making capacity & are very good at snow farming. They do have a major portion of their terrain park up and running for your son.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Boy, 90 minutes is a bit long.  Although maybe do-able.  I don't think much of driving an hour to ski somewhere around Minneapolis.

 

How about it, has anybody been to Big Sky in the last few days?  It would be great to get an sanity check on what the area marketeers are saying.

post #8 of 20

A weather update. Tomorrow's weather prediction has gone from snow flurries to a winter storm watch with 8" to 14" of snow possible in the surrounding mountains. Stay tuned.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTMac View Post

Boy, 90 minutes is a bit long.  Although maybe do-able.

I think 90 minutes from Bozeman to Big Sky allows some extra time, if you go early and don't get caught behind a bus.  The drive is actually pretty interesting and I have seen eagles, moose, big horn sheep, elk and of course mule deer on the drive.  Bozeman is a fun place to stay with a number of good places to eat. 

 

I'm optimistic that there will be snow.

post #10 of 20

Many people say the 51 mile drive is an hour but when you add in getting out of the parking lot, the icier roads in the Gallatin River Canyon this time of year due to a low sun and traffic 90 minutes is a realistic time. Even in the spring we rarely can drive it in less than 75 minutes because of the limited opportunities the route gives you to pass slower drivers.

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

Good news about the weather.  I will make an offering to the snow gods tonight.

post #12 of 20

Your offering must have done the trick. 13" of snow on Wednesday. 40" base and the skiing is improving. Christmas should be decent.

 

I live in 4-Corners and the drive is 55 minutes from my house to the parking lot at Moonlight Basin. I feel that 90 minutes is a bit of an overstatement but if you get behind one yahoo who won't use the turnouts when there are 40 cars behind them it can take longer than an hour.

post #13 of 20

The snow gods are apparently irked at Bridger this year.....we probably need to make sure next year's offering is really a virgin. Red Lodge got almost 2 feet from the storm, Big Sky & Moonlight got a foot, I got 4" of heavy Mt. Hood powder at my house in Bozeman and the snow gauge on the Bridger chair didn't even register 2".  Oh well, looks like Red Lodge, Big Sky & Moonlight will be getting all the Xmas skiers this year.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Bummer about the snow situation for Bridger.  I was looking forward to skiing there.

 

I think we will end up at Big Sky. My wife wants to stay in Bozeman, and it turns out that the Homewood Suites has a deal with Big Sky.  Big Sky will give hotel guests 1/2 off lift tickets.  That sounds like a pretty great deal.

post #15 of 20

Rio, be happy with what you got.  That storm missed us entirely.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post

The snow gods are apparently irked at Bridger this year.....we probably need to make sure next year's offering is really a virgin. Red Lodge got almost 2 feet from the storm, Big Sky & Moonlight got a foot, I got 4" of heavy Mt. Hood powder at my house in Bozeman and the snow gauge on the Bridger chair didn't even register 2".  Oh well, looks like Red Lodge, Big Sky & Moonlight will be getting all the Xmas skiers this year.



 

post #16 of 20

I skied BS today and the coverage has improved greatly. It was a little wind affected in spots by much better than pre-storm. I think you will have a pretty good time.

post #17 of 20

Right now, Red Lodge Mountain probably has the best conditions in Montana.  The base at the bottom is 50" and 60" at the top of Grizzly Peak.  My son and I were there yesterday skiing almost nothing but powder from a 22" dump over the previous day or two - it was fabulous.  There are only two runs not open and they were both closed all season last year.  Here the full report, http://www.redlodgemountain.com/content.asp?section=mtn&page=snowreport&season=winter

We have people driving over here from Bozeman to ski.  Right now, RLM is where it's at.

post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks mtcyclist.  Sounds pretty great there.  

 

The key question for me is:  Is there a nice place to stay for a reasonable price?  My wife is quite particular.  She really does not like to stay anywhere that is the least bit dirty or old feeling.  Do you have any recommendations for lodgings in or near  Red Lodge that would meet her needs?

 

Thanks,

Brian

post #19 of 20

Check the Red Lodge Mountain resort page for lodging.  Try calling the central reservations number because I think they also have vacation homes available.  There is also lodging available in Billings.  I frankly have no idea what you mean by "old feeling."  The Pollard is a fine old hotel in Red Lodge that is very highly rated.  Rock Creek Resort is also highly rated.  Whether either of those meets your criteria of "reasonable" is something only you can determine.  What's reasonable for me may not be reasonable for you.

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your message mtcyclist.  By old feeling, I mean tired, worn-down.  I like nice older places that are clean and well maintained.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Bridger, Red Lodge or elsewhere (between Christmas and New Year's)?