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ESA Road Trip

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
People that are planning on driving to the ESA from Oregon or Washington have a great opportunity to ski some fun, local ski areas along the way. Most of the ski areas are either right off I-90 or within 1/2 hour.

Coming from Oregon or Washington your best route to Big Sky is through Spokane then Northern Idaho on I-90. The first skiing opportunities are in Northern Idaho. 60 miles north of Coeur d’Alene is Schweitzer Mountain ( This is a nice ski area with lots of acreage and generally good snow. Your other option in Northern Idaho is Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho right off I-90. This is a unique place to ski.. To get to the ski area you ride a 3.1 mile long gondola from Kellogg up to the ski area. The ski area itself is a decent size with some fun terrain. The snow there is generally Mt. Bachelor quality. Since Silver is right off the freeway and lift tickets are reasonable it’s worth spending a few hours at.

Lookout Pass is the first Montana ski resort you'll encounter. It is just 45 minutes past Kellogg right on the Idaho/Montana border. The ski area is literally just off the freeway exit. Lookout Pass is not very big but is worth stopping at if you have the time especially on a Thursday after its been snowing all week. (They are open Thursday through Monday). The area can get dumped on when storms roll in from the west.

100 miles from Lookout Pass is Missoula, home of Gonzostrike. Just outside of Missoula, 30 minutes from the freeway, is Montana Snowbowl. Snowbowl has some challenging terrain especially in the upper areas. It is definitely worth spending a day skiing.

The next ski area heading east on 1-90 is Discovery. Discovery is 120 east of Missoula, about 40 minutes from the freeway. This is a ski area you must ski. The backside chair at Discovery has over a dozen double diamond runs off of it and they are all true double diamonds. Discovery is on the west side of the divide so they will get big dumps when Bridger & Big Sky don't and vice versa. When skiing Discovery I usually stay at the Marcus Daly in Anaconda. It is clean and cheap and has great deals on lodging & tickets. Another popular place to stay is Fairmont Hot Springs where you can go swimming outside while its snowing. For something completely different drive to Butte (the third city in the world to get electricity) and stay at the restored Finlen Hotel.

Your next destination is Bozeman which is 120 miles from Discovery. Just outside Bozeman is Bridger Bowl, your next must ski ski area. Bridger is a friendly ski area with great snow and some wicked terrain. Bridger's only downside is the insane crowds that show up on big powder days. On all other days the lift lines are usually short and cordial. While at Bridger be sure to find a local to show you around. There are numerous cheap, clean motels in Bozeman offering package deals.
post #2 of 5
There are numerous cheap, clean locals to show you around too!
post #3 of 5
yeah, I'm cheap, but maybe not as clean as nolo suggests! I know the goods at Snowbowl and at Lost Trail, especially the great tree and cornice shots that aren't formally listed as skiable terrain.
post #4 of 5
I hope some can join us for an informal groupski at Bridger Bowl on Friday, Jan. 28. If you tell me you are coming, I will try to score a deal on tickets.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by nolo
I hope some can join us for an informal groupski at Bridger Bowl on Friday, Jan. 28. If you tell me you are coming, I will try to score a deal on tickets.
Home of the North Bowl with the best moguls on the planet.

The little specs in the lower 1/3rd of the picture are people.
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