Missoula, Montana’s local mountain, Snowbowl is a diamond hidden in the rough. It is small, only two lifts, and is admittedly steep. It has difficult terrain to learn on and it is only 30 minutes away from Missoula. The two older lifts allow for plenty of time to relax while the lifties and crew put safety first and foremost. Snowbowl is one of those older rustic and family owned small time Montana ski resorts, unexposed to massive crowds and the modernity of big time company owned ski resorts. The Montana Snowbowl has a road that can be just as much an adventure as the skiing is. When you come out to the Bowl, you are not searching for a pleasant glamorous skiing adventure, you are searching for a test of your mettle and for the experience of true Montana skiing.
There is an unspoken code that it is better not to let everyone in on the secret, that Snowbowl is awesome. The bowl retains that same unique and hip feel Missoula owns. The Snowbowl, for the determined skier, should always be placed at the top of the list when it comes to winter activities in Missoula. A good day at Snowbowl involves skiing expert terrain, pushing your comfort zone, exploring glades and skiing the bowls, with a break to enjoy some of the best pizza you will ever have.
A day at the Bowl will make your legs sore and your head lighter; you will feel challenged, satisfied and eager to come up the next time there is a big dump. The locals at the bowl are always pleasant when it comes to sharing a chair ride, and as long as you don’t steal their lines they might even offer up a good spot to check out next. It is easy to spend a whole day in the trees or just in the bowls and still never feel like you are taking the same route every time.
Snowbowl for beginners however is not easy. It is steep, and fast just about everywhere, but learning to ski at Snowbowl will guarantee you can ski anywhere else. Whether you are coming in for lunch or ending the day at the bar, Snowbowl rewards. It has the usual fried lodge foods but right next door to the lodge is “Last Run Inn,”. This bar at the base of the mountain is complete with a wood-fired pizza oven, and other more gourmet foods and drinks (including some of the best Bloody Mary’s).
Montana Snowbowl is just a hop skip and a jump from Missoula. A quick 30 minute drive, half of which is spent on the rustic forestry road up to the mountain and the rest on the highway. This Montana Ski Resort has a nice Chalet lodge next to the main lodge that includes a hot tub for overnight stays at the mountain. The highway exit at Reserve also has hotels with easy access to the mountain road. Skis and boards can be rented at the ski shop on the mountain or in town at various outdoor stores. Snowbowl also has an awesome team of ski instructors, willing to take your skiing to the next level. Once winter is over the Montana Snowbowl doesn’t shut down either. There is a zip line course through the trees and down the mountain. Mountain bikers leave their skis at home and toss their bikes on the back of chairs and take the lift back up for some high speed runs on the bike trails. Besides hiking and biking, the mountain also sports an 18 hole Frisbee golf course. So once winter ends and spring comes, the bowl is just as busy but those same skiers and boarders now come equipped with bikes, hiking boots and Frisbee golf discs.
"The Bowl" is a special place that has rightfully earned the respect every skier and boarder shares for it, and as any other local will tell you, “There is always some powder to be found at the Bowl”.