Ski Montana: Discovery Ski Area

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Monday, February 15th, 2010

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Discovery Ski Area is in the Deer Lodge National Forest in the Montana Rockies.

The beautiful view and corduroy at Discovery Ski Area.

The ski area has a total patrolled ski area of 2,400 acres of skiable terrain with 67 trails. The terrain is classified as 20% easy, 25% more difficult, 25% most difficult and 30% advanced/expert.

The area is serviced by three double chair lifts and four triples. Discovery´s terrain park occupies 2.5 acres and features rails and jumps. The park is open Fridays-Sundays plus most holidays.

Cross-country skiers can have fun gliding along 5 kilometers of groomed trails in the area as well.

The base of the mountain sits at 5,800 feet and the summit reaches 8,150 feet for an overall vertical rise of 2,350 feet. The longest run, Winning Ridge, is 1.5 miles long.

The annual snowfall is a steady 200 inches. Because the snow is so reliable, the area has snowmaking capabilities on only four runs, yet is open the whole season, generally from the end of November to the beginning of April.

The mountain itself has three faces. The front face is where to head for groomed cruisers and gently sloping runs. Take the Off the Granite chair to reach some more advanced moguls and steeps. The backside of the mountain is truly challenging, think heli-skiing without the helicopter. Treed slopes, narrow chutes and more make up this face full of double black diamond terrain.

Some favorite runs amongst locals include the green trail Red Lion, a great place to head for ample corduroy and fun, rolling hills in the morning. Boiler Maker is a nice blue run that is excellent on powder days. Generally, it´s groomed, so you don´t have to worry about hidden bumps and the snags, cliffs and rocks like you do from off the Limelight lift. And Orphan Girl is a good black diamond run on sunny days. On a clear day you can see the Mission Mountains and Swan Range about 70 miles away from this trail. Also, it´s waterfall section is the steepest place off the Granite chair.

The area also boasts a full-service cafeteria with lots of treats, an outdoor grill, a bar and picnic area.

The approach to food at Discovery always leans toward the homemade. Soups are made daily from scratch on the premises and their bakery is to die for. You´ll think you´ve died and went to heaven when you get a whiff of their warm cinnamon rolls, pies, cakes and signature chocolate chip cookies, which are bake hourly at the lodge.

The base lodge at Discovery is also home to a rental and sport shop.

Nearby lodging is available in Philipsburg and Anaconda, Montana.

Reaching Discovery is easy from Missoula, Butte or Helena via major highways and interstates. Flying into western Montana is convenient through Butte (50 miles away) or Missoula (100 miles from Discovery).

  • That is an outrageous amount of skiing. I didn’t believe it until I saw it. And even now, 2400 acres seems small.


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