Backcountry Skiing -- There is nothing as thrilling as skiing deep, untracked powder in completely wild terrain. To enjoy this sport you need a good set of Telemark skis, good information about where to go, and expert knowledge of snow conditions and avalanche risks. One of the best places to pursue this sport is Togwotee Pass in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Otherwise, check at local ski shops and ask at the headquarters of national forests and state parks. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort decided in 1999 to allow skiers to ski beyond the boundaries of areas it grooms and patrols -- as long as they sign waivers. Check with other ski resorts about out-of-bounds forest areas that might be accessible for backcountry adventures.
Cross-Country Skiing -- If you don't plan to pound down the backcountry powder on Telemark skis but you want to get out in the snow, cross-country skiing can be practiced on any relatively flat, open meadow or plain where there's snow on the ground, or along old roads in the region's forests. Scores of guest ranches now groom trails for both track and skate skiing, and almost every ski resort in the region has a trail. If you don't want to pay to ski, Forest Service logging roads are typically used for cross-country trails. Many golf courses are also regularly groomed for track skiing; some are even lighted for night skiing. The best place to cross-country ski in Montana is West Yellowstone, training ground of U.S. Nordic and Biathlon ski teams; in Wyoming, try the Jackson Hole area and Grand Teton National Park.
Downhill Skiing -- There are over 20 downhill ski areas in Montana and Wyoming, scattered amid the towering mountain ranges found predominantly in the western parts of both states. Breathtaking summit vistas are standard fare. Usually operating from late November to mid-April, and with comparatively shorter lift lines and less expensive lift tickets than most other ski areas in the country, Montana and Wyoming ski resorts are great values for the ski enthusiast. Don't fret if you're not skiing black-diamond runs; all ski resorts have acres of beginner and intermediate trails, and seasoned instructors provide lessons at extremely affordable prices. More and more often, you'll find Telemark skiers honing their skills on packed resort slopes. The best skiing in Montana can be found at Big Sky Resort, near Bozeman, which is the biggest ski area in Montana, with runs for all abilities. West of Glacier National Park, Whitefish Mountain Resort prides itself on a family atmosphere. In Wyoming, the Jackson Hole area wins hands down, with the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King, and Grand Targhee ski hills just a short drive apart.
Snowboarding -- Forget all those stereotypes you've heard about snowboarders: This sport is a simple combination of speed, air, and style. If you've never done it, realize that you may have a very sore butt during your first few days, although seasoned shredders swear that the learning curve is much shorter than that for skiing. Experienced snowboarders will find Montana and Wyoming ski areas to be snowboard-friendly. If you're really into riding, ask around at local ski shops for winter backcountry options or summer snowboarding -- Glacier Park's Logan Pass is a popular destination. Best place in Montana: Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.