Missoula Story of the Week: Ski Season Starts in Montana


For many people the Friday after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday as it has come to be known, marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

For Western Montana skiers it means that the early ski season is upon us, and ski areas that have been fortunate to receive enough snowfall will open.

Recent winter storms that have passed through Montana have given the high-country enough snow to allow several resorts in the state to open this Thanksgiving weekend.

Discovery Ski Area outside of Philipsburg, near Georgetown Lake is scheduled to open this Saturday, November 24, according to the resort’s website. A recent storm this week, which dropped 5 inches of fresh snow, was enough to allow the ski area to open on Thanksgiving weekend.

While Discovery is set to open this weekend, Lookout Pass doesn’t seem as hopeful to make the early season deadline. However, their website is saying there is an outside chance the area will get enough snow to make a Thanksgiving weekend opening.

Ski season's here in Western Montana. Get ready for the pow!

Big Sky in the Gallatin Canyon is open on Thanksgiving, allowing visitors to work up an appetite for Thanksgiving dinner. The area has been making snow in preparation for its 2012-2013 season and the area’s many webcams show what looks to be great conditions for this early in the season. Tickets for the area have been discounted for the early season conditions.

Finally, Missoula’s own Snowbowl will not be opening this weekend, but from town it looks as if they have been receiving snow over the past few days. With the weather predicting more precipitation in the coming week, the area is looking to add to their snowfall totals and open December 1, weather permitting.

So for those of us who don’t want to trample someone for a 50-inch television on Friday, there are options available for skiing and snowboarding this weekend.

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and remember to pray for snow!


Each week, Tom Diddel recaps the week’s most talked-about story in Missoula. Visit the Make it Missoula News & Opinion section for more talk of the town.


Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.