Why Rugged Snowbowl is the ‘Westworld’ of Ski Areas

Visiting Montana Snowbowl felt a little like being in an episode out of “Westworld” on HBO.

This place near the very cool town of Missoula is a throwback to a different time. It’s so rugged and Western in flavor that it feels like you might be caught in a dream world.

Walking into the base area was mind-blowing. There’s no “village” — just a few buildings and a tiny day lodge.

SkiZer on West Ridge.

Once on the slopes, the mountain impressed the old-school SkiZer. This place is steep. Terrain falls off the main peak at 7,600 feet and sustains its pitch all the way to a 5,000-foot base.

West Bowl was SkiZer’s first foray into the steeps. The snow was soft, even days after the last storm, and there were obstacles to dodge aplenty.

After that, West Ridge (notice the “Westworld” theme again?) was even better, dropping into a rough tree run with patches of uncut powder.

The day marched on, and SkiZer checked out Far East, another steep tree run. Again, more powder, easy turns and amazingly empty slopes.

About that: There were people at Snowbowl, but SkiZer never saw them on any of the steep runs. He was alone, as if visiting a forgotten place in a fantasy land.

 Day 18: Montana Snowbowl

  • Vertical for the day: 20,000
  • Vertical for the year: 281,000
Skiers ride the Grizzly Chair at Montana Snowbowl.
Skiers at the top of the Grizzly Chair.
Looking down at West Bowl.
A telemark skier rides the lower slopes at Snowbowl.
End of the day: Boarders warm up by the fire at the Last Run Inn.

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