Day five of a six-day ski safari found the SkiZer at Discovery Ski Area, an up-and-coming resort near the cute-as-a-button historic mining town of Philipsburg, Mont.
First, about Philipsburg. It’s a great example of a well-preserved 1800s-era prosperous mining town. Heritage buildings abound, and community is undergoing a renaissance thanks in large part to an exceptional brewery in the center of town.
Philisburg Brewing is a juggernaut, the cultural hub of town, where on a -5 degree January night, the place was jammed shoulder-to-shoulder with people hoisting away in sweaty bliss. The joint was jumping.
Beyond the brewery, there are a growing number of shops and accommodations taking over as the historic former mining town finds its place as a tourist destination.
So, they have the cool, small-town Montana thing locked down. Now, for the skiing.
The enticing steep side of Discovery looms just above the town. The SkiZer gazed up with excitement and made the 30-minute drive to the Disco base at 6,850 feet.
There was bad news: the back-side steeps were closed for lack of snow, so that left only the gentler, front-side cruisers on the menu.
It was all good. The incredible cold snap over Montana weakened, and it got up to a balmy 20 degrees. SkiZer spent the day on the front-side Anaconda chair skiing cruisers in the sunshine. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.
Discovery is a very nice area, even if you can only ski half the mountain. SkiZer looks forward to returning to tackle those enticing steeps.
And next year, things will be different. A new road is being built to the back-side from Philipsburg, which will make the drive just a few minutes.
When that happens, keep an eye on Philipsburg. They already love their beer. This town is poised to become a full-on mountain-bike lovin’ ski town.
Day 19: Discovery Ski Area
- Vertical for the day: 11,000
- Vertical for the year: 292,000