Skiing to a Sunny Disco Beat in Montana

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
Near the top of the Anaconda chair, a skier turns in morning sunshine.
Temperatures got into the 20s at Discovery Ski Area, which felt warm after a week of sub-zero weather.
A snowboarder rides on Claim Jumper, one of the cruisers on the Anaconda chair.
Riders on Claim Jumper enjoy the view of the Pintler Mountains.
Children enjoy the low-angle cruiser Sapphire on the Jubilee chair at Discovery.
A skier unloads on the Anaconda lift at Discovery.

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