The majestic beauty of the American West becomes even more magical in wintertime, when The Real America region is transformed into a winter wonderland just waiting to be explored. From dog sledding and snowboarding to sleigh rides and snow coach tours, winter in the West offers something for everyone. Go cross-country skiing, try your hand at ice fishing or enjoy miles of groomed trails while snowmobiling across North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. Experience the thrill of Rocky Mountain downhill skiing at world-renowned resort destinations. Or simply enjoy the peaceful winter solitude of a snowshoe or dog-sled trip through acres of unspoiled, pristine wilderness.
In Montana, Big Sky Resort now claims the most vertical drop of any U.S. ski area, 4,180 ft. or 1274m (edging out Jackson by 41 ft. or 12.5m) and is located between Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park. Big Sky offers 150 trails on two mountains, with 17% beginner, 25% intermediate, and 57% expert slopes. Adding nearby Moonlight Basin’s trails through the Lone Peak Pass, you’ll experience the most skiing in America.
Located in the shadow of Glacier National Park in Whitefish, Montana, Whitefish Mountain is famous for snow-ghosts, vast ski and snowboard terrain, unsurpassed views, and a relaxed, family-friendly environment. Big Mountain has been rated as the number one ski resort in Montana for four years running in Ski Magazine’s Top Resort Guide.
Montana’s cross-country skiing stretches from border to border under the state’s famous Big Sky. Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, as well as seven publicly owned national forests, offer several hundred kilometers of backcountry skiing. In addition, Montana has more than a dozen cross country resorts with 285+ km of groomed trails.
Nearly all of Montana can boast of having groomed snowmobile trails nearby. Flathead Valley, with Kalispell as its hub, has four trail systems. The national forests near Butte, Missoula and Helena offer 10 snowmobiling areas. West Yellowstone is called the “Snowmobile Capital of the World,” and rightly so. Snowmobiles are allowed on the town’s streets, and guides and rentals are available in abundance for excursions into Yellowstone National Park. More…
North Dakotans don’t let cold and winter get them down, and neither should you. Those intent on maintaining that beach body for summer can head to the gym in the colder months, but toss in some great outdoor recreation to diversify that winter routine.
Cross-country skiers and Snowshoers have a variety of trails to choose from, through parks, along rivers and even through the Badlands. Blaze your own trail or view a list of available trails here.
Learn about dog sledding and experience being pulled by a team of freight sled dogs with Wonders of Winter (W.O.W.). Get hands-on experience harnessing, hooking dogs into the gangline and becoming part of the team.
Anglers will find excellent ice fishing opportunities on North Dakota’s lakes and rivers, as yellow perch, northern pike and walleye bite through the winter. Ice fishing is especially popular at Devils Lake, a world-renowned perch fishery, as well as Icelandic and Lake Metigoshe state parks, and on Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon.
There are more than 2,800 miles of groomed snowmobile trails enough for you? If not, there are several hundred miles of less developed trails to explore. Well-developed trails lead through the forests of the Turtle Mountains and Pembina Gorge, the scenic valleys of the Sheyenne, Missouri and Red rivers, the Badlands and the endless shorelines of Devils Lake and Lake Sakakawea. The Lake Metigoshe area and Turtle Mountains are excellent for all winter activities. More…
Delight in a frosty frolic while skiing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snowboarding, skating, or ice fishing. With more than 1,500 miles of trails, statewide, we’re one of the nation’s top snowmobiling destinations. South Dakota is the perfect setting for your winter getaway. The Black Hills offer the most extensive and well-groomed snowmobile trails in America, including 448 kilometers of marked trails south of Spearfish to north of Custer. The area also includes hundreds of kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails. More…
In Wyoming, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boasts 2,500 acres of legendary inbounds terrain, including (35km of beginner and intermediate runs. The resort also boasts a 1261m vertical rise and unparalleled backcountry access. It’s known around the world as “The Big One,” and the chutes, tree runs, and famous couloirs are generally agreed to be the most challenging expert skiing in America.
On the other side of Jackson, Snow King Resort brings a completely different ski experience. This resort caters to the lovers of long, steep slopes. If skiing isn’t the only thing on your agenda, this resort offers two-hour lift tickets at a great price. On the back of the Tetons, Grand Targhee Resort provides a slower pace for new and family skiers. Wide-open spaces and plenty of powder allow ski and snowboarders to enjoy the experience at their own speed.
You don’t have to travel to Jackson to enjoy Wyoming skiing. If your vacation takes you to another part of the state, your itch to ski can still be scratched. White Pine Ski Area and Resort is Wyoming’s oldest ski area, located in the Wind River Mountains near Pinedale. Sleeping Giant Ski Area, near Cody, has reopened with improved runs and is just three miles from Yellowstone National Park. Hogadon Ski Area, on Casper Mountain, offers a nice variety of terrain for visitors to the center of the state. And Snowy Range Ski Area is just a short drive from Laramie for those visiting the southeast corner.
No matter where you visit in Wyoming you are within a day’s drive of the slopes. Try each of our ski communities for a complete Forever West getaway.
Wyoming also has extensive trails systems, but none is larger than the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail. Stretching from Lander through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, the trail covers nearly 1,000 kilometers and is one of the longest snowmobiling trails in America. The Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming and the Snowy Range/Sierra Madre areas in southeastern Wyoming also offer hundreds of kilometers of groomed snowmobile trails as well as designated cross-country ski areas and surrounding national forests. More…