Nestled in the hills on the south side of the Flathead Valley lies Blacktail Mountain, a family-friendly ski resort with 1,000 acres of pristine, skiable terrain. Blacktail’s north-facing slopes feature 35 runs, three chairs and unparalleled views of Flathead Lake, the Mission, Cabinet, and Whitefish mountain ranges, plus a different perspective into Glacier National Park.

While the mountain may not be the largest in Northwest Montana, Blacktail still offers the same services and amenities anyone would expect from a top-level ski resort. Beginners can learn to ski or snowboard with three half-day lessons, three full-day lift tickets, and three full-day rentals for just $160. There’s live music every Friday night with the Mountain Top Après Music Series at Muley’s Bar and Restaurant, and other activities dot the calendar, like a Ski Mo-Chutes and Ladders race February 25th and a Seuss Scavenger Hunt March 4th.

This year, Blacktail Mountain and its four original owners celebrate 20 years of operations while there have seen a lot of changes since opening day, they say the heart and soul of the mountain haven’t changed. “Blacktail offers a different product than the bigger places around the state. This mountain isn’t a real estate venture, but instead survives on the merit of being a rugged ski area that’s has a small price tag and big Montana charm,” said Steve Spencer, one of the owners and long-time general manager.

Spencer says he’s also seen an increase in attendance over the last couple of years and is finding that many of the folks who used to winterize and close up their vacation homes on Flathead Lake are now coming back for a few weeks in the winter and skiing the Lakeside-based mountain.

Coming this summer, look for the road up the mountain to be paved all the way to the 6.5-mile marker, allowing easier access for recreationists. “Having this section of the road paved will be a huge milestone for us,” said Spencer. “There will be better access during the winter for sure, but in the summer it will help hikers and mountain bikers access the mountain better too.”

Even once the snow melts the mountain stays open and offers substantial hiking and biking trails, off-road vehicle opportunities, and access to the rest of the Flathead Valley via the Foys-to-Blacktail trail and newly-completed Lakeside-to-Blacktail trail.

Blacktail Mountain is open this winter Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm, and will also be open February 19th and 20th for the President’s Day Weekend.

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