• Sunday, 26 May 2019

Yurts, Lodges and Untouched Powder Meet in Montana's Backcountry

Mar 14, 2019 (2 months ago) |
HELENA, Mont: Winter in Montana can mean many things. For some, it's carving perfect lines in groomed runs at the state's two world-class ski resorts, while for others it's setting out behind a team of well-trained dogs and racing along tree-lined trails as the snow falls gently around you.
In Big Sky Country, it can also mean leaving well-trodden paths behind and venturing into a world unlike any other on a backcountry trip.

One of Montana's most epic backcountry ski destinations is powered by Great Northern Powder Guides near Olney, Montana. These skilled guides offer world-renowned cat skiing in the Whitefish Mountain Range where they have access to over 20,000 acres of backcountry skiing. And with two types of cats—the Powder Cat that's perfect for families and the Steep and Deep Cat that gives experienced guests quick laps on new terrain—it's easier than you think to enjoy fresh powder in northwest Montana.

New this year, Great Northern Powder Guides, along with their partners Dog Creek Lodge, offer onsite lodging and dining for overnight guests. Plus, Dog Creek Lodge has 20 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails for skate and classic skiing to complement the area's deep terrain.

For adventurers who are looking for an overnight stay in the backcountry, YurtSki—located in the Swan Mountains—is an ideal winter getaway. About an hour from Missoula and tucked in between the Mission Mountains and the Bob Marshall Wilderness are the Lupine and Alpine yurts. One of the best things about a trip to YurtSki is getting there. No cars can take you to the yurts; you'll have to ski in or ride a snowmobile along 11 miles of some of the most beautiful and fun-to-ride trails in the area.

These yurts offer access to unmatched cold smoke powder skiing, as storms that move over the Swan Mountains are known for dumping light and deep powder. Both yurts sleep up to eight people and come with wood stoves and well-stocked kitchens, and guests can opt for self-sustained trips, gear hauling or fully catered trips. The crew behind YurtSki recently opened a year-round, longhouse-style yurt in the Big Belt Mountains between Bozeman and Helena. Winter at the Big Belt Hut offers skiing opportunities that are ideal for all backcountry skill abilities, with open bowls, mellow glades and incredible mountain lines.

While 11-mile snowmobile treks to access untouched powder may not be for everyone, Downing Mountain Lodge just outside of Hamilton in Montana's Bitterroot Valley offers lodge-like accommodations with a short 1.5-mile-long ski to the lodge. Once you've arrived, there's easy access to a variety of terrain, including short intermediate runs, north-facing glades and 2,800-foot fall line runs.

Solo travelers who have been wanting to take a trip into Montana's backcountry can take advantage of one of the tour weeks offered by Big Sky Backcountry Guides in Bozeman. The four-day, three-night trips available this season are fully guided and catered, making it easy to enjoy Montana's backcountry.

Located outside of Yellowstone National Park in an area known for its incredible snow and quick access to the Beartooth Mountains is Cooke City. Beartooth Powder Guides specialize in backcountry ski tours in the mountains surrounding Cooke City and throughout Yellowstone National Park. They offer a variety of guided treks, including day trip powder tours, high alpine tours (that combine skiing and snowmobiling), overnight trips and fully guided and catered hut trips to Woody Creek Cabin or the Mount Zimmer Yurt, with easy access to tree skiing and untouched runs.

For winter adventure seekers looking to combine their love of the backcountry and national parks, a handful of companies offer guided trips into Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

To explore Glacier National Park in its most undiscovered season, take a trip with Glacier Adventure Guides. For a look at the world's first national park in winter, book a ski trip into the park's northern region with Yellowstone Ski Tours or take a snowmobile or snowcoach tour with Yellowstone Vacation Tours. Yellowstone National Park Lodges, the park's concessioner, also offers guided ski, snowshoe and snowcoach tours.

More travel information on Montana's backcountry trips can be found here or you can learn more about winter in Montana at www.visitmt.com.

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Yurts, Lodges and Untouched Powder Meet in Montana's Backcountry

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