By Fred Shredly
When it comes to a down home ski experience, it doesn’t get much better than Discovery Ski Area near Phillipsburg, Montana. This smaller but still sizeable ski area offers tons of terrain, a great vibe, and beautiful views.
The ski area is located just above the Phillipsburg Valley and Georgetown Lake includes a front side filled with green and blue trails while the backside hosts steeper and rockier terrain filled with glades. Among other things, this moderately sized ski area provides spectacular views of Georgetown Lake and the rugged Pintler Mountain range on the front, with the sprawling Phillipsburg Valley and Flint Creek Range to the North on the Backside.
The ski area only receives 215” annually, but with half the mountain on the shady side of the compass, what snow does fall stays chalky until the next storm comes through. Start your morning off taking the Rumsey chair up. Ski a couple in the sun on the front side down Claim Jumper, Silver Bow, and Sluice Box.
The Backside: Once you’re all warmed up, head to the much steeper backside. Begin with Granite chair if you need some steep groomers, then on to the Limelight chair for a true taste of Disco’s gnarly terrain. Be sure to check out the cliffs in Mother Lode and the steep glades of Spooky Hollow. Hook up with a local to find some of the more technical terrain hidden within the dense lodgepole stands.
An Affordable Experience:
Day passes are less than $50/ day, making a day trip from further away easily worth it. Check out their 5 pack (TRANSFERRABLE!) pass deal, just $205 if you buy before Christmas! They also have an amazing season pass program where your first year’s pass is $550, next year as long as you purchase before May1, its $299! Talk about giving back to the locals!
Although most of their skiers come from Butte, Anaconda, and surrounding rural towns; many of Discovery’s visitors come from larger cities like Misssoula and Bozeman, 1.5 and 2.5 hrs away respectively.
Stay at the Marcus Daly Motel located conveniently by Georgetown Lake for less than $100/ night. The Fairmont Hot Springs, 40 miles away is also a great option for lodging, and they have a huge waterslide!
The award winning Phillipsburg Brewery, just down the road, has music every Friday and Saturday nights. Whether you plan a quick day trip, or a long weekend a Disco, you’ll have a great time exploring the complex and varied terrain at this down home, friendly ski area.
Summer Fun: Oh– and they have one of Montana’s best Bike Parks with ladders, berms, and even a seesaw which operates from mid June to late Fall!
*This year, they plan on being open Thanksgiving and through that weekend (11/23-26). Then Saturday/ Sundays until December 16th (11/30-31; 12/6-7; 12/13-14)- weather dependent.
Find pass deals here: Ski Discovery Tickets + Passes
Front Side Trail Map:
Backside Trail Map:
- Annual Average Snowfall — 215″
- Vertical Drop — 2,400′
- Skiable Terain — 2,200 acres
- Hours — 9:30 – 4:00
- Trails — 67
- Lifts — 8
- Terrain Park — 1 (*open Thurs- Sun)
About Discovery Ski Area
Discovery has three faces. The front face is the perfect blend of gently sloping runs and more advanced groomed cruisers. Off the Granite Chair, things step up a notch with steeper groomed runs and mogul skiing. And the backside? Well, imagine the Chugach without the costly helicopter ride. Point is, we have great terrain and lots of it. No matter what kind of mountain you like, you just discovered it.
Discovery also offers a lot of downhill thrills during the summer months at the Discovery Bike Park from June 18th through October. The trails are intermediate to advanced with loads of features for downhill riders to enjoy. You can learn more about the bike park by going here.