Montana's newest ski area offers fresh terrain for a winter rush

This winter, follow the paved road up into the Gallatin Range ofthe Rocky Mountains, continue past the venerable Big Sky SkiResort, and you'll come to the newest of Montana's 16 ski areas:Moonlight Basin. Located on 11,166-foot Lone Mountain's north side,the resort features summit views of the Spanish Peaks, an annualsnowfall of 400 inches, a vertical drop of 2,070 feet, and 2,000acres of terrain with runs ranging from open beginner-level slopesto tree-lined expert runs, such as Snake Bite. The year-old resortrecently added 25 runs and a quad chairlift, bringing the mountainto a total of 76 runs and five chairlifts.

After skiing or snowboarding, warm up with hot toddies in thelog-timbered lodge. Try to nab one of the overstuffed armchairs infront of slope-facing windows and a 175-ton stone fireplace. TheTimbers Restaurant & Deli ($$$$) serves dishes like buffalotenderloin and honey and mirin-lacquered duck. Accommodations rangefrom cabins to elegant, leather-floored penthouse suites.

INFO: Moonlight Basin is about 45 miles southwest ofBozeman, MT, on State 64. 130 properties from $218, lift tickets $40 per day. www.moonlightbasin.com,866/212-0612, or 406/993-6000.

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