Magic at Moonlight

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

Caroline Patterson

This winter, follow the paved road up into the Gallatin Range of the Rocky Mountains, continue past the venerable Big Sky Ski Resort, 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 annual snowfall of 400 inches, a vertical drop of 2,070 feet, and 2,000 acres of terrain with runs ranging from open beginner-level slopes to tree-lined expert runs, such as Snake Bite. The year-old resort recently added 25 runs and a quad chairlift, bringing the mountain to a total of 76 runs and five chairlifts.

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

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