Steep and unmanicured terrain has long provided Montana Snowbowl notoriety within the ski world as a burly mountain best enjoyed by experts. Ski magazines labeled one of its lines, “Grizzly Chute,” as one of the toughest runs in the region. Even a quick glance at the trail map provides insight to the mountain: Fourteen runs are expert, seven intermediate and only two are beginner.
The layout often leaves novices wishing for more mellow terrain, but serves as a source of pride for veteran skiers and snowboarders quick to call the challenging mountain their own.
When word escaped that Snowbowl would be adding five new runs this season, rumors ran wild among the two crowds: Would the Bowl finally fill the beginner void? Or would it move toward the coveted terrain on nearby TV Mountain? Turns out, neither.
“All of the new runs are for expert skiers,” says owner Ronnie Morris.
She went on to explain that the new runs sit within the ski area’s existing boundaries and are simply thinned tree “islands.” According to Morris, one begins atop Longhorn and parallels Angel Face, while another is situated to a skier’s left after riding the Grizzly Chair. A third can be found in an island of trees in West Bowl.
“New runs? That’s hot,” says longtime Snowbowl skier Alexis Nunn. “I’ve skied in there a bunch and the limiting factor has always been that it’s too densely treed. Opening it up and getting that woody material out of there is really going to rock.”
Nunn, a free-heeled schusser who enjoys skiing the trees, says she won’t mind the influx of skiers certain to descend on her (formerly) “secret” stash because the improvements will more than compensate for the crowding.
Morris says that while the runs are cut and open, they’re not yet included on the trail map. As of press time the new runs also remain unnamed.