By Robert Lucke
Even if the Bear Paw Ski Bowl does not get enough snow and is not open during January, there still are plenty of areas in this part of Montana that can provide a good weekend adventure for the family suffering from
those mid-winter blues.
There is Hidden Valley, which bills itself as the Snoasis of the prairie. Located in the Cypress Hills of Alberta, just 100 miles from Havre, it provides close snow and skiing.
Thanks to the Calgary Winter Olympics, that area has enough snow-making equipment that winter chinooks are not a problem like they can be in the Bear Paws.
Not only that, but the rates are not all that bad. For 18 and over, the cost is $26 a day, 13 to 17 go for $22 a day, 6 to 12 for $17 a day, 55 and older cost $22 a day, and 5 and under are free.
Hidden Valley advertises no waiting in lift lines. They have some 665 feet of vertical and their longest run is a mile and a quarter. Hidden Valley comes complete with a quad chairlift, a T-bar and two handle tows.
There are lessons, a full rental department of everything from skis and boots to snowboards and snowblades.
There is a restaurant, and Medicine Hat is close enough to Hidden Valley to provide some great dining, shopping and lodging.
For further information, contact Hidden Valley at (403) 893-3961. Their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the newest of all the Montana ski areas is the Blacktail Mountain Ski Bowl, some 14 miles west of Lakeside. Lakeside is on the west side of Flathead Lake, 14 miles from Kalispell.
With some 24 groomed trails and 13 miles of terrain, Blacktail is unique in that the skier drives to the top of the mountain, skies down and rides a chairlift back up.
The area has a day lodge with a couple of restaurants.
One of the best features of Blacktail is the panorama of views that can be seen from the mountain. To the west, there is the wilderness of the Salish Mountains. East is Flathead Lake and north is a view right into Glacier National Park.
Daily rates are adults $26, juniors $16, and 70 and over and 7 and under are free.
To contact Blacktail, call (406) 844-0999 or e-mail email@example.com.
And there is Big Mountain, just up the mountain from Whitefish. This is a large resort ski area with just about any kind of lodging or dining imaginable. It is rated the 21st best ski area in North America and the best resort in Montana by Ski Magazine.
It is huge. Lots of lifts, and skiing day and night and even skiing on both sides of Big Mountain.
Rates are adults $47, juniors $34, Seniors 62 and over $39, college students $39, and 6 and under are free.
For Big Mountain information, call (800) 858-3930 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.