A Local Spot for Great Turns: Maverick Mountain in Montana
If you ever find yourself traveling the back roads of southwest Montana, you may come across a throwback to how skiing used to (and in my opinion, still should) be. Located approximately 40 miles west of Dillon, MT, in Polaris, MT, on The Pintler Scenic Byway, Maverick Mountain is just such a place. With 2,000 vertical feet of skiing serviced by one old double chair, a dirt parking lot, an extremely odd carpeted (floors, walls and ceiling) but comfortable, base lodge and enough terrain to keep anyone happy for a couple of days … this place is no slouch.
Lift tickets are $32 and if you have a season pass to any other Montana ski area, you get the half day rate of $24…now we’re talking! The area is closed Monday – Wednesday so if it has been snowing through the first part of the week, this place is a good bet. The nearest lodging is The Grasshopper Inn, with more accommodations available in nearby Jackson, MT.
We stayed in Dillon while on a ski safari road trip and made the easy drive over in the morning. We arrived on a sunny Saturday morning to a crowd of about 100 people, which is a busy day here. After gearing up and getting tickets, we took the very slow chair to the top. We didn’t mind the old chair (it’s been in place since 1966 and who knows where it was before that), as it gave us time to talk, enjoy the beautiful views of the Pioneer Mountains, and rest up for the long runs to the bottom. You have to wait a bit between chair loads and you actually have time to talk to the lift operator.
The vibe is very communal with lots of families and locals simply enjoying themselves.
There is absolutely no hurry to do anything because there isn’t anybody there so the powder will wait. There was 9″ a couple of days before we went and we still found good powder without looking too hard at all. The runs spill 270 degrees from the summit and although there isn’t anything truly scary, there are plenty of fun runs and good tree skiing down the steep front face.
We had so much fun that we’ll definitely return. When you’re done skiing there are hot springs further up the Pintler Scenic Byway at Elkhorn Hot Springs and also in Jackson. Give it a go, support a local family run ski area and remind yourself of skiing’s roots…the way it should be.
~ This post written by guest writer, Mike Barrett
Thanks for your contribution, Mike!! We love hearing other people’s stories about their time in Montana. We hope you all check out Maverick Mountain soon!!
Warmest Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Montana Vacation Blog