When it comes to Montana ski areas, many people have their favorites that they’re willing to drive hours for the first chair. And Discovery, affectionately known as Disco, is top of that list. Just outside Phillipsburg and not far from Anaconda, this 2,200-acre ski hill gets an average annual snowfall of over 200 inches, and its three faces leave lots of terrains for all ages and abilities to explore. When you’re setting out to plan your day, here are the best runs for any level at Discovery.
The Goldbug run off the Jubilee lift is a fun and winding route that will keep beginners ready to leave the bunny hill entertained for plenty of laps. Mid-trail tree features keep it interesting for more advanced beginners, but the open rolls of this run are easy to navigate. If you’re skiing with kiddos or like to mix some cocoa sipping in with your shredding, it’s conveniently placed near the lodge, too.
Medicine Ridge is a great place to go when you’re a comfortable intermediate skier looking for a challenge, but you’re not ready to graduate to the super-steep runs just yet. On a sunny day, the ridge shows off views of the Flint Creek Valley. Bonus points on a sunny day: it holds up well and generally doesn’t get too skied out.
Orphan Girl’s name might sound bleak, but the views on a clear day are anything but. Discovery’s website claims that on a bluebird day, you can see all the way to the Swan and Mission Mountain Ranges, 70 miles away. That’s a downright inspiring way to start your run. And occasional grooming keeps the trail from getting too chopped up between big snow dumps. When you reach the Waterfall section, smile into your jump turns as you take on the steepest steeps off Granite Chair.
Okay, Limelight is basically the only run off the Limelight lift that isn’t a double black diamond (apart from Medicine Ridge, that is). But the expert-only terrain off this chairlift in the East Bowl area is worth exploring, and it’s hard to choose just one favorite run, especially since over half of the mountain is expert-only terrain. One thing they all have in common: they’re steep.
Expert skiers and boarders can take the time to dip into Snaggletooth, Spooky Hollow, Christmas Park, Guns N Roses, and Old # 7, all skiers left of the lift. The Catch-a-Wave Chutes are great for speed on powder day if you have someone who knows their way around to help you dodge hidden rocks, according to Disco’s powder experts.
And The Pitch is a nice sheltered run for windy days. So while it might seem like a cop-out, not to name just one run, experts should relish this whole aspect of the mountain. Watch for rocks with an average or below snowpack year, and prepare to rip.
Winning Ridge is Disco’s own recommendation for the first run of the day. As the longest run at the hill, clocking in at 1.5 miles, this is a solid blue to warm your legs up. Clear-day mountain views stretch out beneath your feet while you cruise.
Discovery is only an hour from Butte, and it’s well-situated between Glacier and Yellowstone if a winter road trip leads you slopeside. Find your spot to stay at the Butte KOA Journey, and rest easy after a long day of shredding.