Hike, bike, ski, walk, snowshoe, climb, ride horses, skate, snowboard, take photographs, observe wildlife and birds - if it has to do with outdoor recreation, chances are good you will find it at Bitterroot Resort.
The Resort benefits from the Bitterroot Valley's legendary mild climate at the valley floor and dependable snowpack at the summit of the mountains. At the heart of the winter Resort experience is the potential for the longest vertical descent in North America, a full 5,555 feet. By comparison, Whistler/Blackcomb boasts 5,280, Aspen/Snowmass - 4,406, Big Sky - 4,180 and Whitefish Mountain - 2,500. The north-facing slopes at Bitterroot Resort promise to keep snow in better condition over a longer period, ensuring a dependable season from Thanksgiving to Mother's Day in most years.
The conditions will suit skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels. Beginners will develop their skills on a mile of trail on the lower third of the mountain equipped with a user-friendly ski lift. Novice skiers will find terrain at elevations as high as 8,000 feet.
Cross-country skiers will enjoy nearly 40 miles of trails at the 6,000-foot level, traversing onto Mormon Ridge. This same trail system is perfectly suited to mountain bikers and hikers in the summer months.
One of the most exciting opportunities for local residents is the ability to reach Carlton Ridge year round by chairlift or gondola. Prior to the construction of the Resort, the pristine beauty of this area was only available after an arduous hike. The proposed gondola would arrive on the Ridge outside the Research Natural Area (RNA), east of Carlton Lake and the existing hiking trail.
Bitterroot Resort is committed to developing a community that enhances the outdoor recreational opportunities available to Bitterroot Valley families, while creating a national recreation destination that showcases western Montana's natural beauty and endless capacity for adventure. While an occasional 'whoop' of excitement or exhilaration is to be expected, the emphasis is on quiet recreation.
• Cat Skiing on the Maclay Ranch became available in the winter of 2006/2006 with two, twelve-person snowcats. More than 30 runs have been cut to offer visitors a taste of what's to come.
• Downhill Skiing - With the inclusion of Forest Service lands, alpine skiers and snowboarders will have the greatest vertical descent in North America (5,555 feet) and more than 2,000 acres of terrain to explore on the slopes of Bitterroot Resort. Terrain will be diverse - steep and challenging to easy rolling - 15% expert, 79% intermediate and 6% beginner.
• Nordic Skiing - Finally! A great use for abandoned logging roads. 40+ miles of existing logging roads and terraces will be reclaimed and combined with small amounts of new trail to create an extensive network of cross-country ski trails.
• Golfing - An 18-hole course will surround the Village and offer world-class golfing with views overlooking the Bitterroot Valley.
• Terrain Park - The Resort will offer an area devoted to Terrain Park features - helmets required. Sculpted by experts, the features will include tabletops, rails, gaps and a halfpipe, along with other cutting-edge features enjoyed by those in the evolving sports of snowboarding and twin-tip skiing.
• Backcountry - Four-season lift access to the Carlton Ridge high country will serve as a jump-off point for backcountry exploration into the high lakes country of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
• Horseback Riding - The multi-use, non-motorized trail system at Bitterroot Resort will be ideal for short, leisurely rides or extended backcountry wilderness treks.
• Ice Skating - With both indoor and pond ice facilities planned for the Village core, Bitterroot Resort will offer year-round ice skating to its visitors. The Resort team will explore partnerships with regional park and recreation authorities to allow public access at discounted prices.
• Mountain Biking - an extensive network of cross-country and lift-access mountain bike trails will be available to Bitterroot Resort visitors. A skills park is also planned within the Resort boundaries.
• Hiking - Miles of trail will be available to hikers, whether you start at the base of the Resort or take a lift to the top. You will have plenty of pristine, non-motorized-use wilderness to explore. Wildlife, sweeping Bitterroot Valley views, solitude and nature await the Bitterroot Resort hiker.
One of the most exciting things about planning Bitterroot mountain development is the availability of north facing ski slopes, which hold snow longer and in better condition than south or west-facing slopes. Like the ski runs currently in use on Maclay Ranch property, all runs have been designed by experienced mountain planners for north aspect, a variety of skill levels, and the ability to disperse skiers exiting the mountain at the end of the day.