Recently I was asked: Why isn’t Nordic or cross-country skiing a more popular sport near Anaconda? I was confused and could only reply: is there ever!
Pintler's Portal Hostel (PPH) in Anaconda is central to kms (miles) of ski trails with spectacular views, variable difficulty, warming huts and sometimes loaner skis, poles, and boots for the beginner. Relative to alpine skiing it is inexpensive, no ski tickets required, no ski passes to attach to your coat or carry in your pocket. Quality, previously owned equipment is easily obtained and clothing requirements are whatever winter clothing you have available. If you are cold, ski harder or visit a warming hut that the trails in your area of choice may offer!
Here's a look at the many groomed and ungroomed trails within a short drive from Pintler's Portal Hostel.
1. Echo Lake Trails (30 minutes) hosts 23.4 km (14.5) miles of groomed ski trails maintained by the Echo Lake Trail Association (ELTA). Adjoining this are many kms (miles) of groomed trails along Sawmill Road and its spurs. The Sawmill Road Trailhead is 23 miles from PPH on MT 1 between Georgetown Lake, and Phillipsburg. Sawmill Road Trail is groomed and maintained by Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Pintler Ranger District.
2. Mount Haggin Ski Trails (28 minutes) delivers 25 km (15.5 miles) of groomed trails maintained by the Mile High Nordic Ski Education Foundation Mile High Ski Education Foundation - Mt Haggin. Please no dogs on the groomed ski trails. There is nothing like an outdoor experience on Mount Haggin. Just ask the locals.
3. Moulton Cross-Country Ski Trails (40 minutes) offers many km (miles) of groomed and non-groomed trails also maintained by the Mile High Ski Education Foundation - Moulton in the Boulder Mtns. Dramatic vistas are your friend here. Please control your dogs and cleanup after them.
4. Chief Joseph Pass Cross Country Ski and Multi-use Trails (1 ¾ hrs.) offers 20 km (12.5) miles of groomed and multi-use trails maintained by the Bitterroot Cross Country Ski Association Dogs are welcome on multi-use trails.
5. Lake Como Ski Trails (61 miles from PPH) are lower elevation trails around Lake Como in the Bitterroot valley. These trails are also maintained by the Bitterroot Cross Country Ski Association Lake Como Trail System. Please bring your dog friends. Easy access.
6. Birch Creek Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Area (90 Minutes) have several km (miles) of ski and snow shoeing trails. Birch Creek Cross Country and Snow Shoe Trails are managed by Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Try dog skijoring at Birch Creek.
7. Elkhorn Ski Trails (90 minutes) has many km (miles) of ski trails managed by Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Dog Friendly and an online printable map is available on Elkhorn Ski Trails.
8. Lodge Pole Ridge Ski Trail 8310. Non-groomed Trailhead begins at Red Bridge Fishing Access 17 miles north of Pintler Portal Hostel on MT 1. Trails are managed by Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Pintler Ranger District.
There are hundreds of kms (miles) of groomed and non-groomed trails within a short drive of Pintler's Portal Hostel. In addition to the all-volunteer ski associations maintaining these winter trails, the US Forest Service is a critical partner in this winter sport. We are fortunate in Montana to have access to public land for this family oriented and competitive winter activity.
Pintler's Portal Hostel Spike Camp room displays maps of most of these ski trails, including topography and trail difficulty. Plan your outdoor trek for yourself and your family. In our lounge, cook a meal, warm by our fire, and refresh from your day trip.
Bring a picnic, build a fire, make snow angels and live healthy. Get out and ski!