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About 30 minutes outside of Helena, Great Divide is a family-owned ski area with affordable rates for skiers and snowboarders, child-friendly programs, and trails for beginners to experts.
It’s also the place to get the maximum number of days riding.
“We try to have the longest ski season in Montana,” general manager Travis Crawford said. “There's a few other mountains that compete with us but, over the last 30 years, we almost universally have had the longest ski season, where we start earlier than any other ski area, and we usually run later than any other area in Montana.”
Crawford grew up exploring Great Divide and, in 2020, he took over ownership along with wife Rose Crawford and friends Shane and Betsy Moran, the daughter of previous owners Kevin and Nyla Taylor. The new owners’ goal is to preserve the community the Taylors built while continuing to improve the mountain they love.
“All of us wanted to keep this same culture and feel at Great Divide,” said Travis Crawford. “I mean, it's like a second home to hundreds if not thousands of skiers that have grown up here and have enjoyed it.”
Families with children
The owners particularly want to provide an enjoyable experience for families with children.
“Our big focus — and it's probably a little bit personal because we are family-owned and we all have our little kids — we put a lot of focus on family skiing and trying to make it easy for an entire family to come up and get introduced to the sport,” said Crawford.
Great Divide offers group and private lessons, with instructors teaching over 8,000 lessons every season, according to Great Divide’s website. Beginners who are unfamiliar with the gear can take advantage of package deals, such as First Day Deal and EZ 1-2-3, which provide lessons, equipment, and lift tickets.
“If you've never skied before, come on up,” said Crawford. “We'll get you one package, and we'll get you on the hill to see what skiing is all about.”
Beyond lessons, Great Divide has amenities for all skill levels. For example, the beginner area not only has a rope tow but is isolated from other hills.
“You actually can't ski from our beginner area to the rest of the mountain, so it keeps those guys in a nice safe isolated spot to do their initial learning,” said Crawford.
The rest of the 1,500 acres offers slow zones, upper mountain intermediate areas, and steeper off groom and glade skiing for advanced riders. There are also six parks with up to 90 features available, such as rollers and boxes, big jumps, gaps, and rails. We switch our features up throughout the season so not all 90 features are available at a single time.
Season pass benefits
Season passes offer lift access, early season warm up runs, and flexible use schedules. Season pass holders also get three free days at partner areas in Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, and Colorado.
“There's no blackout dates,” said Crawford. “They show up, they show the ski area their season pass, and they get a free day ticket. They want to go up to, say, Whitefish Mountain Resort, it's great. Show up and you can have a long extended weekend, just with the value of your Great Divide season pass.”
Every March, Great Divide sells season passes that are good for the remainder of the current season and all next season.
“We really like being able to do that, where you gain an extra month or two of solid skiing with your next season’s season pass,” said Crawford.