Exploring Missoula, Where College Town Meets Ski Town

This video was produced in partnership with Visit Montana.

In the second episode of this season’s “The Montana Way,” Lake Tahoe local Amie Engerbretson heads up Highway 93 from Hamilton and Lost Trail Powder Mountain to the college town of Missoula and the thriving scene around the nearby Montana Snowbowl.

Engerbretson is joined by Kyle Sillars, a local skier who’s also the head brewer at Draught Works Brewery. He sums up why Missoula is a dream town for skiers and outdoor adventurers of every stripe. “I love it for the diversity of recreation,” says Sillars. “We have great skiing, year-round biking, climbing, and kayaking. And Snowbowl is great because it steep, just over 2,000 vertical feet. It has a lot of character.”

Snowbowl’s two lifts blew Engerbretson away. “You can get to the top of this mountain and ski down one of the longest, steepest, most fun runs you’re going to find anywhere,” she explains.

After scoring some stellar turns on the mountain, Engerbretson and Sillars hit The Last Run Inn, Snowbowl’s legendary après bar that has arguably the state’s most famous Bloody Mary, along with wood-fired pizzas.

Before soaking in the food and drink scene in town, Engerbretson learns what Sillars means when he says “year-round biking.” With some help from the crew at Missoula Bicycle Works, she gets to see some of the local winter fat biking trails. “We have a lot of options, and those options don’t end because some snow flies,” says Bicycle Works’ Danny Hathaway. “It’s a great place to ride bikes in the wintertime.”

From there, it’s off to see what makes Missoula unlike most ski towns – the buzzing restaurants, bars, and nightlife that comes with being home to one of the state’s largest universities. From breweries known throughout the west, to live music venues that regularly rope in national acts while providing a home to locally famous ones worth discovering, Missoula leaves a mark on Engerbretson. “The college town mixed with outdoor enthusiasts is a really cool vibe,” she says. To see why, watch the whole video above.

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