Even five years ago, when Lost Trail was half as big as it is now, the place was a powder skier's dream. It sits at the buckle of a weird little snow belt in the southern Bitterroot Range on the Montana-Idaho border. And because the few people who live in the area have regular jobs, you usually only see lines on Saturdays.
Ride Chair 1 twice. First ski powder bumps on the headwall of South Face, and then ride it again to get over to Thunder, an open-cut trail under Chair 2. From there, make your way to the new terrain—kinder, gentler, and less steep powder skiing—that's serviced by the Saddle Mountain lift.
Lost Trail's marquee shot, appropriately enough, is named Hollywood Bowl—the steepest pitch, it rolls over to about 40 degrees up top, off the Saddle Mountain lift. There are also some great secret chutes off the top of Chair 1 (skate to the right through the trees to access). But you didn't hear it from us.
Après: You can grab a beer at the base, but you're better off heading back to Missoula, where the downtown is rife with packed bars and restaurants. Start at the Iron Horse for appetizers and beer before heading to Charlie B's for a rowdy late night. There, the women bartenders wear tight jeans. Hello, Daisy Duke. My name's Luke.
The Tip: Watch your speed driving through the little towns that dot the Bitterroot Valley between Missoula and Lost Trail. Ticket revenues keep the local sheriffs in new cars and mustache wax.