Traveling Montana's backroads in winter requires well-honed Emersonian self-reliance skills. Invariably, your cell phone quits just before an elk forces your SUV into a snowbank. So unless the idea of cannibalizing your ski buds appeals to you, buy a shovel and throw it in the trunk with a sleeping bag and a stash of Clif Bars.
Getting There: Fly directly to Bozeman's Gallatin Field so you'll be fresh to battle Bridger's Ridge Hippies for powder turns in the morning. Delta (800-221-1212) routes flights from Salt Lake City, Northwest (800-225-2525) from Minneapolis–St. Paul, and Horizon (800-547-9308) from Seattle. Dial the Airfield Manager (406-388-8321) for a list of local car rental agencies, most of which offer everything from Subarus to Suburbans. Ski racks go for around $6 extra per day.
Lodging: To take advantage of Bridger's $150 Powderhound Package, call the hill at 800-223-9609. At the B-Bar Ranch (left), two nights' lodging, meals, and skiing will run you $400 per person, double occupancy. For reservations, call 406-848-7523. If one day at Great Divide isn't enough (it won't be), the Helena Chamber of Commerce (406-442-4120) can provide a listing of local hotels. But take heed: A cabin for six at nearby Alice Creek Ranch (406-362-4810) will set you back only $75. By this point, your body will be screaming for a Montana Whirlpool—otherwise known as hot springs. The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort lets you soak twice, sleep twice, and ski twice at Discovery for $130 per person (800-332-3272). Ski two days at Lost Trail and spend two nights at the Camp Creek Inn Bed and Breakfast (406-821-3508) for $84 per person. Two days' skiing and two nights' lodging at Big Sky (800-548-4486) runs $169 per person, double occupancy, in early January. A weeklong cabin-stay at Lone Mountain Ranch (800-514-4644) costs $2,600 for two, $1,665 if you're solo, and includes meals and skiing; one-day ski passes cost $12.