Turner is a smaller ski resort located in the Kootenai National Forest in northwest Montana. It sits about a half hour’s drive north of Libby. The ski area has 20 named runs with a difficulty mix of 10 percent novice, 30 percent intermediate, and 60 percent expert. The vertical drop at Turner is 2110 feet with base elevation at 3842 feet and lift serviced peak elevation at 5952 feet.
Moving Around the Mountain
There are two beginner runs that are accessed from the midstation of the double chair. Both are named Jeep Road, but the upper trail leads to an intermediate steep. The lower Jeep Road takes a long loping bend down and around the entire right side of the mountain back down to the base lodge.
Intermediate skiers can hop off at the midpoint or take the lift to the peak. From the midpoint, Upper Jeep Road leads to two tree-lined moderate cruisers, Pig Chutes, and Lower Mambo. From the summit, there are three runs, each at a different height along the right ridge. For the best view, take the top run, Cabinet Avenue to No Brake. This line turns into Mo-Z-Down, which ends in the last leg of the novice lower Jeep Road.
Turner is most famous, however, for its fall line. The expert steep that runs from the peak all the way down to base camp by the most direct route underneath the double chair that brought you up. Experience all 2110 feet in one fell swoop as you zip down the Mountain Standard Time run. Less extreme runs that will still challenge you head along the left ridge. Take Boulevard to Power Dive to the Seventh Heaven glade for the best expert line at the resort. At any point, take your skis and point them down mountain and either tear up the Sundance Bowl or go for a run down the Big Red glade. There are a lot of ways down the mountain for expert skiers, and the most fun is finding the one that pushes your comfort level.
Après Ski Events
The day lodge is a standard small mountain lodge. Cafeteria style fair with burgers and fries and a rental shop. Turner offers lessons for skiing and boarding on Saturdays for only 20 bucks for two hours for those looking to sharpen up their skills. If you’re brand new on the snow, there’s a three session Learn to Ski Program that follows the guidelines set by Heidi Tauber. 90 bucks gets you three two-hour lessons, three full day lift tickets, and 3 sets of equipment rentals. It’s not a bad deal and at the end, you’ll be able to tackle most novice runs with confidence.
The bottom line for Turner Mountain is that it’s a great place to go with your family if you want to avoid the crowded noisier resorts. There’s never a line for the lift and there’s enough snow to keep everyone busy for a weekend. A week-long vacation might strain your ability to stay enthused, but as a stop on a ski tour of Montana, you won’t be disappointed with Turner.