[R247R, Montana Snowbowl] targeted Nov. 29 for their opening day. But the resort on the edge of Missoula plans to open for weekends only until later in December.

Snowbowl collects 300 inches of snow each year, enough to blanket its three-mile-long Paradise Run. Snowboarders and freeriders gravitate to the hill for its natural half-pipes. Its 35 runs and four lifts cover 2,600 feet of vertical. Steep runs like the Grizzly draw advanced skiers and riders looking for the thrill of plummeting the thigh-burner.

Daily lift tickets run $38 for adults and $35 for students and seniors. Children's tickets for 6- to12-year-olds cost $17.

Daily operations will begin Dec. 23 and run through Feb. 24, with the exception of Christmas Day when the resort is closed. Skiers and snowboarders can get free rentals and half price lessons every Tuesday between Jan. 6 and 27.

Snowbowl's Gelandesprung Lodge sits slopeside. It's a European-style lodge with shared and private baths, hot tub, and kitchen facilities. You can get a standard room with a shared bath for only $38. Rooms with private baths range $50-78 per night. You can also get packages that knock about $5 off lift tickets. Call (800) 728-2695 or (406) 549-9777 for reservations in the lodge.