Yes, Montana does experience snowfall, especially during the winter months. Montana is a state located in the western part of the United States. It is the fourth largest state by area and is often referred to as the ‘Big Sky Country’ due to its vast terrains. The rich mineral content in Montana also makes it ‘The Treasure State’ or ‘The Last Best Place’. 

Montana covers a very big land area and that is why its climate depends upon the region within the state. Western Montana is quite mountainous and receives significant snowfall during the winter months. Eastern and central Montana is less mountainous and experiences a continental type climate with snowy winters and warm summers.

Areas near water bodies like the Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana have modified maritime climate. The eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains also witness Chinook winds during the winter season. Average snowfall in Montana may reach 300 inches in the western half of the state, while the eastern region does not record more than 20 inches. 

When does it snow in Montana? 

What months is there snow in Montana? Well, the months during which you can expect snow in Montana vary depending upon the region you are in. This is because Montana has a very diverse landscape. To be precise, the first snowfall occurs in Montana around October and lasts up till April. Western part of Montana including regions like Kalispell, Missoula, and areas near Glacier National Park witness snowfall during these months. 

The central part of Montana including cities like Helena and Bozeman experience snowfall from October or November till March or sometimes April. Eastern Montana is somewhat drier and less mountainous and has less snowfall. Snow season starts from November or December and ends in February or sometimes March. Some parts of the state may also experience snowfall starting from September and ending as late as May. 

What are winters like in Montana? 

Winters in Montana can differ from region to region. However, in general, the winter season in the state is marked by cold weather spells and frequent snowfall. Temperatures can remain well below freezing point, especially in the eastern and mountainous regions. Daylight hours are very less, which can impact your daily outdoor activity. The state receives substantial snowfall during this time period and blizzards occur often. 

January is the coldest and the snowiest month in the state. While the mountainous regions may get 300+ inches of snowfall, the Flathead Valley may also record up to 55 inches of snowfall annually. The eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains may also get Chinook Winds, which can bring temporary periods of warm weather during the winter months. 

What part of Montana gets the least snow? 

The eastern and southeastern regions of Montana generally receive less snowfall as compared to other regions. This is because these areas are typically drier and less mountainous. Cities and towns included in these regions are Glendive, Billings, and Miles City. 

Billings, which is the largest city in eastern Montana, receives a very modest amount of snowfall as compared to other areas. While Cooke City is the snowiest town in Montana, Thompson Falls, Billings, Helena and Hardin are the warmest. On average, BIllings receives almost 46 inches of snowfall yearly. 

Montana Snowfall by Month 

Here is a list of average snowfall by month of selected cities in Montana:

Billings (Southeastern Montana) 

  • January: 12.5 inches 
  • February: 14.5 inches 
  • March: 5.5 inches 
  • April: 5.0 inches 
  • May: 0.7 inches
  • September: 0.2 inches
  • October: 2.5 inches
  • November: 8.8 inches
  • December: 13.5 inches 

Bozeman (Southwestern Montana)

  • January: 3.4 inches
  • February: 2.8 inches 
  • March: 3.3 inches
  • April: 2.6 inches 
  • May: 0.7 inches 
  • October: 1.0 inch
  • November: 2.9 inches 
  • December: 4.1 inches 

Helena (Central Montana) 

  • January: 8.8 inches 
  • February: 7.1 inches 
  • March: 8.5 inches 
  • April: 5.2 inches 
  • October: 3.1 inches
  • November: 6.6 inches 
  • December: 8.2 inches

Missoula (Western Montana)

  • January: 10.2 inches 
  • February: 14.1 inches
  • March: 3.5 inches 
  • April: 1.1 inches 
  • May: 0.3 inches 
  • October: 0.6 inches 
  • November: 5.3 inches 
  • December: 13.7 inches 

Where does it snow in Montana? 

Snowfall in Montana is common throughout the entire state, although the frequency and amount may differ from region to region. 

Western Montana 

Western Montana receives the most snowfall during the winter months. Cities included in this region are Missoula, Kalispell, etc. Winter activities like skiing are very prevalent here. 

Central Montana 

Winter snowfall is also common in the central part of Montana, although a little less than the western region. Cities like Helena and Bozeman are included here. 

Northern Montana

Northern Montana comprises mountainous regions and receives a substantial amount of snowfall during the winter months. This includes regions near the Canadian border.  

Southern Montana 

Southern Montana receives the lowest amount of snowfall during the winter months. It includes areas like Billings and Big Timber. 

Eastern Montana 

Eastern Montana is known for its mild winters with less snow than other parts of the state. Cities like Miles City and Glendive are included in this region. 

Winter activities in Montana

Montana offers a wide range of winter activities, making it a very popular destination for tourists. Here is a list of things to do in Montana in the winter season:

Skiing 

Montana is home to a number of ski resorts, thanks to its snowy weather. Some of the best ski resorts in the state include the Big Sky Resort, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Bridger Bowl, Red Lodge Mountain, and many more. 

Ice Skating 

Several outdoor ice skating rinks are available in Montana which can prove to be a great way to enjoy the season. Some popular spots include Missoula’s Glacier Ice Rink, Bozeman Ice Festival, and the outdoor rink at Red Lodge.

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Things to do in Montana

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