Montana (a.k.a. Big Sky Country) holds all sorts of wonders, including mammoth snowfalls dusting the ski resorts like Big Sky and the lesser known but fantastic Lost Trail Powder mountain (with 300 acres of new tree-lined terrain this season). Mix in a few billionaires who own sprawling ranches, Yellowstone access, and the romantic fly-fishing scenery of A River Runs Through It, and the state is a year-round destination for getting away from it all. Stay chic under that big, blue sky with these chic picks.
This time of the year, temperatures often hover in the 20s-30s. No way around it but to dress appropriately in this puffer jacket with feminine shawl collar and handy hood in dark purple ($199.20). It's water-resistant buys like these toasty mittens in periwinkle ($39.95) that will make all the difference. For the rest of your gear, think layering with this zip-neck base layer in purple stripe ($59), black winter pants ($62.93) with defined knees for movement without adding bulk, and wool snowboard socks ($25.95), which are great off the mountain as well. While everyone's flying down the mountain on skis and snowboards, why not bring along your own snowshoe kit ($209.95) to explore Montana's peaks and powder your own way.
With a nickname like Big Sky, the nighttime scape is something to behold. Wear these sparkling stud earrings to reflect the starry expanse ($74.75). Cap it off with this cashmere knit hat in a nubby light gray, which will work great for day too ($69). If you happen to be checking out hip and funky Bozeman, there are activities all year like a own snowy version of Mardi Gras and all summer, from June 27 to Aug. 15, the fun-filled live Music on Main. Pad around downtown in this cashmere waffle sweater in minty green ($248), flannel lined boyfriend jeans ($49.99), and Sorel winter boots in black ($105.98). Toss on this Thinsulate-lined gray wool parka, which offers style and utility, by Spiewak ($193.50), known for making warm coats for patrolling policeman.
Aside from strapping on skis or boards, Montana offers plenty of other winter thrills, like snowmobiling. Head to the aptly named Big Boys Toys in Bozeman to ask about snowmobiling or sledding in this orange and black puffer jacket ($249), in windproof fabric and a high neck to ward off icy breezes, insulated snow pants in khaki ($159.93), sporty Oakleys ($150), and sleek Merrell hiking boots with gripping Vibram soles ($299.95). Underneath, this oatmeal-colored wool sweater ($54.95) is handsomely rugged and a blue long underwear set will keep core temperatures up ($104.30).
Lodge Style, After-Dark
Fleece can be stylish too and when the sun dips West, zip on this sporting style in plush alpine green ($119 by Eddie Bauer) for a slightly dressier look. This crewneck wool sweater with deer skull ($22.99) nods to the area's lodge spirit. Wear with bootcut jeans in recycled cotton ($79.95)—add long underwear, above, if necessary—and shearling lined boots in waterproof grain leather ($179). Final stylish touches: this blue merino wool hat with fun pom by Marc by Marc Jacobs ($58) and luxurious fingerless gloves in deerskin and cashmere-blend by John Varvatos ($95) that add a designer feel without breaking the bank.
Where to Stay
Spend a few days in Bozeman checking out its lively downtown filled with restaurants and art galleries. The Lehrkind Mansion Bed and Breakfast, an impressive Victorian with tons of character, is walk-able to all the action without being right in it (rooms start from $109/night). Another option, if skiing the community-owned Bridger Bowl (a great place to take lessons for all ages), is your top priority, is the C'mon Inn on East Valley Center Road (starts from $93/night). Further out, the Silver Creek Cabins (from $135) are remote but offer good access to both Bozeman and Big Sky resort.
During the summer, campgrounds like Bridge Bay open along Yellowstone Lake (just across the border with Wyoming) and offer a budget-friendly option. There are also lodges scattered throughout, like the charming Gardiner Guest House B&B in Gardiner, quaint town at the North entrance to Yellowstone. For something slightly off the usual track, Crevice Mountain Lodge ($200 for double occupancy) is quite the rustic getaway, located at 8300 ft. elevation with cabin housing and organized fall hunting trips.
Photo credits: Women: Day: top left, Courtesy of REI; bottom left, Courtesy of L.L.Bean Inc; top center, Courtesy of Paragon Sports Co. LLC; bottom center, Courtesy of Patagonia, Inc.; top right, Courtesy of Eddie Bauer LLC; bottom right, Courtesy of REI. Night: top left, Courtesy of J.CREW; bottom left, Courtesy of Club Monaco US, LLC; center left, Courtesy of Substance for Fashion Conscious People, LLC; center right, Courtesy of QVC, Inc.; top right, Courtesy of Eddie Bauer LLC.; bottom right, Courtesy of www.campmor.com. Men: Day: top left, Courtesy of Oakley, Inc.; bottom left, Courtesy of L.L.Bean Inc.; top left center, Courtesy of REI; top right center, Courtesy of REI; bottom center, Courtesy of Backcountry.com; right, Courtesy of Backcountry.com. Night: top left, Courtesy of Nordstrom, Inc.; bottom left, Courtesy of L.L.Bean Inc; top center, Courtesy of Gap Inc.; bottom center, Courtesy of Eddie Bauer LLC; top right, Courtesy of Gap Inc.; bottom right, Courtesy of marcjacobs.com