Life at YurtSki

We pride ourselves in providing unforgettable backcountry skiing experiences. Our goal is for people to enjoy the beauty of the Swan Range safely and in comfort while getting some incredible powder turns. See the video below for a glimpse of life at YurtSki, and then get a group together for an experience that will last a life time!

Our yurts are nestled deep in the Montana backcountry, high in the Southern Swan Mountains. The trailhead is about 60 minutes from Missoula and 90 minutes from Helena.

They offer unparalleled access to some of Montana’s best powder skiing. Our immediate terrain is situated off a large horseshoe shaped ridge with finger ramps that separate the area into three main bowls which funnel back down to the yurts.

The skiing ranges from mellow glades to steep wide open bowls. The area offers exceptional views of the Missions, Swans, and the Bob Marshall/Scapegoat Wilderness. There is also ample opportunity to tour the ridge and drop off the backside towards the Bob Marshall & Scapegoat Wilderness. Longer tours may decide to drop off the backside to a lake for lunch and laps.

"It always snows at YurtSki"

The Seeley-Swan area of Montana is known for its colder weather and heavier snow falls. This translates to incredible cold smoke powder skiing. Storms dumping multiple feet of snow are not uncommon.

The Yurts

Elevation: 6,800'

Alpine Yurt

24' fully insulated yurt with woodstove, kitchen, 4 full-size bunks, and 2 futon couches. Sleeps up to 10.


Per Night

Inside the Alpine Yurt

Elevation: 6,600'

Lupine Yurt

20' fully-insulated yurt with woodstove, kitchen, and 4 full-size bunks. Sleeps up to 8.


Per Night

Inside the Lupine Yurt

Getting to the Yurts

The trip into the yurt is 11 miles. The first 5 miles follow a groomed road, and the final 6 miles gain 2,000' up the non-groomed Morrell Mountain road. The parking lot and trailhead are located at 47.1214,-113.3180, which is about 1/4 mile past Rich's Montana Guest Ranch on the Cottonwood Lakes Road. You will see a white cargo trailer parked there and a small plowed parking area. Please carpool when possible as the parking area can be tight.

We offer a Gear Haul + Tow to bring you and all of your gear into the yurts. We have large toboggans and capable snow machines that can haul both you and all of your gear right to the front door.

Included with a gear haul, we will fill 10 gallons of water at the spring, provide clean sheets for the mattresses, and answer any questions you may have about life at the yurt. Gear hauls at YurtSki include both the tow in on the first day of your trip and the tow out at the end of your trip.

Gear hauls meet at 10am at the parking lot to go in and at 1pm at the yurt to come out.

Gear Haul Pricing:


Flat Rate


Download these Geo-referenced PDF maps and load into an app like Avenza to use them at the yurts.

Frequently Asked Questions about YurtSki

What is the Difference between the Alpine and Lupine Yurts?

The Alpine yurt (sitting at 6,800') is 0.75 miles past the Lupine Yurt (sitting at 6,600') on the Morrell Mountain Road. Slightly larger, the Alpine Yurt sleeps 10 comfortably while Lupine sleeps 8.

Both yurts are similarly equipped with 2 double-over-double bunk beds, woodstove, table, and kitchen with propane stoves. Alpine has 2 futon couches that provide sleeping for 2 additional people. The Lupine yurt maybe better suited for skiing off the Lookout/ Supernatural Area of the horseshoe where as the Alpine is slightly better situated for skiing the back bowls.

What is supplied at the yurts?

A wood burning stove, firewood, ax, maul ax/splitting tool, cook stove, propane, propane lanterns, pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, cooking and eating utensils, kettle, and sleeping mattresses. View a detailed inventory here.

The Alpine Yurt features 2 futon couches and also houses a Life flight extraction kit (helicopter specific backboard, splints, neck braces, emergency blanket, six man carry).

Both yurts have a solar system for lights and recharging your devices. Beware that the battery does not charge during snowstorms, of which there are many.

Interior of the Alpine Yurt: Table, Futons, and 2 bunk beds. See the kitchen below.

Yurt Life Basics
How are the yurts heated?

The yurts are heated by wood burning stoves and all firewood is provided. Inside the yurts there are wood bunks full of dry, split wood. Outside the yurts there are covered woodpiles where rounds can be found for splitting. The yurts have both wall and roof insulation. A well-tended fire will keep the yurt comfortable through the coldest nights. Everyone sleeps differently, however, so we always recommend a good winter sleeping bag.

How do get water?

We utilize a mountain spring located between the Lupine and Alpine yurts for drinking water. With gear hauls, we will gather at least 5 gallons of water for your group from the spring. We drink from the spring untreated; however this decision is ultimately yours. Boiling or treating water with iodine are good options. Otherwise, culinary/ washing water can be obtained by melting snow.

Is there an outhouse?

There is a three sided outhouse located directly behind each yurt in order to answer nature’s call in relative comfort.

Do we need to have avalanche equipment even if we’re not skiing?

Yes. A beacon, shovel and probe are mandatory for anyone visiting the yurts. The Swan Mountains are avalanche country and we must be prepared at all times. Avalanches can and do occur in the area.

Alpine Woodstove
Alpine Kitchen
Getting to the Yurts
Do I have to book a gear haul?

Not at all!
If you have your own snowmobiles, feel free to use them. Our snowmobiles are designed to haul our large toboggans and people. We have many snowmobile owning clients that prefer to book a gear haul to maximize their time skiing and minimize any snowmobile headaches.

Can I ski to the yurts?

The approach begins with at least 5 miles of flat travel on the Cottonwood Lakes Road. From there, the Morrell Mountain road switchbacks over 6 miles gaining nearly 2,000 feet. If skiing, you can cut these switchbacks right up the valley, cutting off about about 3 miles. See the topo maps here.

We've had many clients ski to the yurts, but we don't know many that have skied in twice.

What time is check out?

Check-in and Check-out is 12pm. If you plan on skiing your last day, please make sure to clean and pack up by noon so that the next group can move in.

Are cross-country skis or snowshoes okay?

Cross-country skis are not recommended. There is A LOT of snow. Snowshoes seem to work for some snowboarders, but we highly recommend split-boarding for our snowboarding friends.

Can I bring my dog?

No. We ask you to please leave your four-legged friends at home when going to YurtSki. We are concerned about sanitation of the yurts. Also, the long snowmobile approach is extremely hard on dogs.

What's your cancellation Policy?

Montana Backcountry Yurts requires a 50% nonrefundable deposit at the time of booking. You can choose to use the "Pay Now" in your invoice to pay the remaining 50% any time before your trip. We will charge any outstanding balance to your credit card 30 days prior to your trip. If booking less than 30 days in advance, we require you to pay in full.

You can cancel your trip up to 30 days prior to your start date online at, by email:, or by phone: (406) ‪848-4232‬. Your deposit will not be refunded, but we will not charge you the remaining balance.

Trips canceled less than 1 month prior to the start date are still required to be paid in full and are nonrefundable.

Want more?

Watch this video from 2015 then visit the booking calendar. Things have are a bit more burned today, which opens up even more incredible terrain.