New Airport Expansion Fuels Opportunities for Travelers and Businesspeople
Due to its promising economics, cheaper-than-average housing compared to the rest of the state, and updates of buildings all over the city, Butte has become an excellent option for both business and recreational travelers.
For tourists, Butte offers access a centralized location to make a lot of Montana’s recreational activities accessible. The city itself has an incredible history, is home to “America’s richest mountain,” and is overseen by Our Lady of the Rockies.
With the recent addition of new flights and a previously new terminal in Butte, it’s never been easier to access some of Montana’s most fantastic attractions and find new business opportunities in a growing economy.
Butte’s Bert Mooney Airport built a new terminal in 2018. A $10.5 million expansion project, the airport wanted to increase the terminal’s attractiveness to new passengers traveling from out of state for business and tourism opportunities.
They secured two nonstop flights per day to and from Salt Lake City back in 2018 but continued to try to get nonstop flights to major hubs like Denver.
Because project funding and interest from other airlines is granted to terminals showing a high traffic volume over a specific period, they worked tirelessly to increase purchased tickets on their flights. Their efforts paid off; they were able to show interest and activity in the airport. As of January 1st, 2022, they’ll be servicing daily flights to and from Denver airport as well.
The increased number of flights and increased rideshare should also help drive the prices of the tickets down. The flight to Denver will continue until December 2024, but an extension to the service can be made if the interest continues to stay positive.
To make the airport’s case even better, The Praxis Center, a medical training facility being built in Uptown Butte, is expected to bring up to 5,000 healthcare workers-in-training every year, adding to the number of seats they’re able to sell.
A New Restaurant: The Ore Cart
The Ore Cart is an excellent establishment for on-the-go frequent fliers with items like smoothies, sandwiches, and kids menu items like grilled cheese and quesadillas.
Their menu is packed with great breakfast items to give someone the best start to their day, as well as different types of coffee such as frappuccinos, lattes, and espressos.
Although they’re only open until 3 pm, it will save most travelers from having to leave the airport to get a good meal.
Isn’t it a bummer to leave your car in the parking lot, then come back home to pay $100 in parking fees?
Bert Mooney Airport doesn’t charge for parking, which is a massive advantage for any commuters from the six rural counties they serve. Other airports throughout the state charge up to $20 a day or over $100 a week.
Butte is in between a plethora of different recreational activities. The airport itself has pledged $10,000 annually to help show off unrealized attractions for local travelers like hiking, bicycling, fly-fishing, skiing, and snowboarding.
Butte’s close access to I-90 and I-15 allows travelers to easily reach all of these recreational opportunities.
Skiing and Snowboarding
The closest ski resorts are Big Sky Resort and Discovery Ski area. Between the two, the experience they offer couldn’t be more different, with each their own advantages.
Big Sky Resort spans 5,800 acres with multiple high-speed lifts, a tram, and the first 8-seat chairlift in North America. A whole town is dedicated to the support of the mountain. And at a maximum elevation of over 11,000 feet, it’s difficult to beat. Big Sky can excite even the most advanced winter sports enthusiasts.
However, you’ll pay anywhere between $69 in the preseason to $218/day in mid-December through February.
Heading west on I-90 out of Butte, it will be about 2 hours to get to the Big Sky Resort. Farm and ranch communities are rolled throughout the trip until Belgrade. South from there, the Gallatin Gateway opens up a curvy, mountainous road that follows the Gallatin River all the way to Big Sky.
At Discovery Ski Area, you’ll get a lift ticket for only $54, but still have access to some of the best powder in the state. It covers 2,200 acres with a 2,388 vertical drop, and the longest run is 1.5 miles. With over 215 inches of snowfall annually, it’s still a premium choice.
Getting to Discovery from Butte takes an hour. The drive starts on the interstate heading east, then gets off towards Anaconda. A driver will pass a few golf courses on the way, and go directly by Georgetown Lake. They’ll also be able to see Echo Lake from the road just under the pass into the ski area.
From May to October, fly fishing around Butte is an angler’s dream. All of the access points given below are about one hour away or less:
- The Little Blackfoot is north of Butte, through Deer Lodge just off of Highway 12. The book wasn’t based in this area, but the Blackfoot River was a hot talking point in “A River Runs Through It.”
- The Madison River is near Three Forks and is one of the three rivers that form the Missouri River.
- Access to fishing on the Missouri is on the other side of the Madison near Three Forks. Take a visit to the Missouri Headwater State Park and witness the birthplace of the might Missouri River. After taking in the sights, see how many rainbow trout you can pull.
- South on I-15 to Dillon, then on Hwy 43 snakes the Big Hole River. It’s known for big brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout.
There are also a handful of alpine lakes tucked into the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, Tobacco Root, Pioneer, and the Flint ranges. All of them can be accessed in about an hours’ drive.
Both of the interstates running through Butte give travelers and business people easy access to other major cities like Bozeman and Missoula, which lie on I-90 or Montana’s state capital, Helena, on I-15.
The new airport terminal and expansion of flights into the major airport hubs throughout the US offer a ton of value to travelers and business people alike. To top it all off, Butte is a centralized location that gives tourists and business people alike the opportunity to take advantage of Montana’s recreational activities while visiting.
As more people purchase flights for recreational or business purposes, the airport should expect to be able to add more options in the near future.