Winter is here, which means snow tires, studded tires, chains on tires, 4-wheel drive, all-wheel drive...well, you get the picture.

The winter months can be pretty brutal in Montana, from snow and ice-covered highways to avalanche warnings and loss of power. If you're going to live here, you certainly need to be prepared, but when compared to other states, just how bad is winter in Montana?

What do you say we take a look at a few factors and then compare those factors against other states known for harsh winters? For our little experiment, we will take a look at three main factors:

Snowfall, temperature, and wind.

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According to World Population Review, Montana averaged 38.1 inches for 2022. So where does that rank compared to other states? There are places in the U.S. that receive more snow. In our region, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming all receive a significant amount more, with Wyoming having a 2022 average of over 91 inches.

Of course, Montana and other mountain states receive much more snow in the higher elevations.

Winter park in snowWinter park in snow


Montana is ranked 6th in the country when it comes to the coldest states in the U.S., with an average temperature of 42.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest date in Montana history was on January 20th, 1954 when the temperature dropped to 70 below.

So which 5 states are colder than Montana? Wyoming, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Alaska.



Wind plays a huge factor in weather, from wind-chill to blowing snow, a windy day can wreak havoc in the winter months. So where does Montana rank when it comes to wind? According to, Montana is the 5th windiest state, with an average of over 20 mph.

Wintery picture of a very cold man with a XMAS vibe

So while Montana might not have the harshest winters in the nation, when you combine the snow, cold, and wind, it certainly isn't a place for the weak of heart.

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