Montana is big enough to have a variety of climates. The eastern 2/3 gets bitterly cold with life-threatening blizzards. The western 1/3 in the mountains is more moderate. Rainy spring, glorious summer and fall. Winter is a dreamland if you like it and a nightmare if you don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skied to work, right through the streets of the city. I loved it!
The problems with Montana and Idaho, the next state to the left, are more political than climate. Except for the two university towns (Missoula and Bozeman) Montana is a bunch of white redneck republicans. Idaho takes it a step further. It is the least diverse state in the country and is the second most Mormon state in the country. Because of the incredible outdoor activities in each state, they have each attracted a significant number of good-hearted kayakers, skiers, mountain bikers, and backpackers, but not enough to tip the state toward a more liberal socio-political status.
Southern Idaho (Boise)is a desert, but an amazing place, full of art and music and great hiking and biking. The people are shockingly friendly and welcoming, but the problem again is they are 99% white, and mostly Mormon. Eastern Washington and Oregon are very rural with lots of outdoor options, but the closer you get to Seattle and Portland, the more crowded it gets.
Have you ever read “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean? He has a line that reads something like, “The number of bastards you meet increases in direct proportion to your distance from Missoula.” If you have an option to move to this corner of the US, I would recommend Missoula, MT without reservation.
(Take me with you!)