Having gone to school at MSU and lived in Missoula for three years, both areas are excellent for outdoor recreation.
Fishing, mountain biking, boating, hiking, XC skiing are comparable at both.
Bozeman clearly gets the nod for downhill skiing.
Both areas lack nearby lakes (but you're not going to play on many lakes during the academic year).
Montana doesn't have incredible whitewater during the school year. School is out in early May, so you could go boating wherever you want after you finish finals!
I went to school in Bozeman and regretted not taking up kayaking until the year I left (and then only learned a roll in the University pool). I recently discovered the Gallatin. It is a gem. I bemoaned not boating while I was a student...but after writing the previous paragraph realize that I also didn't ever spend a summer in Bozeman when I'd have actually gone boating.
If you want a "kayaking school" go to the southeast or west coast!
Originally Posted by lhowemt
Bozeman will provide a real education too, go cats!
Go Cats Go!