The Ski Resort
Being the largest ski resort in the US by acreage, Big Sky Resort is located in southwestern Montana in Madison County. Opened in 1973, Big Sky has been phenomenal (and huge) ever since. In 2013, it acquired two adjacent mountains, namely Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks, thus making for an area that totals 5,800 acres with a lift capacity of 29,000 people per hour. Even though the ski resort is bigger than Vail, it is still not the biggest in the United States. Despite its bigness (yes, the name itself refers to it), it offers the quietest slopes compared to any other major resort.
The Lone Mountain Experience
From Mountain Village a fast quad goes to mid-mountain, from where you have a variety of options. You can either speed down some designated blues, such as Calamity Jane and Swifty Lift Line, greens like Mr. K., or black Diamonds. Or maybe you head to Powder Seeker which takes you up to the Lone Peak Tram leading up to the top of Lone Mountain where you will be enjoying fabulous 360 degree views of Montana and Yellowstone NP. Hopping off at the top station of Powder Seeker, you are as close as can possibly be to Lone's bowls.
Steep Bowls and Glades, Anyone?
The Headwaters double chair serves expert-only runs. For a premium mountain experience go check out Lone's South Face with its steep bowls and glades. Served by the Lone Peak Tram plenty of (single and double) black diamonds and bowls are just waiting for your arrival. While Liberty Bowl is the easiest way down and perfect for adventurous intermediates, Marx and Lenin are steeper. Dakota Triple and Shedhorn Double both take you to some blues and blacks and are definitely worth checking out. Basically, all of the terrain accessed from the Tram is classified black.
Beginner and Intermediate Skiing
Ski novices are also to find numerous designated green runs spread all over the ski resort, especially the trails and slopes served by Derringer Quad at Madison Base Area, Pony Express next to the Moonlight Lodge, Explorer and Lone Moose. Those who are into empty blue runs should take Ramcharger or Thunder Wolf at Andesite Mountain for excellent cruising.The slow Lone Tree quad serves nearly all of Moonlight’s easy intermediate terrain.
Seven Terrain Parks
Even if you fancy some neat terrain park sessions to show off your skills, Big Sky does not disappoint. Swifty Park and The Cache on Lone Peak suit advanced riders. Swifty 2.0 is an intermediate park near the village. Beginners should give the Explorer Park with its natural half-pipes a try. Near Madison Base Area lies the beginner terrain park Cowpoke Park, the intermediate Maverick Park and Peacemaker Park, which suits advanced skiers and riders. So, yes, you got this right, there is a whopping total of seven terrain parks at Big Sky Resort.
- Offering 5800 acres of slopes and terrain, Big Sky Resort is among the 5 largest Ski Resorts in the USA.
- Big Sky Resort is the the best rated ski resort in Montana.
- It is known to be the most family-friendly ski resort in Montana.
- Elevated between 6801 ft and 11165 ft, the Ski Resort is the highest elevated Ski Resorts in Montana. The vertical drop from summit to base is 4367 ft. The average difference in altitude between base and summit of Ski Resorts in the USA is 1204 ft. Most runs are therefore relatively long.
- Average snow depth during the season is 64 " at summit elevation and 43 " at base elevation. Snow coverage is usually best during March, offering an average snow depth of 80 " at summit elevation and 52 " at the base. This makes Big Sky Resort the ski resort with the best snow conditions in Montana.
- Big Sky Resort features 46 sunny days on average per season. The average for all ski Resorts in the USA is 62 sunny days. January is the sunniest month with an average of 13 sunny days. This makes the ski resort one of the 3 sunniest in Montana.
Snow Safety & Snowmaking
On Mountain Dining
The ski resort boasts four mid-mountain restaurants and a ton of dining options in the Mountain Village. The Everett's 8800 lies at the peak of the Andesite Mountain. It serves Alpine cuisine (get ready for their Swiss Potato Gratin), comes with the belonging Alpine charm, and offers indoor and outdoor fireplaces where you can spend cold days drinking hot beverages. Plan at least one lunch break at the Shedorn Grill. This one is more of a BBQ place, with home-made burgers and pork bratwurst from the outdoor grill, chili, hot soups, and a wide range of Montana micro-brews.
Black Kettle Burrito Co. should be another hut on your to-do list while staying in the resort. As you walk out the top station of the Swift Current, you will smell their Mexican specialties at every time of the day. A great spot to recharge your batteries after an exhausting day on the slopes!
If you prefer a lighter lunch, go and check out the Black Kettle Soup Co. to find yourself choosing from an amazing selection of four tasty soups daily or other snacks, such as wraps. Surprisingly they are most famous for their hot chocolate, so feel free to treat yourself and relax those legs after hours of making turns.
The Big Sky has countless outstanding trails that can´t all be listed here. Just one thing that experts should keep in mind: Don´t miss out on the Stillwater Bowl!
Most Difficult Runs
The activities offered in Big Sky are as countless as the acres of the ski resort itself. If you are more the nature kind of person, you have several options: Snowshoe tours, sleigh rides and dog sledding, snowmobile tours or nordic skiing. Moreover, there are zipline tours, high ropes courses, a giant swing, and bungee trampoline for those who are still in need of their adrenaline-fix.
When you've worn yourself out with your adventure-of-choice for the day, there's plenty to keep you occupied in Big Sky while staying warm and cozy. The Solace Spa & Salon is your go-to if you are ready for some self-pampering. Fitness center, pool, hot tub, and dry sauna as well as spa treatments, massage therapies, body wraps and scrubs, facials, and waxing - relax those aching muscles and grant yourself some quality time.
Après-Ski and Nightlife
Mountain Village is pretty lively and has some bars lining up. The Scissorbills Saloon is easy accessible coming from the trails at Andesite Mountain. It is always the first meeting point for all après-ski enthusiasts. The Choppers Grub & Pub never has a shortage of live music and you can try from 100 different brews. What's more: The bar does not close until the last party people want to go home.
Dining and Restaurants
Big Sky has a great selection of dining options, so whatever you are craving, from Asian to Italian food: You will find it here. Andiamo Italian Grille, located on the first floor of the Village Center, serves mainly, of course, Italian fare, such as pizza, Ceasar salad, meatball sandwiches, and roasted vegetables. Arata Hawaiian Style Sushi offers exotic dishes: The Japanese classic tastes great with pineapple and a lot more Aloha. Rainbow Ranch impresses with the widest wine selection of whole Montana. The chefs use local ingredients only, ensuring a farm-to-table dining experience.
Infrastructure & Rental
There are over 15 direct flights to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, for instance from La Guardia and Newark (New York), Atlanta (Georgia), or Chicago (Illinois). Big Sky Resort is located about one hour from the Bozeman Airport (BZN) and the northwest entrance to Yellowstone NP. There are several bus services, such as Skyline Bus or Big Sky Shuttle, Inc. which you can choose from in order to get to the ski resort. Of course, there are also car rental agencies located in the airport, like Hertz, Avis, and Budget.