is like the final frontier for skiers. If you haven’t skied the Big Sky state,
you’re missing the big picture. Let me paint it for you: far less crowds than
most Colorado or Utah resorts, magnificent 11,000’ mountains, superb scenery,
and serious snow.
We have skied Big Sky's vast beautiful high alpine terrain. It's amazing. Big Sky is relatively easy to reach, an hour from
the beautiful Bozeman airport up a swerving scenic canyon road that follows the splendid
Gallatin River. Big Sky now owns the northern
Moonlight Basin (previously its own
ski resort), making it some of the biggest skiing in
America with over 5,800 acres
and 34 lifts, plus the formerly private ski trails and lifts of Spanish Peaks which
Boyne purchased in 2013 with
Yellowstone Club's owner - CrossHarbor Capital.
Big Sky’s vertical is 4,350’, second only to
Snowmass at Aspen. Skiing from the top of Lone Peak all
the way to the Mountain
Village is a six-mile run taking you from steep snowfields like Liberty Bowl and
the Dictator Chutes, to powder fields, glades, groomers, even a natural halfpipe
along your way.
With 5,800-acres encompassing seven different aspects, and 300 named trails from
wide-open runs to extreme NFT (no fall terrain), Big Sky has truly something for
everyone. I love the groomers on Andesite, and the steeps off Lone Peak. My
husband likes Challenger’s natural glades and steeps, our daughter loves the
Cache terrain park off Swifty and Moonlight's groomed Icehouse. Our son loves the bump
runs on Thunder Wolf and the Dictator Chutes off the Tram.
Big Sky is big on families, kids 10 and under ski and stay free. Après ski
activities for families are bustling at Base Camp. You can tube, snowshoe,
bungie jump, zipline or send the kids to Kids’ Club for fun and games while you
enjoy adult après ski at the cowboy style Carabiner
Bar with Moose Drool beer.
We ziplined one afternoon, high above the ski
slopes soaring 1,500’ past the high speed quads and over the village. For a day
off the slopes (not a bad idea with such big mountain, high elevation skiing),
tour Yellowstone National Park by snowcoach or snowmobile to see bison and
Big Sky's Summit Hotel is four-star, slopeside, with sumptuous western décor and
heated pool and spa, steps from teh Big Sky village - perfectly located for
first tracks and last call.
Riding up to 11,166’ on the 15-passenger Lone Peak Tram, you can’t help but be
impressed by the Grand Teton views, and the vision of John Kircher, of the Boyne
Resort family. In 1993, he helicopter skied off this pinnacle and planned a tram to
take skiers to the top. The Tram opened in 1995, a feat of engineering that has
made this big mountain terrain accessible by lift, unlike anything else in the
country. Skiing Big Sky’s Lone Peak is like
heli skiing without the pricey heli-ski
vacation or skiing off-piste in the
Alps. For witner 2016-17, Big Sky debuts a new Bowl6 - six pssenger chair
with heated leather seats in the Bowl, and a new Dopplemayr Triple serving the
Challenger terrain with a conveyor loading system to speed up access to this
local's favorite stash.
Big Sky skis off of seven aspects and three separate mountains, the largest of which is Lone Peak.
On its north side is Moonlight Basin, all part of your Big Sky ticket, encompassing more terrain
than Vail at 5,512-acres, though eclipsed by Park City's 7,300.
was one of the newest
ski resorts in America, opened in 2003 on family owned ranch land, now part of Big Sky's
ski terrain. The Moonlight area still feels like a
private resort where you can score powder stashes and perfect cord all day long.
David Letterman “moonlights” here; apparently he prefers this
ski terrain over the posh private runs at neighboring exclusive
and Spanish Peaks.
Whether you stay at Big Sky or lodge at Moonlight Basin
in a private mountainside cabin, you can ski back and forth
savor soft untouched snow, and maybe see
some wildlife – my husband skied by a fox during our first tracks. I was awed by
the vast wilderness dotted with occasional majestic rocky mountain homes and the
Moonlight Lodge with its grand fireplace (so big there are mountain goats
climbing up the rocks). The Moonlight Lodge is great place for a scenic ski in ski out
lunch or drink at the bar.
The Moonlight Basin, Northern Exposure of Big Sky, has more skiing than meets
the eye from great cruisers off the super speedy Six-Shooter lift, to glades and
steeps on Lone Tree, and hair-raising chutes and powder bowls off the Headwaters
chair lift that climbs Lone Peak's north flank.
Do yourself a big favor and plan a ski trip to Big Sky, and a stop
at Bridger Bowl for a ski day too (14
miles from Bozeman). The scenery, the snow, the
acres of terrain, grand western lodging, and the friendly Montanans really
make it worth the western ho. So giddy up and go.