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Big Sky, Montana. Whilst it’s not yet a household name, what it lacks in notoriety, it more than makes up for with some very, very impressive stats. This is North America’s third largest ski area (behind Whistler and Park City). Big Sky = Big Mountain. The ski area has even trademarked the slogan “The Biggest Skiing in America” This resort has big plans to reclaim that title and with a ski area bigger than Vail it won’t be long before everyone has heard of Big Sky.
Not only is the ski area vast, it has a super reliable snow record. Big Sky enjoys more than its fair share of powder days! The resort has one of the best snow records in the USA, typically receiving over 400 inches of powder snow every season.
Located in the Madison Mountain Range in Southwest Montana, the resort is further north than the big name resorts in Colorado and Utah. As a result, it’s a lot quieter than most resorts in the USA. This gives Big Sky a feeling of seclusion. The sky really does seem bigger here!
Big Sky gives you access to 5,800 acres of skiable terrain – so give yourself time to explore this big winter playground. There are four mountains to explore and whilst the resort is vast it’s also easy to navigate.
17% of the resort is ideal for novices with good learning areas close to the ski base and the Ski School will have you exploring the easy green runs in no time. However, this resort is an intermediates paradise. There are lots of quiet, well groomed tree lined runs in the middle and lower mountain zones that sweep back into the village. You’ll feel like you have the resort to yourself and with 25% of Big Sky marked as intermediate terrain, you’ll never need to ski the same run twice. Our favourite runs are on Andesite Mountain; try Big Horn and Elk Park Ridge – the resorts longest intermediate trail.
Another reason that intermediates have most of the mountain to themselves is that advanced and expert skiers will head straight to Lone Mountain Peak. The terrain here is only accessible by the 15 person tram and all the runs, except one, are double black diamond. The most likely route you’ll take the first time up here is down into Liberty Bowl on the black trail which offers one of the longest vertical descents in the USA. If you like the type of big mountain skiing you find in Jackson Hole, then you’ll love the skiing on Lone Mountain Peak. There are endless possibilities here to test your metal on the upper mountain.
If you don’t fancy skiing Lone Mountain Peak, you can ride the tram without skis and head up to the observation point. On a clear day you can see Yellowstone National Park and the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming. Don’t forget to take your camera with you!
The centre of the resort is known as the Mountain Village and it’s the resorts hub offering a number of quality eateries, bars, shops and the slopeside accommodation. The resort is small and compact with a pedestrian friendly plaza and everything you’ll need is within easy walking distance of the main plaza.
There are two other base areas nearby which offer additional shopping and dining options. These are connected by the free resort shuttle that circulates between the main Mountain Village and Meadow Village and the Canyon. There are no major cities nearby, which adds to the feeling of seclusion in the resort (and keeps the lift lines short!). Yellowstone National Park is nearby, which makes for a great day trip for when you want to give your ski legs the day off.
Whilst the resort has more than enough skiing to keep the most energetic skiers busy for a fortnight, nightlife here is a quiet affair. The skiing, not the apres’ scene, is why people visit Big Sky. Expect a big ski area, with big snowfalls, offering keen skiers quiet, uncrowded slopes and some of the best big mountain skiing in the USA. With over 300 trails to explore and what seems like unlimited double black diamond routes off Lone Mountain Peak, you’ll probably be grateful that there is no nightclub scene in the resort.