Big Sky is the quiet achiever to beat them all.
This Montana resort is the third biggest resort in North America and yet it slides nicely under the radar, offering all the perks of major terrain with perfectly uncrowded slopes.
If you’re yet to add Big Sky Resort to your skiing and snowboarding bucket list, here’s your guide to every element of the mountain; from the stats to the travel involved, and what to expect once you get there.
Read on, enjoy, and get ready to plan your trip to a destination that may just deliver the best skiing of your life.
The mountain lift system that keeps the crowds at bay
This is where wide-open runs meet dramatic peaks, all looked over by the Lone Peak: a 11,166-foot-high (over 3400 metres) mountain that offers 300 degrees of skiing around its summit.
With 5850 skiable acres and a 4350 foot (1326m) vertical drop, there’s something for everyone here. 2300 acres are dedicated to beginner and intermediate terrain – that’s larger than most other ski resorts in total acreage.
If you want to just stick to groomed green and blue runs, you can ski for three to four days without skiing the same run twice. But if you’re up for more of a challenge, 42% of the runs classified as advanced and another 18% as expert.
The mountain is serviced by 38 lifts, several of which offer weatherproof heated seats and bubble seating for a comfy ride up the mountain. There’s also the brand-new Lone Peak Tram, set to open in 2023, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a panoramic viewing platform up top. You’ll catch views of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, as well as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
The wildest part? The resort is so big that, on an average day, it offers more skiable acres than skiers. It’s all thanks to Montana being one of the biggest US states, but with one of the lowest populations.
There are literally more cows living here than people.
That means no lift lines, no crowded slopes, and all that room to explore the 400 inches of annual snowfall… all to yourself.
Sleeping, eating and all the fun stuff
At the base of Big Sky you’ll find the Mountain Village, home to dining options, plenty of shopping, gear rentals and the lift ticket office.
The ski-in, ski-out options here deliver with the choice of luxury hotels, self-catering flats and comfy lodges. The recently opened Montage hotel is the creme de la creme of luxury, and there’s another ultra-luxe option coming: a One & Only resort set to open in late 2024, the first in the USA, and the first of their winter destinations.
Other options include the Summit Hotel, the premiere hotel in the village. Or try the Village Center hotel ski suites, which have full kitchens, making life easier for families and those who prefer to prepare their food at home.
When it’s time to eat, there’s plenty to choose from – including Everett’s 8800, which offers fine dining at 8800 feet up, and was named by Architectural Digest as the Most Beautifully Designed Bar in Montana. You can ski in for lunch, or ride the Ramcharger 8 High Speed lift up (complete with heated seats and weatherproof bubbles) while watching the sunset and stargaze on the way down after dinner.
You can even shuttle down to the nearby town of Big Sky, home to boutique shops and restaurants along with a thriving arts scene.
Unique adventures to be found
Nordic skiing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowmobile tours, snowcoach tours and snowshoe tours are all on offer here – plus a few adventures you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.
One is the new Enchanted Forest, a series of lights that lead you through the trees and along a winter trail. Located at the top of Andesite Mountain, it’s an easy ride up to find this little fairyland, perfect for kids and kids at heart (or, you know, those looking for a great Instagram picture).
There’s also Headlamp Night Skiing, where you’re equipped with a super-powerful headlamp to explore freshly-groomed slopes of Andesite Mountain under the stars. As long as you can ski a blue run, this activity is family-friendly and runs from December through to April.
Big Sky has a weekly and seasonal events calendar that is well worth checking out. It includes a regular Avalanche Dog Meet and Greet – your opportunity to meet the working ski patrol dogs and learn how these good boys and girls work in search and rescue operations.
Yellowstone National Park is also just an hour away from the resort, opening up a gateway to all kinds of adventures. Explore thermal features, geysers and wildlife viewing via snowmobile or snow coach, and all via a handy day trip.
How to get there
Fly direct from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne through to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas or Houston. From there, it’s an easy connection to the Bozeman/Yellowstone international Airport, and an hour’s drive to land you on the doorstep of Big Sky. Just be sure to stop by Bozeman on the way, rated one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME magazine thanks to the historic downtown and thriving arts and culture communities.
Ready to plan your own trip to Big Sky? Click here to find the full visitor’s guide for more information.