Nestled into the Rocky Mountains of Montana, USA, Big Sky Resort is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered by international skiers and boarders. This is a resort that goes beyond the uncrowded slopes and diverse terrain.
There are little surprises that flow through every element, from the base village to the very top of the mountain, and immersing yourself in the experience is the best way to discover them all.
Here are just four things you didn’t know about Big Sky – a little taster to all the amazing things awaiting you there.
1. It has the most technologically advanced lift network in North America
Big Sky is on a mission to ensure they have the most technologically advanced chairlift network in North America. The resort’s sheer numbers are impressive – 38 chairlifts across 5850 acres of skiable terrain. They’ve also built six new lifts in the past seven years, a testament to their commitment to an amazing chairlift experience.
This includes four high-speed chairlifts with bubble enclosures and heated seats to shield you from the elements, allowing you to zip around the mountain comfortably and quickly. One is the Ramcharger 8, which was the first eight-seat chairlift in North America when installed in 2018. There’s also the recently installed Swift Current 6, which runs at 1,200 feet (365 metres) per minute, making it the fastest lift in North America.
Other chairs, such as the Challenger 3 and Powder Seeker, have not only doubled the mountain’s skier capacity in recent years but have been specially designed to run in harsh conditions, ensuring access to some of Big Sky’s best terrain no matter the weather.
The upgrades are set to continue from here, with their brand-new Lone Peak Tram set to open in 2023.
With floor-to-ceiling glass windows on the tram, guests will have a smooth, comfortable, and incredibly scenic ride up to Lone Peak’s summit at 3,403 meters. From the summit, you can see views of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, as well as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
2. The snow reporters are famous – for a reason
Many resorts keep their snow reporters tucked gently away behind the scenes. That’s not the case at Big Sky, where the snow reporting load is shared between two beloved figures in the local community – Mario Carr and Joe Turner – famous for their entertaining, informative and accurate reporting.
Mario has been a snow reporter for four years, learning the ropes off Joe, who has been in the ski industry for over 20 years, including 14 years at Big Sky in various roles. He’s also head judge and technical director for the International Freeskier and Snowboard Association and the Freeride World Tour Qualifiers.
The two of them know that with such a big resort, the snow conditions can vary drastically across different terrain, elevation, and compass aspects. It’s what keeps them getting out on the mountain every single day, not only gathering their own data but filming conditions to share with everyone on Big Sky’s social media pages. Click here to sign up for their snow report newsletter – it’s well worth the read.
3. You can spot mountain goats while you ski and board
Thanks to its Montana location, Big Sky is one of the only resorts in North America where you can spot mountain goats while you’re skiing and snowboarding.
It’s not unusual to look up from a lift and see a pair making their way up a 50-degree slope; these iconic animals are well-adapted to the rugged terrain, and thanks to their climbing skills, can easily live above 10,000 feet, feeding on lichen and moss as they traverse cliffs and steeps.
While their white wool coats blend in perfectly with the snowy surroundings, you won’t have to worry about running into one. Big Sky ski patrollers love that the goats call the mountain home, and will close terrain and adjust avalanche control operations where necessary to work around them.
4. The on and off-snow activities are beyond unique
Forget the typical mix of activities you’ll find at a ski resort. Big Sky goes above and beyond delivering experiences for every type of traveller – the only hard part will be choosing what to do first.
Explorers will love a snowcoach or snowmobile tour in nearby Yellowstone National Park, which offers a winter wonderland-type of experience through the colder months. Think frozen waterfalls, snowy woods, and sightings of bison, elk, moose and even wolves and coyotes. And at less than an hour’s drive from Big Sky, it makes for an easy day trip.
Adventurers can sign up for Headlamp Night Skiing, where the Big Sky team provides you with a super-powerful headlamp to explore freshly-groomed slopes of Andesite Mountain under the stars. Intermediate skiers and boarders and above are welcome, with night skiing running from December through to April.
Foodies will be in their element with a gourmet meal at Everett’s 8800, an upscale restaurant perched atop the mountain that is easily accessible by chairlift, even at night and on foot. Or mix it up with a Montana Dinner Yurt experience or magical sleigh ride dinner at Lone Mountain Ranch, both of which offer cosy, delicious meals under the starry Montana sky.
There’s more, of course – Enchanted Forest, anyone? Avalanche dog meet and greet? – awaiting you. All you have to do is visit.
Ready to plan your own trip to Big Sky? Click here to find the full visitor’s guide for more information.