Why US ski resort Big Sky Montana should be on your radar
BY: Helen Hayes |
MAY 30, 2023
Aspen. Jackson Hole. Telluride. Park City. Start a conversation with avid skiers and snowboarders about which American resorts they love to go, and those five would be in the mix. But ski folks should also be talking about Big Sky Resort in Montana and trust me, once they go, they will be instant fans.
There is a lot to love about this Montanan behemoth. It’s easy to get to – an hour from Bozeman Airport (fly direct from DFW or LAX). It is a 45-minute drive from Yellowstone National Park so add some bison, moose and smoking geysers to your run list. And did we mention it was big? Huge. It has 2,367 hectares of skiable terrain, with the most technologically advanced lift network in North America. Thirty eight lifts that sweep and swoop around terrain that is all things to all people, from gentle greens for absolute beginners to thrill-seeking, hair raising couloirs and chutes that will test your mettle.
There is one peak that stands out from the crowd in Big Sky. Lone Mountain soars to over 11,000 feet (3403 metres), and it is here that the daredevils go to take on gnarly chutes like the Big Couloir (google it). Big Sky Resort has 34 per cent expert (single black diamond), 13 per cent double black diamond and 5 per cent extreme terrain rated triple black diamond. Yep, triple black diamond – and all inbounds. This oxygen-depleting terrain is accessed by the famous 15-person Lone Peak Tram, which is being replaced next season (2023/24) by a bigger tram carrying 75 skiers and snowboarders. Even sightseers will be able to ride it, to get an eyeful of the incredible scenery from up top from the glass floored platform.
New Big (Sky) things
Apart from the new tram, Big Sky Resort has plenty of things to write home about, including the biggest – and probably fanciest – building in Montana – Montage Big Sky. The Resort’s first five-star hotel opened in late 2021 and is ski-in, ski-out. Everything about it is five star, from its service to its ski valet, its 100 guestrooms and 39 residences, its six restaurants and bars – Beartooth Pub and Rec even has a bowling alley – its spa, and its heated pools and hot tubs. It also has more than US$1million of curated art inside including remarkable photography of achingly beautiful landscapes, western photography of horses and cowboys (and cowgirls) and stunning wildlife shots, from a close up of a grizzly to a snow-drizzled bison.
Another five star resort will open in the winter of 2024/25, with One&Only Resorts opening their first US property – One&Only Moonlight Basin – close to the Pony Express and Iron Horse chairlifts. There are whispers about the Limelight Hotel and the outdoorsy Gravity Haus looking at building in Big Sky, which would add more beds to Big Sky Town Center, a blossoming town with shops, galleries and accommodation about 15 minutes’ drive down the mountain. The Wilson Hotel by Marriott opened there in 2019 and already has plans to extend to cope with the growing demand.
Big mountain fun
When not getting stoked on the mountain, exploring its many runs from Spanish Peaks on one side to Madison Base on the other, there are plenty of things to do. Don snowshoes, go snowmobiling, dog sledding, ziplining or take a horse-drawn sleigh through the forest for dinner in a rustic cabin. And with Yellowstone National Park so close, it is easy to book a day tour to see the world’s oldest national park with snow as added fairy dust. It’s definitely icing on the already delectable Big Sky cake.
Good to know
Eat: Head for the Six Shooter chairlift and pick up a freshly baked sweet treat at Uncle Dan’s Cookies.
Ski/board: If you want to tackle the extreme terrain, book a Tram Guide. They’ll check your ability first then accompany you.
Ride: Rides on the new Tram will be charged per ride and are not part of the Resort lift ticket, or the Ikon or Mountain Collective passes. Swift Current 6 carries six people and is the fastest chairlift in North America. It is one of four bubble chairlifts with heated seats.
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