Making a Day of It: Big Sky Resort
Spending the day at Big Sky Resort is one you won't soon forget. From the top of Lone Mountain, you can see two national parks, three states, and endless mountain ranges; it's truly a sight to behold. And, with 5,850 shreddable acres, 4,350 vertical feet, and 36 lifts, the skiing is as impressive as the views!
The drive to Big Sky from Bozeman is gorgeous. The Gallatin River, which flows alongside US-191, was the setting for the film A River Runs Through It. On an average day, it takes about an hour to get there, but if it's a powder day allocate extra time, as the roads may be tricky and you can be guaranteed there will be a line of cars heading to the hill. (Trust us, it's worth getting up early for!)
There are two main parking areas, Mountain Village and Madison Base area. Mountain Village is the closest, with shuttles to take you from the parking area to the lifts. Madison Base is a bit further down the road and has more of a family-oriented feel. You can walk right from the parking lot to the base, which makes it convenient if you have little ones in tow. This is also where ski school classes meet, which can be a big time saver.
Pick Your Run
Madison area is on the north side of the mountain and was once a separate ski area. The terrain is varied enough to keep skiers of all skill levels happy. Advanced skiers will love doing laps on Lone Tree lift with short, technical runs and lots of trees. The Headwaters area is about as challenging as it comes but well worth the effort it takes to get into the shoots. A few runs can be accessed from the lift, but for a real thrill, strap on your skis and hike to the top of Three Forks! Six Shooter, a six-person lift, drops you on top of acres of beginning and intermediate terrain with long cruisers and rolling hills. The Headwaters Grille is an excellent place for lunch, and the patio is perfect for soaking up some sun over a cold beer.
From the Mountain Village area, you can access Andesite Mountain, the south face, and the bowl area. Swift Current (Swifty), a high-speed quad takes you to the center of the mountain. From there, you can head south to the Shedhorn Lift—there can be some killer powder stashes along the way, so don't be afraid to hop off the traverse. Time it right and enjoy lunch at the Shedhorn Grill.
If you turn skier's right from the top of Swifty, you'll head to Powder Seeker 6, a six-person, enclosed lift with heated seats! This lift takes you to the top of the bowls, or it's a quick jaunt to reach the Lone Peak Tram.
Hop on the tram, and it's a short 4-minute ride to the top of Lone Mountain. The chutes off the top are technical and hair raising, including the granddaddy, The Big Couloir. Liberty Bowl on the backside is the beginning of the longest run on the mountain, 6 miles from the top of the bowl to the base area!
Big Sky is home to Ramcharger 8, North America's first eight-seat, D-line lift, with ergonomically-shaped, heated seats and a weather-proof bubble. This luxurious lift ride takes you to the top of Andesite Mountain. At the top of the lift sits Everett's 8800. This popular restaurant brings fine dining slope-side. (Be sure to make a reservation, it can fill up fast!) Andesite has both long cruisers and steep, ungroomed leg burners. The weather can oftentimes be much different on this part of the resort, so keep an eye out, it can be cloudy on one side, but sunny on the other!
If you love riding the parks, Big Sky is home to seven different terrain parks, each with varying levels of difficulty. For those just starting out, Explorer, accessed from Swifty, and Cowpoke, on the Madison side, are perfect. Maverick, also on the Madison side, is a quick progression from the beginning parks. The biggest, Peacemaker and Swifty can keep the die-hard park lovers happy for hours (or days)!
Après-ski does not disappoint. Watch for Snobar weekends; ski all day and dance all night to great music line-ups! If you're visiting during closing weekend, the annual Pond Skim is not to be missed. Watch as daredevils don their craziest costumes and attempt to skim across an ice-cold pond without getting wet— entertainment at it's finest!
As for the rest of the logistics, retail, rentals, demos, and repair are available on both sides of the mountain, so no worries if you run into a snag or forget a critical piece of gear. There are plenty of dining options both on and off the mountain, and for a real treat, consider a slope-side ski and stay package!
For more information, go to bigskyresort.com.
If you enjoyed this blog, take a look at some of our other related articles at Bozemancvb.com:
- Making a Day of It: Summer in Big Sky
- Direct Flights to Bozeman you Need to Know About
- Bozeman's Ski Area Comparison: Bridger Bowl and Big Sky