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Big Sky

2013 saw Big Sky overtake Vail to become THE biggest ski area in the US, with 5800 skiable acres across 4 different mountains. For all its draws, the place manages to stay gloriously quiet and unassuming – whether you’re an A-List celeb or mere mortal skier, this is a place to ski, relax and enjoy good company.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • US’s biggest ski area • Celebrity ski resort • Near Yellowstone National Park

Great for: • Intermediates • Experts • Off-piste

2013 saw Big Sky overtake Vail to become THE biggest ski area in the US, with 5800 skiable acres across 4 different mountains. For all its draws, the place manages to stay gloriously quiet and unassuming – whether you’re an A-List celeb or mere mortal skier, this is a place to ski, relax and enjoy good company.

Big Sky Resort

The vision of an NBC anchor-man, Big Sky started life in 1973 as a purpose-built mountain village at the foot of 11,000ft Lone Mountain - in the south west of Montana between Bozeman and West Yellowstone.

For such an unassuming collection of buildings, it has several claims to fame… If you haven't been persuaded by the fact this is the Kardashians’ favourite ski resort, at least give Big its due for the skiing – Like Kim K, it’s time to go Big or go home…

For starters, you’ve that colossal ski area (5800 acres on last count), since a 2013 merger with the nearby mountains of Mountain Basin and Spanish Peaks. Next up, there’s the vertical: one of the biggest in North America at 4366 feet (1330m). With 10 metres of snow a year, even the snow record isn’t half bad, with lots of powder days sprinkled throughout the season.

Then there’s the fact that with so few locals in Montana, even the busiest slopes barely hear a peep.

Spread a little thinly between the Mountain Village and Moonlight Basin bases, this resort definitely focuses more on winter sports than stylish shops and flash facilities. With the colossal Yellowstone National Park on Big’s doorstep, you’re unlikely to spend much time back at base. Many cross the Atlantic for an “authentic American experience” here and Big is in prime position for snowmobile and snowcoach trips out among its legendary natural features.

The main question is how far you’re willing to travel for perfect powder and peaceful runs… Involving a 6-hour drive from Salt Lake City airport or a stopover in Denver or LA, the trip’s not ideal for the restless. We say – good things come to those who wait.

(images: Michel Tallichet, Jeff Engerbretson & Glenniss Indreland)

Stats & FAQ

Location:

Established:

Open: November - April

Downhill: 5800 acres/ 300 runs

View our detailed Big Sky snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Big Sky snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN)52 miles, 1h10
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 15%

  • 25%

  • 60%

Top Altitude:3403m
Bottom Altitude:2073m
Resort Altitude:2286m
Longest run:10km
Slope Orientation:
Vertical Drop:
Skiable Vertical:945m
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 3cm
  • Base
  • N/Acm
  • Forecast
  • N/Acm

Web Cam

Big Sky web cams
Downhill Runs:5800 acres/ 300 runs
Beginner slopes:15%
Intermediate:25%
Advanced slopes:60%
Lift Pass Price: $89-129 (adult pass per day)
Nearby resorts:

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Big Sky

With great size comes great variety, and at 5800 acres spread over 4 mountains, Big Sky runs with the big boys. What’s truly brilliant about Big is that with so many massively long, wide trails, most practically empty, skiers and boarders of every level can cruise around almost side-by-side.

Long, deserted runs are a recipe for success for a new skier and Big has a bounty of them. There’s a well-developed nursery area at the base of the Explorer chair with a separate Explorer pass, accessed directly by many of the Mountain Village hotels.

When it’s time to progress, the Swift Current chairs are the place to head. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better intermediate skiing than here when more than 60% of the US’ biggest ski area is geared towards intermediates and advanced intermediates.

In fact, before the resort set up a cable car to the exposed Lone Peak, almost all of the clientele came for the blues. Standouts include Silverknife under the Ramcharger lift and Big Horn served by the Thunder Wolf High Speed Quad.

All of the terrain from the Tram is classified black, with steep bowls, chutes and cliffs to keep experienced skiers and boarders busy. The steepest runs are the Big Couloir on the Big Sky side and the North Summit Snowfield on the Moonlight side, while the steep glades from the Dakota triple chair can’t be missed.

Big Sky Apres Ski

Spring breakers and college kids tend to give Big Sky a wide berth, but it’s ideal if all you want from the evenings are local brews and hearty fare by the fire. Lone Peak Brewery keeps us happy with philly cheese steaks and other American classics, while the Cabin is the place to try elk. Upping the après stakes just a little, Whiskey Jack’s is the main bar and Scissorbills Saloon is an all-American kind of dive bar with live music.

This place isn’t just obsessed with skiing but with snow in general, and extracurriculars include snowmobiling, snowcat tours, dog sledding, a floodlit tubing hill and amazing zip lines. When noses are thoroughly numb, treatments at the Solace Spa and Huntley Lodge are the best way to warm up.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Big Sky

When is the best time to ski Big Sky?

The snowfall here averages 400 inches – more than most resorts in Colorado. Together with excellent grooming, this helps the ski season run from November to April. The average temperature during the daytime in winter is -3.8°C. A lift capacity of 38,300 SNO lovers an hour keeps queues minimal even in the busiest weeks.

Peak Dates

If you’ve asked Santa for quiet pistes and lots of them, Christmas in Big Sky is just the ticket.

The Kid’s Club usually hosts a party for teens over New Years in Big Sky, ensuring every age group has a way to celebrate.

February crowds don’t tend to exist when it comes to Half Term in Big Sky, making America’s biggest ski area as yours to enjoy.

Ski your socks off and explore the Yellowstone National Park (under an hour from the West Entrance) during a wonderful Easter in Big Sky.

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Families in Big Sky

If we had to make the perfect ski area for families, it would have long, wide, empty pistes – and miles of them. Which is pretty much Big Sky in a nutshell. We love the “slow skiing” base area for beginners, where learners can pick up the basics in peace and quiet. If your tots are too young to ski, the Lone Peak Playhouse in the slope-side Snowcrest Lodge looks after little ones from 6 months old. There’s also the Kids’ Club that hosts pizza parties as well as things like Tye Dye Tuesdays and Mask-Making Mondays – to keep youngsters occupied after their lessons so you can have a bit more adult time.

GroupsGroup Holidays Big Sky

Groups of 25 or more can usually benefit from lift pass discounts, and with a whacking great 300 runs on 4 mountains to enjoy, there’s more than enough to keep different abilities busy here. Off the mountain, the après ski won’t see you dancing on table tops until the early hours but it will see you enjoying good food, drink and live music together in the local bars and restaurants (we like the Montana micro-brew at Chet’s and the games tables at Choppers).

More Big Sky Holiday Resources


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