Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort is located in southwestern Montana just 25 miles northwest of the Wyoming border. With the addition of Moonlight Basin to the resort, the total skiable acreage is 5732 acres, making Big Sky the largest resort in the United States. Big Sky also has one of the biggest verticals in the country, coming in at a screaming 4366 feet. The summit of Lone Peak sits majestically at 11,166 feet with base camp at a respectable 6800 feet above sea level. Annual snowfall averages out at about 400 inches (10.2 meters) per year. On days that Mother Nature doesn’t provide, Big Sky supplements with snow making over about 10 percent of the resort (which is still a whopping 573 acres of coverage).
The Mountain and Her Trails
Big Sky has 306 runs and 7 terrain parks to lose yourself in. The difficulty blend is 15 percent novice, 25 percent intermediate, 42 percent advanced and 18 percent expert. While the novice and intermediate blend may seem light, that’s still 45 novice trails and 75 intermediate trails for you to explore, which is more paths than some resorts have in total.
Lift coverage is also excellent. There’s 22 chairs including five high-speed quads, one high-speed six-pack, three standard quads, seven triples, and six doubles. There are also eleven surface lifts in the novice and intermediate areas. The biggest draw for expert skiers (and probably the only lift with a wait) is the 15 passenger aerial tram that ferries skiers to the tip of Lone Peak. It’s a 2-minute ride up to the top, so there is sometimes a wait, but it’s never long.
Novice skiers are going to love exploring the base area and gradually stretching their legs until they reach mid mountain and the groomed cruisers that Big Sky offers. Some of these cruisers are long; like, two to three miles long. The longest trail on the mountain is six miles in length. It starts at the peak and hits Liberty Bowl on the way down, leading into Mountain Mall. There are seven terrain parks across the resort with difficulty levels ranging from mild progression to blood-chilling drops and jumps. Start at Cowpoke to get your board wet, and then hit Peacemaker or Swifty for some amazing fun with a great jib to jump line.
Bottom Lining It
So why should you hit the slopes at Big Sky? Simply put, you’ll never get bored. You could ski Big Sky for years and never run out of new terrain to master. On top of that, because it’s not as glitzy as some of the other resorts, you don’t get the huge crowds that show up in Utah and Colorado. There aren’t a lot of locals to crowd the slopes either (although the ones that are there are friendly). If you’re a skier or boarder after the best chutes and glades, Big Sky has you covered. If you’re a novice or intermediate skier, Big Sky has plenty of acreage for you to explore. Simply put, Big Sky has something for everyone.