As soon as you arrive in Big Sky, Montana, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore (wherever ‘Kansas’ may be for you). Vast open spaces give way to snowy mountains, and bucolic streams turn into roaring rivers. Pickup trucks and cowboy hats replace Teslas and high-heels. If you didn’t know you were coming to ski in cowboy country, your quickly reminded upon arrival. It’s an epic and authentic western landscape to say the least.
Skiing in a Snow Globe
If you venture here in the winter months, (as we did), everywhere you look offers a picture perfect winter wonderland. My ski-buddy remarked as we descended down the mountain that ‘‘it feels like we’re in a snow globe”.
And as I looked up after unbuckling my ski boots, I had to agree. Soft snowflakes fluttered around us as we prepared to board a ski lift – perfectly positioned in a small snowy valley surrounded by large pines. It was a white Christmas, and you couldn’t help but feel the magic.
Skiing Big in Big Sky, Montana
Four mountains comprise 5,850 skiable acres and 38 lifts, letting big sky live up to it’s motto of the ‘biggest skiing in America’. But don’t let the 4,350 vertical feet intimidate you. There is something for everyone at this larger than life mountain. The mix of terrain comes out to a mix of beginner (15%), intermediate (25%), advanced (42%), and expert (18%).
So much acreage means lift lines are small to non-existent and the four different mountains offer different levels of snow pack and coverage so you can almost always find a powder coated run on the mountain. To prepare for your trip, check out some of our favorite outdoor workouts to get in shape for skiing.
Here are our Big Sky highlights:
- Arguably the most notable fact about Big Sky is that it has the most consistent snowfall in the northern rockies: with an average annual snowfall of 400″ which fluctuates the least of any mountain in the northern rocky range. This means you can plan a trip well in advance, as there will likely always be good snow for your trip.
- Big Sky features the World’s Most Technologically-Innovative Lift System. Take the Ramcharger 8 chairlift to enjoy ergonomically-shaped, heated seats and a weather-proof bubble that’s whisks you to the top of Andesite Mountain.
- The Powder Seeker 6 High Speed – takes you high above the tree line for those that want to ski the Bowl. The Powder seeker also features weatherproof “Big Sky blue” bubbles, heated seats and headrests.
- The Lone Peak Tram is one of the few trams in the Rockies and lifts skiers up to 11,166 feet. At the top of Lone Peak, you can take in views of 3 states, and 2 National Parks.
Big Sky Restaurants
- Horn and Cantle: don’t be surprised if you see a few cowboys hard at work at this restaurant located at Lone Mountain Ranch, established in 1915. With a rich cowboy heritage, the restaurant and saloon serve up rustic farm to table fare in a luxurious lodge setting. Upon entering the property, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special and the food lives up to the atmosphere. With offerings such as Steak Tartare, Crispy Montana Trout, and “Tomahawk” bone in rib-eye, and a curated wine and beer list, you are sure to leave with a full belly and lifted spirits.
- Michaelangelos Big Sky: for an elevated Italian experience, visit Michealangelos, located in the Big Sky Town Center. With hand crafted artisan pastas and a full menu of large and small plates, you may forget you’re in Big Sky country, if only for a second. Start off with an anti-pasti misti and finish with braised bison ravioli or pistachio encrusted rocky mountain elk chops. An extensive wine and cocktail list are sure to warm you up after a long day on the slopes.
- The Montana Dinner Yurt: Get the full Montana experience with this adventurous snowcat to yurt dining experience. Enjoy a 15 minute snowcat ride on the way to your dinner yurt, where you begin the evening socializing with other guests on the mountain. Then enjoy a hearty three-course menu prepared by the chef on site. Finish the evening with hot cocoa and a ride back down the mountain on the slow and steady snowcat.
- Gallatin Riverhouse Grill: Founded by two friends and serving up homestyle Montana BBQ, the Riverhouse Grill is a fifteen minute drive from the resort, but weel worth it if you are looking for authentic barbeque experience in a warm and casual atmosphere. Choose from plates like tri-tip tacos, or beef brisket complete with classic sides like coleslaw, potato salad, and mac and cheese. The grill also offers a full wine, beer, and cocktail list to pair with your meal.
- Everett’s 8800: Enjoy a moonlit lift ride (complete with heated seats and protective ‘big sky blue bubble’) to the top of the Andesite mountain and enjoy alpine-inspired dishes with an expansive wine list or European beers and cocktails. A farm to table restaurant, Everett’s is a member of the Western Sustainability Exchange. With rich and warming dishes like Elk Chili, Grilled beef bone marrow, and English Winter Pie, you are sure to leave satisfied. WOW Tip: Make a reservation for just before sunset to get the best views of the mountain in all of it’s golden hour glory.