Big Sky, Montana?
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Scott - DCSki Editor
January 22, 2001
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,249 posts
Hi folks,

I'm considering making a trip to Big Sky, Montana in mid-March. Have any of you visited Big Sky? If so, what did you think? The vertical is advertised as being over 4,000 feet, but it doesn't look like there's any top-to-bottom runs that come near that. Also, the terrain at the very top looks a little "extreme skiing" to me - is there a not-too-hair-raising way down from the very top?


- Scott

January 22, 2001
Member since 12/7/2000 🔗
47 posts
Hi Scott, Have been to Big Sky twice and am planning on going again soon. Our local ski shop has an annual outing there. Lone Mountain is definitely an awesome sight. There is a lift that takes you about 3/4 the way up the bowl and there is usually a narrow trail cut along the bowl which you can jump off at any point and ski down. What a rush!! The have the Challenger lift off to the right on which they warn/caution "Experts Only" and believe it. The lift ride alone was hairy enough the steepest I have ever been on. I was out of my league on these chutes, survived but it was ski or die These chutes are short but very steep. The south face is now open for open skiing but again steep. As for the vertical their are a number of trails that would come close to the advertised vertical. The trail that comes to mind is Morningstar which starts at the bowl and goes to down to the base a serious quad burner if skiied non-stop. If you like moguls try Stump Farm - serious bumps - All in all a great resort that is uncrowded, short liftlines, and wide groomed cruisers. Not much for night life though if that is a requirement. Usually two tired anyway especially after hanging out in the outdoor jacuzzi for a couple of hours.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 22, 2001
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,974 posts
Never been skiing in Montana. Being rather northerly, would probably be great choice for late season skiing. My understanding of Big Sky is similar to what Scott said. Huge vertical, but only about 3000' of it suitable for the general public. I've read good things over the years on Bridger Bowl, has vertical around 2700' with a 3 1/2 mile trail. It's a few miles north of Bozeman (Big Sky is a few miles south). Maybe a couple of days at each would be a neat way to go?! I hear a number of Minnesotans drive over to ski in Montana, for them a long, straight shot west on I94.
January 22, 2001
Member since 12/12/2000 🔗
274 posts
I have skied Big Sky twice now. I have family relatively nearby in Cody, Wyoming. Two years ago my brother and I made the trip up and hit Red Lodge and Big Sky. The snow conditions werent the best that day, but it was still some epic skiing. Never a lift line and alot of steep challenging territory off the lone peak and challenger chairs.

Unfortunately the summit tram was only open for scenic rides. The wind blows so hard on the peak that it takes alot of base for them to get it open. But even the ride is well worth it. The tram is a straight shot to the summit, with no supports for the lift cable. Its as close to flying as you can get while still attached to the ground.

Last year we returned with better conditions. It was another beautiful cold and sunny day. By late afternoon they opened the tram and we got one run in. It was very windy and cold up there, creating a fairly hard crust layer on top of the snowpack. We skied down the wide open south slope. This was the longest steepest run I have ever made. It has to be as close as you can get to high-altitude skiing in the lower 48.

We spent most of our time on Lone Peak, then switched to the lower mountain as it cooled off later in the day. There are some terrific powder and bump runs down there as well.

The name says it all here. A huge mountain, with lots of terrain, and no lift lines, period. Unfortunately it looks like I wont get out there this winter, but we are already planning on next Christmas.

January 22, 2001
Member since 12/27/2000 🔗
50 posts
Scott there is this place not far from big sky called lost trails powder mountian its on the montana/idaho right near the bitter root valley (near big sky) i have skied all those places around there (big sky big mountain Discovery Mazulla snowbowl and of all of them lost trails get the most snow is not huge but its a nice FAMILY run resort thats faily big and had $15 lift ticket and has tons of fresh powder themost of all of those and some of the nicest trails... alot of the locals ski there we have a family friend who lives up there and him and all his friends ski up there....... i highly reconmend u give lost trails a try they have alot less crowds more people and really nice trails.... not to mention cheep!


January 25, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002 🔗
15 posts
My only complaint with Big Sky is that there are no direct flights. Everything requires two long legs. And once you get to Bozeman, there's still another hour or so drive. So from DC, it kills two days getting there and back.

All that travel is expensive and Big Sky is expensive also. But the skiing is great though. Certainly, the most enjoyable place I've been.

February 7, 2001
Member since 12/12/2000 🔗
274 posts
Just returned from another Western trip. I flew to Salt Lake and skied Snowbird the same day. Then I headed north to Jackson Hole and Big Sky. Saturday at Big Sky was an epic powder day. Six inches of new snow on Lone Peak. The summit tram was open most of the day. Maybe the best conditions I have seen anywhere, ever. No lift lines except for the summit tram. Of course I am still partial to Utah...
February 18, 2001
Scott, I have been to Big Sky a few times and it's a great mountain. If you ski groomers, it's paradise. There are incredibly long blue runs on that mountain. The Challenger lift is terrific if you are an expert, with nice ungroomed runs and steep trails galore. As far as the Lone Peak tram goes, the only way down is a quite long open route that is ungroomed, fairly steep, and lots of fun. You should be an expert skier comfortable on ungroomed terrain to ski that. The other routes off the peak are pretty hairy, requiring you check in with the ski patrol, carry a avalanche tranceiver and shovel. Enjoy Big Sky - it's beauty and size are hard to beat.

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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