5/8/2013 3:45:00 PM
NESTLED IN THE southwest corner of Montana between the city of Bozeman and the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park sits Big Sky: a small mountain town with a Montana sized heart. While known as one of the country’s top ski resort destinations, the charming yet lively town blossoms into a summer resort with so many activities at your fingertips, it would be nearly impossible to check them all off in just one visit.
Big Sky is easily accessed via the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and a short 50 minute drive through stunning Gallatin Canyon. The setting for the movie A River Runs Through It, Gallatin Canyon offers a beautiful and scenic setting to take in as you navigate your way down highway 191 along the banks of the Gallatin River.
While the scenic drive alone would sell most on a visit, here are three key reasons why Big Sky needs to be at the top of your list of must do summer vacations.
Basecamp to Yellowstone Park: If you want to make your summer vacation feel more like Family Summer Camp, look no further than Basecamp. Conveniently located in the Resort’s Mountain Village, it serves up an extensive activities menu that ranges on the adventure scale from easy going to full on adrenaline rush for the entire family. With activities geared specifically for little ones, teens, adults or all the above, there’s something for everyone.
The guided Lone Peak Expedition ($79/person) whisks you to the top 11,166 ft. Lone Peak via chairlift, Mountain Safari Truck and Lone Peak Tram. From the top take in the 360 degree views that overlook 3 states, 2 national parks, and mountain ranges as far as the eye can see. On your way to the summit, one of Big Sky’s friendly and knowledgeable Basecamp guides will point out different geological features along with specific peaks that begin to emerge on the horizon.
Lone Peak Expedition too mellow? Harness up for the Adventure Zipline Tour ($79/person) to pick up the pace and really get the blood flowing. Coupled with heart pounding speed, multiple spans and gorgeous mountain vistas, it’ll put a whole new spin on the wild wild west. Don’t worry though if the adventure part is a bit intimidating, the Nature Zipline Tour ($59/person) offers an option for those looking for a more scenic and less adrenaline driven option. With height and weight requirements of only 3ft. and 45lbs. respectively, there’s nearly no barrier for a family to part in this fun-filled activity.
For a full list of Big Sky’s Basecamp offerings, visit www.bigskyresort.com/basecamp.
Close vicinity to Yellowstone: With geysers, mud pots, western wildlife, and an awe-inspiring backdrop a short and scenic 45 minute drive away, Big Sky’s closeness to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is no doubt one of the top reasons to visit in the summer.
Known as the world’s first national park, Yellowstone offers more than enough elbow room for you and any in-laws. Spanning an area of 3,468.4 square miles, half of the world’s geothermal features (geysers, mud pots, hot springs, etc.) call YNP home making it one of the most visually stunning parks in the world. A few of the notable attractions that make for a memorable Yellowstone experience include Old Faithful, Yellowstone Falls, Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Fountain Paint Mud Pots but only comprise 4 of over 10,000 total geothermal features within the park’s gates.
If the colors and showmanship of the geothermal features aren’t enough, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the last remaining large and nearly intact ecosystems in the northern temperate zone. Hundreds of species of birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles make it their home here including grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk. Following the roads that lead you through the park, it’s easy to view of these animals in their natural habitat from the safety of your car or from a distance at one of the many viewing pullouts along the way.
Think of it as an American Safari from the safety and comfort of your car that’s taken at your own pace. For more park information visit: www.yellowstone.visitmt.gov.
Family Friendly: Remember the good old days when parents allowed their children to roam freely without a worry about their wellbeing? Guess what, at Big Sky they still do.
With a centrally located mountain village, the resort features a layout with every activity, meal, or lodging option only a few steps away. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the inviting mountain plaza that sort of acts as the hub within the resort which offers picnic tables, a free putt-putt course and Lone Peak as the backdrop. From here you can easily access Basecamp, stores in the Mountain Mall, or simply bask in the sunshine while catching up with friends and family.
Adding to the safe, tight knit feeling of the village, the friendly resort staff polishes things off with their warm Montana Hospitality and desire to ensure your stay is the best it can be. So unleash the kids, kick back, and rest assured that as long as they’re not trying to pet the wildlife, they’re probably not getting into trouble.
Whether you’re checking off items on your bucket list, heading out for a quick hike around the base area, or lounging by one of the resort pools, Big Sky has the ingredients for an unforgettable summer vacation. So load up Aunt Edna and the old family Truckster because Lone Peak and the Big Sky state are beckoning.
A scenic lift ride gets you half way to the top and just above the tree line
Lower Tram Dock and the Mountain Safari truck
The view from the atop 11,166 ft. Lone Peak
One of the many natural hot springs
Bull Elk bedding down in the tall grass
YNP's most common
foot hoof traffic
One of the views from the Nature Zipline Tour
The mountain plaza
Smoke Jumper Giant Swing located in the Mountain Village
4/24/2013 3:24:00 PM
The Tram Star is the light that shines from the top of the Lone Peak Tram at 11,166 ft. above sea level and towers in presence over Big Sky Resort at its base and the surrounding community beyond.
If it’s not there, the clouds have ascended the peak, and perhaps a storm is brewing. If it’s crystal clear, the Tram Star outshines its fellow celestial lights as if to say, “Hey guys, this is my town.” Tram operators know there’s a light switch they can never mess with – they’d be sure to hear about it if they did.
Towns and cities across the globe have similar multi-purpose markings. For example, I went to college in Washington, DC, where the Washington Monument not only was designed as a dominating geographical reference point from throughout the city, but a thriving rumor even exists that a law prohibits architectural design within the District that would dwarf it. According to welovedc.com that law does not exist, but regardless, the monument remains the tallest structure in Washington at a height of 555 ft. There were many times during my years in DC where I might have been lost without the ability to look up to the sky and find the red beacon at its top to orient me.
The two are similar in that they both represent something bigger, our Tram Star represents the human spirit’s ever yearning quest to stand on top of the world and the Washington Monument represents our founding father’s vision for freedom, justice and liberty.
4/15/2013 10:05:00 AM
Great coverage to finish the year and a new shield to proudly wear
WHERE DID THE season go? It seems like just yesterday I was writing my first blog of the winter and getting pumped for another great season. But I guess the saying holds true; time does fly when you’re having fun.
From opening day turns and turkey to goggle tans and spring bump runs, it’s definitely been another season to remember. Lone Peak delivered as it always does and dished out its consistent cold smoke, long and smooth wind buffed runs, and gladly allowed us to bounce around its massive playground.
Powder days were plentiful with one of the snowiest Februarys that I can remember. No matter the day it seemed like the skiing was going to be great. Even starry nights were met by bluebird mornings, and sometimes to our amazement, a bountiful blanket of 18 inches of fresh for us powder hounds to enjoy. It was truly a winter of plentiful smiles, high fives and pole taps.
To top off the great snow, Big Sky had you covered with entertainment. Events and festivals like Way Alt West Fest kicked off the New Year and old favorites like Big Sky Big Grass, Dummy Jump and Pond Skim continued their reputations as guest favorites.
Then to really place a cherry on top, our guests (you) shared your exceptional experiences with OnTheSnow. The result: OnTheSnow honored us for the 2nd time in 5 years with their Visitors’ Choice Overall Best Resort in North America. Thank you for your support, it means a great deal to us to be your favorite and thank you OnTheSnow for this wonderful award, we’ll wear our badge proudly.
While our 39th winter season is sadly coming to an end, we have our 40th Anniversary to look forward to and if it’s half as good as this year it’ll surely be another to remember.
Lone Peak looking great on opening day
Marx opens for the first time November 29th
Katie and Margo from the Sales and Marketing team out having fun on the hill
Logan snacking on some powder
Consistent snow kept the resort looking fresh
Multimedia Coordinator - Chris Kamman shredding powder on the other side of the lens
Terrain Park Crew raised the bar with their offerings and care of the features
The Smash Life Banked Slalom continued to grow and brought in pro riders from around the country...and the attention of our local goats
and breathtaking sunsets
Smooth wind buff on the Peak
Andy Thorn, Drew Emmitt and Bill Nershi on stage at Big Sky Big Grass
Wet and wild time at 10th Annual Pond Skim
Another great season at Big Sky Resort
4/5/2013 10:48:00 AM
2 upcoming rippers. Watch out ski world, these boys mean business. (Noah left, Isaac right)
Dear Big Sky Social Media Fans,
I have checked out your Facebook page on numerous occasions and being a full time blogger for Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah, I found it humorous that your blogger seems to be completely incognito (I, on the other hand...am not). Really, unless you happen to be privy to your mountain’s inner workings, you might never know who is posting information about your mega resort on it’s FB page and elsewhere. Well, lucky me, I found out. He (yes, it’s a he and not a she) could very well be one of the best things at Big Sky...behind the skiing, scenery and of course, the Euro-looking Lone Mountain that looms over the valley like an extreme snowy playground just daring you to show up with your A game.
Although, some of you reading this may already be friendly with so-called blogger, I promise I am not going to expose his desire for anonymity but only share with you what he shared with a (I’ll admit it) self-absorbed skier/blogger from Utah and my crew of little men who found a new stomping ground deep in the southwest corner of Montana.
Over the past few weeks I have been continually asked why I decided to take my family to Montana for spring break to ski when I live in a state which is overrun with out-of-towner’s during March, who specifically come to Utah for world class skiing. I love Utah. I love skiing, living, and playing in the Beehive State but, every once in awhile I need the unknown, something unfamiliar and different. I need to go somewhere that gets my blood rushing and I need to ultimately step out of the Utah bubble for just a moment. Generally, this desire sends me packing to Wyoming and the steeps of the Hole but, I have begun to know that mountain like I know the Cottonwood’s and it was time for something completely foreign.
Although, flying into Bozeman was an option, the drive from Salt Lake City to Big Sky was a breeze. Five hours to West Yellowstone and another forty minutes through some of the most spectacular country in America. I wouldn’t have traded that drive for a quick flight any day. I may have traded out my two boys though...
Who knew Big Sky was so close and so accessible? I sure didn’t. I guess that is why it has taken so long for this Utah transplant to discover what you guys reading this have known about forever. Thanks to your ambiguous blogger who happens to be a little higher up the totem pole than social networker, my family and I were able to crash at the best Big Sky has to offer (although, I believe a dorm room at the hostel would have been satisfactory to have been able to ski three days at your mountain).
I know, I know, I am a bit jealous of myself even as I sit in my house looking out at the snow capped Wasatch writing this. I was just thinking this morning that I wish my boys, Noah (10) and Isaac (7), could eat at the Summit’s breakfast buffet every morning. It would save so much time and energy (for myself). That buffet killed it! It was hard to ski afterwards but, trust me...we did! In fact, most of the food we had in Big Sky was fantastical.
From here on out, I am going to refer to your completely rad blogger who ended up not only being the person behind the e-mails and text messages but who ended up being a guide, friend and even (whether he liked it or not) Isaac’s favorite play thing, as K. Bottom line is, K hooked us up (maybe not with some certain nachos) but he made our trip. Generally, I run into a small mountain office on these writing gigs of mine, say hello, shake a hand, grab some tickets, promise to send finished copies of articles written and that is that. Peace out. K became part of our experience. It was unexpected but in a perfectly good way.
I am sure I could have picked up another cute guy to show the fam around or someone else to lead my 10 year old into the Dictator Chutes or someone to race down the widest, most perfect cruisers I have ever seen, but no one would have been more successful than K. Even when K wasn’t around, he sent us off with good directions and recommendations. My husband was also impressed. Okay, this blog just got boring...he’s taken ladies. My husband and K, they are both taken. A few years and you might get lucky enough with Noah or Isaac. Keep your fingers crossed. Anyways, the bottom line is that your locals, especially K, know and love your mountain and are happy to share it with outsiders.
Some things that I learned about your neck-of-the-woods is that the town of Big Sky is MUCH smaller than I expected. This is not entirely bad as Bozeman is bigger than I anticipated and a short drive away. K says he can drive back from shopping in Bozeman and his ice cream is still frozen. I don’t necessarily buy that one. Certainly, the liquor laws are a far cry from Utah’s...I swear the beer runs freely from the taps here. I learned that although alcohol is a primary food group at Big Sky, the locals don’t seem to notice or mind the dizzying amount of white crosses that dot the roadsides. I came to Big Sky to ski BIG terrain but, bring a shovel, beacon and probe as they won’t let you into the serious stuff without it...dang (sort of). I learned that the big in Big Sky really means BIG! Who knew that there are two other skiable mountains within steps of Big Sky? Moonlight Basin and The Yellowstone Club (Although, unless your Bill Gate’s illegitimate child, you are probably not skiing the club any day soon) make this skiable playground the largest in America! Your mountain is huge in a million ways. I was also blown away by all the beginner and intermediate terrain that your mountain has to offer. Shocked...completely shocked! This mountain should be on any diverse families hit list! I learned that I couldn’t possibly ski or come to know your mountain in a measly 3 days of skiing...it is that BIG!
When it comes time to be putting the seriousness into my articles for Big Sky, I will look back and remember the fun to be had in Montana because of K.
Thank you for letting us come and explore the mountain that you love so much. We all need an entire season to really understand and explore the steeps and deeps as well as the expansive gentleness of Big Sky’s wide open spaces so, don’t be surprised to see us again someday soon.
Sincerely, Rachael Hodson
P.S. Thanks K for crushing me and putting me back in my rightful place....all that vertical....ahhhh
Noah arcing turns and laying trenches down Dictator 1
The Bowl in all it's unbumped spring wonder
Isaac and I (K) goofing around at the base
K skiing Chicken Bowl
3/26/2013 7:32:00 PM
THERE'S NOTHING BETTER than spending spring break in Big Sky Montana. I drove an easy 12 hours from Minnesota across the flat lands of North Dakota and ended in my favorite place, Big Sky. As I drove up the mountain toward towering Lone Peak, my heart began to race with excitement. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish this spring break and skiing was at the top of my list.
I got to spend my first day on the mountain getting my legs back under me on some long groomers. Big Horn, being one of my favorites, was a nice long blue to start things off. Throughout the week my skiing returned to what I was used to and before I knew it, I was back to taking on the steeps of Lone Peak.
Every time I ski at Big Sky I am brought down a new route, and it always amazes me the amount of great skiing that is out there. Throughout the week I was lucky to be able to ski with my boyfriend Kipp and good friends. I got some beautiful sunny spring skiing in, and a couple days of fresh snow as well; something a girl would write home about.
One of my favorite Nordic venues in the nation is Lone Mountain Ranch (LMR) and just a 5 minute drive from the resort. LMR has 2,200 vertical feet of manicured groomed trails winding through the woods with open meadows that offer breathtaking views of Lone Peak.
Taking a day off from Alpine skiing to get my cardio on, my good friend Amber drove down from Bozeman to join me for a day out on the trails. We started in the meadow where the skiing is easier and progressed up towards the tree trails. After a few hours of kicking and gliding we set out for the upper mountain to enjoy a drink and a snack at Carabiner by the warm fire.
Friends, fresh air, and fresh snow are what spring breaks in Big Sky mean to me.
3/15/2013 9:52:00 AM
EVERYONE LOOKS FORWARD to the joys of spring skiing. When tackling the Biggest Skiing in America there are multiple faces and aspects to deal with. Think about finding the good snow early and chasing the sun is key to having a great experience. While the weekend forecast is calling for more snow and cooler temps, the last few days of spring like weather encourage a quick overview of how to follow the sun around our giant Peak.
First thing in the morning (9-10:30am) seek out fresh groomers, head for either Southern Comfort or Mr. K and Upper and Lower Morning Star. These fresh groomed runs will offer a great opportunity to get your legs under you before heading elsewhere. The sun will be shining almost directly on the runs and the snow will still be fast, enjoy.
Mid-morning (10:30am-noon) start heading for more groomed runs down either Elk Park Ridge (off Ramcharger/Thunderwolf) or venturing into the Bowl/other off-piste areas around the Triple Chair. By this time, the sun have softened the snow up enough to be playful and carvable and is the ideal spot to get your legs going just a bit more before venturing up the Tram.
Early afternoon (noon-2:30pm) is a great time of day to head for the The Lone Peak Tram or tackle some of the gladed/back bowls in the Shedhorn and Dakota areas. When the weather permits, the southern facing aspects off the tram will “corn up” and provide an unmatched soft snow experience with over 1,500 vertical feet of above tree line skiing.
Late afternoon (2:30-4 or on a Saturday, 5pm) head back to the lower mountain to finish the day off playing around once again on Andesite and Swift Current. Be sure to head for Andesite on Saturdays when you can ski Ramcharger until 5pm and celebrate the extra hour of daylight.
While spring kindly poked its head in to say hello, winter weather is once again in the forecast so pack some layers because she’s coming back for an encore. See you on the hill!
3/6/2013 10:07:00 PM
WHEN IT COMES to conquering mountains, Lone Peak is one hell of a monster to take on. Whether you’re tackling on the steeps of Challenger or the high alpine exposed terrain from atop Lone Mountain’s 11,166 ft. summit, Big Sky is sure to challenge. So when my friend Johnny who was visiting said he was up to task, I gladly agreed to show him the ins and outs of what makes Big Sky BIG.
Day 1: Having never skied off the summit we first tackled Liberty Bowl. While the peak was socked in, we navigated our way through the snow fences and straight to the gut. I informed him to follow the green dots down and to use them as a point of reference. The powder was deep and after reconvening at the bottom, I knew Johnny was thrilled by his trademark large grin. We ventured on to the base and finished our day poking around the lower mountain in the trees chasing powder.
Day 2: Having had a taste of what Lone Peak offered, Johnny wanted more. Since he had already checked off Marx with another friend of ours the day before, we decided the best next step would be to take on Lenin. While offering the same southern aspect as Marx, Lenin is steeper with a bit more of a pinch than what most vacationing skiers are used to, but that didn’t stop Johnny. He confidently took it on as if we were skiing Mr. K and once again show up at the bottom (maybe a bit more out of breath than other Mr. K) with another huge grin.
Final Day: Still wanting more, Johnny requested that we seek the peak once again in hopes of checking off one more steep, technical run. After having seen the Dictators while skiing Lenin a few days prior, we set our sights on D1. With a storm quickly moving in, we headed straight for the tram. Traversing from the top of Lenin we made our way to the top D1. Looking down the rock walled run we pointed our tips downhill and went for it. Johnny precisely navigated his way down and we met up just above the traverse to Lenin. Pole taps/high fives were a given and of course Johnny’s smile accompanied them.
We next ventured to Challenger to check off the final steeps that Johnny hadn’t skied yet. Once again Johnny killed and we headed for the base. Sending Johnny on his way wishing him safe travels back to LA, we exchanged hugs, a few fist bumps, and of course the plan to take on the rest of the peak next year.
Interested in checking out some of these great spots? Look into the mountain guide program offered through Mountain Sports School.
3/3/2013 2:48:00 PM
Skier: Dan Herby Photo: Freeride Media
CONSISTENT SNOWFALL, FREE refills and good friends have made for an amazing few weeks here at Big Sky Resort. Whether it’s a fresh 6 inches overnight or a bluebird day with knee deep recirculated powder, the mountain has been skiing great.
While entertaining Freeride Media earlier this week, we were treated to soft snow off the peak and a bluebird day to remember. Joined by skiing legends and a stellar film crew that not only can shoot but also rip, we roamed the mountain in search of the perfect shots. Finding excellent steeps through the Dictators off the Tram and fantastic gladed shots in Dude Park off the Shedhorn lift, we compiled a ton of footage that’s sure to please.
Interested in checking out some of these great spots? Look into the mountain guide program offered through Mountain Sports School. Or if you want to see more of these great photos here are 2 albums from their visit: Day 1, Day 2.
Skier: Desiree' Leipham Photo: Freeride Media
Skier: Scott Evans Photo: Freeride Media
Skiers: Dan Herby and Dan Egan Photo: Freeride Media
Skier: Tommy Frey Photo: Freeride Media
Skier: Kipp Proctor Photo: Freeride Media