When TheSkiDiva.com had its annual meet-up at Big Sky two years ago (go here to read about it), I vowed I’d be back.
And why not? The variety of terrain is fantastic. You want groomers? Check. Tree skiing? Check. Bowls? Check. Steeps? Check. You can ski for days without doing the same thing twice. Plus I love the character of the place. For a huge resort, Big Sky doesn’t have the commercial feel of a resort like Vail or Park City. It’s big, but it has a warmer, more community ski hill vibe. Perhaps that has to do with its location; it’s not that easy to reach. Big Sky isn’t near a huge population center, like Denver or Salt Lake. And as a destination resort, well, we flew in from LaGuardia, and it was a pretty long — and indirect — haul. Which probably keeps a lot of people away. But that’s part of its charm. Low crowds, great skiing, fantastic terrain. All in all, it’s hard to beat.
So when I decided to come out west for this year’s Ski Diva meet-up — which starts next week at Snowbasin — I figured I’d get an early start. I returned to Big Sky,where I visited my fellow Diva, Laura (aka SkiSailor). Not long ago Laura moved here from Pennsylvania, and she’s now a Big Sky instructor. It’s always great to have a local guide.
As you can see, our first day was glorious. Blue skies, bright sun, and moderate temperatures — a combo we don’t get too often in New England. I love Vermont, but I can’t say I’m sorry to be out of the deep freeze (-8° there this morning. Argh).
Here’s Lone Peak, the centerpiece mountain of the resort:
And here’s a view, looking out from the top of the Challenger lift:
While that made for a lovely day, Big Sky needs more snow. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not suffering on the same level as Tahoe. Coverage is good, but like much of the west, it’s been drier than normal, and we did encounter a rock or two.
Then, yesterday something magical happened: It snowed………….
which made me very, very happy:
So we had to ski the trees. This is the Wounded Knee glade. Doesn’t it look delicious?
I think I’m in love.
Big Sky is fantastic mountain. In fact, I think I feel safe in saying it’s my favorite western resort.
There’ve been changes at Big Sky since my last visit. This past fall, Big Sky merged with the resort next door — Moonlight Basin –making it the biggest ski resort in the country, with more than 5,700 acres of skiable terrain, 4,350 vertical feet, 23 chairlifts, and 10 surface lifts.
Phew. Almost gives me the vapors thinking about it.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’m hoping it’ll retain its off-the-beaten path character and not turn into another Aspen or Vail.
I guess I’ll have to come back to see.