As an eastern skier, I don’t get the chance to ski out west very often. Usually once a year. Maybe twice, if I’m lucky.
Big Sky has been on my bucket list for a long time. So this year I scheduled Diva Week, our annual gathering of members of TheSkiDiva.com, at Big Sky Resort.
Am I glad I did.
Big Sky is, in a word, phenomenal. Even in a low snow year, the skiing is hard to beat. The terrain is fantastic. The variety, spectacular. And the tree skiing, ahhhhhhh, the tree skiing. Simply marvelous.
Compare Big Sky to my home mountain, Okemo (VT): Big Sky consists of 3,832 acres. Okemo, a mere 632. The longest run at Big Sky is 6 miles. At Okemo: 3.4 miles. Average annual snowfall at Big Sky: 400 inches. At Okemo: 200 inches. And the terrain, well, let’s put it this way. Big Sky has it, hands down.
Of course, Big Sky is not without its downside. It’s not particulary easy to get to from the east coast. This is its upside, too. It’s not easy to get to, so it doesn’t get as crowded as other destination resorts.
Lodging at Big Sky consists of a mix of condos and hotel accommodations. We rented a condo at Moonlight Basin, a short ski ride away. This was a bit of a problem, since the lift that provides access to Big Sky doesn’t open til 9, and we wanted to meet the Divas at 8:30. There’s a shuttle that runs from the Moonlight Lodge to Big Sky, but this starts later than I wanted, too. Most days we drove over and parked in the resort’s no pay lot, which worked out fine.
Despite the dearth of snow this year, the skiing was still fantastic. (Imagine how great it’d be in a good snow year.) We spent a lot of time playing in the trees of Wolf’s Den, Coulter’s Hell, Congo, Ambush Glades, Wolverine, & Stump Farm. Cruising the groomers of Lobo, Ambush, Calamity Jane, Africa, Elk Park Ridge, and more. And doing the bumps off the Challenger Lift and in the Bowl. I even made it up the tram to take a run down the Liberty Bowl and gawk at the Big Couloir, a double black with pitch of 50 degrees for more than 1,000 vertical feet, making it one of the most intense in-bounds trails in America (definitely not for me). Even caught some ski patrollers doing evacuation drills off the tram to the top of Lone Peak.
But perhaps the best part of the trip was being with the women of TheSkiDiva.com. This was the fifth Diva gathering, and I’ve never failed to be totally blown away by the strength, enthusiasm, and kindness of the women on the site. Plus they’re as passionate about skiing as I am. And though I was thrilled to be at Big Sky, the venue was truly secondary. The women are the heart and soul of the site, and I am truly honored that they took the time out of their busy schedules to get together.
Did I love Big Sky? You bet I did. I think it’s my new favorite mountain. I’ll definitely be back. And I’m sure other Divas will, too.
I leave you with some pix: