Big Sky is not ritzy. It is not pretentious. It is not crowded.

And, as one of country’s greatest ski destinations, it is not to be missed.

Big Sky is big…really BIG!

With 4350′ of vertical and 5,800 acres, Big Sky justifiably calls itself “The Biggest Skiing in America.”

The last time I skied there was before the acquisition of Moonlight Basin, a smaller adjacent area I always assumed was for beginners.

That assumption was wrong.

A tour of what had been Moonlight revealed a world of interesting black diamonds off Lookout Ridge. I explored a few of them before heading toward Mountain Village, the resort’s commercial heart and onto the blue and black terrain on Andesite and Flatiron Mountains.

At day’s end, gear stashed with ski valet, I walked to Huntley Lodge, one of four hotels a short distance from the lifts.

Named for NBC news anchor Chet Huntley, it was bustling with people there for conferences and skiing. My room was clean and pleasant, and, like me, showing some age. The night before, following check-in, I had walked across the plaza to a well-populated bar and enjoyed a few beers and a surprisingly good meal. This night, I drove six miles to Town Center, where the Lotus Pad‘s curry was excellent and its vibe, big city.

Big Sky is attracting a lot of visitors and permanent residents. The place is booming. In Town Center, construction cranes and hard hats are everywhere. Winter is part of the equation. Other times of year fishing, golfing, mountain biking, hiking, and nearby Yellowstone National Park contribute to the draw. There’s a beautiful new high school and, especially important for seniors, the new Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center.

Next morning, following the Huntley’s substantial breakfast buffet, I returned to the lifts with the goal of reaching 11,166′ Lone Peak before the clouds rolled in. On the way I took Powder Seeker, the resort’s high-speed six-pack with blue bubble and heated seats. It’s then a short run to the base of Lone Peak Tram, the canister transporting 15 at a time. Depending on what awaits you at the top, the wait at the bottom may or may not be worth it.

By the time I reached the peak, it was socked-in, and I felt my way down a black bowl until visibility improved. Entering Bavarian Forest, an area of beautiful glades on manageable black terrain, I saw no one until reaching the bottom of the Dakota triple chair.

Big Sky has few on-hill amenities. There’s one permanent upscale restaurant recommending reservations, an over-sized yurt serving brats, burgers, and beers, and two limited-menu food trucks.

Toilets are equally scarce. PortaPotties next to the yurt, required an overly high step onto a slippery floor. They need to take care of that for skiers of any age. The trail map is a good one and will help you know before you need to go.

In the near distance, contiguous to Big Sky but not accessible to the rest of us, is Yellowstone Club, the famed, private resort. An instructor I met pointed out Bill and Melinda Gates’ home.

Seniors (70+) get a break on day passes (5-day advance purchase is best). Season pass options vary and have two senior categories, one 65-79, the other 80+. Big Sky participates in IKON and Mountain Collective.

Numerous direct flights to Bozeman, an hour from Big Sky.

There are a surprising number of non-stop flights from most major cities to Bozeman, about an hour away.

Depending on your skiing preferences, Big Sky is either a very good place to visit or a must place to visit. Its size, scope, and reliable snowfall make it a resort where senior skiers simply can’t go wrong.

 

5 Comments

  1. Avatar Richard Jeltsch says:

    For a story containing “unbelievably great skiing” in the headline there is not much description of that skiing. Did you do any more than feel your way down a back bowl?

    • Avatar Jon Weisberg says:

      Hi Richard, Our short articles try to cover a range of topics, including terrain. Will take your comment into account when doing future articles. Big Sky has a lot of chute skiing I did not explore; ditto the vast areas of green terrain. It’s so large that, generally speaking, each skier gets two acres.Jon

  2. Avatar Glenn Fisher says:

    Jon,
    I enjoyed meeting you on the lift, on the way up from the base at Big Sky. You were surprised to hear I knew about your senior skiing newsletters. I agree with your assessment of Big Sky. I love skiing there. I also agree it is time for the Hundley to get a facelift. Again nice to be able to put a face with the article

  3. Avatar Thomas Henry says:

    Finally made it to Big Sky Jan 1. Agree that it a must ski

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