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Big Sky, Montana: a bucket list ski resort in the USA

The Big Sky experience is beautiful, luxurious and delicious with views you will carry home in your heart, writes Helen Hayes.

The fire is snap-crackle-popping and sending out a curling warmth to thaw frosty fingers and noses. I sip my On-Piste Toddy (Willie’s Honey Moonshine, honey, lemon and house-brewed tea), and admire the interior of my lunch stop while waiting for my elk chilli. I love the quirky antler chandelier and the seating, from comfortable banquettes to tables with elegant leather chairs. The pièce de résistance is the view out the windows, the vista of snowy white slopes only interrupted by passing blue bubble chairs and feet dangling skis or a snowboard.

The menu is a far cry from the usual slash-and-dash fare of on-mountain restaurants. Executive chef Henry Mills creates delicious alpine cuisine with a farm-to-slope menu accompanied by an impressive wine list. Everything about Big Sky Resort is a feast for one sense or another. Everett’s 8800 sits atop the Andesite Mountain and is accessed by the Ramcharger 8 chairlift. Whether visiting for lunch or dinner, complete your evening with a walk through the magical Enchanted Forest light display.

Rustic interiors at Everett’s 8800 Big Sky
Rustic interiors at Everett’s 8800

Where is Big Sky Resort?

Big Sky, Montana is located in the Rocky Mountains. Yellowstone National Park is positioned to its southeast, and Gallatin River and Gallatin Canyon to its northeast. Big Sky Resort is located in Montana’s ‘Big Sky’ country, an hour from the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, and a one-hour drive from Yellowstone National Park.

View of a mountain over tree-filled hills, with snow
The view of Big Sky, Montana © Visit Big Sky

Skiing at Big Sky Resort

Big Sky Resort is one of the largest ski resorts in North America, broken up into approximately 50% beginner & intermediate, 50% advanced and expert runs, with some extreme runs. Big Sky Resort’s statistics are impressive. It has 2,367 hectares of skiable terrain, 320 named runs and a whole lot more that are unnamed, all accessed by the most technologically advanced lift network in North America. The jewel in the crown opened in December 2023, the new Lone Peak Tram – the biggest lift in the resort’s 50 years of operation. The tram soars to the top of Lone Mountain, which sits at an oxygen-depleting 3,403 metres, and can carry 75 passengers. It doesn’t just carry advanced skiers or snowboarders, but also those who want to see the 360-degree views over three states and a stunning array of peaks. If you are an advanced skier or rider, look down at the terrain below before tackling these runs. A fair chunk of them – including the gnarly Big Couloir – are deemed triple black diamond and not for the faint of heart. 

  • Skiable hectares: 2,367
  • 1.01 metres annual snowfall
  • 320 named runs
  • Longest run: 9.65 kilometres
  • 38 lifts
  • Elevation: 3403-metre maximum, 2072-metre minimum
  • 1,325 vertical metres
Lone Peak Tram
Lone Peak Tram
woman in red clothing skiing in the snow
A skier enjoying the slopes © Montage Big Sky

Is Big Sky a difficult ski resort?

Sometimes the scenery at a ski resort is so spectacular that it stops you in your tracks. Big Sky Resort in Montana is such a place. Ride the Powder Seeker chairlift up and enjoy its heated seat and ‘Big Sky Blue’ bubble to keep out the wind and snow, and when you get off at the top – look up to a view of the momentous Lone Mountain peak, with a tiny black dot at the top. That’s where the tram deposits extreme skiers and sightseers, while lower down, spiny ridges and a rugged wall of rock hide myriad chutes, couloirs and bowls that are so difficult, a new classification of triple black diamond was introduced.

Family skiing together.
Family time in the snow © Big Sky Resort

Is Big Sky Resort for beginners?

Big Sky Resort resort has 2,367 hectares of skiable terrain that will excite everyone from extreme skiers to beginners. In fact, 23% of the runs are for beginners! Hiring an instructor to take you around and improve your technique is advisable due to the diversity and sheer size of the terrain. Those less advanced can spend the days exploring from Spanish Peaks on one side of this expansive snow playground, to Madison Base on the other. Be sure to explore the powder-topped runs around almost every lift. Big Sky, Montana is a glorious adventure, made even more incredible by lunch at the charming Everett’s 8800, a beautiful cabin with a fireplace, great ambience, and wonderful food.

Four people sitting on snowmobiles about to venture into the terrain
Snowmobiling is a unique experience © Visit Big Sky

Accommodation in Big Sky, Montana

The main base at Big Sky Resort, including premier slopeside lodging The Summit Hotel, which offers ski-in, ski-out accessibility, beautifully renovated rooms, excellent restaurants and bars, and a slopeside ski valet; and Huntley Lodge, which has recently undergone refurbishment. The location is steps from the new and fast chairlifts, Ramcharger 8 and Swift Current 6 – which are also bubble chairs with heated seats – part of what is the most technologically advanced lift network in North America.

An alternative five-star option located by the Lewis and Clark chairlift in Spanish Peaks is the award-winning Montage Big Sky, which has impeccable service everywhere from the ski valet to the spa, restaurants and bars, to the US$1 million in curated art.  Another five-star hotel will open in 2025 when One&Only Moonlight Basin, America’s first One&Only property, swings open its elegant doors steps from the Pony Express and Iron Horse chairlifts.

the interior of a restaurant with mountain views
Everett's 8800 dining © Big Sky Resort

Things to do in Big Sky, Montana

Another benefit of a stay at Big Sky Resort is the abundance of things to do when you’re not sliding and smiling down the slopes. Embark upon a day trip to Yellowstone National Park, go snowmobiling or snowshoeing, try fly fishing or dogsledding, explore a trail on horseback, then hop on a sleigh ride for a romantic dinner at a cabin in the forest. Be pampered in a spa, visit the Big Sky Town Center, or simply sit in a cosy spot by a window, be mesmerised by the view outside and think about where you might ski tomorrow. For something different, ski or snowboard down the mountain at night with nothing but a headlamp.

In summer, Big Sky is an outdoor-lovers dream. Play golf. Ride mountain bikes, hike or try your hand at archery. Horseback riding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing and fly fishing are also popular in the warmer months.

Snowmobile through the peaks at Big Sky
Snowmobile through the peaks © Jacob. W. Frank/NPS
Two horses pull a sleigh.
A romantic sleigh ride in the snow © Visit Big Sky/ Doug Loneman

How to get to Big Sky Resort

Qantas flies to Dallas Fort Worth, or American Airlines to Los Angeles, with connections to American Airlines’ direct flights to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Read more:
23 experiences for your ski holiday bucket list
A guide to skiing Park City, Utah
Jackson Hole is a Western paradise for skiers and non-skiers alike

This article was produced in partnership with Big Sky Resort and is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter below.

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