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Big Sky Skiing & Snowboarding Resort Guide

Big Sky ski and snowboard area goes by the tagline “The Biggest Skiing in America,” because of its seemingly endless terrain and snowfall under the state of Montana’s “Big Sky.” Skiers and snowboarders are treated to an enormous 5,800 acres of skiable terrain, bigger than resorts like Vail, and more than 400” of light dry Montana powder. Big Sky is an amazing resort for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, with great groomers, and gnarly steeps. The mountain village at Big Sky offers skiers and snowboarders not only lodging, but plenty of off-hill activities and food to keep visitors entertained on longer trips. Located about an hour outside of the city of Bozeman, Big Sky has become a favorite of locals and visiting powder hounds alike.

Mountain Overview

Big Sky Resort
Photo: Michel Tallichet

Beginner skiing and snowboarding at Big Sky:
While Big Sky has earned a reputation for its gnarly steeps, beginner skiers and snowboarders are nicely catered to as well. There are learning areas at both the Mountain Village and Madison base areas, with plenty of easier rated trails spread across the mountain, too. From the Mountain Village, taking the Ramcharger chairlift to the Southern Comfort and Lewis & Clark chairlifts beginner skiers and snowboarder will find a great area to learn and have fun, far away from the experts that may whizz by on other parts of the mountain.

Intermediate skiing and snowboarding at Big Sky:
There is great intermediate skiing and snowboarding all over Big Sky ski resort. The groomed runs off of the Ramcharger and Thunder Wolf chairlifts are a great place to start. Skiers and snowboarders can pop in and out of the trees here to get a bit of a feeling for the gnarlier off piste terrain. For the adventurous types, there are intermediate runs all the way out to the edges of Big Sky. Take the Lone Tree Quad lift then pick one of the long open runs back to the Six Shooter or Madison Base Area.

Advanced and expert skiing and snowboarding at Big Sky:
This is the terrain Big Sky is known for. It’s steep, tight, rocky, and a ton of fun. The Bowl is a good place to start. Most of the advanced skiing and snowboarding is above treeline so this will be a good indicator if the rest of the terrain up high is good, or windy and whiteout. The Lone Peak Tram is the crown jewel of Big Sky, when the visibility is high and wind is low, the possibilities are endless. Liberty Bowl on the backside is the easiest choice, although it can get hammered by sun and wind. To the skier's left of Liberty Bowl, the Dictator Chutes are steep and challenging. There is plenty of exploring to be done on this side of the mountain when the conditions are good. The Dakota chairlift has some of the best tree skiing on the mountain. Big Couloir, under the Tram, is a perhaps the most famous run at Big Sky. On the frontside, the Headwaters area holds more steep and rocky chutes. If visibility is poor, there are more protected lines off of the Challenger lift. For some of these areas it is required that skiers and snowboarders carry avalanche safety gear, check in with patrol before heading out any gates.

Mountain Stats & Big Sky Trail Map

Big Sky Trail Map

The Bowl

Big Sky The Bowl Trail Map

South Face

Big Sky South Face Trail Map


 Total Skiable Acres5,800 Beginner Terrain 15%
 Base Elevation 7,500' Intermeidate Terrain 25%
 Summit Elevation 11,166' Advanced Terrain 42%
 Vertical Drop4,350'Expert Terrain18%
Total Lifts34Average Annual Snowfall400"+

Travel Information & Directions

Big Sky is located in southwestern Montana between the city of Bozeman and West Yellowstone. Several major airlines fly directly to the Bozeman Airport, from which there are several shuttles to bring skiers and snowboarders to the mountain. Driving, Big Sky is about 60 minutes from Bozeman.
Travel Resources:

Getting to Big Sky

Lodging Information

There are plenty of lodging options in the Big Sky mountain village for most budgets. These options range from hotels to condos. One of the most budget friendly options up here is the Whitewater Inn, which is a 15 minute drive from the village. Huntley Lodge is a slopeside favorite, too. For skiers and snowboarders staying in the Big Sky village, there are several “Ski and Stay” packages that can help save some money. Down the highway in Bozeman there are plenty more options, including more cheaper hotels and options like AirBnb.
Big Sky Lodging Overview
Ski and Stay Packages
Bozeman AirBnb
Our Snowboards Snowboards for Big Sky
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Local Food Picks

Like other large developed western United States ski and snowboard areas there are a host of dining options on the mountain and in the village. Whiskey Jacks is a solid spot for drinks or dinner, with the Summit Hotel serving up a more upscale experience. Beehive Basin Brewing is a great place to grab a tasty craft beer made in house, too.
Big Sky Dining:

Big Sky Dining Overview
Beehive Basin Brewing

Our Favorite Skis For Big Sky
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Where to Find Lift Tickets to Big Sky?

While many of the ski and snowboard areas in Montana are very affordably priced, Big Sky lift tickets are priced more in line with other large ski and snowboard areas in the United States like Breckenridge and Squaw Valley. This means Big Sky lift tickets are fairly expensive. Seniors, youth, juniors and, college students are all eligible for discount Big Sky lift tickets, however. Buying online in advance can also help save some money.
Big Sky Lift Tickets 

Big Sky Conditions & Weather Information

Big Sky averages a whopping 400”+ of snow every winter. Combined with the cold Montana winters, this means lots of high quality, light powder. Since the snow falls so light here, the sharp rocks on the steep terrain may not get buried as well as an area like Mount Baker, where the thick wet snow covers everything. Be careful for exposed rocks skiing and snowboarding on ridges and in the various chutes. With much of the terrain above treeline, wind and low visibility can make for whiteout conditions, too, so pick your tram days with caution. That said, Big Sky is an epic place to be on a powder day.
Big Sky Weather Resources

Big Sky Ski Report and Forecast

For amazing skiing and snowbaording for all ability levels, and a huge mountain, Big Sky resort is a great skiing and snowboarding destination. Bozeman locals and visitors alike love the burly expert terrain and plentiful snowfall all year long. Easy access from the Bozeman airport means all the more reason to plan your next trip to this great Montana resort.

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