The most alpine mountain I've skied in North America

A Review On: Big Sky

Big Sky

Rated # 1 in Montana
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Review Details:
Downhill Terrain
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Pros: Big vertical, challenging terrain

Cons: Rocks, wind

Spent 5 days there during fairly low snow conditions with about of foot of new snow the night we arrived and 6 inches later in the week. It was cold and windy for most of our stay which meant that even on days with no new snow there was wind loading of the lee slopes. There is a large variety of long beginner and intermediate slopes. We spent most of our time on the advanced and expert slopes which I felt were a little easier than similarly rated slopes at places like Squaw, Alpine, and Whistler. Partly this was because bumps were small or absent for the most part and because there was good snow. Those same runs could easily turn into slide for life situations in hard conditions. The highlight of our trip was skiing Big Couloir. This is a fairly wide, steep 1400 vertical foot dogleg chute from the summit of Lone Peak that requires skiing in pairs one at a time (no larger groups): beacon, shovel, and probe; and you have to sign up at the patrol shack on top of Lone Peak for a time slot--every 15 minutes. On a clear day with good snow get up there and sign out early as slots can fill up--last slot is 230 I think. When we did it the snow was excellent but this is most definitely a double black run and would be dangerous with hard snow. Steep enough to make you think. Other skiing off Lone Peak meant dodging the rocks and snow fences off the top to get into the bowls. Liberty, Marx and Lenin are wide open and long--I haven't skied anywhere else with open bowl skiing with this much sustained vertical.  Other than Big Couloir my favorite run was skiing Otter Slide to Marx to Gully One to Crons, which gets you back to the tram.  Otter Slide can be sketchy if the snow isn't good.  We also spent a lot of time skiing off the Challenger and Headwaters chairs--excellent black/double black skiing.  The Bowl off of the Powderseeker chair seemed to be very popular but in poor visibility conditons it seemed to have the worst visibility on the mountain, is relatively short, and the snow wasn't as good as elsewhere--but if it's cold the chair has a bubble you can pull down and the seats are heated.

We stayed at the Shoshone--no complaints about lodging, food, etc. The hot tub and pool was nice. 


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