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Need Advice on Big Sky 2012

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have the opportunity through a time-share trade to go to Big Sky Feb. 18-25, 2012.  That covers President's Weekend.  I am wondering if it will be unbearably crowded all week or just a little crowded over the weekend.  I assume for ski conditions that is as good as anytime to go.  I have never been to Big Sky and have wanted to go.  It would be for my annual guy's trip.  Any and all advice is welcome.  Thanks for your help.

post #2 of 11
Originally Posted by Pwdrhnd View Post

unbearably crowded

You'll be astonished how few people will be out.  If by chance there's a lift line, head over to Moonlight Basin on the north side.  Big Sky is a great choice for President's Weekend.


post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I booked it this week and can't wait to go and try a new place.


post #4 of 11

I doubt you'll be disappointed.  If you really want to make the best of it, book a lesson with Little Bear (Ursala Howland).



post #5 of 11

Do lessons get to cut the tram line?    That's probably the only place lines will be a real issue. 

post #6 of 11

The only lines you'll see at Big Sky President's Day weekend will be in the base area on Saturday & Sunday around lunch and for the tram on the weekend. Besides that most of the lifts will not have any line even on big powder days.


If you're spending a week in the area definitely take the time to ski at Moonlight and try to find a way to spend a day at Bridger Bowl for a complete change of pace. Bridger Bowl is 90 minutes away.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Likely the only day we will be skiing on the holiday weekend is Monday.   Glad to hear that it will not be crowded.  Is it worth a day to take a trip to Yellowstone and see it in winter?

post #8 of 11

If you're into nature then there are few sights more spectacular than Yellowstone in the winter. The elk & buffalo are down from the hills and the cold enhances the thermal features.

post #9 of 11
Don't miss yellowstone in winter -- it is one of the most amazing places I've ever been. And I go every year.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Is it better to see Yellowstone via snowcoach or snowmobile?

post #11 of 11

I think it is better to go by snowmobile.  They are generally faster than the snowcoaches.  The one time I was lucky enough to be in Yellowstone in winter, my wife and I stayed for 3 days in Old Faithful at the Snowlodge.  This is a modern and pretty new facility; quite comfortable in winter.  We took a snow coach into Old Faithful from Flagg Ranch (north of Jackson).  We bought a ride from the snow coach to the top of Union Pass and snowshoed back to the lodge -- a spectacular trip, although a bit ambitious (my wife was recovering from foot surgery and it was her first hike -- about 10 miles in snowshoes -- needless to say, she wasn't a completely happy camper).  The coaches, depending on whether you get one of the private sightseeing companies or the historic snow coaches run by the park concessionaire, Xanterra, are noisy, can be cramped, and can be quite bumpy.  The private coaches are usually big vans retrofitted with tracks.  My buddy was on one of these this past March -- it threw a track, they had to wait to be rescued, and the ride had lots of his party bouncing off of the ceiling of the van.


While I'm a big time skier, I wouldn't miss staying at Old Faithful.  You can get deeper into the park by taking a snowmobile tour to Canyon.  You'll get to see Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with the upper falls, and tons of wildlife.  You'll also see thermal features usually with wildlife (bison) present.  Walking or cross-country skiing around the thermal features close to Old Faithful in winter is surreal, particularly the Biscuit Basin, where you can see amazing colors in the thermal pools surrounded by snow.


When we went, I added Yellowstone to a trip to JHMR to attend Steep and Deep Camp.  It was, in part, a way of providing an activity for my non-skiing spouse.  But having done the trip and while this was my first visit to my favorite ski area in 25 years, the Yellowstone portion of the trip was the highlight.  And I'm about as avid a skier as you'll find.


Highly recommended.



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