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Big Sky: how much terrain may be open by mid December?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

After four sad years of no skiing whatsoever, I organized a 5-day trip to Big Sky just before Christmas, naively expecting good conditions. I wanted to take powder lessons and do some single-diamond black runs. So far, Big Sky has only opened 3% terrain. In the worst case, how much could be open by mid-December? I fear I will have to cancel my trip altogether.... Thank you for your help.

post #2 of 18

More info would help especially esp to determine if other nearby destinations are possible. Dates?  Are you coming by plane, car, bus, van? How many days? How many people?

post #3 of 18

No need to cancel your trip. I suspect we should be getting plenty of snow from now until then. Patrollers are out there working hard right now to open up more terrain.

 

Hey, and if the snow's not THAT great when you come, then it's just a great excuse to plan another return trip soon. Before I lived here, I always had the worst luck with planning trips that would coincide with powder days, no matter the place or time of year, but always glad I made those trips anyway. For some reason, the resorts would always get dumped on the very night I'd leave, or the locals would always say "You should've been here LAST week!" Don't let those sorts of things hold you back. You'll have a great time no matter what, and who knows? You could end up with the best powder day of your life!, or maybe miss out on one of the best ski days ever if you cancel. Yes, it's a gamble, but the choice is yours. Personally, I think ANY day on the hill beats a day in the office, no matter the conditions.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 


Dear Castle Dave: I am flying into Bozeman on December 18th and leaving on Dec 24th.

 

I am on my own, thus not sharing costs and thence preferring shuttle buses, more inexpensive accommodation, and the like.

 

I thought however that just to save my vacation, an alternative is to rent a car and drive to Targhee, as canceling plane ticket and getting a new one to Jacson Hole looks rather expensive.

 

Thank you for the help!

 

Tomas

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 


Austin: it is so true that a day up in the mountains beats a day at the office. It seems I can cancel accommodations up to December 11, so if snow gods care to watch that far, I will do my snow dance from Mexico and wait until then. Thanks a lot!!

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasoro View Post

 

I thought however that just to save my vacation, an alternative is to rent a car and drive to Targhee, as canceling plane ticket and getting a new one to Jacson Hole looks rather expensive.

 

Targhee was what I had in the back of my mind. Should only be about 4 hour drive max assuming the roads are decent.

post #7 of 18

I skied at Big Sky today. Things are very sparse compared to the last 2 years at this time. We had a very long warm fall ( which was great in its own right) with little early season snow, then last week we had a warm spell which took it's toll on the Nov storms.

 

Bozeman got more snow on Sat than Big Sky did. We are a good month behind IMO, but a big storm cycle could change that is a hurry.

 

If they do open more terrain  soon it will be rocky as all get out, except for where they are blowing snow. I lapped Tippys all day, because of the man made bullet proof base (no rocks)

 

Not a great early season so far...Bridger is said to be doing a bit better (they open this Friday)

 

one shouldn't book for big turns and big powder at Big Sky until mid Jan/Feb for best chances

post #8 of 18

Sorry to pile on, I don't have any input into the conditions. But I was hoping for some recomendations for a performance ski rental shop in Bozeman.

 

Also, a good microbrewish lunch place, I'm part of a group of 5 that's flying in to Bozeman 3/7/15 for a week, slopeside Big Sky. Doing it right.

 

first time to big sky, we're ticking off the bucket list places as we're all getting long in the tooth.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furball View Post
 

Sorry to pile on, I don't have any input into the conditions. But I was hoping for some recomendations for a performance ski rental shop in Bozeman.

 

Also, a good microbrewish lunch place, I'm part of a group of 5 that's flying in to Bozeman 3/7/15 for a week, slopeside Big Sky. Doing it right.

 

first time to big sky, we're ticking off the bucket list places as we're all getting long in the tooth.

 

I'm not sure about rentals in Bozeman, but in Big Sky, you have lots of great options. Friends of mine have all had great luck with Gallatin Alpine Sports, East Slope Outdoors, and Grizzly Outfitters.

 

For a great place for lunch after you land, check out Montana Ale Works on E. Main in Bozeman. Great food and drink!

 

Have fun in Big Sky! When are you coming?

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasoro View Post
 


Dear Castle Dave: I am flying into Bozeman on December 18th and leaving on Dec 24th.

 

I am on my own, thus not sharing costs and thence preferring shuttle buses, more inexpensive accommodation, and the like.

 

I thought however that just to save my vacation, an alternative is to rent a car and drive to Targhee, as canceling plane ticket and getting a new one to Jacson Hole looks rather expensive.

 

Thank you for the help!

 

Tomas

 

How about changing your ticket to Bozeman for a trip later in the season, and finding a cheap ticket to Denver for this month?  We've got the conditions you are looking for right now, and only should get better by the end of the month.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post
 

 

I'm not sure about rentals in Bozeman, but in Big Sky, you have lots of great options. Friends of mine have all had great luck with Gallatin Alpine Sports, East Slope Outdoors, and Grizzly Outfitters.

 

For a great place for lunch after you land, check out Montana Ale Works on E. Main in Bozeman. Great food and drink!

 

Have fun in Big Sky! When are you coming?

 Many thanks, the Montana Ale works is spot on, lots of grog options and good food in a nice place with character.

For rentals, EastSlope outdoors was about $5 cheaper a day for performance ski's, thanks again for the 411.

 

Group of 5, We'll be there March 7 - 14 Sat-Sat, renting a slopeside condo somewhere in the base area. Pricey trip, but meh, it's only money.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furball View Post
 

 Many thanks, the Montana Ale works is spot on, lots of grog options and good food in a nice place with character.

For rentals, EastSlope outdoors was about $5 cheaper a day for performance ski's, thanks again for the 411.

 

Group of 5, We'll be there March 7 - 14 Sat-Sat, renting a slopeside condo somewhere in the base area. Pricey trip, but meh, it's only money.

 

Rock on! March should be the perfect time to come. You lucky dogs, staying slopeside and all. You're gonna love it. Hope you guys have a great trip!

post #13 of 18
Quote:
I thought however that just to save my vacation, an alternative is to rent a car and drive to Targhee, as canceling plane ticket and getting a new one to Jackson Hole looks rather expensive.

This is an excellent idea.  Jackson and Targhee have perhaps the best early snowpacks so far, though that is far from unusual at Targhee.  Jackson is only one hour farther drive, so if you're at Targhee for most of that week you can check out Jackson for a day or two.

Quote:
Bozeman got more snow on Sat than Big Sky did. We are a good month behind IMO, but a big storm cycle could change that is a hurry.

Big Sky's hallmark is consistency not "big storm cycles,"  so if a local tells you it's a month behind now, it's not likely to catch up in the next 2 weeks.  The OP should plan to bail on his lodging before the cancellation deadline, rent a car and drive to Targhee.

 

It's far too early for Furball to be worried about early March.  If that's like early February of an average year it should still be fine.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

This is an excellent idea.  Jackson and Targhee have perhaps the best early snowpacks so far, though that is far from unusual at Targhee.  Jackson is only one hour farther drive, so if you're at Targhee for most of that week you can check out Jackson for a day or two.

Big Sky's hallmark is consistency not "big storm cycles,"  so if a local tells you it's a month behind now, it's not likely to catch up in the next 2 weeks.  The OP should plan to bail on his lodging before the cancellation deadline, rent a car and drive to Targhee.

 

It's far too early for Furball to be worried about early March.  If that's like early February of an average year it should still be fine.

I've been to JHole three different trips over the last 15 years - each time we went to Targhee for a day trip. All three times was whiteout conditions where you couldn't see the chair in front of you. Makes for sketchy skiiing unless you stay in the woods.

 

Grand Targhee's nickname is Grand Foghee. We've all given up on the place due to the frequent whiteouts, I can't ski when I can't see.

Just saying, when it's clear I'm sure it's awesome.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys! It's decided. I will rent a car and spend 3 days in JH and 3 in Grand Targhee, as both places seem to have a good snowpack and continue getting precious snow. Next time around I will look into statistics before committing to inflexible plans!

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasoro View Post
 

Thanks guys! It's decided. I will rent a car and spend 3 days in JH and 3 in Grand Targhee, as both places seem to have a good snowpack and continue getting precious snow. Next time around I will look into statistics before committing to inflexible plans!

 

Yeah, the way it's looking right now, you are probably making the right call, but you just never know until a few days out. Statistics don't always mean very much so don't get too hung up on those. Big Sky typically has fantastic, consistent snowpack, and is usually a very safe bet. I've had some of the most terrible conditions at some of the best resorts at what was supposed to be the best time, according to the extended forecast and statistics.

 

Always tough to make that call when planning a vacation, especially with the way places can book out so far in advance. Especially when you're looking for a good deal.

 

Enjoy JH and Targhee! You really can't go wrong with either of those places. Especially since they're getting some great stuff headed their way. Hope they share the love with us poor folks on the other side of the parks!

post #17 of 18

I heard a rumor that Jackson Hole will have 100% of its terrain open tomorrow (December 5th).  Can that be true?!?

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

I heard a rumor that Jackson Hole will have 100% of its terrain open tomorrow (December 5th).  Can that be true?!?

 

Tis true. http://www.jacksonhole.com/blog/tram-opens-on-friday/

 

However, their forecast looks just as dismally warm as ours does. Hope they don't lose half their base like we did with all this warm weather.

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