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Planning Montana Ski vacation, need advice - Page 3

post #61 of 91
Thread Starter 

The trip is March 14-21st which is my kids spring break.

 

By that time of year there is no snowmobile or snow coach tours to Old Faithful.   That's all done a week or two earlier.  Yellowstone has very little winter info on their website.   The snow lodge is also closed by then.  We'd be limited to Mammoth Hot Springs.  We don't have a lot of interest in driving to cooke city.

 

I've talked to the wife and she wants to ski 3-4 days total, but with an off day in there.  She thinks 4 days straight is just too much, I agree.  She'd be fine with 3 days total even.

 

Nordic skiing is a great idea.   My wife has been dying to try it and this would be about the perfect place.  Big Sky has a ton of trials and it's relatively cheap as well. 

 

The deal we're looking at for Big Sky is basically a 3 night stay where you get 2 days of skiing for all four of us included.  Runs about $500 per night total.  You sleep in the condo the night before your first day skiing at the night after your second day skiing.

 

Here's what we're thinking at this point:

 

Friday:  Drive to Fargo

Saturday:  Drive to Billings

Sunday:   Ski Red Lodge (if decent snow)  (would likely stay in Red Lodge)

Sunday:   Chico Hot Spring/Mamoth Hot Springs and stay in Gardiner right near both (easy drive from Red Lodge)

Monday:  Explore Bozeman and get to Big Sky (can't check into Condo until 5:00)  Could possible X-country ski this day for a few hours

Tuesday:  Ski Big Sky

Wednesday:  Ski Big Sky 

Thursday:   We need to check out of our condo by around noon...   Possibly ski again this day?

Friday:   Start driving home

post #62 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 

The trip is March 14-21st which is my kids spring break.

 

By that time of year there is no snowmobile or snow coach tours to Old Faithful.   That's all done a week or two earlier.  Yellowstone has very little winter info on their website.   The snow lodge is also closed by then.  We'd be limited to Mammoth Hot Springs.  We don't have a lot of interest in driving to cooke city.

 

I've talked to the wife and she wants to ski 3-4 days total, but with an off day in there.  She thinks 4 days straight is just too much, I agree.  She'd be fine with 3 days total even.

 

Nordic skiing is a great idea.   My wife has been dying to try it and this would be about the perfect place.  Big Sky has a ton of trials and it's relatively cheap as well. 

 

The deal we're looking at for Big Sky is basically a 3 night stay where you get 2 days of skiing for all four of us included.  Runs about $500 per night total.  You sleep in the condo the night before your first day skiing at the night after your second day skiing.

 

Here's what we're thinking at this point:

 

Friday:  Drive to Fargo

Saturday:  Drive to Billings

Sunday:   Ski Red Lodge (if decent snow)  (would likely stay in Red Lodge)

Sunday:   Chico Hot Spring/Mamoth Hot Springs and stay in Gardiner right near both (easy drive from Red Lodge)

Monday:  Explore Bozeman and get to Big Sky (can't check into Condo until 5:00)  Could possible X-country ski this day for a few hours

Tuesday:  Ski Big Sky

Wednesday:  Ski Big Sky 

Thursday:   We need to check out of our condo by around noon...   Possibly ski again this day?

Friday:   Start driving home


Perhaps stop by Bridger and ski there on Thursday?  The lift tickets are a very good deal, especially for a day where the driver(s) don't want to ski too hard.

 

Have you checked the prices for Buck's T-4 for comparison?  They have packages that include lift tickets too.  Although obviously staying slope side is preferable.

 

Lone Mountain Ranch is the place I was thinking about for nordic skiing.  They do group lessons and rentals for day visitors interested in learning nordic.

 

The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman has one of the best dinosaur exhibits I've ever seen.  And I grew up in NYC going to the Museum of Natural History.

post #63 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post

The trip is March 14-21st which is my kids spring break.

By that time of year there is no snowmobile or snow coach tours to Old Faithful.   That's all done a week or two earlier.  Yellowstone has very little winter info on their website.   The snow lodge is also closed by then.  We'd be limited to Mammoth Hot Springs.  We don't have a lot of interest in driving to cooke city.

I've talked to the wife and she wants to ski 3-4 days total, but with an off day in there.  She thinks 4 days straight is just too much, I agree.  She'd be fine with 3 days total even.

Nordic skiing is a great idea.   My wife has been dying to try it and this would be about the perfect place.  Big Sky has a ton of trials and it's relatively cheap as well. 

The deal we're looking at for Big Sky is basically a 3 night stay where you get 2 days of skiing for all four of us included.  Runs about $500 per night total.  You sleep in the condo the night before your first day skiing at the night after your second day skiing.

Here's what we're thinking at this point:

Friday:  Drive to Fargo
Saturday:  Drive to Billings
Sunday:   Ski Red Lodge (if decent snow)  (would likely stay in Red Lodge)
Sunday:   Chico Hot Spring/Mamoth Hot Springs and stay in Gardiner right near both (easy drive from Red Lodge)
Monday:  Explore Bozeman and get to Big Sky (can't check into Condo until 5:00)  Could possible X-country ski this day for a few hours
Tuesday:  Ski Big Sky
Wednesday:  Ski Big Sky 
Thursday:   We need to check out of our condo by around noon...   Possibly ski again this day?
Friday:   Start driving home

I'm not sure what you are planning -- both red lodge and Gardiner or is it one or the other? It's is 3 hours from red lodge to Gardiner. You won't have a lot of time left to see much in Yellowstone on Sunday if you drive that day. If you go, you should definitely drive out to the Lamar Valley to see if you can see wolves as well as the bison herds.

In Bozeman, you could get a day or half-day skiing at Bridger.

Mike
post #64 of 91
Thread Starter 

It's pretty easy to get from Billings to Red Lodge so we're thinking we could stay in Billings, get up early and drive to Red Lodge to ski.  Then stay in Red Lodge that night and get up the next morning early and head straight to Chico Hot Springs (wife is excited about this) and go swimming there for a while.  It's 144 miles from Red Lodge to Chico (~2.5 hours).  So if we left Red Lodge at 9:00 we'd be there by 11:30.   We'd get to Mammoth at maybe 2:00pm and could stay for a couple of hours.

 

Staying in Gardiner we could also spend some more time at Mammoth in the morning before heading up to Bozeman.  It's probably 2 hours from Yellowstone to Bozeman.   We would like have time to ski a half day at Bridger if we wanted.  Not sure about that though as we'd still have to drive to Big Sky and unpack into our Condo that day.

 

The other option is to leave Red Lodge after skiing and drive to Gardiner that afternoon/night, stay there and already be at Yellowstone right in the morning.  Would likely rather drive this during the day when not tried from skiing though.

post #65 of 91

Don't ski a half day at Bridger. Ski a full day and arrive at Big Sky later that evening. That time of year Bridger usually has more snow and better snow than Big Sky. Add in the area will empty on a Monday and it warrants a full day. 

post #66 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
 

Don't ski a half day at Bridger. Ski a full day and arrive at Big Sky later that evening. That time of year Bridger usually has more snow and better snow than Big Sky. Add in the area will empty on a Monday and it warrants a full day. 

 

Good points Rio.  My issue is my wife and kids want to schedule a 'non-ski day' in the middle there and I'm having issues with where that should go.

 

How difficult do you think it would be to ski that Thursday we need to check out of the condo?  If the kids and wife had Wednesday off I think they'd be charged up to get out on Thursday, but we'd need to check out of the condo and pack everything first.   Might be too much of a pain in the butt.  Maybe we could CC ski that day for a half day though?

 

Like this:

 

Friday:  Drive to Fargo


Saturday:  Drive to Billings


Sunday:   Ski Red Lodge (stay in Red Lodge)


Monday:   Chico Hot Spring/Mamoth Hot Springs and stay in Gardiner right near both


Tuesday:  Drive to Bozeman: Ski Full Day at Bridger Bowl then drive to Condo at Big Sky

 

Wednesday:  Ski Big Sky


Thursday:  Ski Big Sky 


Friday:   Check out of Condo, go Cross Country skiing at Big Sky, stay in Bozeman that night


Saturday:   Start driving home from Bozeman, stay in Bismarck
 

Sunday: Finish driving home

post #67 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post


I'm not sure what you are planning -- both red lodge and Gardiner or is it one or the other? It's is 3 hours from red lodge to Gardiner. You won't have a lot of time left to see much in Yellowstone on Sunday if you drive that day. If you go, you should definitely drive out to the Lamar Valley to see if you can see wolves as well as the bison herds.

In Bozeman, you could get a day or half-day skiing at Bridger.

Mike

 

lol sorry just realizing I had two Sundays on my itinerary...   I wish...

post #68 of 91
Thread Starter 

The other thing I'm thinking is only driving to Fargo on Friday is holding us up.  Might be better to drive to suck it up and drive to Bismarck

 

Friday:  Drive to Bismarck (421 miles)


Saturday:  Drive to Bozeman (556 miles)


Sunday:   Ski Bridger Bowl


Monday:   Chico Hot Springs/Mamoth Hot Springs and stay in Gardiner right near both


Tuesday:  Drive to Big Sky (120 miles) and go CC skiing then check into condo at 5:00 pm. Could buy groceries in Bozeman on the way

 

Wednesday:  Ski Big Sky


Thursday:  Ski Big Sky


Friday:   Check out of Condo, Start driving home.  Maybe drive to Billings


Saturday: Finish driving home
 

Sunday: Extra day in case of weather

 

 

post #69 of 91

I would recommend staying in Bozeman Sat/Sun/Mon nights and daytripping the Chico/Mammoth day.  From Bozeman you can easily get in a full 3rd day skiing at Big Sky Tuesday.  The time you'll save not having to pack up and move an extra day should make this schedule reasonable.  I think you want 3 full days at Big Sky to see the place fully, particularly true if weather restricts the upper mountain part of the time.

post #70 of 91
I'd like to interject that the Museum of the Rockies is a good non-ski day visit. More than just dinosaurs. Keep it in mind.
post #71 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

I would recommend staying in Bozeman Sat/Sun/Mon nights and daytripping the Chico/Mammoth day.  From Bozeman you can easily get in a full 3rd day skiing at Big Sky Tuesday.  The time you'll save not having to pack up and move an extra day should make this schedule reasonable.  I think you want 3 full days at Big Sky to see the place fully, particularly true if weather restricts the upper mountain part of the time.

 

That would certainly allow us to be in Big Sky much earlier, likely early enough to ski that would day.  Then go to the Condo once we're done skiing for the day.  With 3 days in Bozeman I could look into a VRBO condo instead of hotel rooms.   Really doesn't cost that much more...

post #72 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'd like to interject that the Museum of the Rockies is a good non-ski day visit. More than just dinosaurs. Keep it in mind.

 Will do.  It's too bad they close at 5:00.  We'll be out most days busy until then....

post #73 of 91

Hopefully Red Lodge will work out but it has been sketchy the past few springs.The town of Red Lodge has a great vibe and is a fun place to visit. If it doesn't, staying in Bozeman and skiing in Bridger is good option even if you only ski a few hours on some days. Bridger Bowl is an easy 25 to 30 minute drive from most of the motels in Bozeman.

 

I'll second Sibhusky's suggestion of the Museum of the Rockies. People are surprised a small town has such an extensive dinosaur exhibit and will soon be displaying the world's largest T-Rex. It also has great displays about the local geology, Montana history and much more.

post #74 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
 

Hopefully Red Lodge will work out but it has been sketchy the past few springs.The town of Red Lodge has a great vibe and is a fun place to visit. If it doesn't, staying in Bozeman and skiing in Bridger is good option even if you only ski a few hours on some days. Bridger Bowl is an easy 25 to 30 minute drive from most of the motels in Bozeman.

 

I'll second Sibhusky's suggestion of the Museum of the Rockies. People are surprised a small town has such an extensive dinosaur exhibit and will soon be displaying the world's largest T-Rex. It also has great displays about the local geology, Montana history and much more.

 

At this point I'd imagine we'll only go to Red Lodge if they have had a lot of snow right around our trip.   I would much rather ski Bridger personally, and I hear the lessons are excellent there.  I can put my two boys with 1 instructor pretty cheap.  Basically a personal lesson they are both in.   I think they'd prefer to ski together during a lesson anyway.

 

Thanks for your advice everyone.   I think I may almost have this one nailed down.  Time to get booked at Big Sky and start looking at VRBO condo's in Bozeman.

post #75 of 91

One advantage of skiing Bridger on the weekends is I'm usually available to give my imfamous 5 cent tour. Both Bridger & BIg Sky have a great deal of terrain with varying sun and wind exposures. This means you can usually find some fun snow somewhere (and often everywhere) but for someone just stopping by it can be a saga finding it.

post #76 of 91
Thread Starter 

Rio,

 

We'll be talking more about that as we get closer.  Would love to ski with some Bears for sure!

post #77 of 91
Thread Starter 

I see Big Sky's prices continue to rise each week I haven't booked...  Condo's in Bozeman are cheap.  Definitely booking one for 3 nights there.

post #78 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 

I see Big Sky's prices continue to rise each week I haven't booked...  Condo's in Bozeman are cheap.  Definitely booking one for 3 nights there.


Were you looking at Big Sky only or also Meadow Village?  I've stayed in Meadow Village and it was $50+ less per night than walk out/ski in at Big Sky Village for the same size condo (3BR/3BA).  Also the Meadow Village owner was happy to negotiate a deal since I booked really early.  10-15 min drive to Big Sky or Moonlight base.  Definitely beats driving an hour from Bozeman every day you ski Big Sky.

post #79 of 91
Thread Starter 

I'm willing to pay the $50 Marz for this trip.   When you look at what lift tickets cost the condo doesn't really cost that much on top of it when you buy the combo deal.  We've never had ski in/ski out yet so that's part of the fun on this trip.   The the idea of how easy getting to the condo from Andersite will be.   Not so my from the Lone MTN side...

post #80 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 

I'm willing to pay the $50 Marz for this trip.   When you look at what lift tickets cost the condo doesn't really cost that much on top of it when you buy the combo deal.  We've never had ski in/ski out yet so that's part of the fun on this trip.   The the idea of how easy getting to the condo from Andersite will be.   Not so my from the Lone MTN side...


Oh yeah, forgot you were looking at the condos near the base of Andesite.  Getting lift tickets for the family certainly makes a difference.  Both of my Big Sky trip so far were for gatherings, so I got lift tickets using a group discount.  You confused me when you said "condos in Bozeman are cheap."  To me, Bozeman and Big Sky are two completely different places when it comes to lodging.

post #81 of 91
Thread Starter 

We're pretty zoned on the condo's on Lone Moose at this point.   Just need to book them.   Now we're looking at our lodging in Bozeman for the 3 days before we get to Big Sky.   Love the idea of staying at 2 different condo's for 3 nights each.   Will give us a nice chance to settle in at each place and relax....  Great suggestion.

post #82 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 

We're pretty zoned on the condo's on Lone Moose at this point.   Just need to book them.   Now we're looking at our lodging in Bozeman for the 3 days before we get to Big Sky.   Love the idea of staying at 2 different condo's for 3 nights each.   Will give us a nice chance to settle in at each place and relax....  Great suggestion.


Yep, even if it means a little more driving, being able to stay in one place for at least 2 nights makes for a more relaxed trip overall.  Especially with kids.  Even with good kids, somehow parents end up doing most of the unloading, unpacking, repacking, loading work.  I figure I'll get payback eventually when the kid is an adult and I can say I'm too old to carry luggage.  ;)

post #83 of 91
Thread Starter 

The idea of a 2 BR condo with a living room, dining room and kitchen is so much nicer than just a hotel room.   So much more room for everyone, privacy, etc...   It's about $65 more a night in Bozeman.  Well worth it.

post #84 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 

The idea of a 2 BR condo with a living room, dining room and kitchen is so much nicer than just a hotel room.   So much more room for everyone, privacy, etc...   It's about $65 more a night in Bozeman.  Well worth it.


Is the condo near Bozeman or Bridger? If its near Bridger you'll need to stock up on breakfast supplies. There are a couple good places to get lunch or an early dinner at Bridger but the early morning options are mainly coffee and a snack. There are a lot of flatlanders that rent the condos for spring break near Bridger. They usually show up with coolers full of breakfast supplies and dinner casseroles.

post #85 of 91
Thread Starter 

The ones we're looking at are on the north end of Bozeman just of the hwy 86.  Part of the reason for the condo would be to cook our own meals when we want.   I make the best egg sandwich you've ever had.  :D

post #86 of 91

Not to stick my oar too deeply into your planning, but you know there are hot springs in Bozeman?  The Bozeman Hot Springs are right on the way to Big Sky when driving south from Bozeman.

post #87 of 91
Thread Starter 

Hot Springs in Bozeman?   That sounds interesting.  I'll check that out.   We're still pretty interested in Mammoth and the Chico thing is just a little side trip for an hour or so.   If the timing worked out better for us to do it on the big sky side that would be fine.

 

We're going to keep our Yellowstone/Bridger Bowl days flexible.   If it starts snowing the day we wanted to go to Yellowstone we'll switch our days and go to Bridger that day instead.  

post #88 of 91
post #89 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

https://www.trails.com/toptrails.aspx?area=10562 list of Montana hot springs.


Interesting list but its missing two of the most popular in SW Montana, Fairmont, near Anaconda, and Boulder, between Butte & Helena. As for choosing between Bozeman Hot Springs and Chico Hot Springs the decision is between convenience or atmosphere. Bozeman Hot Springs are on the way to Big Sky & easy to access while Chico Hot Springs are in an old resort with atmosphere and a good restaurant.

post #90 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
 


Interesting list but its missing two of the most popular in SW Montana, Fairmont, near Anaconda, and Boulder, between Butte & Helena. As for choosing between Bozeman Hot Springs and Chico Hot Springs the decision is between convenience or atmosphere. Bozeman Hot Springs are on the way to Big Sky & easy to access while Chico Hot Springs are in an old resort with atmosphere and a good restaurant.

 

We'll be driving by both essentially on different days, but the day we drive from Bozeman to Big Sky we want to ski that day as well, which wouldn't leave time for the Hot Springs.  The best alternative would be the day we start driving back to MN.   We'll most likely just hit up Chino on that designated Yellowstone day...

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