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Big Sky Montana ????

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Am looking to do my usual day after Xmas trip out west for 7 or 8 days. Am thinking of Big Sky. Anyone been there and can give me the pros and cons? How difficult is it to get to, (coming from Jersey outside of Philly).
thanks!
post #2 of 19
nobody here skis Big Sky. what on Earth are you talking about? :
post #3 of 19
Hi bayview, ole gonz is jerking your chain a little!

You probably won't get much response here because this topic has truly been sorted and filed to the nth degree in the Academy threads by both the locals and elite professionals. ..Just in case you missed the anouncements, the ESA will be held at Big Sky in February 2005. If you read through the ESA threads you should find all the info you need for your trip, and then some.

Good Luck!
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by feallen
...the ESA will be held at Big Sky in February 2005...
Actually ...it is being held in January!
post #5 of 19
OOPS!!!

Thanks cgeib!
post #6 of 19
Here is another thread where we talk about Big Sky:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=17754

My biggest concern with going to Big Sky when you want is coverage. I've been in southwest Montana for 4 winters. 1 winter Big Sky had great coverage over Christmas, 2 winters it had good coverage and 1 winter it totally sucked. I should note that many of the Rocky Mountain resorts had bad coverage the year Big Sky's sucked. If you aren't going to Big Sky for the steep terrain you probably will have decent enough coverage over Christmas. It is only in the steepest, rockiest terrain that the coverage isn't always sufficient that early in the season.
post #7 of 19
yes, it's true, I was kidding -- because a VERY SHORT search of the term "Big Sky" in here would yield TONS of info.

lazy inquirers!
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bayview
Am looking to do my usual day after Xmas trip out west for 7 or 8 days. Am thinking of Big Sky. Anyone been there and can give me the pros and cons? How difficult is it to get to, (coming from Jersey outside of Philly).
thanks!
I've only been there on (1) trip and we went in March. We went for 8 days and did (4) at Big Sky, (1) at Red Lodge and (1) at Bridger. WE had a day of rest and spent the other day snowmobiling in West Yellowstone (outside the park).

I had a good time at Big Sky but aside from the mountain, there's not much happening around town. We did have some great food at the restaurants around town. I'd never pretend to be an expert after only spending (4) days there but I think the mountain geared toward the upper-intermediate. Even the terrain at the top of tram isn't nearly as hairy as the marketing dept makes it seem. I didn't think it was truly "expert" terrain. Our conditions were good for the week and we had one day of fresh snow. Our kids absolutely loved the ski school staff.

We moved on to Red Lodge which would have been an awesome place had the conditions been better. The coverage was okay but it hadn't snowed in weeks so the snow was hard and crusty. I really liked the layout with narrow trails cut thru the trees. I would have loved to ride the trees in fresh snow there. Unfortunately, we had to move on to Bridger.

The night before we went to Bridger, it snowed about 11". It snowed until about 11 am and then the sun was out all day. I'm sure the snow helped a great deal but I had a blast at Bridger. Cool place with a really cool staff. I liked the "feel" of the resort as a whole and I'd have a season pass if I lived up there. There's some places to "hike" and ride as well if you're into that stuff.

If you go, whatever you do, GO SNOWMOBILING outside of Yellowstone...or inside the park if you want to go slow, suck down the fumes of the others in your group and maybe see a few animals. If you stay outside the park, you can venture off on your own, pick up the speed and get a little crazy. There are miles of marked trails and tehy give you a map anyway so you can't (or shouldn't) get lost.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Bridger...Cool place with a really cool staff.
I completely agree!

Rio, tell Bayview how much snow fell last Christmas week at Big Sky.
post #10 of 19
K2Rider -

Your perception of the terrain off the tram is probably one reason Big Sky is a great place to ski for advancing skiers. The two main runs, Lenin and Marx, have a fairly steep pitch to them but they are not intimidating because they are so wide open and there isn't anything to slide into if you fall. Big Rock Tongue off of Challenger is another run like that. For people getting up their nerves to ski steep terrain they are great runs to learn on.

There is lots of challenging terrain at Big Sky but you need to know where it is. It is a huge mountain. In typical Rocky Mountain fashion, much of it requires traversing or minor climbs to access. Other runs are tucked away in the trees with minimal marking to let you know they're there.

The conditions you encountered at Red Lodge are pretty normal. Red Lodge is fondly called Rock Dodge by the locals. It has suffered more than most Montana resorts during the drought the state has been in the past 5 years. It is a shame because the mountain has good terrain and the town of Red Lodge is a kick.

Big Sky got almost 5 feet of snow over Christmas eve and Christmas day this past season. Nobody paid attention because Bridger got over 8. Christmas coverage at Big Sky was minimal until the big dump but great afterwards.
post #11 of 19

Big Sky

I went last Feb. and was amazed at the lack of crowds, even on the weekend.

Bozeman is closest airport without close to any direct flights from your location.

An alternative, which I did, was fly into Salt Lake City, rent a vehicle with unlimited miles and drive 5 hours.

You might be the same time total as multiple flight segments to get to Bozeman, at much less cost.

One thing I didn't like was many of their runs have long catwalk type sections at the end.

Also, unlike places like Breckenridge, if you drive to the parking lot and park, you have quite a long walk to the slope. (the paid lot fills quickly)

The lockers were dificult to find. Many I asked didn't even know where they were.

Real Estate sales seem to be their focus.

But, that being said, the lack of crowds, quailty of the snow (very dry), variety of terrain, was a lot of fun.

Oh, there is no town, just whatever has been plopped in to support the 2 resorts. (moonlight is on adjacent side of peak)
post #12 of 19
I'm sure the other threads about Big Sky make this point, but it hasn't been made here. Big Sky can be cold. In one three day stretch in late January a few years ago, we had two days with highs in the low 20s and one day with a high near zero. I skied all three days but the wife and kids didn't ski the near zero day.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifer
I'm sure the other threads about Big Sky make this point, but it hasn't been made here. Big Sky can be cold. In one three day stretch in late January a few years ago, we had two days with highs in the low 20s and one day with a high near zero. I skied all three days but the wife and kids didn't ski the near zero day.
High's in the low 20's is cold? I call that perfect!
High's in the 20 below range is what I call cold.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF
High's in the low 20's is cold? I call that perfect!
High's in the 20 below range is what I call cold.
My point was not that low 20s is cold (those two days were great) but that a day with a near zero high is.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifer
I'm sure the other threads about Big Sky make this point, but it hasn't been made here. Big Sky can be cold. In one three day stretch in late January a few years ago, we had two days with highs in the low 20s and one day with a high near zero. I skied all three days but the wife and kids didn't ski the near zero day.
jeezus cah-raahst.

alpine skiing is a winter sport. 20 degrees is WARM, man.

zero is about average for high alpine settings in midwinter.

what a friggin' pansy. try water skiing, it's done in warm weather. obviously alpine skiing is "too cold" for you. :
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
jeezus cah-raahst.

alpine skiing is a winter sport. 20 degrees is WARM, man.

zero is about average for high alpine settings in midwinter.
I thought it....I just didn't say it.

You'd be surprised how many times I've called friends to go skiing and they say it's too cold. WTF's up with that?
post #17 of 19
They weren't trained up right. On Ski Day 6, it was about -30C (about -22F), and since Mr delta was heading out, I figured that was just what skiers did. We were going up in the lift, and despite being bundled to my goggles, I had a definite runny nose thing going on. Mr delta leaned over and said I looked cute as a button. Positive reinforcement, I guess.

Flash forward to last year, when a bunch of people I was in a course with debated whether or not to head out because it was 10 below (14 F). I was really surprised.

Cold doesn't bother me; you just wear more stuff. It's poor visibility that makes me nuts.
post #18 of 19
Bayview; While Lenin Marx and Liberty Bowl are steep but pretty straight forward terrain, the Dictator chutes, the Castros area and The Wave, along with the Gullies areas are as difficult as any terrain anywhere in the U.S.

There is also Moonlight Basin to check out while you are here. New lift, new terrain, new area. Reasonably priced as well.
http://moonlightbasin.com
post #19 of 19
New article and video on Moonlight Basin:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/moonlight2004.htm
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