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BEWARE! Big Sky/Moonlight Basin

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
A warning!:

Moonlight Basin is VERY, VERY THIN. Rock chips on every run, rocks on almost every breakover, the Headwaters is barely skiable, and Lone Tree has stuff sticking up everywhere.:

If for some reason you do decide to go, bring rock skis, not good skis. Then it won't matter.

Big Sky is also THIN, but they are doing a much better job of snow farming. All the intermediate groomer are ok, with some rock chips on the runs and rocks on the breakovers, but Challenger is rocky and the tram is REALLY rocky.

If you go to Big Sky, I suggest bringing rock skis also.

The best skiing at Big Sky was off the Turkey Traverse - hard wind slab and off of Andesite Mtn for groomers.

Thanks to RIO for the tour at Big Sky. He did a great job.

You've been warned.:

post #2 of 22
LOTS of rocks... But hey, skis are just tools, right? I went there with a near new set of Rossi Z9's -- they're rock skis now, albeit nice ones!!

The Headwaters is in pretty bad shape, but I saw people up there every day. My buddy went up and skied either Alder Gulch or Cold Spring - it was alright. It held some snow, but the traverse was...interesting. The liftie told him to just keeps his skis on -- THERE WAS NO SNOW ON IT!! The Stillwater traverse help a few stashes, but the Lone Tree chair broke down (with us on it - nice!), so we couldn't run anywhere on that side of the area for 2 days. We had nice pow there on Sunday 1/21 though - good times!

We skied under Challenger at Big Sky - rocks'o'plenty there, but still some good stuff. I think I pushed a lot of snow down that run! Took the Tram to the top and took the Yeti Traverse to some GREAT corn-like snow on the south face - Marx or Tohelluride I think. Then, the Swift lift broke down (we weren't on it this time...), so the only way up to the Bowl was to take the gondola - SLOW! The Turkey Traverse was in good shape, but the runs were all pretty tracked out and hard. We went almost all the way around, but couldn't find much.

Still a good time though. Moonlight is probably my favorite place to ski - BAR NONE.
post #3 of 22

100% skiable terrain open

BigSky claims 100% of skiable terrain open. Is this the case? Exactly what is skiable terrain?
post #4 of 22
Simple answer - no, at least not without damage. It's open, but thin. Ski at your own peril. Tey were supposed to be getting snow this las week however. A couple GOOD storms (couple feet of snow), and they'll be in good shape.
post #5 of 22
Damn Harkin, you are such a pussy.

Big Sky doesn't snow farm as much as make snow. They have a snow making system.

Lone Mountain is always rocky, even in a fat year so worrying about rock skis is silly. Here, all skis are rock skis. Did Rio take you to Bridger?

This ain't the grassy slopes of Targhee, this here is a real mountain.

Hike up your skirt and grow an appendege.:
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Bunion, I guess I was just trying to warn fellow skiers that when Big Sky and Moonlight Basin advertise a "41-62" snow depth, that means rock skis.

After spending 2.5 hours on my skis and 2 hours each on my wife's and my two kids's skis, I've pretty much made up my mind to vote with my pocket book and not give either resort any more of my money (even with discounts).

I know the top of the Tram is rocky, but everything else? And I was being nice. I don't want to go to Pig Sty to rocky ski groomers. I go there to ski Challenger, the Triple and the Tram. And Moonlight has so many flats that my arms are tired of pole-ing back to 6 pack.

I've learned my lesson - don't leave great snow in search of better snow.

RIO did an excellent job on the tour, his "above and beyond" the call of duty made up for the poor conditions.

Moonlight is just a reason to sell real estate. I'm still paying off the mortgage on the $13 hamburger I had for lunch.

I expect to hit "some rocks" at Big Sky if I ski the Tram, but not going into the Swiftcurrent chair line.

Just trying to give people a perspective on what things are really like.

Which is more "ski-able"? A rocky mountain with no snow or a grassy mountain with snow? Ask any of those who have been to each of the resorts in the last few weeks and I'm positive most will choose the later.

I'll admit that Targhee ain't the steepest hill around, but neither is Big Sky. If I want to ski a "real mountain", I drive over the Pass and ski the Village.

post #7 of 22


Wow - sour grapes, I guess. : But try to find a resort anywhere this year (except in the PNW or Denver area) that shows a lot of "truth in advertising" when it comes to snow pack...

Sorry to hear you didn't have a good time. Yes, there were rocks, and LOTS of them on the groomers, but they haven't really had much snow, man...

With that said, I CHALLENGE you to find a better burger than the ones at Moonlight at any other major resort for $13 WITH FRIES!! Hell, they even bring it out to you! And the parking is free if you go to the right place. You can't really complain about the lift ticket cost either, but too bad it went up ALOT since last year. I suppose it will continue to do so. What resorts aren't trying to sell real estate though?

I guess I won't have to wait behind you in the lift line at least.
post #8 of 22
I was sitting on the chair with a guy who explained the rocks at Big Sky (which to me is an issue even in good snow years). He told me the mountain is all shale and the shale works its way up through the snow. Don't know if this is the full explanation, but sounds like a factor.
post #9 of 22
Harkin, note the emoticons, I was ribbing you, o.k?

A post saying Beware!:

Cmon dude that is more than a bit much. Its a rough year everywhere except Wa.

I am sure Roger gave it his best and showed you around. Sounds like you missed a great deal and skied a day that conditions were less than ideal.

We have picked up about 8-10" new this week and the skiing has improved. A lot.

F&B at all ski areas is spendy.
There are options available besides a 13.00 burger (what does a burger at any ski area cost?) Guess Rio didn't know about Borders, good mexican for under 10.00.

Sorry you had a less than satisfactory time. I will take Big Sky/MLB over JHMR anyday, but, thats just me.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Bunion, I'm done ripping on BS/MB.:

The Stoli has worn off, I've finally got all of the metal slivers out of my fingertips, the p-tex burns have healed, and it doesn't hurt anymore when I type.

If you head down this way (to ski some "lesser mountains" ) make sure let me know.


P.S. RIO did show me the goods at BS, including the 2 slices of pizza and a coke for $7. to RIO!
post #11 of 22
I would love to HB, Targhee is a special Favorite of mine.

Wounds and burns heal and chicks dig scars!

When we get some better snow, cmon back up here on a road trip and I will comp. you a MLB tic. and show you the goods as well.
post #12 of 22

give me some good news!

I'm arriving on Wednesday, and will be skiing Big Sky/Moonlight Basin on Thursday-Saturday.......there's got to be some snow to ski somewhere on the Mountain. The Liberty Bowl??? Anything????
post #13 of 22
Spending $13 on a burger is your own damn fault HB!

You need to learn to cook/bake and make your own lunch. I've been whipping up flatbread (aka pita pockets) and bringing along a chunk of cheese and a piece of fruit. Toss in some water and what more do you need?

For $13 I can make about 4 dozen 6" wide pitas, buy a few blocks of cheese and still have money left over to spend on say a jumbo box of Hot Tamales. Not only that, but I could feed a dozen buddy's, as well.

But thanks for the heads up, my buddy and I had Big Sky on the radar, but had also heard similar tales of the thin coverage, so we're prolly not gonna shell out the money at this juncture.

We're still trying to find the sweet destination, though.
post #14 of 22
I spend 2.80 for ONE slice of pizza, but hot water is free and I throw in a tea bag and a power bar from the grocery store. So, get some hot food and pretty much full for the $2.80. Of course, I'm at the "other Big".
post #15 of 22
Big Sky? Rock damage?? I never would have put those two together!

Seriousely, Big Sky is just like that, even in decent snow years (of which this year isn't one). When I was living there one of my roomates had skis that started out with clear bases and transmorgrafied into black due to all the core shot repairs.

Just 'cause they say certain areas are open doesn't neccessarily mean you're gonna want to ski it.
post #16 of 22
Just 'cause they say certain areas are open doesn't neccessarily mean you're gonna want to ski it.

If you want the good, then accept the bad. Skis are not meant to last beyond 250 days or 2 seasons here.

Da-money, don't panic, you will find snow, trust me, I am a patrolman.
post #17 of 22

Coverage on Liberty Bowl and Lenin ....

.... is awesome!!! No kidding!!!!! Marx has rocks on the top third, after that it's fine!!! On top of Liberty don't follow the snow fences, stay a little to the right and you will miss ALL the rocks. From then on you can carve GS turns to the bottom! Same with Lenin. The Otter slide access is closed, but Yeti Travers is covered and the "roll-over" into Lenin is a LOT of FUN!!!!

Great lunch in Big Sky? go to the Huntley Lodge to the Firehole Lounge, and get a Chicken Roll for $4 or a Ham and Cheese Croisant for $4! Sylivia, the owner of the little coffee shop will put then in the Microwave for you! She also has a really good breakfast croisant with sausage, egg and cheese for $3! To find Sylvia's place: go through the "tunnel" access, up the stairs, turn right --- you are there.

So, see you on the slopes in Big Sky,

post #18 of 22
Geez!! : People spend almost $70 on a lift ticket and B#*@CH about a $13 lunch!! Mine was never more than $13 at Moonlight, and that was a burger (a GOOD one ), fries, drink, and a cookie... I can't believe how hung up people get on this stuff. Try going to any major restaurant (not McD's) and get by on $13 or less - it's pretty much the norm out there... :

Live a little!!
post #19 of 22

how to jump between mountains???

I'm staying at the Saddle Ridge Townhouses at Moonlight Basin. What/Where should I look to ski on Moonlight Basin, and what's the most efficient way to get over to Big Sky and hit Liberty Bowl from Moonlight Basin? Thanks!
post #20 of 22
Originally Posted by dmoney24 View Post
I'm staying at the Saddle Ridge Townhouses at Moonlight Basin. What/Where should I look to ski on Moonlight Basin, and what's the most efficient way to get over to Big Sky and hit Liberty Bowl from Moonlight Basin? Thanks!
All depends on your skill level.

The most efficient way to Liberty bowl will be: Up Iron Horse lift, across Fast Lane to White Wing, bear to the right on an un-named cut across (there is orange flagging and a trails merge sign on it) to underneath the Explorer lift. Keep bearing right past the Magic carpets to the Swiftcurrent lift. Ride up Swifty, get off and bear right and take Jaywalk to the Lone Peak Triple, Ride up, ski down to the tram, wait in the line. Ride up the tram. Get off and follow the signs to Liberty. Repeat as needed.
post #21 of 22
Excellent description, bunion. Especially the "repeat as needed".

By the way for everybody who wants Sylvia’s chicken roll or the croisant with ham and cheese, tell her you know about her place from the epic website. (the $4 is a special price for us - normally it's a little more.)

post #22 of 22

Moonlight Basin over Big Sky

There is more snow coverage at Moonlight Basin than there is at Big Sky. Though there are rocks on both, it was far worse at Big Sky, especially coming down Liberty and then through the trees along the Yellowstone Club boundary. My skis paid the price over there. But it did snow on Thursday and Friday, and for that I was thankful. Challenger had real good coverage. Overall, a great trip. Thanks for the info!
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