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Another Big Sky Trip Report....3/10-3/16

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Our "big trip out West" this year was to Big Sky-a group trip organized by one of the local ski shops. Their deal was very attractive-flights from Rochester to Bozeman are pretty pricey. We stayed with two other couples that we regularly ski with-our take was "better weirdos you know than weirdos you don't know"!

The flights to Bozeman were uneventful. We arrived at Big Sky in plenty of time to relax and get ready to ski. The bus stopped at Albertson's in Bozeman to allow us to stock up on food and beverages-good move, as the "grocery store" in the village was pretty sparse and expensive. The Big Horn Condos were nondescript from the outside but very nice on the inside.

Monday we got up and walked to the access Poma lift-about 200 ft. from our condo door.Not quite ski in-ski out, but close. Lifts open at 9:00, so we were about the 1st in line for the chair. The gondola suffered a misshap earlier in the year and is waiting for renovation or replacement. The two main chairs from the base are both HS quads.

We spent the first day getting familiar with the mountain. Snow coverage was excellent even though they had received little snow in the last week. We skied a couple of the lower bowls and then took the tram up to the top of Lone Peak. We skied down Liberty Bowl-the easiest way down as our group was mixed in abilities.

Tuesday and Wednesday we explored, skiing trees, bowls, groomers and all in between. Monday was bluebird-Tuesday and Wed. started out overcast, but turned sunny after lunch.

Thursday we upgraded to the Lone Mountain Pass and skied Moonlight Basin. More good terrain, but strange lift layout-two lift rides are needed to get to a good portion of the mountain. We didn't get a chance to get to the Headwaters area-one of our party got separated (the slowest skier) and we spent time locating her.

Friday-SNOW! Depending on the area of the mountain, it varied from 5-6" to knee deep. We got first tracks on a few runs-my impatience showed as we waited for the slower ones. We spent time in the less traveled Shedhorn and Dakota Territory areas. Great tree skiing in those areas!
Saturday was spent trying to hit areas and trails we had missed-we went up the tram as early as possible and back down through the Liberty bowl again-quite different with 18" of snow.

Big Sky/Moonlight claims to be the largest ski area in the US and I don't doubt their claim. We weren't able to ski it all in six days and there's some stuff that I wouldn't attempt (at age 56 I sort of know my limitations!). A well worthwhile trip and I'd certainly go there again! Lift lines were almost non-existent (the longest was about 5 minutes when one of the other lifts broke down) even with the broken gondola.The longest wait was for the tram-about 20-25 minutes at around 11:00.

A few observations:
On mountain services are very limited. The one on mountain restaurant is a sit down with limited hours (they have a take out window with 15 buck burgers!!). No real problem going to the base to eat lunch, but it still takes time. Few rest rooms-obviously no problem for the guys, but my wife wasn't going to use the woods!

An 8:30 lift start this time of year would be nice. We're pretty much start to finish skiers, and the extra time would make the morning seem longer.

Staff was very pleasant and cheerful and we detected no attitiude among the skiers-a real skiers mountain.

If you're going there and plan on cooking in, stock up before you get to the resort-as stated, on mountain shopping is very limited.

Nightlife- Who knows?? We're old and skied all day!!! ZZZZZZZ@9:30 PM!

All in all a great trip!!! We hated to leave!!
post #2 of 14
John, we were there the same time as you (08-15). Second time there and everyone in our party thought this was THE mountain of choice for families and/or large groups because of the shear size and choice of terrain. That, along with the overall friendliness and zero lines made it a real pleasure.
Dirt Bag Day ...... well, is something to behold..... from a distance! :

post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post
Dirt Bag Day ...... well, is something to behold..... from a distance! :
What, you don't think beer is a breakfast beverage????
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
What, you don't think beer is a breakfast beverage????
Not just a beverege, a complete meal! One of the reasons I like Guinness!

Fortunately, they were limited by what they could carry up the mountain..... in their thong!
post #5 of 14
Great report.
Also there the same dates. Great trip too.
I think your observations about Big Sky are on target. After 15 years skiing there, the lack of lift lines are still a pleasant surprise.
I agree with your observations about rest rooms and a basic mid-mountain restrauant would be a nice addition. Hopefully Dakota chair will at least have an outhouse by next season!
The easiest lunch access now is probably the deli in the lodge at Moonlight.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hope none of you folks was the bozo in the full blaze orange Carhartt outfit (including orange flap hat+ straight skis) that I yelled at on Saturday. He bulled his way out of the side queue halfway to the chair and encouraged his party to do the same. I couldn't keep my mouth shut.....

We had lunch one day at the deli in the Moonlight lodge. Quite the fancy place. There's also an outside burger/brat/ sandwich stand in the main base area, but no rhyme or reason as to when it's open.

If I was to go again, I'd try to bring one of my crazier buddies along-I would have liked to try some of the more extreme stuff, but didn't want to do it alone. We looked up at Big Couloir and us guys were talking like we would try it, but no beacons, probes or shovels gave us an out.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by John V. View Post
We looked up at Big Couloir and us guys were talking like we would try it, but no beacons, probes or shovels gave us an out.
I have 2 sets of all of the above - and I gladly will take you in the Couloir. (No more outs for next year.)

Glad you had a great time. Today was another incredible powder day. First day of spring and I had to ski knee to thigh deep powder. :

Ursula
post #8 of 14
I soooooooooo wish I could have done the ESA Big sky. Thanks for the tease!
post #9 of 14
John, sounds like you had a great time. I will be skiing the Valley today.

My nephew went in with another partner and bought Montana Back Country Adventures this fall. He is an acomplished skier. He was as on the freestyle team at HV with Travis Mayor as a kid. Then went on to ski bumps at Platsburg and University of Nevada at Reno. Lived in Taho for a number of years and found the back country.

Check out his website http://www.skimba.com/

They have a snowcat/Yurt dinner set up with backcountry ski touring in the future. They operate out of the Summit Hotel. Pretty cool. Whish I could join him.

I am going to try to make it out there next year.
post #10 of 14
Sorry I missed you. We skied this..it is sick.

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Phil, did you ski the Gullies or Marx and Lenin? We wanted to go back up there, but got busy with other parts. There's just so much good stuff that you can't get to it all even in 6 days.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John V.
We looked up at Big Couloir and us guys were talking like we would try it, but no beacons, probes or shovels gave us an out.

I have 2 sets of all of the above - and I gladly will take you in the Couloir. (No more outs for next year.)
Thanks for the offer Little Bear! Whew! I guess if I return I'll need to suck it up or shut up!:
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by John V. View Post
Phil, did you ski the Gullies or Marx and Lenin? We wanted to go back up there, but got busy with other parts. There's just so much good stuff that you can't get to it all even in 6 days.
What about the lesser Dictators which are the tougher chutes or 'The Wave' which usually has great snow due to its eastern exposure and the fact you have to drop off a cornus to get in or the tree chutes off Challenger. Some of the steepest terrain is marginal most years but very skiable this year. Its been a great season.

As for the Dirtbag, I was there that day. When I arrived that morning and realized the skiers around my car were already drinking PBR my first thought was 'Sh!t' because they scare me on the slopes. We would have got to Bridger had we known it was the Dirtbag.
post #13 of 14

Great Report...thanks for sharing......

We've been to Big Sky twice. Great trips both times. Moonlight basin was not open yet so it sounds like we need to go back.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffSkisMontana View Post
We've been to Big Sky twice. Great trips both times. Moonlight basin was not open yet so it sounds like we need to go back.
Just to add a note, we stayed at Moonlight and skied there several days. Moonlight alone, would not be a destination resort, but with Big Sky, the two together are unbeatable for an extended stay, and with varying skier levels.
Also, the friendliness and service at Moonlight was exceptional. The Timbers restaurant is superb, but $$$, and the Deli/lunch bar is good. When taking everything into consideration, the best overall skiing experience to date.
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