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Big Sky weather...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Could someone cue me in on what the weather is generally like in Jan/Feb at Big Sky/Moonlight Basin? Is it cold and Sunny? Or does it cloud over often? Is wind a huge factor/ problem? Powder I understand is generally good.
post #2 of 19

Opinion (but not from a local)

Temperature -- Can be cold, but I have had some cold experiences at Vail too. Not sure what the chance of being caught in a cold spell is. Personally, I would try hit the end of Feb.

Cloudy/Sunny -- Not really sure. Remember, it takes clouds to make powder.

Wind -- Never been a problem on the lower mountain. The upper mountain can be closed due to wind, but I don't think that is too often.

Powder -- Big Sky is not known for massive snowfall. The Utah resorts can have twice as much snow. But that said, Utah resorts are known for the local powder sharks that go on a feeding frenzy when it snows and chew up the untracked really fast. Whereas BS is known for lack of crowds which means that any powder that falls lasts a lot longer.

Personally BS is one of my favorite areas: Lack of crowds, nice long fall line intermediate runs for the family, easy access to some steep terrain for me, big enough not to get bored

Hopefully some locals will chime in and give more info or even a different perspective.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I guess what I meant about sunshine is that some resorts ie like Big Mt in Northern Montana get plagued with greyness most of the season. I was wondering if Big Sky can be the same. You always see pictures of BS in brilliant sunshine so I wanted to know if that is true apart from the occasional storm of course.

Sunshine can sometimes bring belting windy cold as is the case in the Northeast. In CO and UT it's brings sometimes 70 degrees on the slopes and melts the powder.

Not sure why I'm obsessed with the weather. As it's a vacation I would hope to not be as freezing as we are in the Northeast throughout the season! In need of some comfort zone. Powder is always a welcome though. I spent a whole week in UT two years ago with snow everyday. Of course no sunshine there but it's never utlimately freezing either.
post #4 of 19
CathB, Big Sky tends to be sunnier than Big Mountain. The average annual snowfall is 400 inches, which if we accept skugrud's information as fact, would give Utah's mountains an average of 800 inches/year.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Nolo, I see you're from Bridger Bowl. I assume you are partial to it. Nice place???
post #6 of 19
Big Sky is a terrific ski area. In fact, we'll be doing another EpicSki Academy there this season because we love its immense variety of uncrowded (empty) slopes.
post #7 of 19
*lurk*

Not to interupt but...

I belong to a ski club that is taking a trip here Jan. 17th - 24th.

I'm wondering what the estimate on snow conditions is from the locals.

Is there generally soft snow to be had? (ie non ice coast or Sierra cement)

If 400 inches annually is optimistic, what is more realistic?

I was here in the old school days. 1985.
post #8 of 19
nolo -- I got my information about snowfall totals comes from Tony Crocker ( http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/index.htm?f=fs )
He gives BS 258 inches annual total with 11% of the days having over 6 inches of fresh. He gives Alta 526 inches annual total with 22% of the days having over 6 inches of fresh.

And I believe these are long term averages.

Not trying to put Big Sky snow quality down, as there are lots of factors, such as the higher altitude and the more northern location of Big Sky that keeps the powder conditions better than Utah.
post #9 of 19
Here're the stats from the company website-- http://www.bigskyresort.com/Activiti...Trail-Maps.asp

I'm not sure why the discrepancy--Bridger says they get 350" on average annually. Big Sky is higher in altitude and often gets more snow, so I'm comfortable with the 400" figure. Ultimately, whatever--the skiing is pretty darn good in these parts, winter after winter. But please, don't whine about the cold, it's what makes the snow into smoke.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
How cold is cold?
post #11 of 19
Can't speak about the weather in general, but my experiences have been ther is typically a mix of snow/clouds and sun pretty much every week we go. The exception was last year over pres's week...not a snowflake in 7 days...just sunshine (I can't recall that for a week's time over the last 19 years). One year prior we had a few sunny days sandwhiched between snow days. The last ski day was incredibly decent with snow all day long (was a tough ride home though).
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CathB View Post
How cold is cold?
Colder than hot... are you sure you are a skier?
Bring more long sleeves than t-shirts
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
I think having skied/boarded in -10 degrees most regularly over the last 25 years, qualifies me to ask that question to someone in the Northern Rockies. No? If I am to go out there for a weeks powder, I think I'm entitled to a little less freezing than I am used to. Heck it's my vacation. I'm hoping I won't have to wear the 4 layers I usually wear. If so what's the point, I might as well stay here. Just a preference.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Heck I even wear a "Hannibal" Balaclava. Scary but if it's fashion or your skin peeling off your face, i choose Hannibal.
post #15 of 19
CathB,
I've made two trips to Big Sky each year between Christmas and Valentines for about a decade. Some trips are better than others but none have been bad. Sometimes it's colder and sometimes there is more snow but it's never been too cold or not enough snow to enjoy the trip.
I consider BS a sunny ski area, not like Big Mountain.
Like most western mountains if it's sunny in the winter the temperature is usually colder but it may feel warmer. -10 degrees is colder than normal, even for January.
If it's cloudy it usually means there is weather in the area and it will probably snow. If you quit early today because it's snowing you'll forget about it tomorrow because you'll enjoy the fresh snow so much.
It is no more or less windy than other areas. The upper third of the mountain is above the tree line and gets more wind but the hard core skiers who frequent the chutes and steeps don't seem to notice.
For those less adventurous you can stay in the trees and move around the mountain until you find somewhere that's protected from the wind.
It's a big mountain with a lot of vertical and that gives you more choices than some other destinations.
One big plus you will not get cold waiting in long lift lines or riding slow chairs. Almost no lines and almost all high speed chairs.
My wife wears her balaclava every day she skis too.
I think if you really want the best weather and best snow you wait until March. That's true of almost any ROcky Mtn. ski area. Unfortunately I've already used up most of my vaction days by then skiing in Jan. and Feb.!
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Aren't those Balaclavas lovely?

Everyone has been most helpful. It sounds absolutely wonderful to me. In a way it's stupid of me to go on about the cold because I think nowhere is as cold then NE except maybe Banff.

Don't get me wrong, I love those powder days and would ski through whipping winds for it, and when your working hard hitting some steeps you get warmed up pretty quick. All I'm trying to avoid is the feeling I got on feb 17th last year, -17 at Okemo VT, my fingers were numb after just finishing 3 runs. I am never that finicky about cold but this was cold. If the Northern Rockies were like this I would be sure to avoid.

BS sounds pretty protected despite it looking very exposed. Sound of sun and Powder is making me wish it was already here.
post #17 of 19
Cath, if you don't love Big Sky I'll be surprised. The only drawback is limited apres-ski options. But if you're there to ski, the options are almost limitless. Have a great time whenever you go.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CathB View Post
I think having skied/boarded in -10 degrees most regularly over the last 25 years, qualifies me to ask that question to someone in the Northern Rockies. No? If I am to go out there for a weeks powder, I think I'm entitled to a little less freezing than I am used to. Heck it's my vacation. I'm hoping I won't have to wear the 4 layers I usually wear. If so what's the point, I might as well stay here. Just a preference.
25 years? That's a loooong time.

When you find someone who can accurately predict the weather 4 to 5 months out with any consistency, please let me know. I would pay for that service. I'm entitled to a at least a foot of powder every night and mild bluebird days on my vacation!
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ha! giggle.
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