The Ski Guru Blog

Big Sky, big skiing country


Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home” in the Wizard of Oz. I think there’s no place like Montana.

Having skied Montana last week, I now agree with the Big Sky state motto: “the last, best place.” My whole family was wowed - not by just the big, blue sky but by the big mountain skiing. Lone Peak is the crown of Montana’s Big Sky resort at 11,166 feet; it is highly scenic, and superbly steep with plenty of snow.


It took days for us to explore all of Big Sky’s 3,812 skiable acres. Big Sky has everything on the menu, above tree-line bowls and chutes, glades, and blue square boulevards. In fact, you can ski all that in one six-mile 4,350-foot vertical run.


We skied from Lone Peak’s summit with our kids, after riding the hair-raising 15-passenger expert only tram (like an aerial elevator). We were all amped, and a bit out of breath, at our Big Sky big mountain ski down steep, but soft, snow in Liberty Bowl. Our son was stoked to do it again, only steeper next time, so we dialed it up a notch in Dictator Chutes (Marx, Lenin and Castro). We did not muster the courage (or the required avalanche transceivers and shovels) to ski The Big Couloir - a legendary chute amongst extreme skiers. Maybe next trip – because there will be a next.


Aside from Big Sky’s three mountains of skiing, there’s plenty to soak in after the lifts close too: The outdoor pool, the live après ski music at the Carabiner bar in cozy cowhide chairs, the Crazy Austrians at Chet’s, and fresh pasta  at stylish Andiamo’s.

Big Sky lodging ranges from the swank, slopeside Summit Hotel - my personal fave (the bellman are cowboys and the décor is Rocky Mountain elegant), the Shoshone, and Huntley Lodge, or spacious mountainside condos like Big Horn.


For young families, kids 10 and under ski and stay free at Big Sky (with paying parents – don’t just ship your kids out), and there’s a free Kids Club in the evening. You can take time off the slopes for dog sledding, zip-lining, or a winter tour of nearby Yellowstone National Park.

For extreme skiers, Lone Peak is a beacon for big mountain steep and deep. And you can access neighboring Moonlight Basin for a combined 5,512 acres with “the Biggest Skiing in America” ticket.

Big Sky is beautiful, big, and off the beaten path for most skiers (read: no crowds). We met friendly Montanans everywhere we roamed in the Big Sky state, plus the occasional big horn sheep on the roadside.  The snow and the scenery are amazing. Go to Montana to ski the last, best place.


For more of Heather Burke’s family ski trips and tips go to: Photos by Greg Burke




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