- 118 Tracks
- 0 Beginner
- 15 Intermediate
- 25 Difficult
- 78 Expert
It was Chet Huntley, the late NBC newscaster who conceived and built Big Sky and was responsible for its opening in 1973. After his death in 1974 it was bought over by Boyne USA, a Michigan-based corporation which also owns a chain of other mountain ski and golf resorts across the United States including Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in Michigan, Brighton Resort in Utah, Crystal Mountain in Washington and Gatlinburg in Tennessee. The family-run corporation started in 1947 and is still run by Everett Kircher and his family. Located in the southwest corner of Montana, Big Sky is surrounded by the magnificent Gallatin Range of the Northern Rockies. With its spectacular natural beauty its not surprising that Robert Redford chose the Gallatin River to film his classic movie "A River Runs Through It".
Skiing is on two lift linked peaks, Lone Mountain which resembles the Matterhorn and towers at a height of 3398m/11,150ft and Andesite Mountain at 2682m/8,800ft . Lone Mountain peak is definitely a serious skiers' mountain but the lower levels are perfect for intermediates. The Mountain Village sits at 2286m/7,500ft and Meadow Village at approximately 1890m/6,200ft. The average winter temperature hovers around 20º F while summer temperatures generally climb into the upper 80's. With very little humidity, the snow is extremely light and fluffy averaging around 10m/400 inches annually.
The Lone Peak Tram gave Big Sky the biggest lift-served vertical in the USA in 1995 (a title since taken by Snowmass in 1997), and the area has won numerous awards for its uncrowded slopes and non-existant lift lines/queues. The 15-person Dopplemayr tram carries passengers 3,300 vertical feet at a rapid 4.5 minute pace to the summit of Lone Mountain. There's an average of less than two skiers per acre on the busiest days and the longest lift lines are reportedly to the free breakfast buffet at Huntley Lodge where up to 927 guests may be served.
The resort still holds the world record as the place where the most vertical feet have been skied in one day, by local Rusty Squire who made 220 helicopter ascents to claim his title. Skiing for all standards on two lift-linked mountains and good facilities for boarders and telemarkers. The steepest route down is Castro's shoulder, with a 50 degree pitch, whilst the Big Couloir run down from the tram has pitches of around 42 degrees and is 2,600 feet long. Big Sky boasts one of the longest runs in the States - the run down from Liberty Bowl to the Base Area being 6 miles long.
Numerous accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets, including the slopeside Huntly Lodge, Shoshone and Snowcrest Lodge condominiums. The resort's biggest project has been the construction of the 45 million dollar slopeside Summit Hotel located less than 300ft from two high speed quads and a gondola on what might be the last best place for slopeside lodging in the Rockies.
Big Sky is located close to Yellowstone National Park which has the world's greatest concentration of thermal springs including their Old Faithful - popular with tourists as the most frequently erupting geyser in the park. Tourist hot spots include Yellow stone Lake, the largest mountain lake in the northern hemisphere and the Old Faithful Inn, the largest log structurein the world and a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1904 of ageless knotty pine logs and other indigenous materials, the lobby rises 85 feet above a massive fireplace of native stone. Like Yellowstone, its totally unique.
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