When they say big, they truly mean big! Everything about this resort is over the top in the best way. For the largest resort in the United States, it lives up to every expectation. We spent four days at Big Sky out of the seven we have on the IKON pass for the year.
With 322 trails to choose from, this mountain truly has something for everyone. If you want an easy green groomer to warm up on, they have it. If you have no fears and want to bring your avalanche gear down a true Triple Black, they have that too. It is hard to comprehend how large this mountain is. It took about two days to ski everything they had to offer, which is about 270 degrees of terrain around the peak.
I would tell you to check out many parts of this mountain. I can't write them all down. We have never been so in love with a mountain before. Every section was perfect in its own way. It is truly a mountain you must ride to understand its beauty. We would love to go back and find the local lines.
I heard about Big Sky a few years ago when they pioneered the chairlift game in America by putting in the first 8-person heated bubble chair. Ever since then, it has been on my list of must-ski resorts. Boasting an insane 38 chairlifts, it is easy for me to say you rarely have to wait in a line unless it is the tram at the top. We were there over Christmas, and I can honestly say we had to wait in line only twice.
The Tram. We wanted to go up the Tram more than anything for the iconic photos and skiing. They are working on replacing the Tram; however, we waited in line for an hour at the start of the day before finding out the Tram was broken. After talking with some locals, this frequently happens, where the Tram breaks down, or the terrain doesn't get opened at the peak. The Tram is the only way to get to the peak, and it will cost you an additional price which varies on the day. If you would like to go up, you must enable auto-charge on your Ikon pass. When we were there, it was $50 a day for the tram.
The Parking and The Villages
Let's clap for the fact that PARKING IS FREE! This may not seem like a big deal because most places have a free parking section. However, the parking that is free everywhere else is usually quite far away. Not at Big Sky. They have free parking in the middle base area with a shuttle service to bring you to the base. Families and people with more than 3 people in the car get to park the closest, within walking distance of the chairs, 3-5 mins in boots. The only paid parking is valet parking at the closest lot.
I say villages because Big Sky has the base village and then what I believe is their town a little bit down the access road. They have everything you could need, from a couple of grocery stores to a post office, shopping; you name it. Their food prices at the grocery stores were a bit high, so I highly recommend grabbing food in Bozeman on your way up to the mountains.
We didn't get the opportunity to truly explore the villages because there was just so much to see and do. If you have kids, the opportunity to keep them busy is there.
Let's get this out of the way; the food is the most expensive I have seen at a resort.
For lunches, we ate primarily at Vista Hall. Vista Hall is great because it has all of the different food options in one place. It is perfect for families or large groups who have different meal preferences. The pizza section was overpriced; a soda and a slice ran my husband $16. A chipotle dupe bowl was around $22. For a family of four to eat there, it will cost you around $100 for lunch, a day, which can add up. Just be aware and budget accordingly if you plan on eating at the resort. Our food was tasty; it was hard to get over the shocking prices.
Everett's 8000 is a must-do dinner reservation. If you have the money and can somehow get in for a reservation, DO IT. I booked our reservation about two months ahead for a holiday dinner. This place is not the cheapest, but it is delicious and has an unforgettable atmosphere. To get here for dinner, you must take the Ramcharger 8 lift up and down. We rode up at sunset, which was beautiful, and down as the stars shone over the village. They took my allergy very seriously and even confirmed I had an allergy when we checked in to get on the chairlift. They confirmed at the top, and the chefs double-checked everything they served me to ensure no dairy was in it. I was surprised and thankful that they would go above and beyond to keep me safe. 10/10 would recommend giving this restaurant a try!
There are many activities at the resort; however, they all cost money. We got to explore the Enchanted Forest at the top of the Ramcharger 8. It is a beautiful walk through the woods with different kinds of lights. This walk is $25 a person; however, they let us do it for free because we were up there for dinner.
They have head-lamp night skiing, which looks like a lot of fun. It was far too expensive, in my opinion. You can have a group of up to 7 people, and the pricing starts at $795. So unless you have a group that big, I don't believe it is worth it.
Other winter activities at the resort include
Nordic Skiing: pricing from $145
Zipline Tours: pricing from $100 per person for the adventure zip-line and $37 for the nature zip-line
Snowshoe Tours: pricing from $97 for two people plus $15 for each additional person
Sno-Go Biking: pricing is $82 for a full-day rental and $61 for a half-day. A half-day lesson for five people is $540
Dog Sledding: price varies
Horseback Riding: price varies on the company
Fly Fishing: price varies on the company
Sleigh Rides: price varies on the company
Snowmobile Tours: price varies on the company
Snowcoach Tours: price varies on the company
The lodging options at this resort are endless. From hotels to homes to condos, the amount of lodging goes on forever. We stayed at an Airbnb, which was located right on the other side of the free parking. While we could have walked, driving the 2 mins up the road into the free parking lot and taking the shuttle was much easier.
I will say the pricing of places to stay got quite crazy. You could spend 5 figures easily on a stay if you wanted to.
Overall, Big Sky was more than perfect. If you can ski at the mountain, take it and enjoy. Our hearts now want this mountain to become our home. I would love to visit in the summer and see how it compares, but it is hard to beat for ski season.
Check out Big Sky: Big Sky Resort