Yes, your tips were useful. Thanks!
Where to start?
First of all, I have to say, Big Sky is now my number one ski mountain! There are some caveats that bring others into the conversation as favorite resort, but there is no other ski area in North America that beats the broad range of inbounds terrain (and I’ve skied about 15 other major resorts in Western US & Canada).
We skied March 5-10. Big Sky received about 4 feet of snow the previous week, and there were about 3 cold snowless days before we got there for everything to settle and get tracked out. We had blue skies our first day, about 4” of fresh the second day, and about 3 “ overnight for day 4. So, no epic powder, but coverage was good and off-piste was generally soft and skiable.
The first day, we reserved ahead of time a mountain guide through the ski school for myself and 4 kids, ages 13-21, all strong skiers. He showed us around the mountain some, checking our skills to see if we were worthy of bigger stuff. After a couple runs under Swiftie and Ramcharger, he took us into Wolf’s Den and Elk Park Meadows, then headed over to the Tram. With the guide, you basically get to skip the line (which apparently was about 1hour pretty much the whole week we were there). We had to split our group, and there were some mechanical issues, so it took about half an hour for our group to reassemble at the top, which gave me time to get some great photos in the sunshine. Also, in the time we had to wait, the North Summit Snowfields had been opened by patrol. We signed in at the patrol shack, and had to wait our turn. Our group of 5 plus a guide was too big for the Snowfields, but the group ahead of us had room for an extra, so I sent my 18 year old son with them. As it turned out, his guide was Dan Egan !!! We took our time getting down through the Snowfields, as my daughter in particular was not used to the heavy inconsistent powder, and we were on day 1 at altitude so our lungs and legs weren’t quite ready. But we made it down just fine and I was able to capture it all on my GoPro. Just an awesome experience! We headed back to the Summit Lodge for a very nice lunch buffet, then did a couple runs on Andesite before heading to Shedhorn. From Shedhorn, we could see the snow looked particularly good in Lenin, so we headed back for another Tram ride. The snow in Lenin was indeed better, but my legs were pretty much shot for the day. Hiring the guide wasn’t cheap, but it was a great way to learn some of the nuances of the mountain quickly, get you into stuff you probably would not do on your own, and most importantly, skip about 2 hours worth of waiting in the Tram line.
The rest of the week, I chased my teenage sons around the mountain as much as my sorry weekend warrior body would allow. We particularly enjoyed just feeling our way down through the trees off Shedhorn, Dakota, and Lookout Ridge.
My two youngest (8 and 11) were in ski school for most of the week, but I skied some with them—we particularly enjoyed Harbor’s Natural Halfpipe and Lois Lane along lower Morningstar, and Freemont Forest under the Southern Comfort chair.
We stayed in Beaverhead condos. Our unit was “ski-in”, but it was a bit of a hike to “ski out”, as we were in one of the units farthest from the actual slope. I’m glad we rented a car, as we went down the mountain to the Meadows area several times for groceries, dining, and bootfitting (Grizzly Outfitters HIGHLY recommended for boot fitting). My boys and I rented from the Big Sky rental center in the mountain village. Normally, I would rent demos, but I decided to go down a notch to the “High Performance “ skis because I was tipped off that they just bought a new fleet of 2019 Head Kore 93 skis, which are really excellent skis for the type of skiing we do.
Awesome trip, overall! I learned a lot about the resort and mountain, but there’s so much more to learn, I will have to go back a few more times!