BIG SKY RESORT GUIDE
Big Sky Resort Overview
Bigger than big, Big Sky features in the top five resorts in North America for skiable acres and vertical drop. It spans 5,850 skiable acres and drops 4,350 vertical feet from the summit of Lone Mountain. Despite it's size, the resort is easy to navigate with well placed, modern chairlifts. The resort receives 400+ inches of snowfall annually and between storms there’s ample wind buff created by frequent, strong west winds. Between the snowfall and elevation, Big Sky tends to stay open through late April.
Big Sky's couloirs, chutes and bowls are unrivaled by North American resorts. For the 2020-21 winter, the resort coined the triple black diamond rating to signify their most extreme runs. Don’t let the extreme stuff scare you though, there’s also plenty of intermediate and beginner terrain--groomers as long as Montana’s rivers.
Change is underway through the resort's ambitious Big Sky 2025 master plan with upgraded lifts and improvements to the base village. Hotel options still remain limited and pricey. We recommend reserving an Airbnb or VRBO. The après scene is on the rise with new bars and restaurants at the resort and in the nearby Town Center. We reccommend spending about a week to tackle this massive mountain. Big Sky offers 5 or 7 days on the Ikon Pass and 2 days on the Mountain Collective.
Snow-Making & Grooming
Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain
On Mountain Dining
The most extreme terrain in North America within the ropes. Experience bucket list chutes, bowls, and couloirs, including the notorious Big Couloir
Home to the most advanced chairlifts including Ramcharger, an 8-pack with heated seats. More lift upgrades are in the works including the Swift Current 6, set to be the fastest lift in North America
Major resort upgrades are underway with new restaurants and bars in the Mountain Village and hotel renovations
Lift lines are short and there's plenty of parking
Effective winter of 2021/22, a separate pass will be required to ride the Lone Peak Tram. Details on tram access can be found here.
Lodging options at the base and in town are limited and expensive
The town and the base of the mountain are ~15 minutes apart by car
The upper mountain is very exposed and as a result, frequently closed
The nearest airport, Bozeman International (BZN), is ~1 hour away and serviced by limited direct flights
During busier days, try to stick to the mid-mountain or peripheral lifts including Challenger, Lone Tree, Thunder Wolf, Shedhorn, and Dakota. Avoid the lifts that tend to be most crowded - Ramcharger, Swift Current, and Six Shooter
If you plan to ride the Lone Peak Tram, arrive at the mountain at least 30 minutes before opening to secure a spot one of the first tram rides
On clear days, follow the sun for the best snow. Spend the morning on the South Face, mid-day on the front side, and end on the north side in Moonlight Basin
Spend a night in Bozeman and a day skiing Bridger Bowl. This local's mountain is a gem with cheap lift tickets and a low-key vibe
Try nordic skiing on Big Sky's vast network of groomed trails. Or visit Yellowstone National Park, ~1.5 hours drive from Big Sky
For an in-depth breakdown of Big Sky's terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included.
Getting To & Around
Big Sky is located in the Madison Range of southwestern Montana. It’s an hour drive from Bozeman. We prefer to have a car. During the winter, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) has direct flights from 19 U.S. locations, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
Closest City: Bozeman, MT
Distance: ~50 miles North East, Travel Time: ~ 1 hour drive
Closest Town: Big Sky, MT
Distance: ~6 miles, ~10-15 mins drive
Big Sky is relatively isolated in the middle of the Madison Range in Montana. From the top of Lone Peak, you can see sourrounding mountain ranges including those in Idaho and Wyoming. Many of these ranges have destinations within reasonable driving distance.
Bridger Bowl, MT (~68 miles, ~1.5 hours) *Note, Bridger Bowl is only ~30 minutes driving (~18 miles) North East from Bozeman
*Bring your beacon and other avalanche gear to Bridger Bowl for access to Schlasman's lift, which takes you to the high chutes and bowls on the upper mountain
Grand Targheee Resort, WY (~160 miles, ~3 hours)
*Grand Targhee is part of the Mountain Collective
Closest Mountain Colletive & Ikon Pass Neighbor
Jackson Hole, WY (~180 miles, ~3.5 hours)
Travel by Plane
Closest Regional Airport: BZN (Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport)
- ~50 miles North East, ~1 hour
Bozeman has direct service from 19 different U.S. cities
BZN is also private plan accessible
Travel By Bus
Skyline Bus provides service from the town of Big Sky to Big Sky Resort as well as service to and from Bozeman. A one way fare cost $5. Passes for 10, 20, and 40 ride can also be purchased at select locations around Big Sky and Bozeman. Click here for more pass information.
Airport shuttle services is available to / from BZN
Contact Mountain & Canyon Cab Company
Travel by Car
We recommend having a car here. The drive from the airport is one hour. The drive between town and the resort is 15 minutes.
There is plenty of free parking and free shuttles to take you from your car to the base of the mountain
Ride shares (e.g., Uber, Lyft) are very limited