Mountain Mondays: Why Montana's Big Sky Resort Needs to Be on Top of Your Skiing Bucket List
No place has ever felt so quiet or still.
The sun had long gone down behind the mountain range and the snow had just begun to fall softly again. I sat bundled up from head to toe some 7,000 feet above sea level, looking down on the town below. Though I could see the sparkling lights far in the distance, I could barely make out my own hand in front of my face. But, out of the darkness, a figure appeared. At first, there was a faint light coming my way, along with a noise growing louder and louder. It was a yodeling skier.
“Stoke levels are high,” said Ben Saheb, letting out the words as more of a squeal than a statement as he made his way on skis toward his snowboarding buddy and photographer, Celia Miller.
Saheb, Miller, myself, and a few other people were spending the night skiing and snowboarding down the moonlit face of Big Sky Resort. This seemingly crazy act was all in the name of capturing content for a dream job.
In January, I made my way to the community of Big Sky, located about an hour’s drive from the city of Bozeman, to tag along with the Ski.com crew and their new dream job hires, Miller and Saheb. While they were there to document just how epic Big Sky really is, I was there to learn about both of them as well as what makes this ski destination so loved by outdoor enthusiasts.
A few months ago, both Miller and Saheb answered a call from Ski.com to apply for its second annual dream job. The job required both of them to submit a video as to why they’d be the perfect fit for the role and pick a mountain they’d like to explore across the globe. Considering Miller is a former professional snowboarder and content creator (and was the first female snowboard judge for the X Games), and Saheb is an avid skier, one-time backcountry guide, and professional photographer, filmmaker, and video editor, they most certainly made the perfect professional pair.
“I was inspired [to apply] because one of my best friends from high school has been talking about Big Sky since the day he moved to Montana,” Saheb said. “I've always wanted to experience this and I've never had an opportunity. So, when I saw Big Sky on the roster for the dream job, it pushed me over the edge.”
Big Sky, often referred to as the Biggest Skiing in America, is a place where mountain dreams come true. The mountain offers 300 degrees of skiing and trails fit for every experience level. Plus, it’s where skiers and riders leave the crowds behind. According to Big Sky Resort, it has about two acres per skier on its busiest day, which means you’ll always feel like you’ve got the mountain to yourself.
It’s also wholly unique compared to other mountains and remains in a class of its own, thanks not only to the terrain, but also to the offerings available to guests.
For starters, there’s the night skiing mentioned above.
This isn’t your mama’s night skiing. At Big Sky, rather than illuminating the mountain with garish floodlights, skiers and riders strap on a mega-watt headlamp and head up the hill with a private guide. Don’t worry, you get plenty of breaks from the cold as you ride up and down Ramcharger 8, a brand-new, eight-seat chairlift with heated seats and a weather-proof bubble.
“There's nothing like going out with a bunch of people you don't know, but having such a strong bond around something we all enjoy, which is that experience of going into the mountains and enjoying it,” Saheb said of our night adventure.
But if that’s not enough private time on the mountain, visitors can book First Tracks & Everett’s Breakfast. This dawn patrol offering also comes with a guide to lead the way to the best terrain starting at 8 a.m. That means you get to ski for a full hour before anyone else arrives. The experience ends with a delectable breakfast at Everett's 8800 on top of the mountain.
To top it off, there is the pure joy of getting to bound down a mountain stacked with fresh powder while high-fiving friends and strangers along the way. And that may be the best part about Big Sky; it’s a place that has remained friendly, welcoming, and warm without ever falling into the trap of commercialization.
“I would explain it like flying,” Miller said when asked to describe the feeling of snowboarding in a place like Big Sky. “It’s like freedom. You can go as fast as you want. It feels like you're a superhero sometimes — it’s a new power that you have. It doesn't feel like anything else in the world.”
Follow along on Ski.com’s social media channels to see all the dream job hires as they explore the rest of the world’s greatest mountains, too.
How to Ride:
Grab a lift ticket, which starts at $155/day, or purchase an Ikon Pass, which includes access to Big Sky Resort.
Where to Stay:
For the best ski-in/ski-out access in the area, stay at Summit Hotel. The lifts here are mere feet from the entrance, and the hotel comes with everything you need for a perfect stay, including a spa, bar, restaurant, and cowboy-hat wearing staff that's happy to help with every desire.
If you’re willing to stay a little further away from the mountain, Lone Mountain Ranch is perhaps one of the more idyllic accommodations in the area. The 100-year-old ranch offers guests the truest experience of Yellowstone Country. In the winter, the ranch sets up the most extensive Nordic trail system in the nation, with direct access to Big Sky Resort. During this season, guests can also enjoy a sleigh ride dinner in a log cabin lit only by candlelight. Here, they’ll also find a cowboy softly singing melodies about his love for horses, baked bread, and homegrown tomatoes. (It’s worth booking at least a dinner at Lone Mountain Ranch for the entertainment alone.)
Where to Dine:
Some of the best dining at Big Sky is available right on the mountain in the newly opened Vista Hall. Inside the cafeteria-like food hall, visitors can choose from six cuisine options, including sushi and ramen, burgers, stone-fired pizza, and more.
Off the mountain and in the main town of Big Sky, guests will find a truly tasty delight at Toast. Here, you can grab a savory piece of toast topped with anything and everything you can imagine, from avocado to smoked salmon to sweets like Nutella and honey.
Where to Apres-ski:
Westward Social is Big Sky’s newest restaurant, but it's also its best après-ski hub. Given its location right off the mountain, guests can ski or snowboard in to experience the lively atmosphere, which often comes with live music. Plus, visitors can take part in events like Bar Olympics, which includes friendly games such as Ro Sham Bo, Ring the Bull, or Stein Hoisting.