A lot of families are looking for ways to create lifelong memories while enjoying the outdoors. Recently, our family of 5 (boys aged 18, 16 and 11) enjoyed a long weekend hitting the slopes of the biggest ski area in North America: Montana’s Big Sky Resort. It is situated in the beautiful rugged northern Rockies, 50 miles from Yellowstone National Park and 40 miles from Bozeman. Families can easily fly to Bozeman’s smaller international airport, which makes it easy to get out, rent a car and head to the mountain to begin your family vacation.
There are many reasons for a family to love the Big Sky ski experience. One is the striking beauty of the area, including the iconic Lone Mountain — a majestic towering peak at 11,167 feet that’s the centerpiece of the resort. Another is the consistent amount of snow, which averages around 400 inches per year. We skied fresh powder three out of our four days!
Big Sky offers a wide variety of terrain for all levels of skiers, making it perfect for families. It has 5,800 skiable acres and 4,350 vertical feet. We found this particularly nice with our advanced-level teenage skiers, who love an adrenaline rush; the rest of us enjoyed cruising on long intermediate runs.
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One noteworthy advantage at Big Sky is that there are minimal lift lines and the slopes are not crowded. The combination of the vast terrain (four mountains, 36 lifts and more than 300 runs) with fewer skiers provides a far safer and overall more pleasant experience. In addition, the resort has recently introduced state-of-the-art, world-renowned lift systems, including the innovative Ramcharger 8. This is North America’s first eight-seat lift, offering heated, child-friendly seats and a weatherproof pull-down “bubble” to shelter skiers from biting winds.
Big Sky Resort offers many family-friendly accommodation options; most are ski-in and ski-out and have access to outdoor hot tubs and pools. We stayed in condominiums located near the Moonlight Basin area of the resort and loved the convenience of skiing out our backyard in the morning, then coming back to warm up with lunch and hot cocoa. This was a perfect setup for our family, as some of us enjoyed a break midway through the day while others continued to ski.
There are a variety of unique ski experiences for families visiting Big Sky. “First Tracks + Breakfast at Everett’s” is perfect for families who enjoy skiing freshly groomed runs before everyone else arrives! A guide accompanies you for an hour and a half as you enjoy the sunrise over Andesite Mountain. Following this guided experience, you can enjoy a delicious gourmet breakfast at the top of the slopes at Everett’s, a beautiful chalet with stunning views of Lone Mountain. It was well worth taking the time to get up early and enjoy this memorable morning.
Families will appreciate the great value at Big Sky. Kids under the age of 6 ski free; kids 12 and under who enroll in any ski lesson programming receive free lift tickets on the day of their instruction. In addition, Big Sky Resort offers a mini ski camp for the youngest skiers, 3- to 6-year-olds. These lessons can be half or full-day options combined with the resort’s daycare Lone Peak Playground, providing the perfect amount of instructional time based on a child’s attention span and interest.
Editor’s Note: Melissa received a media package to review Big Sky Resort for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Melissa Rosdahl.
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