Family Ski Vacations

Best Off-the-Slopes Winter Activities in Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky Resort in Montana is a great place to take your family for winter fun. Whether you are non-skiers or simply want to take a break from downhill skiing, there are many other wonderful things to do in the Big Sky area. These activities allow your family to experience the great outdoors in a variety of ways while being surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. On a recent trip with our family of five (boys ages 11, 16 and 18), we tried out some of the non-ski winter activities in Big Sky — perfect for families to enjoy together while creating unique and memorable experiences.

Dogsledding in Big Sky is fun for families of all ages

Best Family-Friendly Winter Activities in Big Sky, Montana

Dogsledding

An unforgettable highlight while visiting Big Sky was a morning of dogsledding with Spirit of the North Dogsledding, who provided an educational, hands-on, fun experience. Prior to the sledding, we met the trained dogs, all Alaskan huskies. The leaders explained the process of preparing the sleds for the run and how to connect the dogs to the harness and sled. They also instructed us on how to drive the sleds. If interested, and if you’re old enough with the proper weight, you may volunteer to be a driver of your sled! Our oldest son was instructed on this and had a fantastic time driving.

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Winter Activities in Big Sky, Montana
Dogsledding with a beautiful view of the mountains

After all the preparation, it was time to go. The dogs up until this point were restless and whining, wanting to take off; as soon as we did, they were absolutely silent. They were in their “zone,” happy and content to run along the trail. My younger son and I enjoyed the brisk ride while I took pictures and videos to capture the experience. We stopped midway through the journey to enjoy a hot cocoa and cookie while the dogs took a brief rest. This experience was a perfect way to try a new activity while enjoying the incredible beauty of Big Sky country.

Winter Activities in Big Sky, Montana
Meeting the Alaskan huskies who pulled our sleds

Snowshoeing

After a full morning of downhill skiing, two of my kids and I headed over to Lone Mountain Ranch for an afternoon of snowshoeing. Lone Mountain Ranch is a quick 10-minute drive from Big Sky Resort and is the perfect year-round get away for families to enjoy time together in an Old West heritage ranch setting. It was a mild and quiet day with fresh powder that had recently fallen, ideal to enjoy a nature walk in the woods.

The onsite nature expert and National Geographic-certified guide, Randy Hall, helped us with our snowshoes and poles and led us on a 1.5-hour hike on the picturesque property, which has more than  18 miles of snowshoe trails to explore. Randy pointed out sights of interest in the woods and explained how nature is at work around us. The snow was deep, but with our snowshoes we were able to access all parts of the trail. We enjoyed the quiet beauty of the winter woods and learned so much about nature, wildlife and Native American folklore.

After a fabulous day of snowshoeing, we returned to Lone Mountain Ranch for a delicious meal at the cozy Western-style lodge onsite, Horn and Cantle.

Nordic skiing at Lone Mountain Ranch. Photo by Visit Montana/Elements Mixed Media

Nordic Skiing

Another winter activity at Lone Mountain Ranch is Nordic skiing — in fact, it is one of best places to ski in the U.S. Rent gear from the outfitter onsite and enjoy more than 50 miles of groomed, nationally ranked cross-country ski trails. Lone Mountain Ranch also offer guides and lessons for you and your family.

The scenic trails wind through spectacular pine forests, covered in deep snow. The beauty is breathtaking!

Snowmobiling near wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by NPS/Jacob W. Frank

Yellowstone National Park

Big Sky Resort is only 40 miles from the iconic Yellowstone National Park. In addition to its many amazing geothermal features, Yellowstone teems with wildlife, especially in the winter, when the animals are driven into the valleys and are more visible to park tourists.

A snowmobile tour is a great way to visit the park in the winter. There are several suppliers that can arrange this fun and active experience for your family. If you prefer seeing the beautiful park in a more relaxing way, opt for a Snow Coach tour. This sled-type vehicle is fully enclosed and climate-controlled, and offers visitors a way to view and photograph the natural beauty. With the Snow Coach, visitors have access to more trails than the park-regulated snowmobile tours and many trips are offered throughout the day.

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Editor’s Note: Melissa received a media package to review activities in the Big Sky area for families. As always, all opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Melissa Rosdahl except where noted.

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