I was initially going to wait to post this until closer to ski season, but considering that most of the country is going through a massive heat wave, I thought some people might enjoy reading about a colder vacation! As you may know, we love to ski. We try to ski every other year if we can, and we weren’t going to let the pandemic stop us! After all, being outside away from other people on a mountain seemed like one of the safest places you could be, and limited lift ticket sales meant shorter lift lines and fewer people on the mountains. We booked a trip to Big Sky with a group of friends over New Years Eve 2020. We found a great ski-in, ski-out condo and were on our way!
We had been to Big Sky previously with family and loved the mountain. It’s a lot less crowded and a bit more laidback than some of the resorts in Colorado. It’s also only about an hour from the Bozeman airport and it’s a short drive to Yellowstone National Park as well. We weren’t there long enough to go to Yellowstone on this trip, but we visited with my husband’s family on a non-ski day on our last visit and had a fantastic time.
Big Sky Resort and Skiing
As for the actual skiing, my favorite runs on this trip were: Bighorn, Calamity Jane, Hangman’s, Meriweather, and Icebox. I am a solid intermediate skier who occasionally skis expert terrain when feeling confident and when conditions are right. We also enjoyed skiing in the bowl (all expert), though once we had fresh snowfall, I had a bit of trouble with the loose powder and moguls.
One of my favorite parts of the mountain is the location of Uncle Dan’s Cookies at the bottom of the Lone Mountain Bowl and Lone Peak Triple lift. They have hot paninis and warm cookies and brownies – the perfect reward for making it down the bowl! There is another location of Uncle Dan’s in Moonlight Basin.
We tried to take the Lone Peak Tram to the peak of Lone Mountain at the end of the day one day, but they closed the tram early and stopped taking passengers. The view looked fantastic, but we didn’t sweat it because the entire week was filled with beautiful views.
I didn’t personally take a ski school class, but we had two friends on the trip take classes – one beginner and one intermediate. They both enjoyed their classes and it seemed like they learned a lot. I also think the prices are very fair compared to other ski schools. And if you’ve already bought a lift ticket, you can apply it to the price of the lesson. This is great if you decide on a lesson at the last minute.
We got our rentals at Lone Mountain Sports right at the base of Mountain Village. They had good gear and were quick to get us outfitted. I also bought a great pair of mittens from the 50% off bin during the trip – they had a huge selection. My only complaint about the rental shop was that they lost our ticket so we had a small issue when returning our gear, but it worked out in the end. It was super convenient and I definitely recommend it if you’re staying in the resort area.
We stayed at this ski-in/ski-out condo in Big Sky and it was the perfect location and was a very comfortable place to spend our evenings. It had 3 bedrooms and a sleeper couch, so slept a total of 8. The condo has a T-lift up to the base so if you’re a more beginner skier and aren’t comfortable on the T-lift, you can hike with your skis over to the base. It’s not far, but I wouldn’t want to do it in ski boots. The owner outfitted the condo with several TV’s with every channel, Netflix, Playstations and XBoxes, and a computer and printer. Some other great perks were the wood-burning fireplace (firewood included), ski boot dryers, heated garage, HEPA air filters, washer and dryer, and full kitchen. The condo had everything we could have possibly needed and more!
We ate at the condo three of the five nights we were in Big Sky. With our big group and COVID restrictions, it was just easier to eat at home. Luckily, there is a Roxy’s grocery store on the way into Big Sky from Bozeman so we stocked up on groceries for breakfast, lunch, slope snacks, and dinners at the condo. We also picked up alcohol at a liquor store on the drive to the condo.
We had two dinners out. First we ate at Copper, which runs a burger/beer special on Wednesday nights and has excellent whiskey drinks. Despite the COVID restrictions at the time, they let our party of nine sit together at the restaurant, which was nice because many places limited to groups of six.
Our second dinner out was at https://bigskyresort.com/resort-dining/westward-socialWestward Social, which is at Big Sky Resort. The food was good, but they were much stricter about the six person rule and made us split into two groups. They had limited seating and we were some of the only people at the restaurant. From what I could tell, the resort was doing everything possible to make sure they could stay open all season so they were strictly following every restriction.
Assuming you’ll likely be flying from Bozeman, I must also mention Stuffed Crepes and Waffles. We walked around downtown for awhile before our flight, perusing shops and stopping for lunch. We stopped into Stuffed Crepes and Waffles because the smell was so inviting and I’m happy to say that it was just as delicious as we were hoping. If you’re in Bozeman for any length of time, it’s definitely worth a stop!
As mentioned above, the resort was quite strict about COVID restrictions, especially with group seating, which was limited to six. Even at lunch, they made our group split off if more than six of us were together taking a break from skiing. They were also very strict about wearing masks in lift lines, on the lift, and anywhere indoors. A neck gaiter counts so I kept mine on most of the time since I am usually cold anyway. I suspect that the 2021-2022 ski season will be a lot different and more open with vaccinations, but I mention the restrictions just in case. It didn’t cause us any issues though and I truly felt safer skiing than being anywhere else!
As always, we had a fantastic ski trip, especially with our fun group of friends. It was the perfect way to ring in 2021. We can’t wait for the next trip – maybe the next one will be with our kids!
Where is your favorite place to ski?