April 28, 2006
BIG SKY, MT — Big Sky attracted over 323,000 skier visits during the 2005-06 season, breaking the record set in the 2000-01 season. Many factors contributed to the record season, most notably over 500 inches of snow that fell on the upper mountain as well as the announcement of the biggest skiing in America with the partnership between Big Sky and Moonlight Basin, accessing 5,300 acres on one ticket.
The season started strong with three early opening days starting November 13, offering steep skiing from the Challenger chair. Big Sky's upper mountain saw over 11 feet of snow fall on it by the end of November. The snowy season continued with the second deepest snowfall ever recorded at Big Sky Resort.
The snow amounts are impressive, but according to Ski Patrol, the stability of the snowpack is what created the epic season of skiing. The snow fell early and the water content was heavy, creating a solid base that adhered to the ground. With a week of warm temps prior to Thanksgiving, the snow was able to set up. Opening weekend, the weather shifted to light, soft snow that continued throughout the season. Big Sky finished the season with over 100 inches of settled snow on the upper mountain.
"If you had the ability to design the perfect snowpack, you'd be looking at the conditions we've received this year," said Scott Savage, Big Sky Snow Safety Director. "When the snow, temps and wind all work together, this mountain produces incredible skiing. We had lines being skied this season for the first time."
Not only did Big Sky have incredible conditions, but this is the first year following the announcement of the Big Sky-Moonlight Basin interconnect providing access to 5,300 acres on one ticket, the biggest skiing in America. The news was recognized nationally almost immediately with a two-page feature story in the New York Times touting the area.
Big Sky also celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the Lone Peak Tram, the lift that put Big Sky on the map, offering some of the steepest lift accessed terrain in the country. In the past 10 years, Big Sky has invested $80 million in new lodging and services in the Mountain Village as well as mountain expansion and lift upgrades. Over the next 10 years, Big Sky will continue to develop the core Mountain Village with additional lodging and services.
Another factor contributing to the success is the new airline service Big Sky guaranteed with Delta Airlines from the Atlanta market. Delta has already committed to twice weekly service through the summer months with non-stop service from Atlanta to Bozeman/Big Sky.