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Big Sky

By itself, Big Sky hosts some of the best skiing in America: long, jetway groomers; the hollow-stomach steeps of Lone Peak; wraparound mountain scenery that induces neck strain; and cotton-candy powder that lasts for days. But with the Lone Peak Pass, including adjoining Moonlight Basin and its stunning North Summit Snowfields and Headwaters Bowl for 5,500 total acres, the place flat-out rules. “One of my favorite areas in the U.S.” attests more than one reader. “Amazing terrain” has always been Big Sky’s strong suit, and it just gets better with ongoing glading, regular lift improvements and “no liftlines—no crowds.”

Impressive lodging at the Village Center and the Summit is a match for the five-star skiing, but the rest of the village isn’t quite. Lack of dining variety and “not much nightlife for the party crowd” are regular laments. Still, Whiskey Jack’s, MR Hummer’s and Scissorbills Saloon crank it up for après, and Andiamo’s, The Cabin and Chet’s Bar and Grill are all very good restaurants. As some readers point out, “It’s Montana, not Aspen.” Others correctly note that you “need a car” to check out excellent nearby (15 minutes) bars and restaurants at Buck’s T-4, Rainbow Ranch, Half-Moon Saloon and more. Ultimately, the skiing so totally rips that many say “leave it alone—no glitz needed.” — J.C.


What’s New: For summer, a high ropes course with nine traversing elements, a ships-mast cargo net, dynamic and static belay systems, all with professional guides ($59)

Mandatory Run: The very exposed and off-piste North Summit Snowfields, from Lone Peak down to Moonlight Basin, will widen your eyes and expand your horizons.

Don’t Miss: The outstanding restaurants, bars, museums, galleries and shops of Bozeman, an hour’s drive down gorgeous Gallatin Canyon.


Tip Sheet: Big Couloir

Scare yourself a little on this classic Big Sky descent. Because nothing makes you feel more alive than thinking you might die.

» Location: Big Sky, Mont.

» Need to Know: Sign out at the patrol shack at the top of the tram. Bring avy gear. Know how to use it.

» Vertical Feet: 1,400

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