Big Sky Resort
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||This article on a place of local interest appears to contain only a small amount of verifiable information. (May 2013)|
Big Sky Resort in 2006
|Nearest city||Bozeman - 50 mi (80 km)|
|Vertical||4,350 ft (1,326 m)
3,640 ft (1,109 m)
|Top elevation||11,166 ft (3,403 m)|
|Base elevation||6,800 ft (2,073 m)
7,510 ft (2,289 m)
|Skiable area||3,832 acres (15.5 km2)|
|Longest run||6 miles (10 km)|
|Lift system||22 lifts|
|Snowfall||400 inches (1,016 cm)|
Opened in late 1973, Big Sky has grown over the last 35 years. Trademarked as the "Biggest Skiing in America" through the Biggest Skiing in America Pass, skiers and riders have access to over 5,532 acres (22.39 km2). Three-quarters of the vast terrain is Big Sky Resort, with the remaining trails at Moonlight Basin. The Biggest Skiing in America Pass combines the two resorts making Moonlight Basin accessible from the Lone Peak Summit and via the Challenger Lift.
Big Sky Resort also offers meeting space for conferences, weddings and corporate retreats. Other offerings include golf, zipline, frisbee golf, scenic lift rides, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and tennis.
Three club communities exist adjoined to Big Sky Ski Resort. On Big Sky Resort's southwestern exposure resides the The Yellowstone Club, a 13,450 acre private club with over 2,200 acres of private skiing. The southeastern and east side of Big Sky is The Club at Spanish Peaks, opened in 2004, a 5,700 acre private club community with 350 acres of private skiing and direct access to the combined skiing of Big Sky and Moonlight Basin. Big Sky's neighbor on its north boundary is Moonlight Basin, opened in 2003. It originally began as Moonlight Basin Ranch, a real estate development stemming from the 1992 purchase of 25,000 acres (101 km2) from Plum Creek Timber Company. Spanish Peaks, Big Sky, and Moonlight Basin operate completely on private land.
Resort History 
The resort was the vision of NBC News anchorman Chet Huntley, a Montana native. Big Sky opened in December 1973 with a main base area at an elevation of 7510 feet (2290 m) above sea level on the eastern face of Lone Mountain (11,166 feet, 3403 m) the sixty-seventh highest mountain in Montana, and the seventh-highest mountain in the state outside of the Beartooth Range .
The first four lifts at Big Sky were the gondola and three chairlifts. The enclosed gondola carried four skiers per cabin and climbed 1525 vertical feet (465 m) to 9040 feet (2755 m). The nearby "Lone Peak" triple chairlift provided the lift-served maximum of 9800 feet (2987 m), unloading at the bowl 1366 feet (416 m) beneath Lone Mountain's summit, providing a vertical drop of just under 2300 feet (701 m). The "Explorer" double chair served novice terrain just above the base, and the "Andesite" double climbed the north face of adjacent Andesite Mountain to 8700 feet (2652 m). This lift was renamed "Rams Head" in 1978, and replaced with the "Ramcharger" high speed quad in 1990.
After its third season, Boyne Resorts purchased the resort in 1976, following Huntley's death from cancer in March 1974 and the decision of owner Chrysler Corporation to divest its real estate development assets.
The resort grew steadily over the following decades, adding lifts and more than tripling the terrain available for skiing and snowboarding. The fifth lift, a second chairlift on Andesite Mountain, was installed in the summer of 1979. The "Mad Wolf" double climbed Andesite's eastern face and lowered Big Sky's minimum elevation 540 feet (165 m) to 6970 feet (2124 m). This increased the area's vertical drop to over 2800 feet (853 m). (It was replaced with the "Thunder Wolf" high speed quad in 1994.)
Two lifts were added in the 1980s: "Gondola Two" was installed in parallel to the first gondola, and the "Challenger" double chair served upper elevation expert terrain on the north edge of the ski area. A tow was later added above this lift. (Gondola Two was replaced with the "Swift Current" high speed quad chairlift in 1997.) The eighth lift at Big Sky was the "Southern Comfort" triple chair on Andesite Mountain, installed in 1990 and upgraded to a high speed quad for the 2004-05 season.
In the fall of 1995, Big Sky shed its intermediate image and leapt into national (and international) prominence with the addition of the Lone Peak Tram, built to take expert skiers to within feet of the summit of Lone Mountain at 11,166 feet (3399 m) to copious extreme treeless terrain. The "Shedhorn" double chair was also part of this expansion, added in 1995 on the lower south face of Lone Mountain.
The tram substantially increased Big Sky's vertical drop to 4,180 ft (1,274 m), surpassing Jackson Hole by 41 ft (12.5 m). The minimum elevation was lowered further in the fall of 1999, with the addition of the "Lone Moose" triple chair; its base elevation is 6800 feet (2073 m) at Lone Moose Meadows. This increased the ski area's total vertical drop to 4350 feet (1326 m); its maximum continuous vertical drop is 3,640 ft (1,110 m), from the top of the tram to the main base area.
In 2007, Big Sky expanded the skiing opportunities on the south face of Lone Peak with the addition of the new triple chair Dakota Lift, and access to the accompanying out-of-bounds sidecountry, "Dakota Territory". Gondola #1 was retired in the summer of 2008, dismantled due to the high cost of repairs.
The growth off of the slopes was highlighted in 1990 with the addition of the Shoshone Condominium Hotel and the Yellowstone Conference Center, which increased summer business to the resort.
In April 2000, Boyne Resorts announced that an estimated $400 million in improvements would take place over the next ten years to Mountain Village and the ski area. Later in 2000, the $54 million Summit Hotel was completed, providing four-star, ski-in ski-out accommodations. In late 2007, the $25 million Village Center Complex was opened, expanding the shopping, dining, and ski-in ski-out accommodation options.
Big Sky is primarily known for its winter activities, which include ski and snowboard terrain, a terrain park, cross country skiing, zipline and snowshoeing, but it has become an increasingly popular summer attraction as well. Several ziplines, paintball, archery, tennis, hiking, and mountain biking trails are available on the mountain, with golf and Horseback riding available further down by the Meadow Village, which sits at an elevation of 6,800 feet (2,100 m), between the ski area and US-191.
For the summer 2012 season Big Sky introduced summer tram rides to take visitors effortlessly to the top of 11,166 Lone Peak.
Fly fishing and whitewater rafting are popular on the Gallatin River. Lake kayaking is available at Hebgen Lake 50 miles (80 km) south. Big Sky is a convenient and comfortable base camp for excursions into nearby Yellowstone National Park.
Lone Peak Tram 
The Lone Peak Tram is a lift at the Big Sky Resort that begins at the top of the Lone Peak Triple chairlift and unloads at the summit of Lone Mountain at 11,166 feet (3403 m). Opened in the fall of 1995, the tram is a four-minute ride for 15 passengers, climbing 1450 vertical feet (442 m) over a distance of 2828 feet (862 m), with two cabins traveling in opposite directions. It provides access to the most difficult terrain at Big Sky Resort and nearby Moonlight Basin. Construction was completed by the high-altitude construction firm Matrix, based in Alaska.
Big Sky's neighbor on its north boundary is Moonlight Basin, opened in 2003. It originally began as Moonlight Basin Ranch, a real estate development stemming from the 1992 purchase of 25,000 acres (101 km2) from Plum Creek Timber Company. Both Big Sky and Moonlight Basin operate completely on private land.
Resort statistics 
Summit (Lone Peak) - 11,166 feet (3,403 m)
Base (Mountain Village) - 7,510 feet (2,290 m)
Base (Lone Moose) - 6,800 feet (2,100 m)
3,832 acres (15.51 km2) - Over 150 named runs covering over 85 miles (137 km) on three separate mountains.
- 20% expert
- 40% advanced
- 26% intermediate
- 14% beginner
- 4,350 feet (1,330 m), 3,640 feet (1,110 m) continuous
Longest Run: Liberty Bowl to Mountain Mall - 6 miles (9.7 km)
Average Lift Line: Consistently recognized in national ski magazines for short or non-existent lines.
Average Winter Daytime Temperature: 20 °F (−7 °C)
Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches (10 m)
Lift Capacity: 23,000 skiers per hour
Ski Season Opens: Thanksgiving Day, weather permitting Ski Season Ends: Mid - late April, varies by year. Snow Conditions Phone Line: 406.995.5900
- "Mountain Stats and Trail Maps". Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Source has conflicting information: lists both 3832 and 5532 acres
- http://www.bigskyresort.com/Activities/Winter/Lone-Peak-Tram.asp Big Sky Resort, Lone Peak Tram
- BigSkyResort.com — official site
- SkiMT.com — official state site
- All Big Sky Montana — community guide
- Montana River Action.org — river concerns, greater Big Sky area
- Washington Post.com — "Plenty of Snow for Everyone", by T.R. Reid (10-Dec-2006)
- MSRmaps.com — USGS topo map and aerial photo