While it may seem like there’s nothing easy about travel these days, a winter vacation to Big Sky Resort is pretty high up there on the easy living scale. Gorgeous ski slopes, ziplines through the trees and adventures in Yellowstone are just a few of our favorites. We recently got a chance to check out all that the property (and nearby area) has to offer for families and you’re going to want to check it out for yourself, we know it! Here’s the full scoop.
1. Getting there is easy (and you don't even need to rent a car).
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is your closest airport to Big Sky, MT and it's just over an hour from the resort. Save the hassle of renting a car and book a shuttle from the airport. Once you're at the resort, you won't have to deal with the hassle of driving in the snow and you can request a pickup from the bell staff if you need to get around the property (and even into town).
2. There are so many winter activities on the property, even for non-skiers.
Skiing is definitely the focus at Big Sky Resort. They have private lessons, a ski school, rental shops and a ski valet for storing your gear. There are 39 chairlifts including Swift Current 6, North America's fastest chairlift (with heated seats!). From beginners riding the magic carpet to expert-level skiers, there's the perfect terrain for your day on the slopes.
If you want more than skiing, book a guided snowshoeing adventure where you can meander through Moosetrack Gully with your crew. It's perfect for families as you can go as far as you want and take as many breaks as you need. You can then hike the same trail at night when it transforms into the Enchanted Forest (kids love this!).
3. Winter ziplining is not to be missed!
Yes, that's right, you can zipline even in the winter! Big Sky Resort has two zipline options for families: the shorter Nature Zipline for those weighing in at 45lbs and up, and the Adventure Zipline for older riders with a need for speed. Suited up in your snow boots and snow gear, you'll take a chairlift up to start your descent through the trees and over the ski runs. The final run has you racing for victory against another zipliner—what a rush! Definitely put this one on your list of must-do activities.
4. Dining options galore.
One of the best features of Big Sky Resort is all of the dining options that are available. Here are our favorites:
- Our top pick for lunch like you've never had before is Everett's 8800. Ride the Ramcharger 8 lift up the mountain for unbelievable views served alongside Alpine-inspired dishes like French onion soup and upscale grilled cheese. Kids are totally welcome here and they'll especially love the spaghetti bolognese. The hot toddy is just what you need to experience the full aprés vibe.
- Vista Hall offers the perfect ski day break with loads of options like pizza, ramen, tacos and burgers served cafeteria style.
- We loved the casual dinner scene at Westward Social where plates were shareable and the craft cocktail fresh and delicious.
- Hungry Moose is your on-site mini grocery store with Montana souvenirs, local brews, hot cocoa, cereal and more. In addition to the location on the property, you can place an online order for pickup at the location in town, making it easy to stock your condo's kitchen when you arrive.
- We didn't get to try it during our visit, but we heard that the Montana Dinner Yurt is an experience that families love.
5. Accommodations at Big Sky Resort are designed with families in mind.
If there's one thing that always comes with a winter ski vacation and that is all the STUFF. Make it easy on yourself and book a condominium or cabin at Big Sky Resort so that you family has plenty of room to spread out and a spot for all the gear at the end of the day. We stayed in a three-bedroom Big Horn condo during our stay and it had a full kitchen, downstairs king bedroom with bath, upstairs queen bedroom with bath and third bedroom/bath combo that had a queen plus bunk bed. It really was ideal to come back to after a long day in the snow as everyone had space to spread out and you could cook up breakfast in the morning instead of carting everyone off to a restaurant. Highly recommend!
The resort has all kinds of accommodations available from traditional hotel rooms to full houses (many with ski-in, ski-out access). Bell staff is available 24 hours to take you and your ski gear from your rental to the slopes, downtown to dinner or even to the airport if needed.
6. Yellowstone is just a short drive away.
Do yourself a favor and put a winter visit to Yellowstone on your list. The park is closed to everyone except those arriving via snowcoach or snowmobile so you'll get a totally unique view of this majestic national park. During our visit we had a cab take us to West Yellowstone where we met up with our snowcoach tour. This bus with oversize snow tires took us to view all of the hot spots including Old Faithful, Biscuit Basin and lots of stops for bison and bald eagle spotting. Lunch was included and the kids absolutely loved it! The parents loved that they didn't have to plan anything and could just sit back and enjoy the day.
There's something about hiking through the snow to check out stinky, bubbling geothermal features like geysers, mudpots and fumaroles that really gets kids excited. And seeing a bison right out your window? Priceless!
For more information about all there is to do at Big Sky Resort during the winter (and summer too), check out bigskyresort.com. Additional information about nearby activities like dogsledding and additional dining options can be found at visitbigsky.com.
Big Sky Resort
Big Sky, MT
—story and images by Kate Loweth
Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by Big Sky Resort and Visit Big Sky, but all opinions belong to the writer.