Our flights out of the UK all worked well and our Air France card meant we got the ski baggage for free and helped ourselves to the lounge at Heathrow. The change in Minneapolis was fine, and we had an evening meal there before the second leg to Bozeman. The transfer to the Hotel was pretty good at around only 50 minutes and we got into our room at about 0030hrs so not bad and we were able to get up ready for the first day.
Our hotel, The Summit, was really great, not quite the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole but close and had good eating options at reasonable prices and the included breakfast was extensive and totally met our expectations. The staff were friendly and helpful and everyone we met was really nice …such a break from London. Our studio room was fine and the fold down bed comfortable plus it had a great bathroom and handy kitchen. We’d say a studio was good for two, probably a bit small for four. Our mountain view from the room was nice with only a hot tub between us and the lifts…not sure we have ever had to make so little effort to get onto the slopes before and the swimming pool sized hot tub was really good and even had bar service – highly recommended!
Slope-side eating was good US standard fare and not expensive by EU standards. We ate out in the evening also and found most of the options to be good enough to go back a second time. You get a resort charge card to charge your lunch and evening meals at most places to your room which was very handy and cheaper on credit card charges – it was even good for ski repair. We locked our dollars in the hotel safe and didn’t use them until on the way home!
The free bus into town (30mins ride) was regular and also really handy; the supermarket has good local meat and everything else you need to stock up on. The couple of bars and restaurants in town all seemed good too. Being British we kind of attracted a bit of attention, they don’t get too many of us in town it seems.
RIDING!!!! Well first off we had really good snow, falling most days 3-10 inches, with warm -15 to -5 temps, good light and bright sunshine on several days though those were often a lot colder -20. The Big Sky resort area is massive, I have to say we had an awesome time, it’s just so easy to get around you can just unplug your brain and ride anywhere and everywhere. Yep I would put it up pretty high on our favourites list…
And would it have been so great without so much snow? Yes, there are tons of parks and plenty of fresh tracks to be had, even after several days. Runs from the peak were however always a trial, it just gets so blown up that we just didn’t get a great run in liberty bowl, most would find the other routes down a bit daunting.
For learners it’s fantastic, probably best place we have seen. For intermediates and adventurers it has some of the best tree line and lift served access to back country we have come across in the US. For advanced intermediates there’s a bit of a lack of something, not quite sure what, maybe it was good snow on the upper mountain. For Advanced, it was okay even though there was a bit of a wait for the lift to take you to the top peak then there are some impressive, if a bit short, lines back to the lift.
For skiers it offers a massive recreational area, the vibe is just different in the US, it’s more relaxed, it’s like a big outdoor adventure park, very relaxing but not really taxing, there’s nothing here to conquer really. For us that’s fine, some used to skiing in Europe will love it, some may just not really ‘get it’ on a short visit..
We rode pretty much everywhere, if it has a fault I would say it’s there’s just something missing between the peak and the tree lines, it doesn’t quite link up steep long runs like say, Jackson Hole or Fernie. I think it is the shape of the mountain.
We went to Moonlight Basin on the wrong day, and didn’t really claim it. It had been over pisted and we found a few rocks which was surprising given the amount of snow. I had to have a gouge repaired in the base of my board!
But would we go back, YES, especially with a mixed ability group for say 10 days, it’s such an easy resort to deal with, and get to, and Montana seen from the peak is just stunning. It’s definitely on our top picks list and we had some massive, massive days of mind blowing powder, fresh tracks and just moments of pure 100% ‘WOW’.
By the way, 14 days of snowboarding is fine; day 8 is the hard day, you feel a bit like you can’t go on until day 10, then for the last 4 days your legs are so good you can ride like a total loon and your brain starts to work differently!
Flights back to UK were fine, checkout at 11, airport at 12, Minneapolis at 6pm, dinner at airport then sleep the rest of the way home; the best return we’ve had from the US…
Chris & Michelle.