Skier’s Guide to the Lone Peak Tram
Everybody remembers their first ride up the Lone Peak Tram. While ascending 1,450 vertical feet in four minutes with no more than 15 skiers and riders, it is impossible not to be wowed by the view of Lone Mountain’s towering summit and the surrounding Big Sky landscape.
But if the journey to the top is extraordinary, it is the ski down that makes access to the Lone Peak Tram unforgettable. Once a rider offloads, 300 degrees and thousands of acres of skiing are at their feet, creating the closest thing to heli-skiing in Montana. It’s a bucket list item for skiers all over the world.
Given the Lone Peak Tram’s popularity in recent years, queues to load the Tram have grown in length. With a maximum capacity of 30 guests every 8 minutes – which is about 800 passengers a day – wait times on those deep powder days have had guests waiting over two hours hoping to get a tram ride to an unforgettable run. Some may say it’s worth the wait, but Big Sky Resort wants to do better and improve the guest experience by bringing the average wait time down to 30 minutes or less. Delivering an experience like this is not easy, and requires strategic changes to make this a reality.
Photo: Ulderico Granger
How to Access the Lone Peak Tram
Starting Winter 2021-22, Big Sky is making a few changes to how guests access the Tram. A Tram ride isn’t included in a lift ticket, Ikon Pass, Mountain Collective Pass or Big Sky Resort season pass (except Gold and Double Black), and needs to be purchased. Guests can enable Autocharge on their Big Sky Resort account, so they’re charged the daily rate when they go through the gate at the bottom terminal. Those interested can learn more about how the new Tram Access system works in our FAQs to make sure they’re ready to go before hitting the mountain.
Photo: Tom Cohen
Make the Most of Your Day with a Tram Guide
Whether it’s someone’s first time up the Tram or they’re a seasoned veteran with an eye on a new line, Tram Guides are a great way to explore the upper mountain. With Tram access included for a full- or half-day, riders can get the most of their laps with a specialized guide. A guide can assess a skier’s skill level and recommend the best route down, or act as a guide into Big Sky’s most advanced terrain with confidence. Tram Guides also have avalanche gear for those ready for the Big Couloir or the North Summit Snowfield—more on that below.
Photo: Jeff Engerbretson
Terrain & Sign-Out
300 degrees and thousands of acres of terrain off the Lone Peak Tram certainly leaves plenty of options. The easiest way down is the single-black Liberty Bowl, which is long, wide, and shows off spectacular views all the way out to Wyoming and Idaho. On the other end of the spectrum, runs like the classic Big Couloir, North Summit Snowfield, and Dictators Chutes challenge even the most advanced athletes.
For those planning to tackle the Big Couloir or North Summit Snowfield, a few extra steps must be taken before descent. Anyone skiing or riding those two runs needs to have a partner and an avalanche beacon. Once those requirements are met, skiers must sign out with patrol, leaving their contact information to secure a time slot. Times fill up quickly, so riders interested in these descents should make their way to the patrol office around the back side of the building as soon as they reach the top.
Big Sky Resort’s Commitment
What sets Big Sky Resort apart from other ski areas is that all 5,850 acres are skiable and what makes that truly possible is the Lone Peak Tram. Lone Peak defines the resort, and riding the Tram makes for memorable and spectacular moments, whether for the amazing skiing or the stunning views.
Big Sky Resort’s goal to consistently manage the Tram queue down to 30 minutes, on average, is ambitious. And so is the terrain off Lone Mountain. The amazing bucket list experience of skiing off Lone Peak is something Big Sky wants to share with all determined skiers and riders. Standing atop Lone Peak, with only 14 other people, descending on a run that feels like the closest thing to heli-skiing in Montana, is an experience that has to be skied to believe.