Snow Reporting FAQs

Measuring snowfall at Big Sky Resort is particularly challenging due to the massive size of skiable terrain and dynamic weather conditions. Snow quality and depth often vary from one zone of the mountain to another on the same day with the many microclimates and varying aspects throughout the 300 degrees of skiing off of Lone Peak. As a result, Big Sky Ski Patrol and Snow Reporters use a variety of resources to report the most accurate depiction of snowfall at the Resort on any given day.

  • Big Sky has two weather stations that are used to collect and report on snowfall across our large and dynamic terrain:

    To give the best information in our morning snow reports, we also reference other snow measurement sites and weather stations located around the resort, including our Headwaters and Andesite snow stakes.

    Additional weather and snow information can be found for the following from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center at

  • Lobo, the primary Big Sky Resort weather station, is located near the top of the Swift Current 6 chair, at 9,000 feet above sea level.

  • 24-hour weather stations are cleared every day at 4 p.m. when the resort closes. Our snow reporters check the weather stations at 5 a.m. to calculate the overnight total. If it's snowing, any new accumulation gets added until 9 a.m. After that, our "Since 9 a.m." total is updated.

    Our 24-hour total is calculated from 5 a.m. - 5 a.m.. 48-hour, 72-hour, and 7-day totals are a summation of the 24-hour totals over the respective days.

  • Our storm total snow stakes are left to accumulate snow once it starts falling until 24 hours have passed with no new snowfall.

  • Big Sky Resort covers many different kinds of terrain. Elevation, wind, sun, storm flow direction, and other weather variables affect different zones of the mountain in unique ways throughout each day.

  • Season to date snowfall is the total measurement of freshly-fallen snow at the resort. Snow settles over time, so the season-to-date snowfall is an overestimate of the depth of snow on the mountain. Big Sky instead reports our base depth. This measurement is the height of the settled snow from the ground up and fluctuates with snowfall and temperature changes, but this provides a more accurate understanding of our skiable snowpack. The steep and high elevation terrain found on Lone Mountain causes great variability in snow depth, so we report our base depth at both of our snow stake locations to give more context about the conditions across the mountain.