Big Sky Family Guide for Winter
Big Sky Family Ski Terrain
Big Sky Resort is a world-class mountain resort where the skiing, just like the snow, is big. On average, 400 inches of powder falls on 5,850+ skiable acres. More than 2,300 of those acres are dedicated to beginner and intermediate terrain, which ski instructors call the best for learning to ski. Big Sky has more beginner and intermediate terrain than most ski resorts have in total acreage. Skill mastery is practiced and perfected on tremendous terrain variety, allowing for skill mastery as you explore the mountain. Big Sky Resort sees few crowds. Offering an average of two acres per skier, Big Sky’s lift lines are small to non-existent. The low skier density creates a safe, approachable environment to learn to ski.
“Green-plus” Family terrain: While many resorts are focused on terrain-based learning, Big Sky’s natural trails provide the best “green-plus” and “blue-minus” terrain in the country. These learning trails are extensively wide with a mellow, consistent, predictable pitch.
Green-plus terrain is considered slightly more advanced than traditional green-rated trails. These runs are longer, so advanced-beginner skiers can get more mileage out of their day. Have you nailed the skills needed for linking turns and stopping skills? Ready to start to explore the mountain and cruise with ease? Green-plus terrain is for you.
The top green runs at Big Sky: Mr. K., El Dorado, Sacajawea, Lower Powder River
“Blue-minus” Family terrain: For a level 4-6 skier. Slightly easier than a traditional blue-rated trail. These runs have steeper pitches that mellow out to finish the run. Consistent grooming of these runs makes the surface even, predictable and inviting for beginner and intermediate skiers.
The top blue runs at Big Sky: Meriwhether, Upper Morningstar, Horseshoe, Lobo, Blue Moon
Big Sky's Best Kid Ski Trails
These trails are specially designed for for fun and learning.
- Harbor’s Half Pipe is a natural gully formed at the top of Mr. K. The natural pitch of the mountain forms this area into a small half pipe, but remains mellow enough for kid’s skis.
- Porcupine is a short, mellow gladed area named for one of the animals that represent the Mountain Sports School groups. A "porcupine" is a level 5 skier that can handle advanced green runs.
- White Fang, located off the Explorer chairlift, provides a mellow trip throuigh the trees, followed by a small jump and a steeper pitch when exiting the trail.
- Short Stack Adventure Area trails use natural terrain to create beginner gladed tree trails with a mellow pitch, natural jumps and banked turns.
- Freemont’s Forest is a specially-designed banked-turn ski run through a small forest of trees to maximize lessons in turning.
- Pomp and Lizzett trails, located off the Southern Comfort chair, feature widely-spaced trees on a green pitch, making them some ideal first runs to learn the trees.
- Flyrock Gully is located off Cinnabar, just below the entrance to Peacemaker terrain park, offering a narrow gully with bumps and jumps.
- Kid’s Bowl is the beginner area located at the Mountain Village Base Area, including two magic carpets, Small Fry and Beehive Basin.
- Middle Basin is another beginner area in the Mountain Village Base Area, including the new bubble-covered magic carpet (also called Middle Basin).
- Bear Basin, adjacent to Chet’s Knob in Mountain Village, contains two new surface lifts to provide access to a wide, learning area with terrain based teaching rollers. Our ski instructors describe rollers as "big, gentle swells" or "snow whales." This helps skiers work on balance and how to adjust for varying terrain, pitch, and gliding.
Beginner & Family Friendly Terrain Parks
Big Sky’s beginner terrain parks, Cowpoke and Explorer, provide small features in a learning environment. Cowpoke and Explorer are the kids terrain parks with small, classic terrain park features like boxes, rails and jumps. In the Explorer Park, kids can ski down and go on a scavenger hunt for animals that represent the Mountain Sports School groups. Beginners are turtles, and kids graduate to Bear, Beaver, Moose, Porcupine, Raccoon, Owl, Wolf and Rabbit.
Beginner & Family Friendly Race Course
Chet’s Knob is a beginner race course for Mountain Sports School students to test their turns in a relaxed environment.
Mountain Sports School
Big Sky Mountain Sports School focuses on learning for all ages and ability levels. Specialized features for learning to ski are found throughout the vast 2,300 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain.
Why Big Sky Mountain Sports School?
- Big Sky Mountain Sports School believes in providing an experience that goes beyond learning how to ski. Our goal is to install a lifelong love of the sport and sharing the passion and enthusiasm for mountain sports that brought us to Big Sky.
- Every Big Sky Mountain Sports instructors are PSIA or AASI certified. Many of Big Sky’s instructors are industry leaders in mountain sports education, and are involved at a national level.
- More than 75% of Big Sky Mountain Sports instructors return year after year – and several are 25 year veterans of the resort.
- On average, class sizes are among the smallest in the country. For example, the average 4-6 year old class size is 2-3 students.
- Big Sky’s limited lift lines = more time skiing with your instructor.
Winter Child Care
Lone Peak Playhouse
Children from 6 months to 8 years old are welcome at Lone Peak Playhouse for a safe and fun alternative to skiing. Lone Peak Playhouse operates in conjunction with Big Sky Resort and Mountain Sports School, and is conveniently located in both Mountain Village and Madison Base, just steps from Mountain Sports School check-in. Are your children taking a half-day lesson? Their instructor will drop them off at Lone Peak Playhouse for the remainder of the day. Advanced reservations are recommended.
Winter Family Dining Options at Big Sky
Chet’s Restaurant is the place to be for family après. Newly renovated for the 2018-2019 season, Chet’s will feature games, drink and food specials (for adults and children), and a kid-focused menu – including some sweet treats after a day on the hill. Menu options are uniquely Montana, including bison queso with buffalo chips, bacon mac & beer cheese bites, huckleberry barbeque wings and bagel pizza with bison chorizo. Chet’s is also the place for families for dinner – so feel free to stay through après and make dinner plans as well. Located directly at the base of the Explorer Lift in the Huntley Lodge and at the heart of the village plaza, Chet’s is the perfect spot to wind down in the comfort of a cozy fireplace before dinner.
Nothing is better than capping off an early ski morning with a cozy, exclusive breakfast with the whole family, surrounded by beautiful views of Lone Peak. First Tracks is the only way to ski Big Sky before anyone else, with a guide to lead the way to the best terrain of the day. Picture yourself skiing Andesite Mountain as the sun illuminates the mountains. Bask in the glory of untouched slopes, a stunning mountain sunrise, and a family-friendly breakfast at Everett’s 8800. Breakfast will be ordered off menu, including traditional American and European style offerings. Think omelets, eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles, coffee, hot cocoa – hot items to warm up after a morning on the slopes. No age requirement. Skiers should be able to ski intermediate-level terrain to enjoy this First Tracks experience. Everett’s First Tracks is for intermediate skiers, especially families, looking for new experiences skiing together.
The Nature Zip begins with a 15 minute hike up Moose Tracks, a quarter-mile trail located under the Swift Current lift with approximately 150 feet of elevation gain. Participants will wear snowshoes in the winter. Snowshoe rental is included in activity. The tour consists of four ziplines ranging from 275' to 490' in length and 30 to 50 feet in the air. The lines crisscross Moose Tracks Gully and finish toward the bottom of Moose Tracks.
Snowshoe tours through Moose Tracks Gully – departing daily from Basecamp in Mountain Village at 1:00pm.
Bungee Trampoline & Giant Swing (Adventure Mountain)
Bungee trampoline & giant swing in the Mountain Village base area are open for kids in the winter.
S'mores and Ski Patrol Dog Demo
Every Saturday, families enjoy s’mores by a campfire & a ski patrol rescue dog demo in the Village Plaza as the slopes close for the day.
Spirit of the North Dogsledding trips depart from Moonlight side of Big Sky Resort - just about one mile above Big Sky Mountain Village Along the trail, you'll see some of the beautiful country that makes Montana so majestic such as Lone Mountain and the Spanish Peaks.