All images: Where Y'at Staff/Provided Photos

Responsibly Hit the Slopes in Big Sky

15:00 November 27, 2020
By: Josh Danzig

Traveling has changed since the pandemic. People are shunning cities for the outdoors. However, with winter upon us and Carnival parades cancelled, there are only so many options. But if you're considering skiing this season, head to the vast open space and responsible setup at Big Sky Resort, Montana.

Big Sky Resort is located in the Rocky Mountains near Yellowstone National Park. About an hour drive from the closest airport in Bozeman, Big Sky Resort is known as the "biggest skiing in America." While Bozeman cannot be reached by direct flight from New Orleans, an easy connection through Dallas or Houston makes Bozeman an easy place to get to.

Bozeman is a charming city of roughly 50,000 people and is filled with shopping, museums, and brew pubs. Before or after your flight, stop for a meal at Ted's Montana Grill. Now a chain with over 40 locations, Ted's Montana Grill has its original location in Bozeman. Founded by Ted Turner, the restaurant is known for its delicious bison and burgers.

The 2020 season at Big Sky Resort opened on Thanksgiving. The resort is taking precautions during the pandemic, with increased physical distancing, mandatory masking, and easy access to hand sanitizer. Advance reservations for lift tickets are recommended, though not required, to help with contact tracing.

In addition, chairlifts will be monitored to prevent maximum capacity and to allow groups traveling together to not have to ride with strangers. The Mountain Sports School is also making special preparations to practice social distancing and responsible instruction. Furthermore, the food and beverage facilities have been spaced out to allow for ample space in between tables.

Big Sky Resort features 5,850 skiable acres, which is more acreage than even Vail. The resort has 38 lifts and an elevation of 11,166 feet at the summit of Lone Peak. With 26 chair lifts and an average annual snowfall of 400+ inches, there is more than enough skiing to meet the demand of any skier—from expert to beginner.

While the resort itself offers some housing options, the best alternative is a ski-in, ski-out house, condo, or cabin from Moonlight Rentals and Saddle Ridge Rentals.

Moonlight Rentals and Saddle Ridge Rentals offer turn-key rental properties that include such amenities as breathtaking views, a private outdoor hot tub, and fireplaces. Full kitchens at each location make it easy for breakfasts before hitting the slopes. The ski-in/out access is first class and features convenient entry to numerous chair lifts.

Most importantly, the staff of Moonlight Rentals and Saddle Ridge Rentals will work with you personally to find the perfect accommodations. They will assist you in everything from purchasing lift tickets and making restaurant reservations to airport transfers and booking a massage after a hard day of skiing.

The community of Big Sky lies about 15 minutes down the mountain from the resort. This is where the Big Sky Medical Center is found, as well as the area's best supermarket: Roxy's Market. There are also a number of restaurants in the area, including surprisingly delicious Thai food found at Lotus Pad Thai.

The best spot for rentals and equipment is Grizzly Outfitters in the town of Big Sky. The staff at Grizzly will help you find the proper equipment and clothing needed for a successful trip. Grizzly Outfitters is also taking the pandemic seriously, with enhanced cleaning, minimal contact, and masks and distancing.

For that special meal out, head to Horn and Cantle for dinner. Located at the magnificent Lone Mountain Ranch, the newly renovated restaurant and saloon serves an authentic Montana culinary experience. Smoked elk meatballs, bison meatloaf, and Montana trout are just some of the menu highlights.

Do not leave Big Sky without snowmobiling with Canyon Adventures. Featuring miles of groomed trails, a trip with Canyon Adventures provides views that few people get to see. The Spanish Peaks, Lone Peak, and the Sphinx Mountains are just some of the breathtaking sights that you will experience.

After a day of snowmobiling, the beautiful scenery continues over a meal at Riverhouse BBQ. The down-home restaurant features delicious smoked BBQ meats, burgers, and ice-cold beers, which can be enjoyed with a view of the beautiful Gallatin River.

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