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Best Time To Ski Big Sky

Best Time

For Smaller Crowds

Jan. 5 to
March 15

Best Time To Ski Big Sky For Smaller Crowds: Big Sky's northerly latitude in Montana tends to scare a lot of skiers from showing up early in the season. There is a glut of visitors during the holidays, just like any major destination resort, but that horde quickly dissipates after New Year's Day, and the crowds, such as they are, don't return to Big Sky until March. Lines form up in March at the two main lifts at the bottom of the ski resort, but Big Sky has installed the only heated eight-seat ski lift in North America, which tends to make any lines move quickly. High up on the mountain, lines for the Lone Peak Tram average about 40 minutes; it's a very small car that doesn't move many people—but that's what makes it special. Skiers looking to carve up the Big Couloir won't face any of the gaper crowd that bunches up against the sides of Corbet's Couloir in Jackson. Skiing the Big requires signing out with ski patrol and securing a slot; patrol only relases a party every 10 minutes into the chute.

Best Time

For Lower Costs

Jan. 5 to
Feb. 15

Cheapest Time To Ski Big Sky: Like all major destination ski resorts, Big Sky collects its largest crowds around the holidays at New Year's, when private home owners—there's a lot of them in Big Sky—all show up. After that group clears out, however, Big Sky is half deserted. Many people simply don't relish going to Big Sky's northerly latitude during the darkest and coldest part of winter. So for those looking for a deal, this is a great time to target. Lodging and airfare will be at their lowest. For skiers scared of the cold, don't get too worried. Big Sky is north, but it's not particularly high, so its weather isn't much different than Colorado's at this time of year (although there's less light). In addition, Big Sky has some of the most luxurious (heated!) lifts in North America, that keep skiers toasty from the time they sit on the chair to the time they get off.

Best Time

To Fly

To Big Sky

Tuesdays, Wednesdays
& Most Of January

Best Time To Fly To Big Sky: Bozeman has the most consequential airport in Montana, and, due to the summer crowds who filter through for trips to Yellowstone, it's quite a bit bigger than one would expect given the size of the town. Good flights on big planes filter in from across the continent, from Chicago to Seattle and California. There are empty seats during the middle of the week, and during the weeks following New Year's, which gives fliers a chance to pounce on lower fares. The middle of week is always a good target here, as the significant raft of private homeowners in the Big Sky Area typically aim to visit their homes on the weekends. Those who can shoot for the non-peak days of the week will be rewarded with cheaper fares, more abundant open seating, and more availability for reward tickets for frequent flyers.

Best Time

For Snow

Feb. 1 to
March 15

Best Time To Ski Big Sky For Snow: Big Sky gets an average amount of snow for a ski resort in the American Rockies. It has a higher standard deviation than many ski resorts in Colorado, however, making the early season a little riskier than other major ski resorts. A counterweight to that, however, is the wide swaths of easy-going blue terrain at Big Sky, which doesn't require a ton of snow to get open. Toward the end of the season, Big Sky is a good bet. It's base area is 1,200 feet higher than that of Jackson Hole, and it's northerly latitude means the suns rays aren't as direct as those in Colorado. About 37% of the ski resort faces north, which isn't an overwhelming amount, but it's enough terrain to give skiers adequate area to spread out and find good snow even if weather has gone into a freeze-thaw cycle in the middle of March.

Best time for snow at
Big Sky Resort
Snow quality compared w/
rest of North American resorts