With eight world-class ski resorts within an hour’s drive from my house, why do I still dream about skiing elsewhere? Well, maybe because it’s fun to ski something new and exciting and maybe it’s just the lure of the unknown combined with the surreal powder fantasies of ski films or marketing brochures. I must admit… the happy faces and bottomless pow draw me in.

Regardless of the hype, there’s something about getting out of your comfort zone and skiing somewhere bigger-than-life. Many times I dream of going back in time and skiing the little areas, like Alpental, WA, where I learned to ski. Or, someplace like Anthony Lakes, OR just because it’s there. Other times, I dream of the mega-resorts I’ve yet to ski like Aspen and Vail or Squaw and Mammoth.

The cool thing about dreaming about and then actually skiing at one of these resorts is that the memory stays with you forever. I’ll never forget the wide-open bowls of Blackcomb and the bottomless pow of Telluride. Likewise, I’ll never forget riding in the old tram at Jackson Hole with the late Doug Coombs and the chest-deep powder at Grand Targhee. Not to mention the killer days as a youth ripping it up at Crystal Mountain, Mt. Baker or Mt. Hood Meadows.

Putting aside all the great days I’ve had at many Utah resorts, I’m still searching Northward. Right now, my fixation is with the Northern Rockies of the US and Canada–Red Mountain, Kicking Horse, Fernie and others–all epic skiing wonderlands. But, I’m thinking Stateside still and just a bit South of the border… Big Sky, Montana.

Big Sky Resort, Montana - Tops on My "Must Ski" List

Why Big Sky, Montana?

Well, just one look at Lone Peak and you’ll be drawn in too. Rugged, untamed and unknown (at least to me), Big Sky is huge when combined with Moonlight Basin at 5,512 skiable acres. And, with over 400-inches of annual snowfall (not quite as much as Alta, but close) and 4,350 vertical feet in this remote mountain location seems like the perfect combination of steeps and untracked powder.

But, compared to the mountains to my back, access to Big Sky is far from easy. The drive looks to be about 9 hours from my home in Cedar Hills, Utah–even a flight into Bozeman still leaves you with an hour-and-a-half drive to the slopes (all this according to Google Maps, which, based on the comments below, now seems a bit off).

In spite of the distance and remote-ness… there’s no question that when my mind wanders to the unknown and mythical on my list of un-skied resorts, Big Sky, Montana will rise to the top. Someday… someday…

What resort is tops on your “must ski” list?

More Info: Visit BigSkyResort.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. Big Sky is indeed awesome. It’s only about 30-40 minutes from Bozeman, though, and well worth the drive. Let me know if you do get up to Big Sky and maybe we can make some turns together.

  2. Darn that Google Maps! It says 1 hour 33 min drive time from Bozeman to Big Sky. Sometimes they are accurate in those estimates, but this one seems way off, I guess. Thanks for clarifying that… I’ll modify the article a bit to reflect that.

    When I make it up there, I’ll drop you a line. Thanks!

  3. UT is actually next on my list, 2011. Hitting Jackson for the first time in 2010.

    Other than those:
    Big Sky/Bridger Bowl
    Alyeska, AK

    Snyder — Minneapolis, MN

  4. @Snyder… why not aspire for greatness and put Great Bear, SD on your list? 🙂 I forgot to mention that I’ve been there… done that too. Fun little place to ski with family out there.

    You’ll enjoy Jackson… when are you going?

    Alyeska is another one of those I’ve got to hit someday.

  5. The drive to big sky is not nearly as bad as google maps makes it seem. It is actually only about 6 hours. It is also absolutely beautiful once you get past Rexburg. Just make sure not to speed through the little corner of Yellowstone you pass through. like not at all. The park rangers will bust you for 3 mph over.

    Big sky is world class and definitely worth the trip. Make sure to get the lone peak ticket which lets you ski Moonlight basin as well and go hit the headwaters chutes. 10 min of bootpacking leads to about 10 chutes that are an absolute blast to ski.

    If you want to go really big, grab a friend and your avy gear and go ski the no fall stuff of big and little coulier off the tram. it is good times for sure.

  6. Went to Big Sky about 10 years ago, very dissapointed you needed a “tee-time” with the ski patrol to ski the big & little couloir, we were there for 6 days and couldn’t get one, had to “know” someone, hope it’s changed.

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