Big Sky (406/995-5900 snow phone, 800/548- 4486 reservations, www.bigskyresort.com , $78 adults, $58 students with ID and youth ages 11–17, children 10 and under ski free) is the state’s biggest and best downhill ski resort. Eighty-five trails lace two mountains (Lone Peak is the big one; Andesite Mountain is right next to it and has mostly beginner trails), covering over 3,800 skiable acres.
An average of 400 inches of snow falls each year, and there are enough lifts, including a tram to the top of 11,166-foot Lone Peak, to keep lines fairly short. The tram, with its two 15-passenger cars, stops just 16 feet short of the summit and opens up lots of steep terrain. (For those who deem it too steep, it’s perfectly fine to get back on the tram and ride down to some nice intermediate-level slopes.)
The vertical drop is an amazing 4,350 feet, and the longest runs go on for six miles (from Liberty Bowl to Mountain Mall). Just off the Ram Charger high-speed quad, a terrain park offers several rails and a half-pipe, with terrain for all levels of snowboarders.
Half-day and multiday rates are also offered, as is night skiing from December 26 to March 31. Big Sky’s winter season runs from mid-November through mid-April.