Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

Moonlighting in Big Sky Country

This was our first trip to the newly combined Moonlight Basin and Big Sky, now one of the largest ski areas in North America. The terrain is huge and sprawling, with scary steeps, excellent trees and long, fast open groomers.

Interestingly, despite the hype, one thing hasn’t changed since our last visit to Big Sky. There’s still no one here. Apart from the Big Sky Tram on a powder day, lift lines are non-existent. I’ve no idea why people pay millions to join the adjacent Yellowstone Club to get their own private ski hill. Us mere mortals get one too, for $60 a day.

The base is a bit low right now, so there were plenty of rocks on the really steep chutes and off the tram. We spent Friday exploring Moonlight Basin under clear blue skies. Saturday was Big Sky, and it started snowing mid-morning. By the end of the day, there was close to a foot of new in Liberty Bowl, and the skiing was quite magnificent everywhere, but especially off Lone Peak.

Sunday saw the snow abate and the crowds (a relative term here) came out and headed to the Tram. Being contrarians, we headed to Elk Park and Lone Moose, and picked up new snow all morning along. I think we even saw another person. Once. In the afternoon Kathy and me headed up the Tram (a 25 minute line) for a thigh-burning run down Marx in chopped up, superlight powder.

Monday was a cruisy day at Moonlight. So cruisy I unexpected hit a cat track lip on a groomer at Mach 5 (approximately), and had a hard landing after a considerable period of unanticipated air. it slowed me down for an hour, but fortunately I bumped in to my mate Gary, and he showed me some bump runs that made me forget the pain in my shoulders ;-}

With another 2 feet of snow, this would be a wonderful place. The variety, size, snow quality and steep terrain place Big Sky/Moonlight Basin firmly in the top echelon of North American skiing. If it’s looking deep by March, we might be heading back to explore further.

Trip details – 4 days, 8100m, 8900m, 8200m, 6800m

Season so far: 22 days, 12 powder days, 167,700 verts

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