Travel

On Heels of Record-Breaking Summer, Big Sky, Montana Hopes for High Winter Visitation

Blackbear and Cougar CabinsOfficials at the Big Sky & Greater Yellowstone Welcome Center in Big Sky, Montana have reported a significant increase in summer visitation this season compared to last, and are hoping for higher visitation for the 2015/16 winter season. Visit Big Sky officials attribute the summer increase not only to marketing efforts, but by visitors who are spreading the word about the endless opportunities for outdoor adventure that exist in Big Sky.

“Biggest Skiing in America means many things, especially more time on the slopes by not waiting in lines and more space to ski with 5,800 acres of skiable terrain,” said Exec. Director of Visit Big Sky, Kitty Clemens. “With unique experiences such as dog sledding and Western-style sleigh rides, the word is getting out about Big Sky as an adventure-filled winter destination. Big Sky has a pristine beauty that is attractive to visitors. They can go skiing, snowmobiling or horseback riding by day then, at night, sit near a crackling fire, sip a locally handcrafted brew, and take in the endless views of the snowcapped mountains while enjoying the best fare from a number of dining options.”

Skiers and non-skiers alike can check off a “bucket list” goal of dog sledding while in Big Sky. Guided half day trips and hands-on instruction for those eager to drive their own team of huskies are available. Described by many as “an experience of a lifetime,” both Spirit of the North Sled Dog Adventures and Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures offer trips daily throughout the winter season.

Town Center, in the heart of Big Sky, features a hockey and ice skating rink for all ages, with unforgettable views of the surrounding snowcapped mountains. Ice skate rentals are available at outdoor shops in Town Center.

Adventure seekers can ride through open meadows surrounded by alpine forests in both Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park on a snowmobile. Guided trips are available throughout Big Sky and to backcountry destinations in Yellowstone. A full list of guides and rental companies is available at biggestskiinginamerica.com.

Big Sky Resort opens its lifts beginning on Nov. 26, while runs in Moonlight Basin are expected to open on Dec. 11. Skiers can expect epic skiing at Big Sky Resort, since Big Sky receives over 400 inches of snow annually. Big Sky Resort’s scenic Lone Peak Tram is a quick ride to the top of Lone Peak where skiers can decend from 11,166 feet at the top.

Lone Mountain Ranch offers backcountry Nordic skiing, guided by a naturalist who will bring skiers to the most beautiful terrain, varying from easy trails to advanced glades. Visit lonemountainranch.com for details.

Beginning in December, Cache Creek Outfitters, 320 Guest Ranch, and Lone Mountain Ranch will all begin operating their winter sleigh rides – a true Western experience in Big Sky. Sleigh rides with all three outfitters include ranch style dinners, hot beverages and ambient dining halls or cabins where meals are served. Prices vary depending on outfitters. Visit individual sites for prices and reservation information or check out biggestskiinginamerica.com for details.
With its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky is the starting point for many winter tours. Snowcoach and snowmobile tours through the Park are available beginning December 15 and are a great way to see wildlife such as bison, wolves, and elk, along with the natural beauty of Yellowstone.

More information about winter activities in Big Sky can be found at biggestskiinginamerica.com.

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