Big Sky Montana is world-renowned for being an amazing place to visit in the wintertime. With Big Sky Resort and Yellowstone National Park so close, there’s a lot to do in the area! Here is an ideal 6 day trip to Big Sky country during the winter season.
Before we start talking about activities, we need to begin planning your trip. Here are a few key details to start with:
- Lodging: Big Sky has many hotel and condo lodging options. We recommend staying in a cabin, home, or condo managed by Saddle Ridge Rentals/Moonlight Rentals in Moonlight Basin. They have excellent customer service, all of their properties are ski-in/ski-out with private outdoor hot tubs, great views, and are impeccably clean.
- Rental car: Big Sky is an hour away from Bozeman International Airport, and the town of Big Sky is quite spread out. There is a free local shuttle in Big Sky, however, it only hits each stop once an hour. For the convenience of being able to get around easily during your vacation, we recommend renting a car in Bozeman. With a car, you will be able to drive to dinner, drop kids off at ski school, and get around to various activities on your own schedule. It is also important to rent a 4WD. Big Sky is a snowy mountain town and 4WD is a necessity.
- Lift Tickets: Once you have your lodging secured, go ahead and purchase your Big Sky lift tickets. Big Sky offers advanced ticket sales online and once you have a ticket for a specific day, that guarantees your spot on the mountain for that day, which is especially important for Winter 2020/2021 due to COVID19 and potential limiting of last-minute ticket sales. Also, the sooner you purchase your ticket, the better pricing you will receive.
- Groceries: Big Sky has 1 large grocery store (Roxy’s) and 3 smaller ones. Roxy’s is the best local store with wonderful organics, beef, and fish + a great wine selection. Since Big Sky’s grocery stores are located in a mountain town, they are on the pricier side. If you prefer to buy in bulk or keep your grocery bill down, we recommend buying most of your food in Bozeman. There is a Costco, Super Walmart, Albertsons, and Rosaurs (great organics) in Bozeman, but if you shop in Big Sky, Roxy’s Market is your best option.
- Ski/Snowboard Rentals: Get your Ski/Snowboard Rentals knocked out on the night of your arrival, if possible. We recommend Grizzly Outfitters in the Big Sky Town Center, or Black Tie Skis, if you prefer to have your skis delivered to your door. Ask Saddle Ridge Rentals/Moonlight Rentals about ski rental discounts when you rent your property from them.
Day 1: Ski School and Mountain Dining
- Morning: Take your first morning to rent your ski gear for the week. We recommend renting from Grizzly Outfitters or Black Tie Ski Rentals. Grizzly has a location in the town of Big Sky and Black Tie actually delivers.
- Afternoon: Drop the kids off for their first day of ski school. We recommend going to the ski school in the Madison Base Area. It has far less traffic and kids normally get in smaller groups with instructors. Spend the rest of the day exploring the Biggest Skiing in America, see our blog post about the Best Ski Runs At Big Sky Resort for more information about the mountain.
- Hot Tub: Leave time each afternoon to relax in your own private outdoor hot tub. This is a great time to catch up on the day’s events, hear how ski school went for your kids, and rejuvenate for the evening and next day of skiing.
- Dinner: After a long day of skiing at Big Sky head to dinner at Montana Jacks or Andiamo’s, located in the Big Sky Mountain Village. Montana Jacks serves great burgers and bar food and have a kid-friendly environment and Andiamo’s serves pizza and pasta.
Day 2: Ice Skating in the Town Center
- Ski School: Drop your kids off at the Madison lodge for their first full day of ski school. It’s important these first few days for kids to be in instruction, this way you can ski with them on the last few days of the trip.
- Lunch: Instead of going back to your condo for lunch, head over to Vista Hall. The Hall offers a variety of food ranging from sushi to pizza. Due to COVID-19, all restaurants in Vista Hall offer grab and go food.
- After Skiing: After a long day of skiing, take the family down the mountain to the town of Big Sky for Ice skating in the Town Center. Grizzly Outfitters rents ice skates and the skating rink is free to use! The kids will love it and you will be close to tons of great places to eat.
- Dinner: Since you’re already in the town of Big Sky, try one of the local restaurants. Blue Buddha Sushi and Ousel and Spur Pizza are both great choices.
Day 3: Family Sledding
- Morning: Drop the kids off for a morning of ski school. Ski school has the option for half days and you can pick your kids up for an afternoon of family skiing. Let your kids show you what they’ve learned so far and go skiing with them in the afternoon.
- Lunch: When you pick up the kids from ski school, head over to lunch at the Big Sky Vista Hall. Vista Hall is in the Big Sky Mountain Mall and is a brand new facility with plenty of food options.
- Post-Ski: Go sledding with the family on a nearby hillside. Big Sky has hills perfect for sledding everywhere and when you stay in a Saddle Ridge Rentals/Moonlight Rentals property, sleds are provided.
Day 4: Family Ski Day and Snowshoeing
- Morning: Ski in the morning with the whole family. If you’re looking for a good family-friendly area to ski, check out the Southern Comfort lift on the backside of Andesite mountain. There are plenty of long green circle and blue square runs, something for everyone.
- Afternoon: Take the afternoon to rent snowshoes from Grizzly Outfitters and go exploring. They can recommend some good locations to take a hike in the snow.
- Dinner: After a long day outside, head down the mountain for dinner at the Lotus Pad. This Thai restaurant has been voted the best restaurant in Big Sky for years! It’s family-friendly and they have an amazing menu. (If you haven’t been to the town center yet, you may want to combine this with an evening of ice skating.)
Day 5: Montana BBQ
- All Day: Drop the kids off for their last day of ski school. And enjoy your last day of skiing the more expert terrain.
- After Skiing: After a long day of skiing, take the kids sledding, or relax in your hot tub for some great family time.
- Dinner: For dinner, take the kids to a genuine Montana BBQ hangout. The Riverhouse Grill serves excellent BBQ, burgers, ribs, and sandwiches. They have a game room for the kids and live music Thursday-Sunday.
Day 6: Lone Peak With the Family
- All Day: For the last day in Big Sky, have a family ski day. Let the kids show you what they’ve learned. They probably know some cool trails and they have gotten WAY better since the first day.
- Lunch: Go to lunch at Everetts 8800, a restaurant located at the top of the Ramcharger lift. They have great food and a cozy environment. Make sure to make reservations far in advance!
- Afternoon: After lunch, take the kids up to the Lone Peak Tram. If they have the ability to ski black diamonds, ski down Liberty Bowl. If the kids aren’t ready to ski down black diamonds, you can take a scenic trip to the top of the tram, this way you can have the amazing experience without having to ski the challenging run.
- Dinner: For the last night in town it would be best to cook dinner. You probably have an early flight and its a long drive to the airport. If you don’t feel like cooking, but don’t want to go out, purchase a prepared meal from the Hungry Moose or the Gourmet Gals.
Let us know if you make it to all of these activities! Enjoy your stay your winter in Big Sky! And stay safe out there!
For more information about Big Sky see our other blog posts at The Best of Big Sky Blog.
Looking for lodging in the Big Sky/Yellowstone area? Check out Saddle Ridge Rentals/Moonlight Rentals, the best vacation rental company around, offering beautiful 2, 3, and 4 bedroom cabins, condos, and homes. They have some great deals on winter and summer rentals right now.