Are you planning your first ski vacation in Big Sky, Montana? Nestled in the heart of the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, Big Sky offers some of the best resort amenities and terrain in the West for both beginner and expert skiers and snowboarders – and those simply looking for a scenic setting to relax in the Montana mountains!
Big Sky Montana boasts the biggest skiing in America – 5,850 skiable acres with 320 ski runs on 4 interconnected mountains, high-speed heated chairlifts, and breathtaking terrain ranging from green groomers and bunny hills in the base areas to iconic couloirs and terrifying triple diamonds stemming from the summit of Lone Peak.
You can bring the whole crew to Big Sky and experience the winter adventure of a lifetime, and be one of the first to ride the transformed Lone Peak Tram this winter season!
Forget the terrifying triple diamond rating at Big Sky – those slopes are for the experts! We’re here to share our 8 tips for first-timers on the Big Sky slopes – and to tell you that there’s no better place on earth to enter the world of winter sports and learn to ski or snowboard than Big Sky Montana!
1. Book A Ski-In Ski-Out Vacation Rental
Forget the hassle of transportation, packed parking lots, and transitioning your gear from your rental home to the Big Sky slopes, and back home! Your first time on the slopes should be effortless, easy, and fun! From waking up to first tracks, skiing from your back deck, and easy access to the ski lifts and ski schools, to the convenience of taking a midday lunch break or hot tub soak, a slopeside vacation is the epitome of mountain living – and the ultimate experience for first-timers on the slopes. Word of caution, be sure the ski access is suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. On that note, our Cowboy Heaven Cabins boast TRUE ski-in/ski-out access to Big Sky Resort for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.
Browse our collection of ski-in ski-out rentals in Big Sky
2. Choose Warmth & Comfort over Style
Montana winters are chilly and weather conditions in the higher elevations are constantly changing, so prioritize warmth and comfort over designer ski styles! We recommend wearing three layers; a moisture-wicking base layer to keep you dry, an insulating layer for warmth, and a waterproof outer layer to protect yourself against the elements. Top it off with waterproof gloves or mittens, a sweat-wicking skull cap beanie to wear under your helmet, and high-quality ski socks with padding to soften the ski boot. There’s a variety of outdoor gear stores in Mountain Village and Big Sky Town Center to shop locally too.
Check out our Easy Winter Packing List for Kids
3. Rent Your Winter Sports Gear
While you may be tempted to snag a cool pair of vintage skis on eBay, for a successful first time on the slopes renting equipment locally is your best bet. There are so many different brands, types, lengths, and price ranges of skis and snowboards. As a beginner, choosing the right gear can be a confusing call. Our local Big Sky outfitters will equip you with the right gear for your weight, height, and skill level to enhance your experience, deliver directly to your Big Sky rental home, and even meet you on the mountain to switch out gear if you’re feeling out of sync. Bonus! Guests of Big Sky Vacation Rentals enjoy a 15% discount at Ski Butlers in Big Sky.
Shop around for Big Sky winter sports rentals
4. Learn With A Pro (Not Your Pals!)
Learning to ski or snowboard is fun, but for first-timers, it can be a tiring experience with a high level of fear and frustration. But, everyone has to start somewhere, and Big Sky is the place! The seasoned instructors at Big Sky Mountain Sports School specialize in tailoring their instruction to your individual needs, ensuring you learn at your own pace, build confidence to conquer the beginner Big Sky slopes, and transition with ease from pizza slices and snow plows to smooth carves or parallel turns in no time! Big Sky Resort offers a variety of ski and snowboard lessons including kids lessons for ages 2 and up, private one-on-one sessions with an instructor, and group lessons for all ages and ability levels.
Book Big Sky Mountain Sports School ski and snowboard lessons
5. Get Lift Tickets in Advance
For the best rates and confirmed availability, don’t wait until you’re at the resort to purchase your lift tickets. Lift tickets are not included in ski and snowboard lessons, so a pass is required for every day you intend to ski. All Ikon Passholders and Mountain Collective pass holders will need to make a reservation to use their days at Big Sky, or for daily lift tickets get the best per-day rate by booking early, and bundling up your days! Big Sky Resort offers Beginner Tickets which include access to the Explorer lift at Mountain Village, the Derringer lift at Madison Base, and the magic carpets at both Big Sky base areas. Tickets are not available in the early season and are available at ticket windows only.
Explore all Big Sky Resort Lift Ticket Options
6. Build Confidence Cruising Big Sky’s Beginner Terrain
Big Sky Resort’s beginner terrain will have you building confidence on the slopes in no time! For those looking to escape the crowds, the Madison base area on the north side of the mountain is quieter than Mountain Village and easily accessible from our ski in ski out rentals in Moonlight Basin. Both base areas have a Mountain Sports School, gentle green trails, easy chairlifts, and small terrain parks for beginners to practice their jumps, tricks, and stunts in a fun and safe setting. You’ll be riding the iconic high-speed high-tech Big Sky Blue Bubbles and all-new Lone Peak Tram to the upper elevation slopes in no time!
Take a Tour of Big Sky Resort Winter Trails
7. Safety First
As you embark on your snow-filled adventure, your personal safety is paramount! On your first day on the slopes, you’ll discover muscles you never knew you had, so warm up and stretch before strapping on your gear. Always use proper equipment and protective gear, and smother on the sunscreen – the higher the altitude, the easier the sunburn. Dehydration at high altitudes is also a reality, so stay hydrated – and we’re not talking about mountain mimosas and craft beer at the on-mountain restaurants! Last, but not least, familiarize yourself with the Skier Responsibility Code and safety at Big Sky Resort and, as a beginner, always hit the slopes with a buddy.
Learn About Safety at Big Sky Resort
8. Balance Your Time in Big Sky
Balancing your time in Big Sky is all about embracing the diversity of experiences our winter wonderland has to offer, and having fun! Aside from the elevated experiences at Big Sky Resort, you’ll find an array of activities to keep your off-slope days just as exciting as your time on the mountain. Have fun and mix it up a little with an easy snowshoe hike, a coach or snowmobile tour of Yellowstone National Park, sledding and ice skating at Town Center, or a bucket-list day of mushing in the Montana mountains. Big Sky hosts a lineup of epic winter events in Big Sky and an evening of après ski always awaits!
Our Big Sky vacation rentals have been the home base of many first-timers evolving into true Big Sky triple black aficionados! We know your ski vacation is a big investment! We represent the best vacation homes and condos in Big Sky with a local team to provide you with guest services and tips to make your vacation truly exceptional. BOOK ONLINE or call our team today at (888) 915-2787.