Fast lifts, trendy outfits, and a downright huge expanse of terrain await at Big Sky, Montana. Take some warm-up laps on the long, rolling groomers off Swiftcurrent, followed by fun but mellow bumps and trees on Africa and Ambush Glades. Then head to the Bowl for a sampling of the above-treeline weather and snow conditions. If that checks out OK, the tram will likely be good too, which accesses spectacular terrain. You won’t be the only one waiting to sample it, so go early to avoid a big liftline. At the top, Liberty Bowl offers the most straightforward descent, but its south aspect is a mixed blessing. Snow, wind, and sun create variability on all the tram runs so local beta is key.
If the tram line is small because the visibility and weather are poor, take the cue. I have watched people fall over while standing still in Lone Peak’s low-viz void. Instead, ski the protected lines off the Challenger lift. This lift is long and slow, so don’t ride with someone who lacks conversation skills. In the absence of good company, the ultra-rutted bumps directly underneath the lift make excellent spectating opportunities. Read more here.—Karin Kirk