By: Charlene & Richard Mixa
The name Big Sky brings images of glistening snow covered mountains with acres of ski slopes. With bragging rights as the Biggest Skiing in America, what’s the attraction for visiting when there’s “no snow.” Today Big Sky Resort is much more than just skiing. Chills and thrills greet summer visitors.
After visiting Yellowstone National Park, we take a break from erupting geysers for a different adventure at Big Sky Resort. While the Resort is officially 18 miles from Yellowstone, it’s an hour drive from the western park entrance. A winding scenic road leads up to Big Sky’s Mountain Village that is a wonderful walkable village. Big-time variety is found at the Plaza, the heart of the Village. Restaurants feature everything from nachos and beer to fine wine and exquisite cuisine. All the fixings for snacks to home-cooked meals are available as well as the local grocery store will even stock the pantry before guests arrive. The Mountain Mall has shops to meet any traveler’s needs. Definitely a resort that has all a guest needs on site.
Accommodations at Big Sky are “so” diverse. Touring the Mountain Village we find it all from the simple clean hotel room to single room suites to luxurious multi-bedroom suites and penthouses with fireplaces and in-room whirlpools as well as warm family size Alpine Cabins. It’s easy to see that the luxurious multi-bedroom suites are great for group as well as family getaways.
Chet Huntley, the famous news anchor, was the visionary behind Big Sky and the kingpin in its development. Our room is at the Huntley Lodge, the first lodge at the resort when it opened in the early 1970’s. Richly decorated in a rustic western motif, the Lodge features a huge bronze bear statue, titled “Sitting Bear” in the lower lobby. Visitors snap a special photo by “Sitting Bear”. An upper lobby has a great fireplace and gathering area. With two pools we like choosing the outdoor pool setting that fits our mood. Our room is a traditional hotel room with two queen beds, of course, in western décor. Extra touches are the crisp white linens, flat screen TV, a table and chairs in this spacious room, as well as a wet bar with a small refrigerator.
Today we are tackling the Golf Course at Big Sky. A classic links-style course it showcases the stunning natural beauty of Big Sky country. At 6,500 feet elevation, we find this 18 hole par 72, Arnold Palmer course definitely offers longer drives and some spectacular views of the Gallatin Mountain. Winding through the valley along the West Fork of the scenic Gallatin River, the course is wide open course with minimal trees. It does have plenty of high native grasses, natural hazards, and numerous strategically placed bunkers. Playing with a local couple we definitely appreciate their course knowledge. The elevation agrees with my golf skill today. Hurrah! I par all of the par-3’s and even get a birdie on #16 a par-4. A well maintained course it is a terrific afternoon of golf on this bright sunny, September, day.
Big Sky summer activities are thrilling and chilling. Feel the thrill of ziplining through the pines or chill with a massage at The Spa. We find a wide variety of summer activities to excite guests of all ages. Get wild in a paintball duel, ride up a mountain on a bike, scale the Climbing Wall, flip over on the Bungee Trampoline, walk through air on the high ropes, go horseback riding or take a hike. Catch a big fish – Big Sky is renowned as one of the best fly fishing locations in the country. Afterwards, find a respite in a refreshing pool to unwind and relax after an exciting day of adventure(s).
For the evening we have scrumptious dinners at Carabiner’s Restaurant. During the day it serves sandwich type meals then tranforms into an upscale dining establishment for the evening. Our favorite desserts are the delicious apple crisp and decadent liquid chocolate cake. The finale is after dinner cocktails, using our complimentary drink coupons, at Chet Bar in the Huntley Lodge. A toast to Chet Huntley! He would be thrilled at the winter and summer success of the Big Sky Resort. A place he put on the map!
Big Sky Resort, P.O. Box 160001, 1 Lone Mountain Trail, Big Sky, MT 59716; 800.548.4486; www.BigSkyResort.com