Southwest of Bozeman, the Big Sky ski area has 150 trails spread across 5,800 acres served by 23 lifts on three mountains. While the published maximum vertical is 4,350 feet, the Lone Peak summit (11,150 feet) tram accesses 1,500 feet of vertical but is for extreme shredders only. Furthermore, another 1,500 feet of vertical requires riding down through the Mountain Village to the trails leading further down to Lone Moose Meadows, which is not typically done. Therefore, the effective vertical is really about 1,500 feet for the average snowboarder. This is sub-par compared to nearby resorts with over 2,000 feet of vertical, such as Bridger Bowl, Targhee and Jackson Hole.
Big Sky is definitely a skiers mountain with either really steep rock lined couliers or rolling intermediate runs requiring some hiking if you're not really careful to carry enough speed. If you’re into glades, check out the newer lines off the Sacajawea Trail.
If you’re looking for snowboarding steeps, head up the Lone Peak tram and try the Big Couloir with the tricky entrance into a narrow slot and 40 degree pitch. Not enough for you? Then try Castros Shoulder with a 50 degree pitch for a tight and technical ride. Also, explore the North Summit Snowfields. One of the best parts of Big Sky is that there is an open gate policy if you are prepared for some extreme backcountry terrain.
The Big Sky Resort recently merged with adjacent Moonlight Basin to create the largest ski area in the US. Overall, the combined resort has nine terrain parks to the delight of freestylers.
After a long morning of snowboarding, try checking out the on-mountain dining up at Everetts 8800 on top of Andesite.
Keep in mind that Big Sky is really a resort and not a town with full amenities - there is limited lodging, restaurants and nightlife. For some apres ski, try Chets Bar for Moose Drool or Black Bear Bar for Headstrong Ale. For nightlife, you can try the Rocking R Bar back down in Bozeman.
To reach the snowboarding at Big Sky Resort from Bozeman, head south on US191 thru Gallatin River Canyon into Big Sky (about 45 miles). The resort turn off is at the only flashing light in town.
Overall, Big Sky Resort is the 1st most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 11 snowboarding resorts in Montana.