Summer Resorts 2002-Northern Rockies: Big Sky, Mont.

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Big Sky, Mont.

The sky isn?t the only big thing at this fabled Montana resort: So are the mountains, the rivers and the summer experiences amid the spectacular Gallatin and Spanish Peaks ranges.

From your lodge in Mountain Village, you can be up in the dramatic peaks, closer to that oversized sky, almost immediately. The gondola trundles you up Lone Mountain, where the choice is yours: mellow hike or high-speed mountain bike. Once you?ve secured a gondy pass, how many laps you make on the mountain?s singletrack depends only on your own stamina. A high-alpine Frisbee golf course also rambles around the Big Sky slopes, while the real golf ranges across 18 view-saturated, Arnold Palmer-designed holes in the valley.

The valley is also where you?ll find the Gallatin River, legendary for boating and blue-ribbon flyfishing. For a great traditional Western outing, sign on for a Lone Mountain Ranch horseback trail ride. As you head deep into the rich pine forest, it?ll be hard to believe that civilization?s best perks are as close as the resort?s Solace Spa, excellent restaurants and big-name outdoor concerts. ?Jay Cowan

Don?t Miss Yellowstone Park?s wildlife, geysers, lakes and waterfalls are less than an hour away ($20/car for a seven-day pass). 307-344-7381; www.nps.gov/yell.

best deal The Great Escape Package ($301 per person) includes two nights at the Summit Hotel (double occupancy), breakfast, a gondola ride, a half-day raft trip and one-hour horse ride. 800-548-4486; www.bigskyresort.com.