Big Sky’s Ambitious Gondola and Tram Aim to Alleviate Base Area Crowds and Improve Lone Peak Access

The massive construction is the last phase of the resort's 10-year master plan.

Photo: Jon Resnick/Big Sky Resort

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In what sounds like one of the biggest ski resort upgrades on the continent, Big Sky today unveiled plans for a new tram with state-of-the-art base and top terminals, linked by a two-stage gondola from the base village. This will completely transform how skiers access the resort’s iconic Lone Peak, and will also open up that part of the mountain for summer and pedestrian access for the first time ever.

Also Read: The Big Couloir Isn’t the Only Bucket List Run at Big Sky

The new development also marks the last chapter in Big Sky’s 10-year master plan, which started in 2016 with the addition of the Powder Seeker 6 express bubble chair and has added significant additions to the mountain and village every season since. This winter’s Swift Current 6 high-speed six-person chair, the fastest lift in North America, was the latest upgrade.

Big Sky 2025
Four new terminals comprise the last phase of Big Sky’s 10-year master plan. Photo: Courtesy of Big Sky

Construction on the new gondola and tram combo will begin this summer and is expected to be completed for the 2025 ski season. The two-stage gondola will replace the old Explorer chair, which has been in operation since the resort opened in 1973. It’ll run from the village to the bottom of The Bowl, connecting the lower tram terminal to the mid-station learning center, with several new dining options and skier services along the way.

Related: Big Sky’s New Tram Policy Aims to Control Crowds, But It Will Cost You

“The new lift system from the base area to the summit of Lone Peak will revolutionize the way we access ‘America’s Matterhorn’ in both winter and summer,” said Big Sky president and COO Taylor Middleton. “While offering this incredible new lift access on Lone Peak, we will continue to preserve the core ski experience off the summit by managing the number of skiers every hour based on current conditions.”

The tram’s top terminal will be a complete transformation from what’s there now, including a scenic viewing platform at 11,000 feet where summer visitors can also take in the 360-degree views of almost a dozen southwestern Montana mountain ranges.

Big Sky Tram bottom terminal
The bottom terminal of the tram (and top gondola terminal) will also feature new dining options. Photo: Courtesy of Big Sky Resort

The bottom tram terminal, which is also the top gondola station, will add new on-mountain dining outlets, while the gondola mid-station will house a new on-mountain Learning Center, which will serve as a new hub for Big Sky Mountain Sports School, plus more dining options. Further down the road, the resort plans to expand summer activities from this spot, including zip-lining, mountain biking, and hiking.

As a whole, this installment closes out the resort’s absolutely massive improvements that have seen Big Sky add or upgrade five lifts and complete several meaningful village updates, including the Huntley Lodge and Summit Hotel renovations, parking additions, workforce housing, and new restaurants.

“We couldn’t think of a more significant and emblematic series of initiatives to close out the transformation we’re accomplishing with the Big Sky 2025 vision,” said Stephen Kircher, CEO of Boyne Resort, which owns Big Sky. “Coupling a truly world-class tram experience with the most architecturally thoughtful on-mountain food and beverage and Mountain Sports facilities will set a new standard for mountain communities in North America.”Check out the full scope of the 10-year-plan, including future and completed projects, here.

Watch A Simulation of the Gondola and Tram in Action