25 Top Spots: #16 Big Mountain, MT


Big, now bigger. Steady expansion over the past six seasons has grown this Montana resort to 3,000 acres, an amazing amount of terrain given the small local population. The front side has steep shots like Schmidt's Chutes and Don's Descent, and in flat light (which happens), locals run laps in the well-treed ravines of the North Bowl and Hellroaring Basin drainages.

The Vitals

Top Elevation: 7,000 feet
Vertical Drop: 2,500 feet
Snowfall: 324 inches (6,700')
Skiable Acres: 3,000
Phone: 800-858-4157
Web: bigmtn.com

On a powder day, skip everything up front and dart directly to the Picture Chutes. Wide-open and treeless, the 45-degree pitch is perfect.

Accumulation:Big Mountain gets weather more akin to Interior B.C. than Big Sky. Early snowfalls come in a little heavy, typically building a bomber base by mid December.

Après: On Wednesdays at the Great Northern Bar & Grill in Whitefish, cans of PBR are only a buck. Sunday is pint night. Your first pint is three bucks, refills are $2. You keep the glass.