Summer Resorts 2000--Northern Rockies, Big Sky, Mont.


The sky is the limit at Montana's Big Sky Resort, where you can choose from any number of "sky" activities, including skydiving, hot air balloon rides and helicopter tours. Located an hour south of Bozeman, the resort is famous for its scenic gondola rides. Load your mountain bike for hardcore exploration of the many trails at 8,500 feet, or take a more leisurely descent on the new self-guided nature hike that winds its way back to the base area.

Flatlanders have equal opportunities. The northwest border of Yellowstone National Park is just 18 miles south. Lucky visitors might spot bison, grizzly bears and wolves. For a sure thing, plan a visit to the Grizzly Discovery Center (800-257-2570) in West Yellowstone.

Local fly-fishing boasts five blue-ribbon trout streams, including Big Sky's Gallatin River (Gallatin River Guides, 406-995-2290 or Wild Trout Outfitters 406-995-4895). The 18-hole, par-72 Big Sky Golf Course (406-995-5870) was designed by Arnold Palmer and, at 6,500 feet, winds along the banks of the West Fork of the Gallatin. Horseback trail rides range from one hour to all-day, lunch-included affairs.

After getting your fill of activity, unwind at the new Solace Spa at Big Sky (406-995-5803), which offers a full range of services. Cap the day with an elegant dinner at the Huntley Lodge followed by a round of poker at Chet's Bar.

DON'T MISS The first annual Big Sky Antique Fair, June 23-24.

BEST DEAL Great Escape packages: two nights at the Huntley Lodge, one gondola ride, 18 holes of golf, a half-day whitewater rafting trip, a one-hour horseback ride and breakfast daily, starting at $235 per person. Call (800) 548-4486, or visit