(file photo: Big Sky Resort)

Montana’s Big Sky Focuses on the Future

Big Sky, MT – Big Sky Resort, located in southwest Montana and owned by Boyne Resorts, has unveiled Big Sky 2025: A Focused Vision For The Future, the ski resort’s commitment to progressive improvements and sustainable growth over the next decade. Led with an investment of over $150 million in resort improvements, the vision far exceeds expansion of the resort’s infrastructure — it represents a pledge of attention to detail and a pioneering spirit that resort officials hope will transform Big Sky Resort and all that surrounds its iconic Lone Peak, advocating a collective identity that it has termed the “American Alps”.

The  phased implementation proposed by the plan focuses on four priorities: development of one of North America’s most advanced chairlift networks to serve the highest vertical drop in the United States; newly created on-mountain activities and elevated lodging, dining and shopping experiences; active engagement in leading the Big Sky region to its full potential as a  livable and sustainable mountain community; and greatly expanded options for air access and ground transportation.

“For more than 67 years, my family and our organization has remained committed to creating memorable experiences at unique destinations, often inspired by sense of place and attention to detail,” said Stephen Kircher, president of Boyne Resorts’ eastern operations. “Big Sky will become the best representation of that ideal with our 2025 efforts.”

(file photo: Big Sky Resort)
(file photo: Big Sky Resort)

First and foremost, Big Sky 2025 focuses on the skiing experience, proposing 12 new or upgraded lifts that will boost Big Sky Resort to offer the highest lift-served vertical in the United States at over 4,500 feet.

Two of these lifts are already going in this summer. Accessing Lone Peak’s bowl and replacing the Lone Peak Triple is a six-place high-speed detachable featuring “Big Sky blue” bubble chairs with heated seats and child friendly restraining bars. At a quick three minutes to the top, uphill travel time on this soon-to-be-named lift is more than twice as fast as the previous ride.

Challenger Lift serves the long and steep runs that dominate the mountain’s Challenger area that’s exclusively for expert-level skiers. The fast fixed-grip lift being installed is accompanied by a conveyor load system that aides safer loading and fewer stops. The new three-person Challenger lift is a substantial upgrade from the previous double and not only speeds travel by one third, it will be much more wind resistant.

Also in the near-term, the Ramcharger lift has been upgraded to allow easier downloading of foot traffic for new summer Adventure Mountain zone, and night skiing will return to Andesite Mountain in 2017-18. A new high-speed bubble six-pack is planned to ascend Lone Peak Bowl within the next couple of years.

Looking further ahead, Big Sky intends to complete a number of other new lifts and lift upgrades. These include: replacing Ramcharger and Six-shooter with six-seat bubble chairs; making Shedhorn high-speed; putting a conveyor load on Iron Horse and Lone Moose; installing a new North Village Gondola; and installing a new lift to achieve the desired 4,500-foot vertical drop by adding 150 feet to the current statistic. In the long term, the plan calls for replacing Swift Current with a six-seat bubble chair, extending the Headwaters lift, a new lift on the South Face and another near Moonlight Lodge, expanding other lifts on the Moonlight Basin side, installing a mountain coaster, upgrading the limited capacity of the Lone Peak Tram, and installing the Thunderwolf six-place bubble. Throughout it all, Big Sky anticipates continually expanding its snowmaking capability.

On-mountain dining experiences, taking many cues from the best throughout the Alps, will complement the already growing menu of high-alpine activities.  In the mid-term that calls for expanding dining at the top of Six-shooter and a new Bowl Restaurant. Long-term plans include expanded mountain dining at the Shedhorn Grill and gondola mid-station.

Enlivenment and thoughtfully paced expansion of the resort’s Mountain Village are also core to the overall Big Sky 2025 vision. A pedestrian-friendly setting, vibrant through all seasons, that is in keeping with the resort’s Montana roots yet reflective of Europe’s quaint mountain villages is envisioned. Building on recent enhancements to dining and shopping options, the near term and future phases include further upgrades to existing facilities and adding diverse and unique dining, shopping, lodging and entertainment venues, while at the same time expanding and improving meeting and special event facilities.

Big Sky Resort, as the area’s largest employer, remains committed to helping lead efforts to become one of the most livable and sustainable mountain communities in the Rockies. Priorities are for helping to create more affordable housing options while continuing to build upon and support key quality of life initiatives. The resort has already held leadership roles in the inception and expansion of public facilities such as the hospital, Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, parks, trails and workforce housing. Big Sky 2025 helps support the near-future investment of over $1 billion in the community by the resort’s development partners and others.

Big Sky Resort continues to lead the effort to make the Big Sky/Bozeman area one of the most accessible mountain venues outside of Denver and Salt Lake City. Big Sky 2025 prioritizes adding additional non-stop flights from more cities, with more frequency, with more seats, and creating better pricing options for more travelers. The resort’s commitment to growth in air transportation spans the past four decades and focus will also remain on helping to facilitate ground transportation solutions to and from the Bozeman area and within the Big Sky community itself.

“Boyne has a 40-year history of investing in Big Sky, and is now doubling down to continue sustainable growth in the community,” said Taylor Middleton, president and general manager of Big Sky Resort.

For more information, the plan is available to review online at bigsky2025.com.

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