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Posted in features, Hidden Hills Magazine, Seasonal Experiences, Travel

Big Sky: The Ultimate & Unforgettable Ski Week Destination

If you search an official list of the top ten winter destinations in North America, Big Sky, Montana won’t be on it.  But just as your favorite eatery may not be on a list of trendy restaurants that doesn’t mean the food isn’t phenomenal.  In fact, it is usually better if your faves are off the radar a bit, so as to selfishly keep things to yourself.  This has been the case with Big Sky.  It is my theory that those who love the place do in fact try to keep it on the down-low, a crowd from which there was likely a collective groan when the Kardashian sisters decided to film an episode of their tenth season there. Nonetheless, Big Sky is far from the status of destinations like Aspen or Sun Valley.  It is still a diamond in the rough, one which grows more polished over time however, and thus, continues to become increasingly noticeable in its brilliance.

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Across the spectrum of mountain towns that attract snow lovers, Big Sky definitely resides near the family-friendly end of options.  Night life is not one of Big Sky’s fortés, although there are plenty of solid dining options and some charmingly rustic taverns.  The experience is more about days of epic recreation followed by nights of cozying up with your loved ones.

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And who doesn’t like skiing to the bottom of the mountain and hopping right back onto the lift?  This is one of several categories in which Big Sky is postively an overachiever. Officially boasting “the biggest skiing in America,” it is remarkably un-crowded, and whether or not there will be good snow is never a question.   Other recreational attractions of the Big Sky region are immense. In addition to diverse, challenging ski terrain, access to Yellowstone National Park (50 miles away), fishing, hunting, horseback riding, kayaking, camping, hiking, biking, golf and white water experiences provide a year-round recreational experience that is unparalleled.

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For those tossing around the idea of a family vacation home, comparatively, the value in Big Sky is exceptional.  If you want to be all dollars and cents about it, this is an area poised for a boom.  The hints of refined gentrification that often preceed a climb in real estate values are sprouting all about town.  From the ongoing develpment and evolution of the beautifully executed Big Sky Town Center, to Roxy’s Market, an upscale and earthy hipster kind of mercantile, the area is exponentially beyond where is was just a couple of seasons ago.  And the additon of non-stop flights from L.A. to Bozeman’s Gallatin Field (a majestic and gently meandering drive less than an hour away) is a further indicator that Big Sky is drawing broader interest.

Of course, those with access to private aviation have been way ahead of the curve, and the private, ultra-luxe resort communities that anchor the growth in vacation properties are a testament to the fact that those with the wherewithal to put their feet up anywhere know something about Big Sky others may not.  Affluentials like Bill Gates, Justin Timberlake and former Vice President, `Dan Quayle are just a few listed as having homes in the area, and in a sign of world class golf and skiing, so too do Phil Mickelson and Warren Miller.

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One such private community is Spanish Peaks.  This 5,700 acre resort offers a private mountain that connects with the Big Sky main resort, ski-in ski-out properties as well as plots of land that are ready for development.  The intimate Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, with its dramatic views of the Spanish Peaks mountain range, is a luxurious hub for any alpine activity you wish to conceive.  There is valet service in the winter that will have your family’s boots warm, lined up and ready to go (and they will even help you on with them).  Or if you choose to stay cozy for the day, the club offers fitness, spa treatments and youth programs along with it’s exquisite lounge and restaurant.   Home rentals are also available, and if you rent from a homeowner that is a member, your family can have daily access to the club for a nominal fee.  Well worth it at any price.  But give it a try with caution, because once your family experiences a ski week here, it will be difficult to do it any other way.

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