Big Sky, MT

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74 thoughts on “Big Sky, MT

  1. Eric Drissell March 17, 2016 / 8:25 pm

    I think your description of Sheddy (YAN lift with doppelmayr grips and some doppelmayr towers) belongs on Lone Moose… Shedhorn deftinitely isn’t a YAN lift retrofitted by Doppelmayr :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doppelmayr FTW! April 29, 2016 / 8:37 am

      Actually it has doppelmayr tower tubes that were installed there with the intention of building a detachable in the near future. (that didn’t happen of course)


  2. tjskiloaf17 December 20, 2016 / 9:26 am

    why does the new challenger lift have small extensions on the breakover????


    • Peter Landsman December 20, 2016 / 9:34 am

      There must have been an engineering change after the towers were fabricated. Possibly related: the haul rope was apparently cut a few feet too short and a new rope had to be brought in after the first splice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doppelmayr FTW! January 23, 2017 / 8:27 am

        I can confirm, they did cut too short and had to replace it. However the tower extension was in place before that so those are not related.


  3. Cvs December 1, 2017 / 11:32 pm

    Bridger Bowl got the first Skytrac fixed top drive terminal and the second tension return built by Skytrac.


  4. Ryan December 8, 2017 / 9:42 pm

    I really like how Big Sky has recycled some lifts from other areas.


    • pbropetech December 24, 2019 / 12:04 pm

      Including one I used to run long ago at Crystal (Cascade, formerly chair 9).


  5. Max Hart October 1, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    If anyone hasn’t seen the Ramcharger 8 Construction live cam, here it is:

    Look at the size of the fourth and fifth towers! Last spring someone speculated that they were going to try to cross Ambush without any towers in the middle of the trail. Looks like they’ve got that covered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doppelmayr FTW October 1, 2018 / 5:41 pm

      The traffic flow is gonna be much better now, was kinda a pinch point on crowded days.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bob December 23, 2019 / 11:27 pm

      They got it covered but they created the biggest e stop in America. If your in between the towers and the lift e stops the chair will bounce like crazy. One of the scariest lifts I have ever ridden.


      • Donald Reif January 10, 2020 / 8:10 am

        Large sag is pretty common on top-drive lifts.


        • Dog January 10, 2020 / 3:38 pm

          Just think about 60 people skiing down liberty bowl at the same time. Sounds terrible to me.


  6. GreatEight December 17, 2018 / 9:04 am

    Why do all Big Sky’s high speed lifts have low capacity (SIX SHOOTER, POWDER SEEKER, SOUTHERN COMFORT, SHEDHORN)?
    Can additional chairs be added to increase capacity?


    • Peter Landsman December 17, 2018 / 10:14 am

      Because the skier density at Big Sky is generally crazy low, making for excellent skiing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bob January 10, 2020 / 3:39 pm

      Yes the resort plans on adding more chairs in the next 5-15 years.


  7. GreatEight December 17, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    can you add design capacity of the high speed lifts to the spreadsheet?


  8. GreatEight December 17, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    Did you take any pictures of the inside of the 8 person chairs on Ramcharger Peter?


  9. Max Hart December 27, 2018 / 6:15 pm

    I found some neat shots of some of Big Sky’s long (and not so long) since removed lifts:

    Gondola I – 4:05, 6:05
    Lone Peak Triple (now Powder Seeker) – 4:00
    Andesite Double (now Ramcharger) – 4:03

    Gondolas (1 & 2) – 0:15, 2:29, 3:00, 5:29, 6:57
    Lone Peak Triple – 5:32
    Andesite Double (now Ramcharger) – 5:27
    Explorer Double (I know it’s still running) – 7:05
    Mad Wolf Double (now Thunderwolf) – 7:12 also has a pretty good collection of Big Sky’s Gondola I:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doppelmayr FTW December 31, 2018 / 6:34 pm

      it is frustratingly difficult to find any photos or videos of Gondola 2, the combination of its short life at big sky, the time period, and the fact it only operated on busy days makes photos of it rare. it would be so cool to see two gondolas operating side by side at big sky.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Mountaineer January 9, 2021 / 7:48 am

        Any idea if Gondola 2 was the PHB gondola from Squaw or a Poma with the œuf (egg) cabins?


    • ah May 14, 2019 / 10:26 am

      That’s a fantastic video for well more than just the lifts!


  10. Kaden K May 12, 2019 / 8:38 am

    Are the new lifts that are being constructed this summer real estate lifts?


    • Collin Parsons May 12, 2019 / 8:48 am

      Yes. Flatiron will start near the bottom of the Cabin lift and goes to the top of Lone Moose. Lakeview will start off the Natwista trail just above Madison base area. You can see the line from the Derringer lift.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Doppelmayr FTW May 13, 2019 / 11:06 am

    Pretty sure Flatiron is called Highlands, the other lift planned for Flat Iron Mountain would be called Flatiron.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jonathan June 21, 2019 / 10:58 pm

    What stations will the new lifts have?


    • reaperskier June 22, 2019 / 5:07 am

      probably doppelmayr alpenstar terminals.


  13. Maxwell July 3, 2019 / 3:08 pm

    Swift Current has 32 towers


  14. Sam Wendles October 12, 2019 / 10:47 pm

    Will Lone Moose be getting a loading carpet this season?


  15. powderforever45 October 14, 2019 / 12:56 pm

    They changed Lakeview to Madison?


  16. rebecca October 20, 2019 / 12:14 am

    Top five lifts (in my opinion) that need to be upgraded or have a loading carpet
    1. Iron horse
    2. lone tree (or have a detachable in the area)
    3. tram to have more capacity per hour
    4. dakota
    5. lone moose


  17. Sam Wendles October 20, 2019 / 4:06 am

    I saw on the big sky 2025 page that the new south face lift was going to go from mule skinner, hippie highway junction to the top of lone peak. It should start from the bottom of screaming left instead.


    • Collin Parsons October 20, 2019 / 9:44 am

      The Liberty Bowl seems to have been removed from current plans in favor of increasing capacity on the tram. I can’t find anything about it on the 2025 plan website while “tram upgrade” is there.


  18. skiz January 9, 2020 / 3:48 pm

    could big sky sell the tram to alta, they are looking for a pop-bottle tram up baldy, then put in like a 60-100 person tram?


    • powderforever45 January 9, 2020 / 6:07 pm

      60-100 person tram up lone peak would be WAY too much capacity because of the small area at the top of the peak.

      Liked by 2 people

      • V3 January 9, 2020 / 7:49 pm

        60-80 person could work if the interval was longer, also, start the lift down by the bottom of Challenger so the lift is around 8,000ft long. At 10min a load, the capacity would max at 480pph, they could also reserve some capacity for sightseeing so not all users are looking to ski off the peak.


        • Bob January 9, 2020 / 8:15 pm

          That’s the dumbest thing I have heard. 60-80 people would turn the peak into a mogul field. The top is so small it can’t handle 60 people skiing down at one time. Talk about skiing on top of someone. Having the tram be longer sounds terrible. Don’t go changing keep the peak mogul free.


        • V3 January 10, 2020 / 8:34 am

          360pph is doubling the current capacity and could be achieved by simply increasing dwell time on a larger box. I’d take a big tram and rough first ten turns off the summit, over the planned chair up liberty ending near Otter Slide traverse, because the chair is going really wreck the peak, seeing how it will have a capacity around 1200pph.while still dumping on limited terrain. Some solution is happening as the tram has less than a decade left in so I’d suggest finding some stashes on moonlight and elsewhere, progress sucks sometimes but it pays the bills.


    • Doppelmayr FTW January 9, 2020 / 8:10 pm

      60-100 would only work if they metered the capacity, there are days when those runs could handle that number, and days when it couldn’t. If they controlled day to day how many people the tram took up based on evaluation by patrol (which is done anyway already) they could mitigate lines and keep people safe. That would also likely be a single car not a jig back like it is now, so its double capacity not 4 times, assuming a 60, and give the previous car time to get off the very top.


      • Bob January 9, 2020 / 8:16 pm

        Booooooo 60 people at a time. Keep the peak mogul free.


        • Doppelmayr FTW January 9, 2020 / 8:43 pm

          That’s a bit rude, to be clear I don’t want the peak to be overcrowded, that would suck. But doing nothing is not an option.

          The bottom station of the tram is drifting, it is on a rock glacier and has moved roughly 20 feet since it was built in 95. It is getting close to the point where the drift cannot be countered by adjusting the shiv trains in the stations and a replacement is necessary from an engineering standpoint within the next 10-15 years. Now I don’t know about you, but if I was spending 10+ million bucks on a new tram, I would build it so it doesn’t have hour long lines at a resort known for its lack of lift lines. 1 60 passenger cabin would not put that many more people on the peak compared to the 2 15’s that it currently has, but it would help a lot with the crazy line that thing gets on peak days.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Bob January 9, 2020 / 9:38 pm

          Sorry I just hate it when people want to flood the peak. Lone peak is a special place and I would rather wait an hour in a line then have to ski down with 59 other people. I know the tram needs to be replaced. A 30 person tram would be great. I also only ski the tram because I don’t like skiing moguls. The resort has become a massive mogul field in the past couple years. It’s sad to see such an amazing resort going to shit.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif January 9, 2020 / 9:49 pm

          The need to move people around the mountain more efficiently is sometimes more important than preserving powder stashes for the powder junkies.


        • Bob January 9, 2020 / 10:07 pm

          You must not like skiing powder. Just be happy with your ramcharger and stay away from the tram.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif January 10, 2020 / 8:03 am

          I’m with Doppelmayr FTW that capacity improvements are of the essence, especially when there’s a convenient reason for doing so (relocating the tram terminal since it’s shifting). You sound like one of those powder hounds who’d have criticized Vail and Beaver Creek ten years ago when the High Noon Express and Rose Bowl Express lifts were installed to increase capacity out of experts-only areas.


      • Chris January 11, 2020 / 10:49 am

        I’ve only had a single visit to Big Sky and skied the tram a few times, but there is so much terrain off it that I’m not worried about a larger
        capacity up there.

        In my home city of Innsbruck the old 25 passenger, single cabin summit tram (Hafelekarbahn) was rebuilt to a 69 passenger 13 years ago, and there was a lot of moaning round that change. But the crowds are still at the bottom and the two official runs that are very roughly similar to the Big Sky couloirs and the various out of bounds variants aren’t overcrowed. It gets tracked out a little sooner, but so what – at least I can still get work done in
        the afternoon after skiing until fatigue.


        • Bob January 11, 2020 / 5:39 pm

          If you have been here one time you know nothing about the snow conditions. The tram changes drastically from day one to the last day of the season. Some years it’s amazing and a lot opens. This year Liberty Bowl has been the only thing open. The resort will be very lucky to get everything on the tram open this year. The space on the peak is not big and is packed with 30 people on the peak.

          Liked by 1 person

  19. V3 January 10, 2020 / 8:35 am

    360pph is doubling the current capacity and could be achieved by simply increasing dwell time on a larger box. I’d take a big tram and rough first ten turns off the summit, over the planned chair up liberty ending near Otter Slide traverse, because the chair is going really wreck the peak, seeing how it will have a capacity around 1200pph.while still dumping on limited terrain. Some solution is happening as the tram has less than a decade left in so I’d suggest finding some stashes on moonlight and elsewhere, progress sucks sometimes but it pays the bills.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Billy B. January 10, 2020 / 12:59 pm

    There is a great article about the Lone Peak Tram that appeared in the January 1996 issue of Ski Area Management, written by David Hamre and Doug McCarty. Thought I would share some of that information here to add to lively discussion going on.

    The tram is located on top of a ice-cored rock glacier that moves roughly 6-8 inches per year. The location of the bottom terminal and alignment of the tram were chosen so that the lift stays in alignment as the glacier moves. When the lift was built, it was estimated that the downhill movement of the bottom terminal and the rope stretch would occur at approximately the same rate. This means that theoretically the lift would never have to be respliced. (Note: This was an engineering estimation when the lift was built. I do not know if this worked out exactly as estimated, someone from Big Sky would have to comment on if the tram has ever had a resplice). The design engineers were also worried about the bottom terminal transferring heat to the glacier and melting portions of it to create voids that would cause uneven settling of the structure. Insulation between the terminal and the ground and an advanced system of thermal probes were used to prevent any undesired heat transfer.

    The Lone Peak Tram was the result of some impressive engineering to overcome a set of unique challenges. A tram replacement will have to deal with these same challenges while also increasing capacity, not an easy task. I think the Lone Peak Tram II project is one of the most exciting lift projects on the horizon and I can’t wait to see what the next team of engineers comes up with at Big Sky.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bob January 10, 2020 / 3:36 pm

      The tram cable was replaced/ might have just added some more cable into the line about three years ago. The tram is an amazing lift and the new one will also be amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. skiz February 26, 2020 / 3:13 pm


    • skitheeast February 26, 2020 / 9:50 pm

      The yellow alignment would be extremely expensive with the angle station. I would extend the bottom terminal to have it end in the Big Sky Town Center parking lot and expand that lot just because it would make the area even more convenient and popular.


    • Jack February 26, 2020 / 10:27 pm

      This will never happen. The land is to expensive to build a parking lot in the town center. Plus the only land Big Sky owns in the TC is the golf course. I don’t understand why people want to make Big Sky like Telluride. It’s just never going to work at BS.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Max Hart February 27, 2020 / 2:26 pm

      I don’t think there is any reason to connect the town of Big Sky to the ski area with a lift.


  22. Sam Wendles February 27, 2020 / 12:28 am

    I am all for the blue alignment as as method of quickly getting skiers to and from the mountain. However, I believe that big sky should focus more on transforming slow lifts in to fast lifts


    • Dick February 27, 2020 / 7:36 am

      Both alignments would never work. Look at the starting point.


      • skiz February 27, 2020 / 8:31 am

        The starting point could be moved, just not over any houses.


        • Bob February 27, 2020 / 8:40 am

          Just forget about it. This will never happen.


  23. Sam Wendles February 28, 2020 / 2:05 am

    Actually, a cheap way to improve big sky for next season would just be to add some new glades. Thinking over moonlight area, bringing back deadwood and glading lone moose too. That would bring some good skiing. Maybe magic meadows bigger too?


    • Bill February 28, 2020 / 7:58 am

      It would be wonderful to see Big Sky manage the forest but the only thing they care about is new lifts. Almost every tree run could use a fix up. Big Sky likes being the most dangerous tree skiing in North America. I wish the resort cared about it’s land and the safety of its skiers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sam Wendles February 28, 2020 / 1:48 pm

        Yeh I think they realise the new tech high lifts bring people here but the slow lifts and quality of trees and presence of rocks ca bring people away


        • Big Sky Suck February 28, 2020 / 2:42 pm

          Yup Big Sky is great at getting people to never come back. From taking days to get here to the rocks to terrible customer service they do a great job at getting people to never return. So many better easier resort to ski.


      • Big sky skier February 28, 2020 / 7:44 pm

        They clean glades and add new ones almost every summer. The Africa glades could use some work and war dance is done for but overall they do a very good job of keeping the glades clean. They just cleaned blue Room this past summer and it is fantastic now with all the small trees gone.

        War dance is a special case because of the houses someone built below it it became an avalanche concern which makes it impossible for them to clear it anymore, atleast until their are some full grown trees in that run.


        • Local Big Sky Skier February 28, 2020 / 8:06 pm

          I disagree. I think Big Sky does a cheap job cleaning the forest. I have friends on the saw crew and tell them every year to do a better job but management won’t spend the money to have a healthy forest. Cool that you named two runs when Big Sky has 2000+ acres of glades. I’ll say they are doing a good job when they do 400 acres a year. I would love to see from Big Horn to Mad Wolf all cleared. It’s to bad when they did blue room they didn’t fix the bottom steep area. Every woods run on the R8 side could be widened. Stump farm needed to be cleaned out years ago. Don’t even get me started on shedhorn and Dakota because nothing have been done on that side of the mountain for yearsssssss.


  24. Sam Wensley February 29, 2020 / 5:59 pm

    Big sky says they care about lifts, but let’s be real they only seem to like making flashy new ones, what they need is to upgrade all the slow chairs – iron horse, lone tree, explorer, headwaters, lone moose in particular. And the tram too. Sometimes I just don’t so those areas because the lift is too slow


    • Big sky skier February 29, 2020 / 6:38 pm

      Because the old shedhorn, challenger, and lone peak triple were all known for being really fast and making people want to ski those runs. Plus every lift you mentioned on this list has had a replacement atleast mentioned for the big sky 2025 plan. Ramcharger was the first high speed that was replaced as part of 2025 and that let them replace one of the slowest lifts on the mountain with a HS. And the new swifty will take 3 mins off the ride time making that lift much more lappable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sam Wendles February 29, 2020 / 8:20 pm

        Yeh I just a bit annoyed that no new lifts of note came this year and only one lift is coming next year and t isn’t the most essential. Since the new plan means that on average 3 lifts should be built over two years I am disappointed that one lifts is being built over the past and coming two years.


        • Big sky skier February 29, 2020 / 9:23 pm

          This past year was the mall renovation project which I assume prevented the ability to put in a flagship lift. They definitely made the right call by focusing on that because that building was overcrowded and outdated. While one project is less than we are used to with 2025 swifty is a huge lift almost double the length of ramcharger so it probably isnt easy to add much more to the docket.

          I would argue the 2 most essential projects for 2025 are swifty and the tram, atleast capacity wise. The lines on swifty on more crowded days are getting pretty crazy


  25. vons3 February 29, 2020 / 9:40 pm

    Swifty is a high hour and ultra critical main line lift without witch the operation of the lone peak portion of big sky is nearly impossible, it has suffered some reliability issues in the last few seasons and its quickly becoming a bottleneck, in fact, I was surprised that it was not originally in the plan to do it before Ramcharger. Though I agree it would be cool to have more big projects faster I think the costs are driving the pace of these replacements.


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