So, last week I checked in to the posh western-motif Summit Hotel, slopeside at Big Sky in Montana. Upon presenting my New England Pass, I am handed a free lift ticket for a week of skiing! How cool is that? It gets better as the cowboy clad bellman whisks my gear to the ninth floor of this sumptuous ski hotel. The skiing makes the trip even better; Big Sky is 100% open with a 5-7 foot base, they received 20-inches of fresh snow this week (ok, so it dumped after I left - it is pattern, or a curse, I cannot seem to reverse).
You may not be able to squeeze in a Montana ski trip this ski season, but here is something to consider. Buy your New England Gold Pass now for next season, for $969 (if you purchase before April 30) you get unlimited skiing at Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Loon next winter, and as a bonus pass benefit you get 10 days of free skiing at Big Sky in Montana, or Brighton in Utah, or Crystal in Washington. You need to purchase lodging through these Boyne sister resorts to get your free skiing, but the savings is impressive.
Sorry to switch gears on you and start hyping next winter already, must be the premature summer weather that has me waxing for a new, improved 2012-13 ski season. But now is a good time to start planning, saving vacation days and dollars, for a Big Sky ski trip.
Big Sky is amazing with 3,382 acres of terrain, the 11,166' summit of Lone Peak is reached by an experts only tram with serious Dictator Chutes, snowy bowls and steep skiing including the legendary Big Couloir - on every extreme skier’s must list. But Big Sky is also revered for its blue square terrain, beautiful scenery and a complete lack of crowds (it's Montana after all). I would go back to Big Sky tomorrow if I could, skiing off Lone Peak in fresh blown snow with fabulous views as far as the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone is among the best on the Continent.
While it bugs me that ski resorts start selling next year's pass before this ski season is over, the best pass deals are now. You can buy the New England Pass with just $50 down, no interest, and installments in June, July, August and September, and start dreaming of bigger better skiing next year.
Photos of Big Sky by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.