- Overall Rating 3
- Family Friendly 4
- All Mtn. Terrain 2
- Terrain Park 5
- Nightlife 4
Pros: Beautiful base lodge, gorgeous lodging, Montana-quality snow, un-crowded
Cons: Very poorly-laid out resort, tiny by Rocky Mountain standards
Recommended For: Family Friendly
Date Visited: Apr 1, 2008
Moonlight Basin is an interesting ski resort to review. Its gorgeous main lodge, kick-a terrain park, and the ability to (along with big sky) ski the largest area combined of 2 resorts on one lift ticket, and the fact that it's located in Montana with Montana-quality snow tempt me to write up a great review. However, this resort is very poorly laid out, and it makes skiing there quite a pain.
My family was on spring break at Big Sky, which we love. We figured as a change of pace, we'd upgrade our tickets to Lone Peak Passes (passes that allow you to ski Big Sky and Moonlight Basin on one lift ticket) which allows you to ski the largest 2 ski resorts in North America. So when we got to the top of the lift and followed signs over to Moonlight Basin, it was just...one...long...catwalk. Finally that stupid catwalk ended and dropped into the terrain park, which was by far the best I had ever been on. It was themed after rockets and nukes, with rails shaped like rockets and nukes. It was also really long. Genius. No half-pipe when we were there, it may have changed now. So anyway, we followed another big, long catwalk down to the Six Shooter, the main lift and the only high-speed 6 man lift in Montana. We got on expecting a ride maybe 4-5 minutes long...but this lift, a modern hi-speed 6 man lift...clocked 15 minutes. Yup. 15. But that's not all. In order to get to some of the nice, long runs you had to take ANOTHER lift called Lone Tree. So you're riding uphill for a total of about 20 minutes for one run. But that even gets worse when it turns out that the run you are on dumps you 6 feet BELOW the Lone Tree lift, so you have to struggle to get uphill. Lone Tree lift was one of the most beautiful lift rides I have ever seen, going over a forest of twisted, contorted, stunted trees trying to survive the harsh winters of Montana. The run that followed was a pattern of short steep section followed by dragged-out catwalk, followed by short steep section, followed by long catwalk...you get the idea...until it siphons you back to the 6 shooter for ANOTHER 15 minutes of lift riding! We decided to see what this place had to offer as far as expert skiing, so we all decided to take the Headwaters Lift, the slow and old 2-man lift serving the expert terrain. It turns out however that you actually have to take off your skis, throw them over your shoulder, and hike about a 5th of a mile to the lift, uphill and back down! We were sick of this place so we just took Big Rock Tongue (my screen name's namesake) down to our condo. Also, it has a seemingly quite large kids area, so this is probably a good place to take the kids to get them skiing for the first time.
The last three times we were at Big Sky, we stayed at Moonlight Basin's and Big Sky's shared condo resort, Saddleridge. Each condo varies as they are privately owned, but some of the luxuries you will find in all of them are hot tubs, porches, gas fireplaces, slopeside or close lodging, proximity to Moonlight Basin's lodge, and one of the most stunning views you will ever see from a hotel room. It blew me away each time I got up and looked out the window, I felt like Leonardo DiCaprio, king of the world.
The aforementioned Moonlight Lodge is also gorgeous. The lobby is almost as breathtaking as the view itself that the lobby focuses on. It's a great place to have an après-ski drink or hot cocoa with friends while taking in the view. There's also a heated pool below the lodge and a miniature ice-skating rink. Best of all, the lodge and its luxuries are open to us Big Sky people. There's also a great, steep hill on the opposite side of the condo complex to go sledding on.
All of the other lodges however are these portable-looking steel domes that look more like they belong on a moonbase than a ski resort.
Moonlight Basin was a disappointment as far as skiing. Drive over just to check out the main lodge, it's quite a site to see. Other than that, skip it. You'll be glad you spent your afternoon hitting up great runs at Big Sky rather than this place.