- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 5
- All Mtn. Terrain 5
- Terrain Park 5
- Nightlife 1
Pros: Great groomers, great steeps, great terrain parks
Cons: Mediocre lifts, limited dining, no nightlife.
Recommended For: Single/Newlyweds, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: Mar 1, 2012
Big Sky and Moonlight have a somewhat dysfunctional relationship. Both need the other, but they don't seem to get along. Big Sky advertises itself as "the biggest skiing in America", but this is of course only true if you include Moonlight next door, and Moonlight depends on Big Sky for lodging and infrastructure. All of Moonlight's most-extreme terrain is the North ridge of Lone Mountain, but that is only accessible from Big Sky's Lone Peak Tram. That being said, don't think of Moonlight as the proverbial red-headed step-child. Moonlight is a great resort. If you are going to Big Sky for a few days ski Moonlight at least one, if not every day. I'd highly recommend getting the lift ticket that includes Moonlight if you're going to Big Sky, especially for the last few days you're there so that you can flit back-and-forth. I wouldn't rule out only going to Moonlight either, especially if you're on a budget.
While smaller than it's neighbor, Moonlight encompasses the North-facing aspect of Lone Mountain compared to Big Sky, whose only North-facing slope is the North Face of Andesite. Any skier knows this means consistent snow. I think Moonlight also has slightly better grooming, and much better terrain parks. Those two things make it more kid-friendly than Big Sky. I rode on a lift with a local middle-school kid who said Big Sky gives local school kids season-long weekend passes if they get good grades. I liked that, both as an educational and a marketing tool.
Moonlight only has one high-speed lift, (Six-Shooter) and almost every run there is centered on it. The only other lifts worth riding are the Iron Horse lift, which is a common lift it shares with Big Sky, and the Lone Tree lift on the west side. Lone Tree services what I believe are some of the best trails in the Big Sky area. Ice House is a fun bomber run, and Lone Tree and a perilously steep glade.
I traveled to Big Sky with a group, and our group only purchased one day of tickets at Moonlight. When I go back I'll get the combination pass everyday, as I certainly have more exploring to do at Moonlight. Some of the glades off of Icehouse look like they'd be great on a powder day, and there look to be some great Diamond runs off of Lookout ridge. Elkhorn was my favorite run there though, as it starts steep and narrow and ends fast and windy. DO NOT OVERLOOK MOONLIGHT BASIN!!!