Well, at least National Geographic seems to think so. Even as a local, and a happy skier but not a die hard, I do not necessarily believe this. Big Sky, sure. Bozeman- not so much. Although I really wish Bridger Bowl did more (especially while running a small Inn right at the base of the mountain), they are a local’s mountain who seemingly try very hard to not share with anyone else. Certainly, they do get good snow (52″ in 3-days this winter), and have plenty of advanced and expert terrain- as well as a nice family park, but it is simply not ‘their’ as a destination ski area. Big Sky on the other hand, is. But you can’t call Big Sky, Bozeman- they are 50+ miles away after all.
Love that Bozeman got the press from Nat Geo, however, the author also cites that the Blue Sky Motel was the best budget stay- perhaps if you were looking to some drugs. Good news is that the Blue Sky went out of business and ‘coincidentally’ burnt down.
From National Geographic Online.
Best For: Diehard skiers who wear their duct tape with pride (and beginners who look forward to doing the same someday)
The adventure capital of the Northern Rockies, Bozeman is an old Montana university town of cowboys and ski bums, pickups and unleashed dogs, and two of the premier ski hills in America. More of a working town than a traditional “ski town,” here overpriced lodges and fine dining are the exception, though there are a few high-end options and classically trained chefs. But being Bozeman, there’s nowhere you can’t wear blue jeans. You don’t come here for the restaurants, you come to ski the two wild Montana mountains. Bridger Bowl is the storied, scruffy little brother, a condo-free, nonprofit ski area 20 minutes out of town and where some of America’s original extreme skiers—Scot Schmidt, Tom Jungst, and Doug Coombs—cut their teeth and began preaching the steep skiing gospel. Hardcore skiers flock here for The Ridge, in-bounds hiking terrain with a murderer’s row of hairball chutes, and the new Schlasman’s Lift accessing expert-only, backcountry-style terrain (avalanche transceivers required for both).
An hour’s drive south of town in the majestic Madison Range, Big Sky Resort is the brash, lusty big brother, a gigantic ski area that offers joint lift tickets with the adjacent Moonlight Basin to create one of the largest ski areas in America. The tram to the vaulting, exposed 11,166-foot summit of Lone Peak opens up a Euro-style world of high-alpine, big-mountain skiing. Beginners and intermediates will find plenty of terrain at both, with Big Sky the deluxe option and the smaller Bridger a no-frills, low-cost choice. Yellowstone National Park, a 60-minute drive away, features back-of-beyond cross-country skiing and wildlife watching…” Read more at the link: National Geographic