The Best Resort in the World for Advanced Skiers is…Big Sky?!

Joe Vignolo | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Big Sky Resort Montana
Lone Mountain at Big Sky Resort. Source: Big Sky Resort Facebook

Imagine you’re sitting on a chairlift and the skier next to you starts chatting you up. Happens all the time, right? You exchange pleasantries about the weather, how many days you’ve hit the mountain this season, when they’re going to open [insert run name here] – you know, the usual stuff. Then, right before the bar goes up, your lift buddy says, “Did you hear Big Sky has the best terrain for advanced skiers?” No one would blame you if your initial response was “Huh?!?”

Forbes Advisor recently ranked Big Sky Resort in Montana as the #1 resort for advanced skiers. According to a recent article, more than 6000 resorts around the world “…were scored on 14 different factors including the length and variety of slopes, skier and snowboarder reviews, the quality of the après-ski scene, and value for money, to create a ski index score that grades resorts from 0 to 100,” and Big Sky Resort landed a 45.06. Coming in at #2 and #3 are Aspen Snowmass in Colorado and Les Quatre Vallées in Switzerland, respectively.

Lone Peak Big Sky Resort
The Lone Peak Tram drops skiers and boarders atop Lone Mountain, which sits at an elevation of 11,166’. Source:

I’ve only been to Big Sky once and, I admit, it was awesome. There truly is a ton of challenging terrain, especially the runs off the Lone Peak Tram. And the Forbes Advisor article does mention that Big Sky has “…126 km of black slopes and one of the biggest ‘vertical drops’ – one of the longest descents – in North America.” 

But is Big Sky the absolute best for advanced skiers? Some would say no. Resorts like Jackson Hole, Palisades Tahoe, Whistler Blackcomb, Revelstoke, and Alyeska could (and maybe should) be part of the conversation – and that’s just in North America!

Map of Big Sky Resort
The Big Sky Resort trail map showing the number of single, double, and triple black diamond runs accessible from the Lone Peak Tram. Source: Big Sky Resort

We should remember that Forbes Advisor is a financial literacy subdomain of Forbes, which itself is a business publication that’s been around for more than a hundred years. Their readers are also interested in travel costs, accessibility, and a whole host of other things. So if you’re reading this, self-proclaimed advanced skier, maybe Big Sky is the best mountain for you. And, then again, maybe it’s not.

What do you think the best resort in the world is for advanced skiers? Let us know in the comments below.

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18 thoughts on “The Best Resort in the World for Advanced Skiers is…Big Sky?!

  1. The fact he even mentions palisades tahoe in this article (you like that cream cheese snow? Lmao). In tahoe you need to get high. Heavenly has lots of outstandung off piste and side country despite being a gaper mtn. Kirkwood is where it’s at though. Unfortunately due to global warming sierra is dead. Palisades lmao. What is this guy coming in from San Francisco or something?

  2. I live in Crested butte. Have for 25 years since the ripe age of 18.
    The Forbes article isn’t necessarily wrong, but it needs to define advanced. Do we mean actual advanced?, Extreme terrain?(Yes that actually exists too), In bounds terrain?, or terrain accessible through a gate from the lift. Jackson, most resorts in the Alps, even Telluride and Big Sky itself, and many more, all have rediculous terrain accessible via lift, but not really inbounds. Even the really insane runs in the Alps are in un-controlled, unpatroled areas, not exactly inbounds by my standard. So if you mean inbounds and advanced, not extreme or out of bounds, and you think a few high dollar beverages with live music necessary (why not), Big Sky could top you out. Just in sheer size alone it’s pretty epic, and it has a ton of “advanced” terrain. But better than lots of other places? Really hard to say.

    If extreme terrain, knee shaking, butt puckering, no fall zone, how am I going to make it down this alive is the goal, in or out of bounds, then there are hundreds, if not thousands of places worldwide that beat Big Sky. But how many people that read Forbes really want that?

  3. The fact that Aspen/Snowmass is number 2 in the world kind of sums it up for that “Forbes advisor”.

  4. Written by a so-called journalist who is only ventured off the greens onto the blues only once or twice

  5. Nice to know that apres ski options is considered when determining where advanced skiers will find the best terrain. Dumb.

  6. Silverton sucks, maybe get in four runs a day. The guides are posers. And you can get arrested for seeking out powder they want to save for guided gapers. Plus it’s run by a Cali and a NYer, add a Texan and you’ve got the triple threat to Colorado, ugh.

  7. Wouldn’t it be sad if the best skiing ON EARTH was the Breckinridge of Montana, where lift tickets to the best terrain will run $280 a day? Glad that’s not the earth I live on

  8. We’ll said. The alps are huge with so many places to go, places we never hear about, unless you go there. The midi lift alone puts North American to shame.

  9. What a joke. Have you even seen pictures of Chamonix or La Grave? BS is a great place to ski, but come on? Crevasses, seracs, huge cliffs, massive exposures. Truly insane stuff guys ski all the time in those places, Verbier, Andermatt, Zermatt… There are dozens and dozens of resorts in the alps with places you can get to off main runs (they don’t mark them as runs because they aren’t stupid) that put anything in this country to shame.

  10. Hot take, but I would rate Big Sky way up there above Jackson and Palisades. There’s just so much extreme terrain that most people will never ski. For the average “advanced” rider there’s only a bit. But once you get into the extreme levels it’s endless.

    Still wouldn’t put it above a lot of European places though.

  11. It’s not Big Sky, although it’s certainly a good resort. I’ve skied 3 Europe resorts, but I don’t think it can compare. It might be Snowbird, except for the recent “crowd & access” problem. Top to bottom vertical and so many ways down. Nooks,crannies, expert gates everywhere. Then there is Little Cloud Bowl, north facing, 1000 ft of pure sweet sustained vertical. Add Mineral Basin bowl, all around steep. But what makes Snowbird up there with the best is the snowfall! and since almost all of it is north facing except for Min Bain, in Jan/Feb you can be assured of that crunch sweet “hero snow” in the moguls if it hasn’t snowed for a few days.

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