2017/2018 Winter Vacation Planning Guide
2017/2018 Winter Planning Guide
Our favorites! Places & Events not to miss when planning a trip to Big Sky country!
[11.12.17] Thanksgiving is next week, a perfect time to be with friends and family, share memories, and while you have the group together – finalize plans for your winter vacation! Making arrangements now will ensure you get the best locations and accommodations, so don’t wait! Additionally, experiencing the culture and cuisine is one of the best parts of travel. Be sure to include plans to enjoy some of our favorite spots while you are here.
Stay Montana & Lone Mountain Escapes Top 5 Dinner spots in Big Sky:
- Gallatin Riverhouse Grill - gallatinriverhousegrill.com – Amazing BBQ in an old west saloon setting on the Gallatin River. This family friendly restaurant is fun, affordable, and open seven days a week. Get there early, if you don’t want to wait…or take out works too if feeding a hungry crowd.
- Olive B’s Big Sky Bistro - olivebsbigsky.com – Looking for a Montana fine dining experience – look no further! Chef Warren “Bibber” and Jennie Bibbins treat us to a fantastic meal every time we visit. Growing up in New England, their love for fresh seafood shows in many of their delectable entrees. The chefs’ specials are always delightful, particularly the halibut. Our favorite dish is the Rocky Mountain Elk!
- Ousel & Spur Pizza Co. - ouselandspurpizza.com – Great hand tossed pizzas with fresh sauces and ingredients from Montana farms. They also have a nice selection of Italian pasta dishes and their spaghetti & meatballs are a staff favorite.
- Lotus Pad - lotuspadbigsky.com – If you like Thai, this is your place in Big Sky. Fun, fresh, fusion of flavors using organic ingredients whenever possible, this restaurant has been a Big Sky favorite for years.
- Buck’s T4 - buckst4.com – For some authentic Montanan cuisine, this place has been doing it right for more than 50 years. Starting as a roadhouse lodge, Buck’s has built a reputation for great dining in a rustic Montana setting. Chef & Co-Owner Chuck Schommer has refined the Big Sky dining experience and is an established leader in the community. The culinary creations here are complemented by an extensive wine list. If you’ve never tried wild game, this is the place to do it! ...cast iron seared red deer with duck bacon risotto and Montana wild berry reduction…yum! And while it will be very difficult to do….always save room for dessert!
If your stay expands beyond 5 nights, you might also want to try: Horn & Cantle, By Word of Mouth, Peaks, Andiamo Italian Grille, Moonlight Tavern, and Everett’s 8800. For hearty on-the-go breakfast sandwiches and pastries: Blue Moon Bakery and Hungry Moose Market.
Two great adventure dining experiences not to be missed in Big Sky:
- Montana Dinner Yurt - bigskyyurt.com – It was a long desire of mine to ride a snowcat. To fall asleep mountainside watching their lights glow on the trails as they create pristine skiing conditions for the next day, to their unique hum in the morning as they return to base after a full night’s work – I was always mesmerized by the dreams of what it must be like to ride a snowcat. Thus, I originally booked a reservation with the Montana Dinner Yurt – just so I could ride a snowcat! However, I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing food in a really cool yurt atmosphere in a hidden backcountry location. Don’t miss this fun dinner adventure - and you too can check ‘snowcat ride’ off your bucket list!
- Lone Mountain Ranch Sleigh Ride Dinner - lonemountainranch.com/sleigh-ride-dinner This dining experience is magical! Riding a horse drawn sleigh through the snow-covered woods to a candlelit cabin for dinner is something right out of a movie. And it is something you will talk about for years to come. BTW, the food is great, too.
Big Sky Après:
For the adults in the group, après is the perfect way to end a phenomenal ski day. Some of our favorites include:
- The Carabiner Lounge – ski right to the Carabiner, park your skis outside the door, and enjoy an after-ski beverage in a beautiful setting.
- Lone Peak Brewery & Tap House – in Meadow Village – Big Sky’s first microbrewery offers a wide selection of seasonal and award-winning brews
- Beehive Basin Brewery – a new addition to Big Sky Town Center offering hand crafted beers
- Chopper’s Pub – over 100 beers available in Big Sky Town Center
- Moonlight Tavern – ski to the tavern bar in Moonlight Lodge for a perfect ending to a perfect day
Stocking the Pantry: Big Sky
If you prefer to express your creativity and showcase your culinary skills hosting dinners in the comfort of your vacation home, these two grocery shops can help you take the hassle out of sourcing ingredients and stocking the kitchen.
- Hungry Moose Market – hungrymoose.com – A great little market in Big Sky Town Center that also provides online shopping and delivery to your vacation property for stocking the kitchen before you arrive. This market has nearly everything you will need to make your favorite culinary creation! Plus, they have a great wine selection too.
- Roxy’s Market – the newest grocery store addition to Big Sky, Roxy’s offers a wide selection of items to feed a hungry crowd.
Big Sky & Bozeman Events
For an extra special vacation experience, be sure to book your vacation home lodging during these favorite events. Put these dates on your calendar now!
Nov 23 – Big Sky Resort Planned Opening Day
Nov 24 – Bridger Bowl Planned Opening Day – early this year due to snowfall!
Dec 2 – Bozeman Christmas Stroll
Dec 9 – Big Sky Christmas Stroll
Dec 24 – Big Sky Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade
Dec 30 – Bridger Bowl Torchlight Parade & Fireworks Display
Dec 31 – Big Sky New Years’ Eve Fireworks
Feb 8 – Big Sky Big Grass – Blue Grass Festival Feb 8th – 11th
Apr 1 – Sunrise Easter Service & Projected Closing Day at Bridger Bowl
Apr 21 – Big Sky Pond Skim 2018
Apr 22 – Big Sky Resort Closing Day
So you don’t ski? Now what!!
Do not fret! Pack your bags and come enjoy a great winter vacation experience! There is plenty to do here that does not involve strapping boards to your feet and flying downhill. So don’t miss out on all the other family or group fun just because you don’t ski or snowboard! Here are some fun things to do – solo or as a group – while you are in Big Sky country.
- Yellowstone Snowcoach & Snowmobile tours – https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/snowmobiles-snowcoaches.htm - This is a great way to experience Yellowstone National Park to see wildlife, Old Faithful, and the beautiful geysers in YNP.
- Snowshoeing – you can rent snowshoes and poles at many of the local sporting goods shops
- Dog sledding - huskypower.com Spirit of the North Sled Dog Adventures or yellowstonedogsledadventures.com
- Ice Skating in Big Sky Town Center – rent skates at nearby Grizzly Outfitters grizzlyoutfitters.com
- Nordic skiing – lonemountainranch.com in Big Sky; bridgerskifoundation.org or crosscutmt.org (formerly Bohart Ranch) in Bozeman
- Spa Day – treat yourself to a well earned day at the spa, with many options to choose from in Big Sky and Bozeman including: Solace Spa, Ozssage Spa, Canyon River Spa
- Museum of the Rockies - museumoftherockies.org – treat yourself to a fun day of exploration, and a great gift shop for the little scientist in all of us.
- Shopping – Here are some of our favorites in Big Sky: Provisions in Summit hotel; JP Woolies and Big Sky Sports in Big Sky mountain mall; Horse of a Different Color and Willow Boutique in Meadow Village Center
- Art Galleries – so many choices! – but don’t miss Creighton Block Gallery, Ryan Turner Photography in Big Sky; and Old Main Gallery, Sun Dog Fine Art, and Thomas Nygard in Bozeman
- Downtown Bozeman – take a stroll on Main Street downtown between Grand and Rouse and enjoy shopping for clothing, sporting goods, jewelry, art, books, wine, and more! Also enjoy some of our favorite lunch and beverage places: Ted's Montana Grill, Jam!, Plonk, Wild Joe's Coffee, Rockford Coffee, Sweet Chili's, Starky's Deli, Cateye Cafe, The Nova Cafe, Main Street Overeasy
- Respite – perhaps life has been stressful, and you might enjoy a day to yourself to sit by the fire and lose yourself in that novel you’ve been wanting to read…. Enjoy!
And, if you feel the lure of the mountain calling, and you decide to try skiing or boarding for the first time….we recommend renting gear and hiring a pro for lessons. It is worth it - trust us! The new gear styles and methods of teaching have improved greatly since we were kids. It is much easier than you might think! And there are plenty of easy/green trails for learning. Have fun out there!
Stay Montana & Lone Mountain Escapes Top 7 Dining Spots in Bozeman:
- Saffron Table - saffrontable.com/#welcome - Tasty dishes from the diverse cuisine of India and south Asia are presented in a delightful bistro atmosphere. You will love the biryani, curries, and the locally sourced chicken, fish, and lamb dishes.
- Plonk - plonkwine.com - an eclectic wine bar with great food and delicious specialty cocktails. Plonk is an excellent location for Happy Hour, dinner, or dessert. Start with the cheeseboard or ploughman's platter, select your favorite beverage, and see where the evening leads....you will not be disappointed!
- South 9th Bistro - south9thbistro.com - Loved by local foodies, South 9th Bistro offers great food in a quaint relaxed environment.
- Montana Ale Works - montanaaleworks.com - This local favorite has a great bar with 40+ draft beers, great food, and a great vibe!
- Open Range - openrangemt.com - an upscale comfortable environment with cast iron seared specialties. When you're hungry for a steak - this is the place!
- 14 North - 14northrestaurant.com - upscale pub with delicious small plates for Happy Hour, and seafood, pasta, burgers, and vegetarian dishes to please the entire crowd. My winter favorite is the butternut squash tortellini. Good kids menu with a steak option.
- Urban Kitchen - urbankitchenbozeman.com - experienced chefs recently opened this neighborhood restaurant, and it has gone straight to the top of the charts of places to eat in Bozeman. Fresh ingredients, inspired twists to traditional favorites, and they customize dishes to accommodate food allergies and preferences with ease. Service is superb. UK is definitely a home run dinner choice.
Hiking is somewhat of a religion in Bozeman, Montana. Some do it for the exercise, others to find a place of solitude, many to grab the perfect instragram worthy photo, and some because well, that’s just what you do if you’re around this kind of beauty for long enough. Whatever reason you love the outdoors we put together the short list of top hikes you can find near Bozeman.
The “M” Trail
Shared by everyone and their dog The “M” Trail in Bozeman is a local favorite. Carved out by Montana State University Students years ago the “M” marks the universities’ presence in the picturesque Bridger Canyon. Views and vistas from every step make this one of the most beautiful hikes in Southwest Montana. Short enough to do before or after work but long enough to feel like you accomplished something, the 3 mile trek will bring you instagram worthy moments.
Drinking Horse Trail
Dusted with wildflowers throughout, Drinking Horse is a scenic 2.2 mile loop across the way from the The “M” trail. For moderate hikers this trek provides soaring views of Gallatin National Forest and Gallatin Valley. As with many trails in Bozeman, dogs are welcome. #DogGoals
Hyalite Creek Trail
Located south of Bozeman next to the beautiful hyalite reservoir this is Montana at its finest. Waterfalls, towering pines, and mammoth rock formations bring beauty in every step. The star of the show is located 10.5 miles up Hyalite Canyon; here you will find the glistening Hyalite Reservoir. A well maintained trail throughout is perfect for beginner, novice or advanced hikers.
3 'Must Try' Coffee Shops in Bozeman
Coffee is art and science. Or maybe, a science of the arts. From the perfect ratio of a pour over to depth of knowledge in roasting beans coffee is blowing up in Bozeman. After all, who doesn’t have a high appreciation for finely caffeinated works of art? Whether you’re a local or just passing through on a Montana Vacation here are 3 must try coffee spots in Bozeman, Montana.
Sola Cafe & Market
Inspired by their motto: “Food that feels Good” Sola Café offers up high quality eats and thoughtfully crafted coffee. You can never go wrong with a place that makes pastries and coffees from scratch every morning. This fun location has indoor and outdoor seating and is located on the corner of Kagy and 3rd. Plus, pick up some locally sourced ingredients from the marketplace on your way out the door, perfect for fresh salads or organic meals.
Rockford Coffee Roasters
Rockford Coffee Roasters is a local favorite that has been around for years. “Carefully sourced and consistently delicious” is part of their DNA and that means you can always expect a great cup of coffee. Make sure you have your cell phone ready for that perfect latte art photo. They have some of the best baristas in town, which means you’ll get a great tasting espresso creation along with a frothy heart on top.
Cold Smoke Coffeehouse
Quality espresso, produces quality flavors. Cold smoke takes pride in importing coffee from only the highest quality farms worldwide. They offer a wide range of single-origin coffees and custom blended espressos. This place knows coffee. And you can taste it in every cup. Cold Smoke jumped on the scene in 2011 when a couple of Bozeman natives decided to open a “different kind of coffee shop”. What makes Cold Smoke unique is their desire to build community. Its displayed in the architecture and functionality of their spaces. Large seating areas and community tables give way to locals and visitors alike sharing stories of their time in Montana.