When hordes of downhill enthusiasts crowd the runs at Jackson Hole, in-the-know Westerners pack up their skis and boots and head north to Big Sky Resort. Not everyone’s bold enough to brave the chilly temps (which frequently drop below 20°F), so you’re likely to feel as though you have all 3,600 powdery acres to yourselves. The 150 practically deserted trails, which are spread over three mountains in the Madison Range, offer something to suit every skill level. Don’t miss the run called “Mr. K,” a central, easygoing trail that’s as scenic as can be. At three-plus-miles long, it’s the skiers’ equivalent to a leisurely stroll.
Photo Credit: Big Sky Resort
Off the slopes: Walk along, wade in and cast a few flies on the Gallatin River. Sign up for a half-day fly-fishing package with East Slope Anglers, and their guides will hook you up with gear, including rods, reels and waders (waterproof overalls), and lead you along the river’s quiet banks to find rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.
Where to stay: Later, head to the Big EZ Lodge, a luxury love nest, where Western décor reigns in the 13 spacious rooms. Here you can expect flames flickering in stone fireplaces, bearskin rugs and mountain views. Ask for the Lone Star Suite, and soak your ski bums in a whirlpool tub made for two.
Photo Credit: Big EZ Lodge