Snowshoeing in Big Sky

By: Blythe Beaubien         November 4th, 2014

Whether or not you’re a skier or a snowboarder or not into downhill sports at all, you definitely need to take some time during your Big Sky winter vacation to explore the outdoors via snowshoes.  It’s a great workout and a fun way to explore some of the areas hiking trails that are covered in snow during the winter months.

My first adventure in snowshoeing was with a friend who is also from California, but she’s lived in Big Sky for a bit longer than me.  We’d been talking about going snowshoeing all summer long, so in preparation, I headed to REI during their fall sale to pick up a pair of snowshoes for myself.  As a longtime city dweller, that’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d write.  I was used to picking up a pair of heels for a girls night out on the town.  But I digress. 

So, early on a Saturday morning, my friend picked me up and we headed to the “Reflector Trail,” which is near the water treatment plant and starts at the beginning of the disk golf course.  We strapped on our snowshoes and headed up hill.  Strait. Up. Hill.  My lungs were burning, my calves were on fire, and my quads were like Jello.  But, wow, what an experience – so peaceful, so serene and such a great way to explore the Big Sky great outdoors.  Although I couldn’t walk for two days after our snowshoe up Reflector, I was ready to go for it again the next weekend.

After doing some research, I found out that Big Sky Resort offers a guided snowshoe tour through Basecamp.  The tours go out daily at 1 p.m. and the price includes snowshoe rental for those that don’t have their own.  I booked a tour for myself on the next Saturday and it was such a great experience.  Most in the group were non-skiers and looking for a way to see the mountain at Big Sky Resort.  Our guide was enthusiastic and eager to show us the way.  We headed up towards the Swift Current ski lift and up towards the Moose Tracks trail.  The tourists in the group were hopeful to see a moose because of the trail’s name, but no such luck. 

What we did see however, was equally impressive.  The trail ran between lots of Alpine trees and we saw many animal tracks – fox, snowshoe hare and winter birdlife.  And, just a few minutes into the trek we were encouraged to turn around and look downhill and take in the view.  We saw the resort’s Mountain Village, the Spanish Peaks mountain range, and the Big Sky Meadow area.  It was such a clear, bluebird day and the view was breathtaking.  Overall, the trip took about 1.5 hours round trip and was a good cardio workout while enjoying the serenity of Lone Mountain and its entire majestic surrounding views.

Snowshoeing in Big Sky is a great activity for those who don’t ski and also for those who do enjoy downhill winter sports.  Although the history of snowshoeing dates back to over 6,000 years ago and historically was used for employment and survival for hunting and traveling, it’s been a form of recreation since the 1970s.  It’s a winter sport that I highly recommend and encourage everyone who visits Big Sky during the winter months to give it a try.