Every once in a while, the weather skunks you. Or sometimes a particularly good powder day leaves your muscles begging for a break. And then there are the days you (aka your spouse or kid) just need a change of pace. Never fear—you can take a day off the slopes at Big Sky without missing out on getting outside for some fun.
Dog Days of Winter
Mush those puppies! Spirit of the North Dog Sled Adventures gives you your own team of rowdy pups to power you through powder. Not only does the sport combine two of our favorite things (friendly dogs and sledding) but dog sledding takes you to gorgeous backcountry views you can’t witness otherwise, since the operation has a special permit to “trespass” on Moonlight Basin’s private land. It’s suitable for kids and grandparents, and you’re welcome to participate as much (or as little) as you like, from harnessing dogs to driving the sled to just enjoying the ride.
Slip on the Skinny Skis
If you can’t quite give up skiing, but want to work some different muscles, hop over to Lone Mountain Ranch to cruise the horizontal groomers. Well, relatively horizontal—the ranch’s trails wind up to 2,200 vertical feet above where they start (although there’s plenty for beginners, too). Best of all, there’s no reason to leave—Lone Mountain Ranch has you covered with a local-foods restaurant and nice cabins.
Dine in a Backcountry Yurt
Calling this a dinner option doesn’t do it full service—consider Montana Dinner Yurt an experience unto itself. Here’s how it works: After you play outside all day, climb aboard a snowcoach that takes you deep into the woods, to a backcountry yurt. There, tuck into gourmet fare, enjoy acoustic guitar and while away the evening with torchlit sledding, chatting around the bonfire, and eating your weight in Toblerone chocolate fondue before hopping the snowcoach back to Big Sky.
More Shoe, Less Boot
When you have a falling out with your ski boot, you have two choices: pop into Grizzly Outfitters for an expert boot fitting and some modifications, or put on some old tennies and hit the trail with a snowshoe tour. We recommend both: get your boots fixed, then give those blisters a break without missing out on a day outside. (And yes we said tennies! Sneakers are actually what many seasoned snowshoers prefer as their go-to for their weight and comfort. Just be careful not to get them too snowy when you’re strapping on shoes. And if it sounds more comfortable, opt for hiking or even snow boots.)
Think horseback riding is just for summer? Think again. Jake’s Horses takes brave riders on trail-rides year-round, giving them the unique chance to explore frosted trees and frozen streams in the blanketed quiet of a winter forest.
When you need a break from a particularly evil pair of ski boots or a nasty case of Charlie horse, let some of Big Sky’s lesser-known diversions into your ski trip plans. It could even be the day you remember most.