Big Sky Resort Food and Nightlife Review
Written by Greg and Heather Burke
Now that Big Sky Resort in Montana is host to some of the biggest skiing in America, with 5,800 acres, it’s on the map as a top ski destination for a ski vacation week. The lodging at Big Sky is plentiful, from the posh on mountain Summit Hotel, nearby The Huntley and Shoshone, to condos and private ski homes along the trails at Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks. Part of a great ski week is unique local dining. Big Sky's Mountain Village offers several eateries.
Best Big Sky On Mountain Lunch Spots:
Take the Ram Charger lift to Everett's 8800, named for Boyne Resorts founder and the elevation of this grand mountain lodge. Since Big Sky bought Spanish Peaks, this beautiful on mountain log cabin is open for ski in lunch or a drink at the grand bar with spectacular views of Lone Peak. Crepes, Swiss Rosti potatoes, and warm apple strudel bring a taste of Europe to the Montana mountains. Evenings, ride the Ramcharger lift in the moonlight for a special menu in this magnificent mountaintop setting, reservations required.
You must ski to the Moonlight Lodge, and have lunch at the Moonlight Tavern with a ski slope view. This spectacular lodge by the Iron Horse Quad is a sight to behold, mountain goats climb the immense river stone fireplace, and a big bronze bear is perched fireside by inviting leather couches. Burgers, soups and pub fare are served alongside the stunning views of mountainside mansions, towering Lone Peak, and the Challenger steeps.
Best Big Sky Lunch in the Village:
Lunch at The Peaks in the Summit Hotel at Big Sky offers daily soup and sandwich specials, and build your own salads. The view of the slopes will tempt you back out for more calorie burning on Ramcharger.
The Carabiner Bar in the Summit Hotel serves lunch and après ski cocktails in casual cowboy style. Saddle up to a cowhide bar stool, or settle into one of the leather couches by the fire and you will ease right into après ski, in other words – you are done for the day. On sunny afternoons, the outdoor couches around fire pits are the perfect place to soak up views of Lone Peak while sipping a Montana brew. Carabiner’s pub menu offers burgers, buffalo empanadas and the like.
Andiamo in Big Sky's Village Center serves ski in ski out Tuscan lunch specials, delicious Italian dinners, but with no windows or view of the slopes, so slide off your ski boots and enjoy La Dolce Vita.
Montana Jack serves southwestern fare, in a casual cowboy bar setting in the Mountain Mall. A big pile of nachos and a view of skiers coming and going will keep you fueled for an afternoon of skiing Swifty and Ram Charger, or a trip up the Tram to the Dictator Chutes. Après ski, you will find drinks deals and entertainment.
Yeti Dogs is a local love, gourmet hot dogs with lots of toppings are quick and hearty. Beer is available here too, located at the base of the Snowcrest Lodge where ski school and rentals are headquartered.
The Burger Bar at Big Sky, next to the fire pit in the skiers’ plaza, also known as the beach, serves al fresco beef burgers. The fire pit is also a local hangout when the lifts close, grab a PBR or a Bozone beer in the Mountain Mall Hungry Moose Deli and discuss with the Big Sky regulars what to wear on DirtBag Day (a zany local spring ski tradition in March).
The Madison Base Village at Moonlight Basin, just above the Six Shooter chairlift, serves lunch in a yurt – though once inside the cozy café style Headwaters Grill, you soon forget it’s a temporary structure.
Best Big Sky Places for Dinner:
The Summit Hotel Peaks Restaurant serves dinner – all with a fantastic view of the outdoor heated pool and the ski slopes.
Next door to the Summit Hotel is The Carabiner Bar, great for après ski drinks and entertainment.
Andiamo’s is a whimsically decorated restaurant serving Tuscan Italian in the Village Center building. In the Mountain Mall are Montana Jacks serving southwestern, and Hummers, plus a bustling grocery store with deli, beer, and wine. The ski in ski out Cabin Restaurant has a cozy post and beam atmosphere and serves local cuisine – attached to the Arrowhead building. You can also indulge in Swiss style fondue at to indulge in Fondue Stube, a traditional cheese fondue restaurant in the Huntley Hotel, where you will also find Chet’s Bar & Grill – named for Big Sky’s founder, news anchor Chet Huntley.
But we have found the best food for dinner at Big Sky is off the mountain at Bucks' T-4 or Lone Mountain Ranch.
Buck’s T4 is everything you would expect from a Montana steak house. A complimentary shuttle will transport you to Buck’s, a 15-minute ride down from Big Sky (keep a look out for big horn sheep on the roadside). Buck's classic 1946 hunting lodge offers cozy booths or tables by the big fireplace. A super friendly team of Montanans greet you and describe the extensive menu. The post and beam ranch walls are adorned by elk, bear, and bison. Much of this local game is also featured on the menu. Montana raised hand cut Wagyu steaks, bison, red deer, lamb and local trout are thoughtfully prepared with hearty sides like garlic mashed potatoes and corn grits.
Buck’s T4 also has an inviting bar serving pub fare like their Bodacious Waygu Beef burgers. Montana draft beers and an impressive wine list featuring California and Columbia River selections accompany beautiful, big portions at Buck's T4. Save room to share a warm chocolate chip cookie served in a skillet (you will burn it off skiing Lone Peak the next day). Buck’s is family-owned and operated, classic Montana fare in a cozy ranch. Be sure to dine at Buck's T4 during your ski week at Big Sky.
Lone Mountain Ranch is a gorgeous slice of Montana, it's a dude ranch style setting with upscale fine dining in the Main Lodge, and classic cabins dotting the immense property. A long grand drive through log arches just off the Big Sky access road leads you to this magical setting with sparkling trees, draft horse drawn sleigh and a grand lodge, built in 1915, where dinner is served.
An alternative to elegant dining inside the grand lodge is a Lone Mountain Ranch's sleigh ride dinner. A draft horse drawn sleigh delivers you through the snowy forest to the North Fork Cabin where a home cooked prime rib meal is served – family style by lantern light. Picture a cowboy singing songs as you dine in your remote cabin with a wood stove fire. These Big Sky sleigh ride dinners are a three-decade old tradition. Daytime sleigh rides are offered as well, with cocoa and cookies at the cabin served by the campfire. The entire setting of Lone Mountain Ranch sparkles with white lights, snow covered hills and cozy log cabins nestled here and there. While we were big on alpine skiing at Big Sky, I am sure the extensive 85 kilometers of Nordic trails, or 30 kilometers of snowshoe trails, at Lone Mountain Ranch would be the perfect appetite earner before dinner.
Big Sky Best Bets for Dinner:
Lone Mountain Ranch Sleigh Ride Dinner
Andiamo in Village Center
Everetts 880 reached by Ramcharger chair at night
Moonlight Lodge Tavern
Best Après Ski at Big Sky:
The Carabiner Bar in the Summit Hotel is the perfect corner spot with great mountain views, cowhide barstools and cozy leather couches by the fireplace. Most afternoons there is live music entertainment – a guitarist or small band. Pub fare with a Montana theme is served and local Montana microbrews are on tap.
Montana Jacks and Scissorbills also have live bands on weekends and holidays, with a very casual come in ski boots or whatever vibe.
Moonlight Lodge Tavern has happy hour après ski with live music most nights and a killer view of the slopes.