By Jessianne Wright EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – Despite record breaking temperatures across the state and an unseasonably warm day in south-central Montana, Big Sky Resort opened Nov. 23 with almost midwinter conditions, allowing the resort to turn on six chairlifts and open the Big Couloir, a popular run off the top of Lone Mountain.

“That’s incredibly rare for the resort to open the Big on the first day,” said Big Sky Resort Public Relations Manager, Chelsi Moy. “We had almost 50 runs open on Thanksgiving Day, and that number will continue to increase substantially as the snow continues to fall.”

Explorer, Swift Current, Ramcharger, Powder Seeker and all of the new surface lifts hummed to life on opening day, as well as the Lone Peak Tram. Moy said skiers and snowboarders were lined up for the Swift Current lift beginning at 7:30 a.m. despite the forecasted warm weather.
On Nov. 28, Big Sky Resort opened the Challenger lift and on Dec. 1 flocks of skiers turned out for $29 Day, ushering in the busiest day in the resort’s first weeks of the season.

Dec. 8-10 marks military appreciation day at the resort, and those with a valid military ID, whether active duty or retired service members, can get a half-price ticket.

The following weekend, Dec. 15-17, educators will be recognized with a discounted ticket upon presentation of a valid educator’s ID.

Based on current conditions, Moy anticipates the resort will be able to open the Madison Area on Dec. 15.

After about 11 inches of snow fell on Lone Mountain coming out of the first weekend of December, the resort anticipates a high-pressure weather system for seven to 10 days.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s December report, this dry spell will be followed by more snow during the latter half of December as a La Niña winter descends upon Big Sky.

On Dec. 6, ski resort snowfall tracker On the Snow reported a 30-45-inch base at Big Sky.