By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

BIG SKY — House counts in Big Sky were up over the holidays, according to the resorts and local property management businesses.

Big Sky reported a record year for holiday house counts for December 2010, and the numbers this December are right up there with those record numbers, said Greer Schott, with the resort’s PR department.

Moonlight Basin and the Yellowstone Club are both pacing ahead of last year, in terms of nights stayed. At Moonlight, December is up 17 percent over 2010 for nightly rentals.

River Rock Lodge, which also runs Resort Property Management, is reporting December bookings 7 percent higher than 2010.

“We’re excited because our numbers are up,” said general manager Susie Leach. “It’s not a tremendous amount. The most exciting thing is we’re so getting so many more last minute reservations than we’ve ever had before… This shows that we’re going to get back on track.”

Big Sky is forecasting the similar bookings as last year for the rest of the winter, Schott said: “With more booking coming in every day, we expect to have another great, hopefully record, season.”

And Schott echoed Leach:

“We’ve seen a trend over the last couple of years that people are booking much more last minute, and Big Sky has done a great job of recognizing that and using it to our marketing advantage by offering last minute packages and deals. So, while it’s hard to forecast accurately when people don’t book far in advance, it bodes well because we expect to see a lot more people book later on, closer to their vacation.”