By Bay Stephens EBS LOCAL EDITOR
BIG SKY – On June 2, Big Sky Resort opened its slopes for the summer season, a period that will likely be as popular for locals and visitors as last summer. From adventure races and archery challenges, to brew- and vine-centered celebrations, the resort has plenty in store.
Basecamp, the resort’s adventure center, opened June 9, when it will begin operating the Lone Peak Expedition and the mountain’s ziplines. The following week, on June 15, the resort’s lift-served mountain biking begins on Explorer chairlift. Swift Current and Thunder Wolf lifts will begin toting bikers up the mountain on June 22. Swift Current and Explorer will operate from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily; Thunderwolf will begin operating at 10 a.m.
The Kids Adventure Games, a race for 6-14-year-old kids, will span June 21-23 as teams of two navigate ziplines, slip and slides, rope bridges, mud crawls and whatever else the course-setters dream up.
When mid-July rolls around, so too will Brewfest, which returns July 13 with some of the best craft beers from across the Treasure State. Past years have brought more than two dozen breweries to celebrate and sample the champion of fermented beverages while enjoying music and good company.
In tandem with Brewfest, the 18th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament takes place July 14-15 at the Big Sky Resort Golf Course. The tourney kicks off with a pre-event cocktail party and silent auction July 14, followed by a full day of swinging and putting on the Arnold Palmer designed course the next day.
On the heels of the golf tournament comes the Total Archery Challenge from July 17-21, which will allow participants to ride lifts and shoot their way through a variety of courses that include 3D replications of deer, elk and bears. The event is designed to be family friendly and of varying difficulty so that archers of any skill level can nock arrows and let them fly.
Lone Peak’s Revenge Enduro bike race also romps through town July 27, featuring the rocky and technical terrain of Andesite and Lone Mountain as one of five stops of the Montana Enduro Series. Many consider this the most challenging race of the series, with its unconventional course selection and “raw” trail.
The whirring of mountain bike tires continues into August when the resort hosts another Enduro race, the Big Mountain Enduro on the 3rd and 4th. Between three or four stages, riders will descend north of 9,500 feet over the two-day event.
“Big Sky Resort is a massive summer playground with over 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, golf, ziplines, summer chairlift rides and more,” said Stacie Mesuda, the resort’s public relations manager. “The premier summer event is the 5th annual Vine & Dine weekend where foodies can enjoy wine, spirits and dishes prepared by top culinary talent, all surrounded by the unparalleled scenic beauty of Big Sky.”
Vine and Dine will go from August 15-18. In years past, the event has included artisanal food and wine-centric events, adventures and seminars with sommeliers.
To top off the summer, The Rut Mountain Runs’ vertical-, 11-, 28- and 50-kilometer races will attract light-footed athletes from around the world from August 30 to September 1. The races have already sold out for competitors, but it won’t be too late to watch these long-distance runners take on the grueling terrain and elevation change one step at a time.