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Ramp Up Your Riding on Big Sky's Progressive Trails

Explore the easier side of Big Sky's mountain biking with these trail selections.

Mountain Biking Easy, Moderate

Photo: Cort Muller, Courtesy Big Sky Resort


Big Sky Resort in Southwestern Montana is renowned as one of the rowdiest ski resorts in North America. It boggles the mind that the resort routinely avy controls and opens the inbounds terrain served by the tram that runs to the top of Lone Peak. The sustained 55-degree chutes and faces appear to be sheer vertical faces in the summertime.

For years, this reputation as being brutally difficult also extended to Big Sky's bike park. The original trails off the Swift Current chairlift were steep, gnarly old-school skidder trails that were cut in by a talented group of core local riders. Those hardcore locals rode the trails year in, year out, and loved them. Most of these original trails are still accessible in the resort today.

About five years ago, Big Sky decided that things needed to change. Only offering pro-level double black diamond tech lines was so 1990s. In the intervening decades, big jump and flow lines have come to dominance, eclipsing the old school tech lines. As well, resorts around the globe have focused on building bike park terrain that allows riders to increase their skill level through a series of trails that gradually increase in difficulty. This is generally known as "progression."

Big Sky decided they needed to play catch up, so over the past five years, they've been building progressive flow lines at an incredible pace! At the time of this writing in 2021, they now offer an entire suite of trails that can entice even the most beginner of riders to rent a bike, hire a guide, and hop on a chairlift. The premier beginner line in the Big Sky Bike Park is known as "Easy Rider," and unlike some poorly-built "beginner" trails you'll find in other bike parks, Easy Rider is an expertly-sculpted flowing singletrack that anyone can ride on any bike.

Moving up, the options for progression multiply, with easy flow lines on Rabbit Run, and slightly harder flow lines on Otter Slide and Happy Hooves. Also accessible from the lift, but running from the top of the bike park all the way down to the town of Big Sky, is the backcountry flow trail known as Mountain to Meadow. This 6-mile flowy singletrack is ultra-accessible—even competent beginners can ride it. Even so, it's so much fun that it might now be the most renowned mountain bike trail in Southwest Montana.

Big Sky has radically transformed their mountain biking experience over the past five years, but they're not done yet. Mountain biking is their fastest-growing summer segment, and they're continuing to build new trails and improve their lift infrastructure to provide a world-class mountain biking experience. Indeed, the fact that they run three chairlifts for mountain biking shows how seriously they take their mountain bike offering. Most of the bike parks in the USA run just one chairlift for mountain biking during the summer, with a few of the largest parks running two. Three is almost unheard of. Venerable Whistler only runs four, and that's only if Top of the World is open.

Big Sky's mountain bike trail system offers a fantastic array of singletrack that has satisfied experts for years, and now, it caters to beginner and intermediate riders as well. But they aren't stopping there: the future of mountain biking is bright at Big Sky!

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