Know Before You Go
Use this information to get the most out of your day with your lesson or guide.
Meeting Locations & Check-In
Your lesson meeting location will be detailed in your confirmation email. Big Sky Resort offers lessons based in three different meeting spots: Mountain Village, Madison Base, and the Montage Hotel (for guests of the hotel & Spanish Peaks). Please note which location you have booked your lesson.
If you are unsure where to go, visit the Mountain Sports office at Mountain Village (located in the Snowcrest building) or Madison Base.
If your schedule allows, we highly recommend picking up your rentals and lift tickets the evening before your first day on the mountain.
We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes prior to your lesson start time to register and meet your instructor. If you are renting equipment, allow 30 minutes, or longer during busy holiday periods or if you have a large group.
For children's lessons, we recommend arriving at least 30 minutes prior to your lesson start time, or an hour if renting equipment.
We ask that you check-in fully dressed and ready to go with all your equipment. We do not have lockers or cubbies in the Mountain Sports office. Lockers are available at Mountain Village in Vista Hall and at Madison Base. More information on lockers.
What to Wear
When skiing or riding in Montana, layering works best. Be sure to have a waterproof jacket and pants and plenty of layers underneath. For children, please put names in clothing. Helmets, goggles, a neck gaiter or buff, and gloves are highly recommended for all of our skiing and riding guests.
What to Bring
When in a lesson or guided experience, each guest needs to have a lift ticket or season pass. Buy your lift tickets early for the best price. Our Learn to Ski & Ride lessons include a beginner lift ticket.
You'll want to bring your wallet for lunch or snacks throughout the day. Make sure to bring your phone for photos! For children 4-14 in full-day group lessons, lunch is provided!
If your little ones are new to skiing or riding, we recommend starting with a half-day. A full day can be a lot for little learners. Before the lesson, give your kiddos a pep talk about how much fun they'll have! Inform them when and where you will be picking them back up. If they struggle to adjust, don't worry, we will give you a call and decide what the best plan will be for your child to excel. Hydration and a good night's sleep are great tools to set you and your children up for success for a fun day on the slopes! Pick up is a great time to discuss with your child's instructor about what they worked on in the lesson.
Mountain Sports Levels
In order to best instruct our guests, we classify levels of skiing and snowboarding. Please see below for guidance on what each level translates to in ability.
1 - First time on skis
2 - Can glide in a wedge | Stops evenly in a wedge | Links wedge turns | Controls speed with turn shape | Can stop by turning
3 - Controls speed by turning | Can adjust wedge size mid-turn | Skies green easy runs confidently
4 - Starts turn in wedge | Consistently matches skis between turns
5 - Consistently parallel on green runs | Use pole touch to trigger parallel matching on easy blue runs
6 - Can vary parallel turn size and shape on any groomed blue run
7 - Links parallel turns in blue bumps | Links parallel turns in blue powder
8 - Skis easy blacks safely and dynamically
9 - Dynamically carves turns | dynamically skis all lines in the bumps
1 - First time on a snowboard
2 - J-Turns | Heel edge skidding with speed control |Standing on heel edge
3 - Edge control with directional change | Starting to link S-turns
4 - Traverse across the slope on both edges | Linking S-turns on easy green runs
5 - Can vary turn size & shape to control speed | Rides cat tracks safely
6 - Confidently riding blue runs dynamically | Riding with independent suspension | Maintain speed in moguls and powder
7 - Confidently riding easy black runs | Flexion initiation vs. extension initiation | riding fakie on easy blue terrain
8 - Riding zipper lines through bumps | Maintains speed on all black terrain
9 - Steep chutes and trees | highly technical terrain