Moonlight Basin in Montana is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Moonlight Basin, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsMoonlight Basin sits in the heart of Montana's Gallatin National Forest in the Rocky Mountains, just 48 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. Together with neighboring Big Sky Resort, the area boasts 5,512 acres of skiable land, making it the "Biggest Skiing in America." Although the region is sparsely populated, skiers have a number of travel options. One option is flying into nearby Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, which is about an hour away and offers direct flights from major cities, including Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Atlanta.
The MountainMoonlight Basin's Lone Mountain features an impressive elevation of 11,166 feet and a vertical descent of 4,150 feet. The mountain's longest run measures 2.8 miles. The area averages 400 inches of snow annually, with 2 to 8 inches of snowfall common in a 24-hour period. The typical winter season runs from December to early April.
Trails And LiftsMoonlight Basin features 101 mapped trails for all skill levels; one-third of the trails suit advanced skiers, while 20 percent cater to beginners, 21 percent feature intermediate runs and 26 percent are the most challenging expert runs. The Great Falls trail is an extreme trail that begins at the mountain's summit. The resort offers seven lifts, including Montana's only high-speed, six-passenger chairlift, as well as quad and triple chairlifts and a conveyer lift. Two terrain parks, the Zero Gravity Terrain Park and Zero Gravity Pony Park, offer thrills for skiers of all skill levels.
In The NewsMoonlight Basin's partnership with Big Sky Resort, dubbed the "Biggest Skiing in America," gives skiers access to more land than any other ski area in the nation. Even though the resort is relatively new (it opened in 2003), it has landed major events, including the Volcom Peanut Butter and Rail Jam in 2012, an amateur snowboarding competition. The Huck-a-Berry Jam competition also takes place in the resort's terrain park, challenging skiers and snowboarders alike.
CostHalf-day adult lift tickets to Moonlight Basin cost $54, with full-day tickets running at $64. A number of multiday ticket packages are available as well; see the website for details. Adult season ticket packages are $640. Skiers can also purchase Biggest Skiing in America tickets, which give access to both Moonlight Basin and Big Sky Resort areas. The resort offers daily and multiday ski rental packages, starting at $29 for adults. Helmets, poles, jackets and sleds can be rented a la carte as well. Half-day adult group lessons average about $65, while private lessons range from $135 to $495.
Apres-SkiSkiers can unwind at the resort's luxury spa, which offers fire and stone massages, facial peels and rejuvenating foot treatments. After a day on the slopes, the resort's Headwaters Grille offers live music and cocktail and appetizer specials nightly. Adventurous guests looking for a challenge can sign up for Mountain Quest, the resort's scavenger hunt that requires participants to complete eight activities. During the holidays, guests can ski with Santa and ring in the new year with a resort celebration.
WATCH: Moonlight Basin
Guests have a snowball fight near the Iron Horse lift at Moonlight Basin.