From now until the end of September, local residents can take advantage of reduced rates at Big Sky for activities like the Lone Peak Expedition, pictured here. 

Time to savor the shoulder season

“September is for the locals,” said Big Sky Resort Public Relations Manager Stacie Mesuda. “We’re just now entering into what passes for a quiet season around here, and there are a lot of reasons to take full advantage of that.”

From now until the end of the month, Mesuda said, Big Sky will be offering discounts on popular summer activities that nearby residents may not have had the opportunity to enjoy during the peak season rush. 

One of the resort’s biggest summer draws, Mesuda said, is the Lone Peak Expedition, a guided tour up to the peak that affords visitors with a panoramic view.

“When you think about it, we’re snow covered up here for a good part of the year,” said Expedition guide Sierra Hooge. “There is a pretty limited window for people to be able to stand on the peak and really see what this area looks like, and even if you have been up to the top a hundred times in the winter, there is a totally different experience waiting for you up there right now.”

The early autumn view from the Lone Mountain summit is endless in every direction: two national parks, three states and too many mountain ranges to name spread out under the vast blue sky. Bursts of orange and yellow sprout from the branches of the Aspen groves, flashing through the canopy of evergreens that stretches out below. 

The two-and-a-half-hour tour begins at the Big Sky basecamp, where visitors board a high-speed chairlift and settle in for a scenic ride over the lower half of the resort. 

“Getting on the chairlift without a bunch of heavy equipment strapped to your feet always feels a little weird at first, but it’s nice not having to worry about gear for a change,” Hooge, who also works as a ski instructor, said. “You just get to enjoy the ride.”

The tour also includes a ride in a special open-air expedition vehicle and the chance to take the tram to the top of Lone Mountain.

Along the way, guides like Hooge offer up plenty of information about the surroundings, the local wildlife and even the mechanics behind building a resort that tops out at over 11,000 feet. 

“When the tram was built in 1995, everything had to be flown in by helicopter,” Hooge said, standing at the base of the peak. “There is no way to drive up there and no way to get that kind of equipment in on foot, so it turned out to be a pretty massive undertaking.”

Prices for the Lone Peak Expedition have dropped from height-of-the-season rates to $52 for adults and $42 for children under the age of 17. In addition, Mesuda said, the resort also will be offering discounts on a number of other activities including mountain biking, ziplining and golf. In addition, look for spa packages and resort accommodations at lower-than-average rates through the end of the month. 

“In a few months, we will be right back into another busy tourism season,” Mesuda said. “But for right now, we all get the chance to take a deep breath and enjoy everything that this area has to offer. Even if you didn’t get the opportunity to get away during the summer, there is still plenty of time to get out and play.”

For more information about seasonal deals and opportunities at Big Sky Resort, visit bigskyresort.com.

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