VERTICAL, 4,350 feet
SKIABLE ACRES, 3,600
ANNUAL SNOWFALL, 400 inches
LIFT TICKET, $61
LONE MOUNTAIN ERUPTS from the Madison Range like an 11,194-foot catcher's mitt, nabbing storms swollen with dry Rocky Mountain powder. The utter lack of lines just sweetens the pot. With almost twice as many acres as skiers, Big Sky virtually guarantees instant lift access all day long.
WHY WE LOVE IT: You can dress like a cowboy—unironically—and then snorkel through the fresh, pausing to ogle the remote 10,000-foot summits of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Come night, it gets so dark you can see the band of the Milky Way splitting the sky.
NUMBER-ONE RUN: Off Lone Mountain's south face, roar almost 3,000 vertical feet down the ridiculously wide Liberty Bowl and through the Bavarian Forest, where you can bob and weave through spruce and fir.
HOT LODGE: Want quintessential Montana? Rent a log cabin with a hot tub on the deck: The Powder Ridge Cabins have woodstoves, vaulted ceilings, and a lift nearby. (Cabin with three doubles, $525-$772; 800-548-4486, www.bigskyresort.com)
SOUL PATCH: See what "big sky" really means: The tram up to the peak offers an eagle's view of the resort's most daring lines, plus thousands of square miles of wilderness. Watch a local work the Big Couloir—a 50-by-1,500-foot lick of 48-degree terror—and it won't be just the views stealing your breath.