VERTICAL, 3,850 feet (2,070 lift-served)
SKIABLE ACRES, 2,000
ANNUAL SNOWFALL, 400 inches
Lift Ticket, $40
EVERY GOOD SKI AREA has a split personality—part nurturer, part dominatrix. But no resort behaves more like Jekyll and Hyde than Moonlight Basin, the one-year-old resort 45 miles south of Bozeman that shares a boundary with Big Sky. First it lulls you, then it tries to kill you.
The lull part: Moonlight is a real estate venture, and the kindly blue and black pistes that meander down the north face of 11,194-foot Lone Mountain are tailored to those looking for vacation homes. The new Lone Tree lift will fill out those offerings this winter, adding more than 500 acres of open glades and unintimidating expert runs.
Moonlight's sadistic side? Just look up: The Headwaters is a forbidding wall striped with nine chutes pinched by bands of sharp shale and scree. Three Forks is the boast-in-the-bar run, a 1,200-foot plummet into Stillwater Bowl that nudges 50 degrees in spots. (Until a lift is built, reaching such lines requires a 25-to-45-minute hike.)
Moonlight Basin can't yet keep you occupied for a week—the base area's swanky lodge doesn't even have a gear shop or ski school—but it's one more reason to book that trip to Big Sky.