Lake Condominiums at Big Sky
Lake Condominiums at Big Sky Montana. I was excited about this trip, because I love the mountains and I have never been to big sky country. I have not even been to Montana. It is a State full of beauty but one that I have not spent any time in before. As much as I have traveled, that is just a shame.
Montana seems wild and undeveloped. Even their state travel website is simple and to the point. The photos they share however are amazing. Not only do you instantly understand why they call it big sky country just from the photos. You know that you are in for a trip full of unspoiled scenes.
The photos on the travel website are from citizens and visitors. Likely because regardless of photographer skill level, you are going to find shots with a camera here that are ready to be shared at every corner. The nature is literally picture perfect at ever turn.
Video by Shannon May
Day One Arrival at Lake Condominiums at Big Sky
Big sky is a remote area. How remote is it? It is at least an hour from your airport. But wow, it is worth that drive and then some.
The resort itself sits on an amazing lake that feels like it has been here in the mountains since the dawn of time. It is just in the perfect spot. It sits beneath 11,166-foot Lone Mountain. Not a lone mountain, but the Lone Mountain. If you are here for the snow and skiing, you have it all. With 14 lifts and over 85 miles of named ski runs on 3 mountains, this has to have some of the most ski opportunities of any area.
Since Big Sky has so many lifts and directions to go, they are Nationally known for their very short and often nonexistent ski lines. I am not a skier but I dislike to wait so that is very appealing to me.
Since the drive is over an hour most people will want to rent a car. In summer than is easy. In winter in means just making sure that the driver also has some snow skills. The main roads you are on a cleared very well but you need to look ahead for the weather and make sure your rental has snow chains if recommended for the week of your arrival.
I was visiting in summer so for me it was just an above average car trip because of the views. This is a trip I kind of went into training for. Not because I planned on skiing and needed to be in shape, but because I wanted to do some hiking and other outdoor fun. I often spend too much sedentary time these days, so attempting to walk daily was important.
The resort at Lake Condominiums at Big Sky had a neat unchanged feel to it. It was rustic and stuck in a time gone by in a good way. Staying somewhere like Montana where nature draws you outside, it is nice to have a bed made out of local trees as an example. Do not worry, they have normal mattresses and box springs. Just instead of a boring commercial headboard, mine had branches from a local tree. This gave everything a more natural, raw feeling that I liked.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Hot Tub
- BBQ Grills
- Laundry Facilities
- Outdoor Heated Pool
After checking in I found the villa clean, large, and very comfortable. Each had a fireplace, which on those cold winter nights would be great, and romantic as heck.
The villa also has a full kitchen. I like that in a resort, but especially one that is focused on nature. Whether here or on a small island that has fewer dining options. It is nice to be able to cook in your room. I also find in any area the more tired I make myself out in nature the more I use the in unit kitchen for at least a snack or a small meal like breakfast.
After settling in, I was hungry between the flight and drive time. So, I headed to a local spot called Scissor Bills. This spot had a fun feeling. It felt more like a ski lodge bar than a local restaurant. By that I mean it was cool and a bit high energy.
I had a large nacho with chicken and wow, I should not have ordered a large. Nachos are often meant to be shared, but with the large here you had no choice but to share or take some home, or just not finish it. I was hungry too, so with me saying that you know it was huge. (note to self, start taking pictures on your trips). It tasted great as well and went down very well with some beer. I had a local cider beer that was called Poor Farmer and I could have drunk that instead of water for a month. The taste was just perfect.
Now full disclose and in a way an advisory for you, dear reader. If you are like me and from a coast. Where your body is not used to altitude, be fully aware that beer or soda may be something you want to avoid, the reason being that even at the resort you are above 7,000 ft. If you intend to ski or go up into the mountains, you will get to over 10,000 ft. I am sharing this thought because anything you put into your system will probably come out. Even if you are not a “gassy” person normally here, the more bubbling things you put into your body, the more you will feel very interesting digestive processes. Especially if you are riding up in a gondola to an even higher altitude. Your body seems to find air inside you that you never knew you stored.
The pressure at altitude here is something you feel in your breathing too. I am not saying you have to be an athlete to travel here, but it does pay to be in shape if you want to be active at altitude and are not used to it.
For me, my plan was to use this first night and a nice long sleep-in tomorrow to allow my blood to get used to the altitude as well. If you do not take some time at the start of your trip, and you are coming from sea level you may feel tired faster, get a headache, and so on.
For me, this meant eating a nice big meal and having a few beers was not going to hurt me for tomorrow because I planned on sleeping it off. But for you, it may help if you save the big meals or drinking carbonated things until after you come down from the mountain.
After my great but simple meal, I grabbed a few convenience items from the hungry mouse market and deli on the mountain. This was a very neat spot. Hat off to the owners, it had a ton of great items and the prepared foods that they offered were great. If you were in town skiing with a group, you could order ahead and feed as many people as you need with their large prepared dishes. It felt like not only a cool store but also a catering business.
In a good way, it reminded me of an Amish grocery store I love in the mountains of Virginia. The memory link was likely because of the greatly prepared food, and the many fun store items that they have sourced from the area.
Day Two at Lake Condominiums at Big Sky
I had slept like the dead. Not storing or waking at all. I think I just went in and laid down flat as a board. I got up once in the night for the 40+ male trip, but other than that slept through the night and into the morning for a few hours. Nothing like a well-executed plan.
Having slept over 9 hours, I felt pretty good the next day. I think I had a little of that I overslept thing going on, and I did feel the altitude still. You have to work a little harder to breathe here at 7,218 ft up.
I thought about going horseback riding today, but I wanted to be fair to the horses. Yes, I am that big of a guy these days. I called Jake’s Horses and asked honestly if he had a Clydesdale. The owner laughed,, but I expressed my concern that I guy over 300lbs would be cruel and unusual punishment for the horse. He explained that for a short ride on the trails it should not be an issue. Hey Hoss Cartwright used to ride horses as well,, but I knew that was who I was going to look like if I was lucky to the horse.
Only in Montana could someone’s website be as simple as Jake’s. But he was a super nice guy and a good choice for travelers. The nerd in me however wanted to offer a bargain of website work for a time on horseback. I did not however since he had handled my phone call with humor and was kind. I just let the website thing go.
I did a 2-hour trail ride, and it was a blast. When I got back, I asked about feeding the horse an apple or something as a thank you. Instead, I helped remove the saddle and got him some water. I just felt like I had to do something to thank my horse for the effort of caring for me around. Sure, I paid for this, and the horse was a professional, but I would not have wanted to lug me around for 2 hours without a thank you. Also, the extra time with the horse was a bonus. They are amazing creatures. Horses seem to be able to see into you as a man or woman. They certainly sense the energy you are putting out to the world. When you ride even as poorly as I do, and infrequently, if you pay attention, you feel the nonverbal communication going on.
Near my home, there are several horse farms that specialize in therapy for people with various special needs. Their entire program is built around this special relationship and bonding that horses can have with the rider. Amazing places, especially for children with emotional challenges.
When you are in big sky country, if you are not here for skiing, consider a horseback ride. Jake will take good care of you.
From June or July through September the area has a free outdoor concert series, so I knew I wanted to catch some live music later tonight. For me, this meant back to get a shower and get into some shorts. I had worn jeans for the horseback ride. I do not wear them much these days, pretty much an almost 24/7 short guy. Or I will break out kakis in a bind. It just feels more relaxing to enjoy shorts as often as I can get away with it.
So, after the shower and change, I made it out for another meal. This time after spending an improper amount of time hanging out with my horse (felt like Jake was either going to really put me to work, or start faking feeling sleepy in that polite passive aggressive way one might do when you are overstaying your welcome somewhere). It was not afternoon, and I was hungry, or even hangry. I am not sure what the official part of hunger to hangry debarkation was, but I sensed I was close.
I passed by the Huntley Dinning Room which advertises the biggest breakfast buffet in America. Guess what is on the menu for tomorrow morning. This afternoon, however, I settled on going to Chet’s Bar and Grill. For my meal, I tried their Elk chicken fried steak. It was the perfect dish for someone who (by the time I got settled and ordered the food) was hangry. OK, I will stop using that made-up word, but it is fun.
When a restaurant features a Root Beer Float as a specialty dessert on its menu, I think there is a rule written somewhere that you have to try it. Once I saw that on the menu, a full belly of Elk or not, it was on. It was also great! Wow, for every root beer lover in the Nation I wish you could try this. Some people would say I was making a mountain out of this as something to write about, but it was great.
The root beer float is described this way on the menu, frosty mug, Rogue Brewing draft root beer, whipped cream, cherry on top, brownie bites, choice of vanilla, chocolate, or huckleberry ice cream. I chose the huckleberry ice cream. It was great.
After lunch, I took a big detour of sorts and headed to Bozeman for the afternoon. I wanted to go to the Museum of the Rockies and look around Bozeman. Like most things in Montana, it was at least 1 hour away. But it was a scenic drive, and no different from being back closer to home and traveling from Myrtle Beach to Charlotte SC, or Virginia Beach to Williamsburg (this was even closer and much less traffic.)
The museum is impressive. One of the most impressive things to see here is the Siebel Dinosaur Complex, which like the Smithsonian has one of the few TRex skeletons on display in the World. They also have an Allosaurus they lovingly call Big Al. Processing the size of these Dinosaurs is impossible from photos. You never understand the scale until you are up close and personal. Then the idea of that thing hunting you is terrifying if you let yourself go there.
The museum also boasts a planetarium which seems especially powerful here because there is so little lite pollution in Montana. Big Sky country also means amazing nighttime views of the stars and our little part of the Universe. The planetarium has a 40ft dome and a projection system that allows them to show amazing videos and immersive experiences. I watched the Voyager Never-ending Journey, which was more than just impressive.
I had already enjoyed the Huckleberry Ice Cream in my root beer float, so I thought while in Bozeman I would get some from the source. Sweet Peaks Ice Cream where I went for the Huckleberry but ended up trying a two-scoop of their specialty ice creams Bananas Foster, and German Chocolate Cake ice cream. Bananas Foster on top as one might imagine and the German Chocolate Cake on the bottom. This was a sugar rush to end all sugar rushes. It was worth it however because after my drive back to the resort I had a night of music ahead of me still.
Live music was great, cold beer did not hurt either. Who knew that if you go to an active area like the mountains, there would also be so many good-looking people? But everyone around seemed active and attractive. I did not meet the women of my dreams this night, but I sure talked to a few.
Day Three in Big Sky Country
Do you know what time it is. Well, if you have read any other blog written by me before you do. It is time for the world’s biggest breakfast buffet. I did not just skip writing about dinner last night, I skipped it.
I knew this was going to be epic from the start, so I was mentally and physically prepared. Oh, the fun of being the big guy at the buffet. I jokingly say that they call back to the kitchen to warn them when they see me come in. But I bet here they are used to some big eaters. Fit younger guys and gals even can out eat me these days. I must still look like more of a buffet owner threat.
The buffet has an egg every way you can humanly imagine. They also had every known breakfast side other than something very regional. But for sure you will not go away hungry from this buffet. Now, as far as size I think their claim is without merit. Many buffets in Vegas are larger. But this one was high quality. So high quality that everyone would give them a pass on the claim.
The buffet itself is open from 6:30 AM–10:30 AM, I had arrived around 8 AM and spent a solid hour trying anything and everything that looked good. Having just had some Elk on this trip I kind of expected some Elk dish on the buffet but they did not have one this trip. They did however provide sausages in links, patties, and tons of bacon. This was certainly a meat-friendly buffet. Yeah! I love breakfasts meats, a sucker for them really.
After overdoing it at the buffet, I returned to the room for a bit. Then I headed out for the day. Here at Big Sky, summer means access to the lifts as scenic lift rides. I could see this as a great couple’s thing to do. For me, it was just a chance to be nonathletic but yet see a ton of amazing nature.
At the top, I also found some views that could either stop or start your heart. Just amazing. The kind of views people talks about when they say things like “God’s Country” where the natural scenes inspire a closer feeling with nature, and your own insignificance in the world. But in a very good way.
It reminds me of a time when I went on a walk in an old rural neighborhood. The area had almost no light pollution, so when I looked up at the space above us during the night, I was overcome by the immense universe we are but a small part of. Here you could get that same feeling, but just with the mountains, valleys, and lakes.
I could write hundreds of words more and never capture the beauty for you. If you can come see this for yourself. Capture memories that will last your lifetime. As far as I know, we only get one life for this kind of visit.
If you love nature, or just want to experience real wild nature firsthand, this could be a trip of the lifetime for you. I think there is not a better place to stay in a big sky country. Just make sure you save by booking through TZort.