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Big Sky Resort

The back side of the Spanish Peaks is visible from the top of Big Sky Resort's Swift Current lift.

Boyne USA Resorts eastern operations president announced Wednesday the corporation plans to invest $150 million over the next 10 years in the jewel of its 12 skiing properties — Big Sky Resort.

The plan comes hot on the heels of Vail Resorts’ announcement earlier this month of its purchase of Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia for $1.06 billion.

Such large investments at a time when warmer winters are becoming the norm seem ill conceived, yet the amenities of chairlifts, restaurants and shops also build value into surrounding real-estate that can provide large returns.

But that's not the case at Big Sky, according to Chelsi Moy, Big Sky spokeswoman.

"Big Sky is now self-sufficient," she said, since the ski area acquired next door neighbor Moonlight Basin in 2013, which is adding $10 to $15 million annually to Big Sky's coffers.

Moy also said Big Sky has one of the most consistent snowfall in terms of temperature, providing the resort managers with confidence in their snow sport investment. She noted that, like other ski areas, Big Sky now operates as a year-round resort to increase revenue.

“For more than 67 years, my family and our organization has remained committed to creating memorable experiences at unique destinations, often inspired by sense of place and attention to detail,” said Stephen Kircher, president of Boyne Resorts’ eastern operations. “Big Sky will become the best representation of that ideal with our 2025 efforts.”

Moy said Big Sky Resort will be moving to a "ticket yield system" that means prices will fluctuate based on the date and whether they are purchased in advance. Big Sky, the state's largest ski area, already has the highest ticket prices in Montana at $106 a day for adults. Under the new system Moy said prices could fluctuate between $89 and $129. 

"If you buy early and online it will be a different price," she said. 

The announcement comes as the resort is installing a new six-passenger detachable lift with heated seats and a plastic bubble enclosure to service its Lone Peak Tram and replacing an older three-person Lone Peak Triple Chair.

The new lift is one of 12 that will be replaced under the resort’s upgrade that will also eventually add more dining, shopping and entertainment venues. In addition the resort is pledging to invest in more employee housing on the mountain and in the nearby Meadow Village, leveraging its dollars by partnering with other investors, although they have not been named.

“Boyne has a 40-year history of investing in Big Sky, and is now doubling down to continue sustainable growth in the community,” said Taylor Middleton, president and general manager of Big Sky Resort, in a statement.

Big Sky was founded in 1973 by a group of investors that included then-famous newscaster Chet Huntley. Boyne USA Resorts was founded in 1947 by Everett Kircher, who loved to ski and owned a car dealership in Detroit. After building its first ski area in Michigan, Boyne expanded and purchased Big Sky in 1976.

Boyne now touts itself as the largest family-run four-season resort company in North America.

More information on “Big Sky 2025: A Focused Vision for The Future” can be found online at bigsky2025.com

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Montana Untamed Editor

Montana Untamed editor for the Billings Gazette.