Easter weekend wraps up Big Sky winter season
BIG SKY, Mont. - The last chair lift of the season made its way up the mountain at Big Sky on Sunday. It marked the end to another ski season at one of Montana's resort towns. However this winter was the first where Big Sky combined with Moonlight Basin to make it the biggest skiing in America. While the final numbers are not in, so far estimates show this could be a record breaking season with Big Sky at approximately 470,000 skier visits. Compare that to last year before the merger, and Big Sky alone was at 370,000 skier visits. Thousands of people added to those numbers on Sunday to get in some last runs on a sunny day. We found it was a bittersweet feeling for most skiers and snowboarders as they were hours away from the finish line on another winter season. Sheila Chapman is the Public Relations Manager for Big Sky Resort and says it is always hard to see a season come to an end. "People kind of were like, wait a minute, but the snow is still great, we want to keep skiing," said Chapman. She explained the merger has made Big Sky more visible than ever. "It has really put us on a map, not just nationwide, but worldwide as well," said Chapman. We found the chairlifts full on Sunday, the Easter bunny even made a special closing day appearance. There were also skiers from all over, like Rita Dzintars from Rapid City, SD. "Our skiing is done for the year so we had to come here to get the last day in for the season," said Dzintars. We also found closing day brought locals like Addison Sponsler. "You gotta get that last adrenaline rush," said Sponsler. But, winter is not the only season that brings people to Montana. "To tell you the truth, I look forward to golf," said Joe Fleming. "Rafting, hang outside, go to camp, stuff like that," said Anna Eby. Even officials at Big Sky are preparing for the summer months. "When the resort closes, is we are doing a lot of maintenance, we're taking a lot of the hotels and doing a deep clean on all of them and all of the condo units we have," said Chapman. Chapman explains they have a little over a month to transform this area from a winter to a summer paradise. She says the Big Sky summer season opens June 8th.