21st Annual Big Sky Christmas Stroll: Big Sky celebrates over two decades of holiday spirit, tradition and mountain culture.
The streets of Big Sky will come alive during the 21st Annual Big Sky Christmas Stroll on Friday, December 7, from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. This community wide holiday celebration unites Meadow Village Center, Westfork Meadows and Big Sky Town Center in an evening of family fun and festivities.
“The Stroll began in the Meadow Village Center in the winter of 1997,” says JoDean Bing, Stroll Committee Chairwoman and Owner of Blue Ribbon Builders. “Our intimate gathering of locals and visitors alike came to celebrate the holidays and the beginning of the ski season. That first Christmas Stroll was very special for us and that spirit lives on. It has grown with our community. The evening is jubilant with that holiday spirit. You can feel it in the air.”
Now twenty one years later the local tradition continues to be passed down to newcomers and the next generation of strollers. The community will gather at Meadow Village Center at 5:30 p.m. for Santa’s arrival by sleigh at Blue Ribbon Builders, the holiday tree lighting and photos with Santa at the former First Security Bank building. The air will be filled with the sound of music as The All Saints Carolers and Lone Peak High School choir directed by John Zirkle sing classic holiday songs as strollers enjoy the many open houses and offerings by Meadow Village merchants. Free sleigh rides by Yankee Creek Carriage Company will take guests on an east side meadow tour. For the more adventurous strollers illuminated Nordic skiing and fat biking trails along the golf course will be available.
“The Stroll really is something special,” says Erik Morrison, Big Sky Town Center Events & Social Media Manager. “The event has matured and expanded over the years, yet still maintains its classic communal holiday vibe. Shop owners open their doors and invite strollers in to share their hospitality and holiday cheer. Children and their families line-up for glimpses of Santa Claus and the chance to share their Christmas list. Luminaries line streets and trails connecting neighborhoods around our mountain village and guiding strollers and skiers to their next destination. Couples and children skate on the ice, while the crowd gathers and warms themselves around the bonfire in anticipation for the fireworks to come. The scene is reminiscent of holidays past. An eclectic mix of cozy small mountain town holiday traditions and Rockefeller Center circa 1950. Hard to capture yet instantly felt. The community loves it!”
New this year to Big Sky Town Center’s stroll activities will be a lantern parade hosted by Montana Custom Builders. A float carrying Frosty The Snowman and Santa Claus will lead the procession from Beehive Basin Brewery on the east end of Town Center, up Town Center Avenue to Ousel Falls Road and gathering at Fire Pit Park. The first 100 strollers are invited to join the parade and will be given complimentary lanterns for the march. From there, guests may continue their stroll and enjoy the many holiday activities downtown. Lone Mountain Ranch will be sharing free horse-drawn sleigh rides through the streets of Town Center that evening. Ice skating under the lights at the newly-constructed rink will be available courtesy of the Big Sky Skating & Hockey Association. First Security Bank will also be hosting an outdoor holiday lounge with Santa while DJ K7NG keeps the stroll vibe alive with an eclectic holiday mix. After enjoying the many open houses and activities, strollers are invited to gather for a fireworks display at Fire Pit Park at 9:15 p.m.
Following the luminary pathways strollers can easily wind their way between Big Sky Town Center and The Westfork Meadows. “We offer a warm and cozy atmosphere,” says Samantha Smith, Owner of Big Sky Sugar Buzz. Nestled into the hillside just a block or two away from the main drag strollers will find food to fill their bellies, beverages to quench their thirst, coffee to warm their bodies, and plenty of delights to temp their sweet tooth. Families are invited to stop by Big Sky SugarBuzz to write letters to Santa Claus, visit Gallatin Alpine Sports to enjoy some hot cocoa and drop their skis off for a 2 for 1 hot wax special or enjoy holiday treats for all ages at Caliber Coffee and LTD Real Estate.
“Visit Big Sky is very excited for our Stroll unveiling of the gorgeous, newly-wrapped Skyline Bus,” says Caitlin Lundin, Visit Big Sky’s Programming & Events Manager. “We hope that it will encourage our community members from Bozeman and Four Corners to treat themselves to a Skication in Big Sky and let Skyline do the driving. We’ve also been working together with our lodging partners to get into the holiday spirit. Look for Stroll, Ski and Stay Packages across Big Sky this weekend. Big Sky loves the Stroll. It really brings out our community’s vibrancy, camaraderie and brings us all together.”
Many Big Sky lodging partners are rolling-out the holiday hospitality with Stroll, Ski and Stay Packages. Big Sky Resort has a ski and stay package; 25% off hotels, $55 lift tickets, season pass-holder discounts, and more. Buck’s T-4 Lodge is offering strollers a night’s lodging and breakfast for two for $119, and the Coral has $100 rooms for up to four guests. The luxurious Rainbow Lodge has also generously offered 15% off rooms for strollers this weekend.
“It’s only December, but Big Sky Resort’s snow conditions are looking more like Christmas,” says Stacie Mesuda, Big Sky Resort’s Public Relations Manager. “We woke up to more fresh snow on the mountain this week, bringing our snow total to 19” since Opening Day, and 96” of snow since October 1. With these favorable conditions, Big Sky Mountain Ops teams opened Iron Horse Lift and an additional 500 acres of terrain, including Marx, Lenin, Otter Slide, Tohelluride, and the Yeti Traverse off the Lone Peak Tram. The additional terrain added this week brings Big Sky Resort’s total open terrain to over 2,400 acres and 107 trails. What a start to the season!”
It’s not just the high alpine that has been enjoying beautiful snow conditions this early season. The Nordic ski trails of Lone Mountain Ranch (LMR) and Big Sky Town Center have seen plenty of use as eager skiers have taken advantage of the early grooming by LMR and the Big Sky Community Organization.
“Lone Mountain Ranch is proud to uphold this great Stroll tradition,” says Ryan Kunz, Lone Mountain Ranch General Manager. “For over a century, our team has cultivated this special Nordic ski and ranch culture here. It is uniquely Big Sky and an integral part of the Christmas Stroll and our community.”
Lone Mountain Ranch will open for their 2018-19 season the day of the Stroll. Their Nordic operation, sleigh ride dinners, and Horn & Cantle Restaurant and Saloon will all be open to guests. Day and season cross country ski passes will be available for purchase at the Outdoor Shop. This Saturday, they will be bringing back a Big Sky favorite, the Ski With Santa day. Enjoy a fun-filled morning skiing with Santa at the ranch on Saturday, December 8. Special $5 Nordic ski rentals available through LMR and Gallatin Alpine Sports. This season they will be offering a few new attractions to the public as well, including day sleigh rides starting December 21. and brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for the entire season. The Horn and Cantle Restaurant will be opening at 5:00 p.m. for dinner 7 nights a week and as always, breakfast and lunch will be available to the public.