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Karl Neumann

July, 2013

Schools Morningstar Learning Center Preschool Ophir School - K-8 Lone Peak High School A $10.2M School Bond Passed in ‘13

Peak Seasons Most facilities are reserved a year in advance and fill up fast. Reservations peak December 21 - January 3, then again January 15 - President’s weekend in February. Most years the entire month of March is booked, depending on the weather. The summer season continues to strengthen.

Amenities The Big Sky area has over 30 restaurants, bars and eateries, and over 40 shops selling everything from groceries to toys, clothing, jewelry, books, fine art, antiques, and more. You can relax in one of the full-service spas or rejuvenate in the finest of surroundings. The hotels and lodges cater to special needs, offering the finest accommodations and unparalleled cuisine. (source: Big Sky Chamber) Creighton Block Gallery

The Ahn Trio playing at the Big Sky Classical Music Festival


Estimated full-time population is currently 3,100. Seasonal population can exceed 15,000 on peak days. Recent Gallatin County population estimate is 93,785 (2013 estimate), which represents an increase of 37% over the 2000 census population of 68,375. Population of nearby West Yellowstone is estimated at 1,700 full-time residents. Population within a 150-mile radius of Big Sky is 640,000 (includes people in three states). (source: 2010 US Census, Gallatin County GIS Dept, MT Dept of Commerce)

Income & Age:

In 2006, the median income of Big Sky households was $62,750. The median age of Big Sky residents was about 35 in 2010. (source: US Census Bureau) The 76 million people in the baby boomer generation are just beginning to reach retirement age with more wealth and better health than previous generations. Big Sky is still a relative value compared to other western resort towns, so many boomers are expected to purchase or build their permanent home in Big Sky in the coming years. The West is expected to see a 65% increase in population in the next 30 years. (source: John Frece, National Center for Smart Growth Research & Education)


Big Sky Community Profile

Ski Resorts and Winter Activities The Biggest Skiing in America, with 5,532 skiable acres, 4,350 vertical feet, and 24 lifts accessed by the Lone Peak Pass, is marketed heavily by Big Sky Resort and other businesses in Big Sky. Big Sky is consistently ranked in the top 10 best resorts in North America, with the biggest drawback being the lack of a completed downtown core, which the Town Center is in the process of creating. Additionally, the London Sunday Times ranked Big Sky in the top 10 resorts in the world. Big Sky is at a higher elevation (base area 7,500 feet, top of Lone Mountain 11,166 feet) and a higher latitude (45-degrees) than most other ski resorts, so it is less likely to be affected by any climate warming. During the winter of 2012-2013, the combined skier visits to Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin were 480,000, a new record season! (source: Big Sky Resort)

480,000 Skier Days Record Season 2012/2013!

Summer Activities Although Big Sky is known primarily as a ski resort, there are countless summer activities that draw visitors as well. Because Big Sky is surrounded by a National Forest and in such close proximity to Yellowstone National Park, there is an abundance of hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, white water rafting, kayaking, climbing, golfing, and other outdoor activities. All of these activities around the Big Sky area can be enjoyed with a guide or on your own. The area surrounding Big Sky has more blue-ribbon trout streams and lakes in an 80-mile radius than anywhere else in North America, making Big Sky an ideal home base for fishing trips.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are endless activities to enjoy if hitting the slopes is not your thing. The Big Sky area is home to miles of perfectly-groomed cross country skiing trails (Lone Mountain Ranch alone offers 80 kilometers of world class Nordic skiing), as well as trails for snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Winter visitors often take a day to explore Yellowstone National Park by snowmobile, snow coach or cross country skis and enjoy the tranquillity of the Park without cars. In addition, Big Sky offers dog sledding, sleigh rides, backcountry snowcat dinner rides, and ice skating with picturesque Lone Peak as the backdrop.

Big Sky Community Profile

There are also several weekly events to take advantage of in the summer: a Farmers Market with over 100 vendors, exciting softball games, and free weekly concerts in Town Center presented by the Arts Council of Big Sky.

Big Sky Farmers Market


Current Statistics and Five Year Projection

SKIER VISITS: In the 2012-13 season, the Big Sky area posted 480,000 skier days between Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin, posting about a 9% increase over the previous season. Future skier visit projections for Big Sky area are expected to increase as the community evolves and more amenities, such as the shopping and dining in Town Center, are added over the next several years. (source: Big Sky Chamber of Commerce)

2012-13 2011-12 2010-11 2009-10 2008-09

Big Sky Resort 370,000 344,000 343,000 297,000 285,000

Moonlight Basin 110,000 95,000 103,000 85,000 105,000

Permanent Population Estimated permanent population is currently 3,100. Seasonal population can exceed 15,000 on peak days. Winter season is late November through mid-April and summer season is June through mid-September. Thanksgiving, Dec. 24-Jan. 1, President’s Weekend, and the 4th of July are exceptionally populated times in Big Sky. Over 3450 housing units completed Over 5000 units that are proposed, platted, or remaining to be constructed through master plans (source: 2009 “Estimate of Residential Units Big Sky, Montana” compiled by Simkins Holdings, LLC) Approximately 50% are single-family units. Approximately 50% are multifamily units (source: US Census Bureau)

Income & Origin of Visitors Average income of Big Sky visitors is $70,000. Approximately 24% have incomes exceeding $120,000

RESTAURANT, LIQUOR & GAMING LICENSING In Big Sky, there is the availability of an ‘all-beverage’ beer, wine, and liquor license from the State of Montana for only $600. With this license, having a first class restaurant and lounge becomes much more feasible. For an additional $400, a business can obtain a gambling operator license. Adding a casino onto the restaurant and lounge has proved invaluable to Big Sky businesses like Choppers Grub and Pub, El Patron, Olive B’s Bistro, China Cafe, etc.

Visitors from the United States represent states from around the nation. Major metropolitan areas that primarily bring skiers to Big Sky include New York City, Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Chicago, as well as Calgary, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Billings, and Phoenix. (source: Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and Big Sky Resort) Foreign countries represented often include countries such as Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England/UK, France, China, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and Taiwan. (source: University of Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research)

Branding, Marketing, Signage, Roadway Lighting In 2012 the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and others developed a brand and a three-year marketing plan for the Big Sky community. While many of the resorts and developments in Big Sky have established brand identity, it was time for the Big Sky community to develop a community-wide brand. The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and many others recognized the need for better visitor-oriented signage throughout the community and the benefit of a gateway monument, and with funding from the Big Sky Resort Tax District, just completed construction of 14 “community wayfinding signs” and much needed roadway lighting at the entrance to the community. The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and its marketing arm, Visit Big Sky, work together to market the community of Big Sky and also operate the Visitor Information Center. Together they are working to bolster the summer visitation by emphasizing the area’s strengths, such as its proximity to Yellowstone National Park in order to make Big Sky a true year-round destination. A grant of nearly $1M was recently awarded to these groups by the Resort Tax Board.


Big Sky Community Profile

“Hot Bed” Counts Estimates show that about 300,452 “hot beds” were rented on a short-term basis in Big Sky in 2012. Below is the methodology behind this estimate: The Montana state website on travel information shows that in 2012 the state collected $1,158,543 in bed taxes (which is 4%) for the Big Sky Resort Tax District area. Take $1,158,543/ 0.04 (4% bed tax) to find the total spent on lodging in Big Sky, which is $28,963,575. The approximate number of room or unit rental nights in Big Sky in 2012 can be estimated by dividing $28,963,575 by $289.20 (weighted seasonal average of room or unit cost per night, from right), for a total of 100,151 room or unit rental nights in Big Sky in 2012. Assuming an average of 3 people per room or unit, this means that there were approximately 300,452 “hot beds” in Big Sky in 2012. Assuming an average stay in Big Sky is 3.5 nights, there were approximately 85,843 visitors staying multiple nights in Big Sky in 2012. This was an increase of 13% over 2011. Our research shows that there are approximately 2,627 vacation rental units in Big Sky: 1. Big Sky Resort: 850 rooms/units 2. Moonlight Basin Resort & Lodging: 150 rooms/units 3. Covered Wagon Ranch: 10 rooms/cabins 4. The Lodge at Big Sky: 90 rooms 5. Bucks T-4: 72 rooms/cabins 6. 320 Guest Ranch: 60 rooms/cabins 7. Lone Mountain Ranch: 30 rooms/cabins 8. Rainbow Ranch Lodge: 21 rooms/cabins 9. The Corral: 10 rooms/cabins 10. River Rock Lodge: 29 rooms 11. Big Sky Vacation Rentals. Currently has 53 homes/condos 12. The Cinnamon Lodge: 14 rooms/cabins 13. Resort Property Management: Currently has 120 homes/condos 14. Big Sky Luxury Rentals: Currently has 50 homes/condos 15. Vacation Rental By Owner. Currently has 368 homes/condos 16. HomeAway. Currently has 463 homes/condos 17. Big Sky Rental By Owner. Currently has 87 homes/condos 18. Individual Units: appx. 150 homes/condos

State of Montana Bed Tax Revenue - Big Sky

11% average annual growth rate over the past 25 years

Big Sky Community Profile

2012 Proposed Seasonal Averages for selected properties in the Big Sky competitive market area, which includes properties in other resorts: Winter occupancy estimated 67% with an average room rate of $399 Spring occupancy estimated 36% with an average room rate of $172 Summer occupancy estimated 77% with an average room rate of $319 Fall occupancy estimated 35% with an average room rate of $174 (source: 2007 Smith Travel Research) According to general lodging industry statistics, the average room rate annual growth is 3.8%. (source: 2011 Smith Travel Research) Summer occupancy is slightly higher because of the number of visitors travelling to and from Yellowstone Park. The west entrance to the Park sees over 1.4 million visitors per year, mostly in the summer. The average room rate growth was a general industry number and will increase significantly as the number of rental units increases.

medical services Bozeman Deaconess has announced plans to build a 5-bed, 35,000 sf, $21M Critical Access Hospital in the Town Center, with groundbreaking expected Spring 2014. A helicopter pad will be on the roof for the most critical neeeds that can’t be serviced in Big Sky. Currently, medical services are being provided at three clinics in Big Sky -- two in the Meadow and one on the Mountain.

Power Infrastructure NorthWestern Energy is at an important stage in a 37-mile, $34 million upgrade of its electric transmission line stretching from Four Corners to Big Sky. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, the project will include work in the Gallatin Canyon area. The result of this project will be more reliable electric service for the Big Sky community, one of the fastest growing areas in NorthWestern’s service territory. (Source: NorthWestern Energy)


BIG SKY HISTORIC TIMELINE 1968 Chet Huntley conceptualizes Big Sky 1970 Simkins/Taylors buy land for future Town Center. 1973 Lifts open for first winter of skiing 1974 Chet Huntley dies of cancer 1976 Boyne USA buys Big Sky Resort 1981 Built first snowmaking system 1988 Built Challenger Lift 1990 Built Yellowstone Conf. Center & Shoshone Condos 1991 Built Southern Comfort & Ramcharger high speed lifts 1992 Resort Tax District Created 1993 Thunderwolf high-speed lift built. Land for Moonlight & Yellowstone Club purchased. 1995 Built Lone Peak Tram 1996 Built Swift Current high-speed lift. Gallatin Canyon/Big Sky Zoning District Created. 1998 Built first Terrain Park & Half Pipe. Ousel Falls Road Built. 1999 Summit Hotel Built. Yellowstone Club Opens. 2000 Moonlight Basin Opens for Ski Operations 2001 Town Center Begins Construction 2005 Big Sky/Moonlight Announce Biggest Skiing in America 2007 Village Center Built 2009 President Obama & family use Big Sky as Basecamp to Yellowstone. Zipline course opens. Lone Peak High Opens. 2010 Vice President Biden visits. Town Center Park built. 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC) meeting. Movie theater built. 2012 Lone Peak Tram Expedition opens. Community Park built. 2013 All-time record ski season 480,000 skier days. Integrated year-round marketing campaign Visit Big Sky is created. Performing Arts Center Opens.


DEVELOPMENT - GROWTH POTENTIAL Big Sky is about 40% built out, with over 5,000 more units slated to be built under the zoning Regulation and approved Master Plans. Big Sky has over 80 square miles of private land, more than most other resort areas. (source: Big Sky Town Center, Gallatin County Planning Dept, Big Sky County Water and Sewer District #363) Big Sky Town Center currently has about 75,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, accounting for about 20% of the total commercial buildout. In the residential zone, there are currently about 70 completed condos. TheTown Center is entitled for about 500 residential units, 370,000 sf of commercial space, and 150 hotel rooms. (source: Big Sky Town Center) Big Sky Resort The winter of 2013-14 marks the 40th anniversary of Big Sky Resort, the concept of the late NBC newscaster and Montana native Chet Huntley. Under the ownership of Boyne Resorts since 1976, Big Sky has seen hundreds of millions of dollars of significant improvements over the decades. Through its responsible growth, Big Sky Resort is financially viable and is a reliable employer and community partner. Big Sky’s professional meeting and catering staff and facilities have enabled them to host such highprofile guests as President Obama and family, Vice President Biden and the 1000-attendee international trade conference Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC). Skiers and snowboarders have enjoyed the collaboration with Moonlight Basin Resort to form the nation’s largest ski complex with 5,532 acres and 4,350 vertical feet. Summer vacationers now have the Big Sky Resort Basecamp to Yellowstone activity center from which to launch unique adventures such as the Lone Peak Expedition: tram to the top and numerous ziplines, ropes courses, shooting sports and children’s activities. (source: Big Sky Resort) Moonlight Basin Resort is a year-round resort in Montana’s Rocky Mountains that offers an unrivaled alpine experience. Moonlight has approximately 1,650 development units approved, and offers luxurious ski-in, ski-out accommodations with access to over 5,500 skiable acres as part of the Biggest Skiing in America. Moonlight Basin terrain offers some of the best downhill skiing anywhere, but seldom a lift line. Summer affords visitors a prime location to hike, bike, fly fish, raft, horseback ride, or golf the back nine at the premier Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. Moonlight Basin also features a world-class spa, a variety of dining options and luxury accommodations. (source: Moonlight Basin Resort) The Yellowstone Club Yellowstone Club is a 13,600-acre private residential community located in Big Sky, Montana. The Club’s superior amenities, easy Montana charm and overwhelming natural beauty present an incomparable venue for mountain living, year-round recreation, and cherished family traditions. Explore the spectacular beauty of the world’s only private ski and golf community and the benefits of membership in this one-of-a-kind club. Additionally, experience 2,200 powder drenched trails of world-class skiing in the winter, an 18-hole Tom Weiskopfdesigned mountain golf course for the summer months, and an unbeatable Outdoor Pursuits program for added mountain activities. (source: Yellowstone Club) The Club at Spanish Peaks was acquired in 2013 by Cross Harbor Capital Partners and is now being recapitalized and re-energized. Spanish Peaks features ski-in and golf-out in this private community with exclusive lift access to the largest and tallest ski terrain in the country--Big Sky Resort. A Tom Weiskopf Signature golf course that Travel + Leisure Golf magazine ranked #9 of the top 100 golf communities in America is also situated on the 5,700 acre Club property. Spanish Peaks is approved for 850 units, and currently has more than 250 members and 80 homes and cabins either completed or in the construction process. (

Big Sky Community Profile

Traveling to Big Sky


Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, located in Bozeman, is a 45 minute drive from Big Sky. Gallatin Field is the 7th busiest passenger airport in the Pacific Northwest and now the biggest in Montana with over 880,000 passengers using the facility from June 2012 to May 2013 The airport is served by United, Delta, Alaska, and low fare carriers Frontier and Allegiant Air. The Yellowstone Jet Center is also based here and hosts many private flights to and from the area. Of these passengers over 350,000 use rental cars, 100,000 use buses, taxis and shuttles and 300,000 are either dropped off at the terminal or use the pay parking lot.

Big Sky is only 15 miles from the northern border of Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and 45 minutes north of the West entrance. In 2012, YNP continued to set visitation records with more than 3.45 million visitors, the second-highest recorded year after 2010. Of these visitors, 1.4 million (over 40%), entered the park through the West Yellowstone entrance, which makes Big Sky a strategic location to capture many of the YNP tourists as they travel Highway 191 to the park. There are 12-22 million Yellowstone related search phrases on Google every month, which is another opportunity for Big Sky. (source: YNP website)

Direct Flight to 12 US Cities

There are several vendors offering excursions to the park on a regular basis, with shuttles running from area lodging facilities to the park.

In just three years, passenger traffic has increased 28% or nearly 200,000 passengers and has elevated BZN to on the top 120 airports in the nation in terms of passengers (out of nearly 500).

As the “Base Camp to Yellowstone� philosophy develops and gains more notoriety, the increase of summer traffic to the Big Sky area is already becoming more evident.

During 2012, new seasonal service was added to Newark/ New York on United making Bozeman the first Montana airport to have non-stop service coast-to coast. Seasonal non-stop service is provided to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Newark/New York, Portland and San Francisco. The airport, which is operated by the Gallatin Airport Authority, recently opened a state-of-the-art Customs and Border Patrol facility that permits international arriving general aviation aircraft. The terminal is designed to handle up to 2 million passengers annually. (

Big Sky Community Profile


Resort Tax For nearly two decades, the Big Sky Resort Tax District has collected a 3% tax on the sale of luxury items, goods, and services within the Big Sky area. In 2013, the Resort Tax District distributed about $3 million to about 20 community infrastructure, tourism development, and non-profit organizations. The average annual tax collection growth rate over the last ten years has been about 5.7%. The Resort Tax has invested over $35 million in the Big Sky community since its inception in 1992.

Resort Tax Collections 10 Year Trend (5% Average Annual Revenue Increase)

Resort Tax Revenue By Season 100%
















$‐ 2003














9% Dec - Mch

Data compiled by Big Sky Town Center. Sources referenced.

June - Sept

April, May, Oct & Nov

Big Sky Community Profile  

Big Sky, Montana the facts.

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