It’s the biggest Airbnb listing in the land, my lad: 5,850 acres of wild ranch in Big Sky, Montana. And it’s opening up for two lucky, homely travelers to babysit whilst its owner, Conrad Anker, will be hiking Mt. Everest (NBD). The idea is to have you and a bud stay there for $88 a head, for two nights, fully equipped with complimentary North Face gear, a discovery itinerary, a shmancy meal—the works. Not a bad first post-quar vacation for vaccinated tree huggers.
“For three days and two nights, you and a guest will get to enjoy exploring the 100 miles of hiking and biking trails in the region,” reads the Airbnb page, “or ride the Tram up over 11,000 feet above sea level to the summit of Lone Peak on Lone Mountain. Depending on your interests, activities could include: A private expedition to the summit of Lone Peak, Montana’s highest scenic overlook, a guided tour of the flora, fauna and wildlife of Big Sky; A relaxing dinner for two in a nearby yurt tucked away in the mountains; Fly-fishing on a blue-ribbon trout stream, the Gallatin River...” The list goes on. And on.
So how do you shoot your shot? The same way you would any other Airbnb listing. Once it opens up for booking this Thursday, May 13 at 1 PM EDT, smash those speedy fingers on the book now button, and pray to the Pronghorn you win. (Also cool: Airbnb will be “making one-time donations to local organizations Big Sky Youth Empowerment, a local nonprofit that provides opportunities for vulnerable teenagers to experience success through group mentorship and experiential adventures, as well as the Montana Conservation Corps.”)
Why Montana, you may ask? Dude. All your truly hardcore ski bum friends are now working the lifts in Montana, and for good reason—the place slaps. It’s the analog screensaver we’ve always wanted to visit, and it feels like one of the more spacious, cathartic options for our nature-starved eyeballs. It has Lord of the Rings-worthy landscapes, Pronghorns, and towns named “Crystal Fields” and “Butte”; It has great breweries (including one called, “Moose Drool”). It has a giant pit; ghost towns galore; mountain gastronomy; and, as The Chicks would say, “Wide open spaces / Room to make the big mistakes.” No wonder it’s the aesthetic, rustic outpost of choice for celebrities. [Waves to Ben and J.Lo.]
As of March, said Airbnb, “Montana is the no.1 trending destination on Airbnb this summer with searches to Big Sky up a whopping 72%.” So while you might not (well, probably not) get to stay at Conrad’s pad, there are tons of other, wonderful ways to hole up in Montana’s beauty—be it in Big Sky or [paints rainbow] beyond.
Elsewhere in Big Sky
This dreamy two-bedroom may not be Conrad’s house, but it’s still situated in the same swoony landscape in Big Sky. “It's a short 3 minute drive to the Lone Mountain at Big Sky lift,” writes the host, “(there's a free shuttle every half hour or you can drive or walk) [and] you’ll love my place because of its convenience to the slopes,” aaaand the heated hot tub and pool.
2 Bedroom 2 Bath Ski Condo (sleeps up to 4), $109/night at Airbnb
You’re coming with a dozen vaxxed lovers
Naturally, you will need a modern Alpine Haus for drizzling vodka on each other/forming a massage train around the fire-pit of this Big Sky villa. Please film the pilot of your reality TV show here. The seven bathrooms and hot tub are just begging for it.
Alpine Modernism with Full Views of Lone Peak (sleeps up to 12), $675/night at Airbnb
Tiny house, Big Sky
If you don’t have intimacy issues, this place is great for you, your partner, and a third wheel.
Tiny House Hosted by Brett (sleeps up to 3), $200/night at Airbnb
The ideal hermitage
Just look at all those nonchalant forest critters. This happy place in Kila, Montana, is in the middle of the Ponderosa pines, “home to deer, turkeys, birds,” and is “walking distance to logging trails & state game land and Rogers Lake.” It’s also home to very thoughtful hosts, who provide a luggage sled and ski-in-ski-out access (“guests can access ski lifts without driving or taking paid transportation.”)
Buck Ridge Log Cabin (sleeps up to 4), $95/night at Airbnb
Invite J-Lo and Ben Here
Oh-so-swanky. You are but a trout’s toss from the center of Jackson Hole, and surrounded by the swish, well-Windexed ambiance of a modern house with loads of natural light, and “and expansive views of nearby Crystal and Saddle buttes.”
Outpost: East Gill Four (sleep up to 4),
$513 $314/night at Airbnb
This is apparently the playhouse of a historic mansion
This little cottage is one of “Butte’s top five historic mansions, featuring gorgeous pieces of petrified wood, stone work inside and out, a personal creek and pond. This space would be a perfect romantic getaway for a honeymoon couple, or if you’re just needing to escape and relax.” So, like, the Playboy Mansion of the Rockies? Cool.
Historic and Cozy Private Cottage Getaway (sleeps up to 2), $110/night at Airbnb
“Darling, I’ll be at the lodge”
Now there’s a view a middle-aged executive could ponder in front of for days (or at least two scenes in a Scorcese movie). Sage Lodge is in Pray, Montana, and is one of the state’s most dramatic luxury hotels with its spa, horseback riding lessons (another pivotal scene) and an overall excellent stage for playing out your mid/quarter-life crisis. It’s right by Yellowstone, frames Emigrant Peak, and is close to a hot springs spot so rustic, one reviewer’s daughter “thought it was haunted.” Big main character energy.
Rooms are around $700/night at Tripadvisor
“Darling, I’ll be at the Hungry Horse Motel”
Different energy, but we’re here for the ride, and we have so many questions. First, what David Lynch movie is this? Second, is the horse on the sign OK??? Exploring kitsch roadside motels has been a favorite imaginary hobby of ours in lockdown, and we can’t wait to actually make it a reality now that we’re vaccinated. This motel in the town of Hungry Horse (excellent branding) is an absolute pearl. It’s so old school, you have to book your room by phone. It’s perfectly preserved and top-rated on Tripadvisor as “the cleanest most charming motel you will find on this side of the Mississippi!” Plus, the trout on top of the sundae: It’s en route to Glacier Park, and a five-minute drive to the Montana Vortex, “a genuine quantum or gravitational anomaly that may re-define the laws of physics and nature.” Don’t lose your ten-gallon hat in the “healing labyrinth.”
Learn more about booking the Hungry Horse Motel at Tripadvisor
This place has a saloon
It was built in 1907, so you just know this lodge in Hungry Horse is going to be packing big whiskey/mothball/finish-your-novel-here vibes.
Book your spot (starting at $160/night) at Tripadvisor
Above all: Support Indigenous Tourism
Find out whose land you’re on with this trusty map, and if you do visit Glacier National Park, consider booking the indigenous-led Sun Tours as your guide through the epic landscape. “The tour concentrates on Glaciers' natural features and the relevance to the Blackfeet Indian Nation, past and present,” they explain, “[and] our guides are residents of the reservation, [and] knowledgeable in many facets of tribal history, culture, and lifestyle.” Tours resume on May 17, 2021, so book ‘em before everyone else.
Book your spot (starting at $70/person) at Sun Tours
See you at the lodge.
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