People tend to have some preconceived notions about Montana. Maybe they envision it being just like the Wild West, with cowboys walking through swinging saloon doors. Or maybe they picture a frozen tundra landscape with moose roaming around the downtown streets. And most people expect a big, wide-open sky and mountainous beauty. Well, lets see what myths hold any water…

Myth: Montana is cold with no sunshine

Truth: Overall, Southwest Montana has mild mountain temperatures in the winter. Typically, the Big Sky area doesn’t experience the hot and cold extremes of other parts of the state. Normal winter months have average temperatures in the 30s with lows in the high teens to low 20s. However, the weather is notorious for being favorably inconsistent, fluctuating from cold to mild in little time. The area has relatively low humidity and light winds, providing the ideal climate for outdoor winter recreation. The average annual snowfall in Big Sky is 33 feet, allowing the ski season usually extends from December to mid-April. As far as sun goes, nearby Bozeman has an average of 320 days of sunshine each year. That’s more than Houston, Texas.

Myth: Big Sky, Montana is Difficult To Get To

Truth: Gallatin Field Airport, located eight miles west of Bozeman and 51 miles from Big Sky, serves the greater Southwest Montana region, including Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park. In 2011, the airport completed a three-story expansion to help accommodate the area’s increasing summer and winter visitors. The addition more than doubled the terminal’s size to nearly 200,000-square-feet. Currently, the terminal serves 750,000 passengers each year and is the 2nd busiest airport in Montana. In the next decade that number is expected to increase to 1.5 million passengers. Direct flights to Bozeman’s Gallatin Field Airport (BZN) are available from many major metropolitan areas including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Seattle. Coming soon is a direct flight to/from New York. Flights are available through: Alaska/Horizon, Allegiant Air, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Northwest Airlines and United.

Myth: There are only dive bars & greasy spoons

Truth: Ever wonder about a Montana hamburger? Here, it’s easy to find a perfectly charbroiled patty made from local beef or bison and topped with an array of unique and delicious ingredients that transport this classic western fare from basic to decadently gourmet. Beyond the classic bar fare, the Bozeman and Big Sky communities are filled with a diverse array of restaurants that serve up everything from ethnic cuisine, to creative five-course meals, to old-fashioned steak and potatoes. Wine bars with canapés and cheese trays rub elbows with old-school beer joints with classic pub fare. Montana cuisine has something for everyone. And, whether you are in jeans and tee shirt, a suit or high heels, you will be welcomed with the classic western hospitality and casual attitude that defines the Montana lifestyle.

Myth: There’s moose & cowboys walking down Main Streets in Montana.

Truth: Moose and cowboys have been spotted walking around Big Sky’s Town Center, along with the occasional black bear and big horned sheep. But it’s not necessarily the norm. Most likely, you’ll see more locals and visitors dressed in ski gear or après ski casual wear just like yourself. But consider yourself lucky if you do get a glimpse of our wild side.