Bridger Bowl is a mid-sized resort located near Bozeman, Montana, home of Montana State University. This ski area is non-profit operated and locally owned with the goal of providing locals and students with affordable skiing. Thankfully, you can get in on the fun. Bridger has a great vertical of 2600 feet, with a peak elevation of 8700 feet and a base elevation at 6100 feet. There are 2000 acres of skiable in-bounds terrain spread out over the Bridger Range in the Gallatin National Forest. Annual snowfall averages at 350 inches (8.9 meters) per year. Whenever there is at least two-inches of fresh snow, a blue beacon flashes on top of the Baxter Hotel and stays on for a day.
The Mountain and Trails
There are 71 named trails at Bridger, with a difficulty mix that is weighted heavily toward the expert rider. And by heavily, 42 percent of the trails are double black diamond rated. The rest are 18 percent advanced, 28 percent intermediate and 12 percent novice. The longest run is a three-mile long intermediate cruiser that lopes around the edge of the inbounds area. For novices, the Sunnyside Lift will take you to a great starting point where you can try out several cruisers and some tree-lined groomers. For intermediates, hit the Pierre’s Knob lift to head up to South Bowl, where some great steeps and tree-lined paths await. If you’re not quite ready for the ridge terrain, hit the Three Bears Bowl just off the Alpine Lift. Expert skiers are going to inevitably find themselves at the Bridger Lift while you wait for the ridge to open. Once the ridge is open, head up to Slushman’s Ravine. You’ll find yourself spending the rest of your day with drop ins at Mundy’s Bowl or coming off the Nose.
The lift system at Bridger makes the mountain easy to get around. Keep in mind that none of the lifts are high-speed. There is one quad, three triples, three doubles, and one surface lift to ferry skiers as well as a mystery lift tow that leads up to the ridge (This one is for ski patrol only. Bummer). Capacity for the lifts is about 3300 people per hour. Thankfully, this resort never gets overly crowded so there are rarely lift lines. The only exception is first thing in the morning when everyone is stacked at either Sunnyside or Virginia City.
Bottom Lining It
This ski area is starting to hit the map as more and more people learn what locals have known all along. With lift tickets still in the $50 dollar range for walk-up pricing, the value of Bridger is off the charts. A friendly ski town only a few minutes away with some gracious locals just makes Bridger even better. The skiing and terrain has something for everyone, from novices just learning pizza turns to powderhounds in search of the freshest lines. You’ll love your time at Bridger.