The Ski Mountain
Just twenty minutes outside of Bozeman, Montana, Bridger Bowl keeps it simple. Take great snow from the infamous Bridger cloud, combine it with an unpretentious vibe aimed at affordability and let it fly on 2,000 acres high in the Bridger Range. Bridger Bowl is owned and operated by the local, non-profit Bridger Bowl Foundation, which you can thank for the mountain’s eight lifts, 75-plus runs and three day lodges. The terrain is split 50/50 between beginner/intermediate and moderate/advance, but the trail map is a simple indication that the mountain favors tight runs and exposed terrain so big ski egos are quickly brought in check. The mountain’s natural funnel shape and one base area make it easy to meet others for lunch or après.
The Mountain Experience
Bridger Bowl is a local’s mountain, but its locals welcome outsiders with a cold beer or elk burger from the Coleman resting on their truck bed. You’re likely to find down-home Montanans at Bridger rather than the more ritzy tourists that Big Sky Resort sees. The mountain and its devotees take pride for not being a cookie-cutter resort – no slopeside hotels or hot tubs to sully the ski experience. Bridger’s throwback feel is complete by offering only fixed-grip chairs, so don’t expect to be rocketed up for another lap. The mountain is the pride and joy of the local community, which is heavily involved in its future. It all adds up to a mountain full of loyal skiers with a laid back vibe.
Bridger Bowl Ski Terrain
• Advanced: Highlighted by the Ridge, the steeps and chutes of Bridger’s advanced terrain serve up plenty of thrills. Avalanche beacons are required when skiing the Ridge and when loading Schlasman’s lift. A shovel, probe, ski partner and backcountry knowledge are strongly recommended. If you’re not looking to hike or use a beacon but still crave steeps, check out Bridger Lift. Traverse from the top of the lift to North Bowl for challenging turns, or come off Pierre’s Knob to test the name on Flippers.
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: Concentrated around the Pierre’s Knob and Alpine lifts, the intermediate terrain at Bridger is located mostly mid-mountain. Alpine features the gentlest blues like Bobcat and mellow gladed options like Montague Meadows. On Pierre’s, try out Thunder Road for a bit more angle and Missouri Breaks for a long cruise back to the base area.
• Beginner: The Snowflake lift caters exclusively to beginners, and from there it’s an easy transition to the Virginia City and Sunnyside lifts. Sunnyside delivers the standard warm up terrain.
Around the Mountain
• Terrain Park: Park features are usually located off of the Sunnyside Lift. However, Bridger Bowl doesn’t pump a ton of resources into their park. If a big park is desired, you might be better off heading to Big Sky Resort, south of Bozeman.
Bozeman residents are passionate about their local snow. A powerful blue strobe light sits on top of Bozeman’s tallest building (the Historic Baxter Hotel) that flashes whenever Bridger Bowl receives two inches or more of new snow. So expect company on a powder day, as it’s no secret in this town. Prospective students visiting Montana State University can hit the Admissions Office for discounted tickets to Bridger. Use the reliable, cheap and timely bus service to get to the hill from town and back.
Jimmy B’s Bar and Grill in the Jim Bridger Lodge is the main watering hole on mountain, but you’ll find the best options in Bozeman. A college town, a working-class town, a rural cultural town, and more, Bozeman is an experience in itself and the go-to area for drinks and eats after skiing. The town strikes a balance between college town energy and resident’s needs, so you’ll find bars with either party-hardy college students or friendly rancher hands sipping a post-work whiskey. Both, however, share a love for Bridger Bowl. The downtown district offers shopping and dining options in a walkable radius.
Bozeman. An authentic western experience. Don’t be surprised to see cowboy hats and pickup trucks with gun racks.
Bridger Bowl Lodging
In keeping with its snow-centered vibe, Bridger Bowl has no overnight lodging at the mountain. The upside – enjoying Bozeman’s great restaurants, shopping and spas. However, the mountain does offer lodging and lift tickets packages at very affordable prices. These include privately owned homes and condos near the slopes as well as hotels in Bozeman.
Use the “Explore Bozeman’s Best Ski Lodging Deals” box above and right to find your best Lodging choices.
Skiing with Kids
Saddle Peak Lodge is designed for families and located next to the beginner-focused Snowflake lift. Drive up access makes it easy to drop-off the family and then find parking. The Mountain Experience package offers three lessons and will keep kids happy on the snow while mom and dad head for higher ground.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost
By David Steele