by: Jake - 30th March 2010

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced/Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 4Aprés Ski
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Snow Quality, Steeps, The Ridge, Schlassman's, close to Bozeman.
Beacons are expensive, Lines can be long, Rocks, parking.

Full review

Bridger, near Bozeman, MT, is a community owned ski hill. That alone eliminates a majority of the destination resort crowd. Bridger is definitely a skiers mountain. I put five stars in family friendly however, because every kid you see up there looks like they can ski better than you, and they probably do. What Bridger lacks in high speed lifts, they make up for in terrain. Bridger's renowned ridge, accessed via Bridger lift or the new Schlassman's lift has some legendary terrain. Chutes, cliffs, trees, powder stashes, hidden gulleys; Bridger is up to their balls in steeps, and in snow. The legendary coldsmoke that characterizes Bridger's winters contains 1-5% water, very dry, champagne status snow. The new lift opened last season, Schlassman's, opens up serious terrain that used to take hours to hike to. With this serious terrain comes the requirements for an avalanche beacon to ride. This helps keep it segregated from those that might accidentally happen upon terrain they can't handle, but it also keeps it out of reach for poor college kids, namely me. Beacon's run between 150-300 dollars, and they recommend a shovel and probe in the backcountry as well. This adds to your backcountry costs by about 100 dollars. Don't let that tear you from Bridger however, the inbounds terrain is still some of my favorite in Montana. The trees off Alpine lift and Pierre's Knob leave little to be desired, especially since they're accompanied by hidden stashes of powder. Bridger's also relatively cheap (compared to Big Sky or Moonlight, about 50 miles away), and provides a relaxed atmosphere conducive to drinking a beer and hitting the slopes. Watch out for rocks on exposed days, because, like other resorts in Montana, they seem to breed like rabbits. Go to Bridger if you love to ski. Go to Moonlight if you love hot tubs.
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