by: Robin Barker - 10th January 2014

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 2Nightlife
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Value
Huge fluffy dumps, steep, technical terrain
Small terrain parks, no high speed lifts, crowded on big powder days

Full review

Bridger Bowl gets some of the deepest, lightest snow anywhere in the Rockies. The terrain off of the top of the mountain is as technical and steep as you like, although you only get about 1000 vertical feet before you are back in the lower mountain terrain. You also need an avalanche transceiver to access the ridge terrain at the top. A shovel, probe, and knowledgeable partner are also highly recommended. Although this might seem excessive, one hike to the ridge or ride up the Slushman's lift, and you will see why this is important. It is very easy to get cliffed out or find yourself in over your head (sometimes in powder!). There have been 4 new lifts put in since 2008, most notably the Slushman's lift, which you need a transceiver just to ride, as well as the new Bridger triple lift installed in 2010 (replacing an old double from the 60's), and 2 new brand new triple lifts in 2013 (replacing another aging double), providing better access to beginner and intermediate terrain on the North side of the ski area. The beginner lift in the base area currently serves a very small area and can become congested on busy days. For this reason, I don't think Bridger is always ideal for folks who have never skied at all, although there are plans to expand the beginner terrain in the base area in the near future. If you have the skill to ride up the quad lift out of the base area, the new lifts to the North provide lots of great beginner and intermediate terrain. The big powder days can be hectic with so many rippers eager to get first tracks, so get there an hour before opening if you want fresh tracks, and don't be surprised when the lower mountain is pretty tracked up by noon. The parking is also limited on these huge powder days. Once the crowd disperses on the upper mountain, you will be hard pressed to find a significant wait in any line, with the exception of the Slushman's lift, which can have a line up to 45 minutes long on powder days. On off days, there are really no lines anywhere, and stashes of untracked snow can be found several days after the last storm. Overall, Bridger Bowl is an amazing deal with a day ticket around 50 bucks, a great ski/snowboard school, a positive vibe, beautiful and challenging terrain, and decent food and drink. Only about 20 minutes from accommodations in Bozeman, it's pretty darn convenient considering that there is no lodging on the mountain (except for a few privately owned vacation rentals). This also means you shouldn't expect much night life after 6pm on the mountain, you'll need to rely on downtown Bozeman for that.
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