Bridger Bowl Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Bridger Bowl Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    6,000 – 8,700 (2,700)
  • Average Snow Fall
    350 inches
  • Lifts (11)
    1 quad
    6 triple chairs
  • Ski Season
    early Dec - early Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 75
    Size – 2,000 acres
    Beginner - 12%
    Intermediate - 28%
    Advanced - 18%
    Expert - 42%

Bridger Bowl Skiing and Snowboard Terrain

The steep terrain at Bridger Bowl is phenomenal, depending on your perspective of how steep you like it. The joy as you stand at the top of Bridger’s Ridge Terrain waiting to commit to a steep, bony entrance. A massive amount of inbounds terrain is designated for the expert snow rider only at Bridger Bowl Ski Resort. Some of the expert Bridger Bowl skiing and snowboarding is definitely sphincter pucker worthy, some of it less so, but all VERY interesting nonetheless and deserving respect. To access it you require avalanche safety gear.

That’s not to say Bridger Bowl skiing is just for experts. Absolutely not. It’s a classic ski hill that graduates beautifully from bottom to top. There are greens in the base area, blues then blacks in the mid mountain, and steeps above (plus a bit to the left). All these are spread over 2,000 acres, 600 of which are groomed trails.

Bridger Bowl Lifts

The classic mix of the old and the new and none of them ‘high speed’ brings a smile to my dial and relief to my quivering knees. One quad, 6 triples, 1 double, and a few surface lifts get you up the hill. The Sunnyside quad whisks you promptly up the hill from the base area and will be everyone’s first lift of the day (rank beginners excepted). Your next port of call may be the Bridger lift. Servicing the best of the intermediate and advanced terrain, a huge range of options exist from the top, including access to the Ridge. Skiers’ right of the Bridger lift is the Pierre’s Knob triple. It services some reasonable intermediate terrain.

The highest lift, and the best at Bridger, is the Schlasman’s double. It accesses some phenomenal terrain and its top station is beautifully perched near the top of the Ridge. On powder days the Powderhounds heard that lift lines at Schlasman’s can be 40 minutes plus. We didn’t see it, but there was ‘only’ boot deep pow during our visit. Given the terrain, 40 minutes might be a small price to pay to schoom some blower cold smoke loveliness.

What is intriguing for Bridger Bowl skiing is the lift that isn’t there. Mysterious indeed. Skiers’ right of the top of the Bridger lift is a perfectly good drag lift that gets you all the way to the top of the Ridge. The only problem is that it’s not on the trail map because you can’t use it. It is designated for the use of Ski Patrol only. What? Ski Patrol only. It is NOT a joke. To access the Ridge Terrain you walk up alongside this perfectly good lift. Now we’re certainly not against earning turns, but honestly, this is ridiculous. The mystery lift – see if you can scam a ride!

Lift Tickets

Five words - ridiculously cheap by international standards. You get a very big ski hill for a very small price. Nothing beats a not for profit ski resort.

Actually it seems like everyone on the hill has got a season pass, which begs the question: does anyone actually visit Bridger Bowl for just a few days? It is a miracle that day tickets are actually on sale! Sadly it seems too, that if you are wearing a day ticket you are slapped with the ‘punter’ label and deemed not worthy.

Crowds

Most of the hordes come from Bozeman, which only has a population of 46,000, and keep in mind that the mainstream folks prefer to go to Big Sky. Nevertheless, there are a lot of people in Bozeman that specifically moved there to be close to Bridger, so the crowds can be significantly greater than what you’d expect for a not for profit community-run ski hill. Weekends can be really busy but even weekdays can see the place swarming because it appears there are a lot of Bozeman folks who’ve dreamt up a job with flexible working hours.

Bridger Bowl Snow and Weather

Being on the eastern side of the continental divide means you’re gonna get that dry snow known locally as cold smoke (averaging a respectable 350 inches/year). Snow quality at Bridger Bowl is certainly top notch when it falls – as good as anywhere.

The top elevation is good but a long way off that of nearby Big Sky, Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole. Maintenance of snow quality is also somewhat hampered by a mostly easterly aspect, and it’s often icy in the mornings, which is part of the reason the locals turn up so late in the day.

An issue regarding the Bridger Bowl weather for advanced/expert skiers that want to ride the Ridge Terrain is that it can be socked in quite a bit with cloud hanging about the peaks, which is fine if you know the ground, not so if you don’t.

Bridger Bowl Skiing for the Beginner

Beginners rejoice. Bridger Bowl is purrrfect for you. Right price, right facilities, right variety, and just enough terrain. The progressions are ideal, from the covered magic carpet for novices and onto the three lifts that are dedicated just for beginners (or others just for upper hill access).

Intermediate Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Lower end intermediate skiers are well catered for at Bridger Bowl, but higher intermediates might find themselves quickly bored with the blue runs and intimidated by the black runs. Pierre’s Knob, Bridger (don’t forget to mid-station unload) and Alpine Lifts service a range of intermediate fodder, some great, some too flat. If looking to ‘upsize’ to advanced runs, the best places to start are in the Three Bears Bowl off Alpine, the North Bowl runs off Bridger, and the three little blacks (Mayo’s, Kurt’s and Emigrant) out the back off Pierre’s Knob.

Terrain Park

Bridger Bowl has two small terrain parks near the base adjacent to a beginner run. One is a beginner terrain park and the other more intermediate with a handful of rails and jumps.

Advanced Skiing Bridger Bowl

Advanced skiers and snowboarders can have fun all over the mountain but will inevitably find themselves hanging out on the Bridger lift, as all the longest ‘inbounds’ runs extend from it. If it’s not a powder day, I hope you love bumps because there could be a lot of them considering the amount of traffic.

Access to the South Bowl is possible via the High Traverse and whilst the traverse is a little tricky, all advanced skiers should do it easily. A number of runs can lead too low into Colter’s (Ptarmigan, Sluice Box, Avalanche Gulch) if you’re not paying attention. Make sure to cut left onto the Bridger Return and put on the speed to make it back to the Bridger lift.

For real action, the Schlasman’s lift area (appropriate safety gear required) has some achievable terrain for advanced riders. Skiers’ left at the top and then under the lift line, or traversing right into Mundy’s Bowl and then back to the lift line halfway down will provide a fair few thrills without putting one too much in harm’s way.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

So much to do and so little time to do it. No wonder everyone has a season pass at Bridger. Some lines are within easy reach and don’t require an avalanche transceiver. Via the Bridger lift skiers right there a number of ripping chutes off the High Traverse either side of The Nose, skiers left before North Bowl is a tasty little ditty called Out of Sight. Via the Pierre’s Knob lift, Flippers is just steep and nasty enough for its double black rating. Others you have to work a little more for. All of the Schlasman’s lift terrain is rated expert, and whilst that’s certainly true at the top, the bottom half is a gorgeous mellow off-piste cruiser.

Other parts of the Ridge Terrain can be accessed on foot from gates located at the top of the Pierre’s Knob lift and skiers left of the Bridger lift, along the ‘mystery lift’. The terrain (Fingers, Nose, Apron) accessed from these points is huge and care should be taken if unfamiliar with it and/or on poor visibility days. The longest vertical runs before hitting the lift accessed terrain is around the Apron and above North Bowl (access via the ‘mystery lift’ line). A bit of boot pack goes a long way at Bridger Bowl.

You can head to Saddle Peak, and even though it’s out of bounds, it doesn’t take long for it to become riddled with powder tracks.

For the Powder Hound

Just get to the mountain early enough for first lifts and don’t delay getting across to Schlasman’s when it opens. Aside from those basics, bring your safety gear, a ski buddy and be prepared to hike up to the Ridge Terrain.