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DrnknZag 06-10-2011 10:16 AM

Bridger Bowl?
Long story short, I'm taking a sabbatical from my career next winter to study for a bunch of testing and I'm looking for a moutain to adopt as my home for the '11-'12 season. What I'm looking for in a mountain is pretty simple: good powder, great/gnarly terrain, easily accessible side/backcountry, and a small mountain and local vibe. I grew up near Mt Baker and love everything about the riding and vibe, and want to find some place similar.

My first round of searching has pretty much brought me to Bridger Bowl, Montana. It's got a lot of similarities to Baker; locally owned, lots of side/backcountry, and some real gnarly terrain (ie the highest lift requires an avy beacon). At first glance, it pretty much fits the bill for what I'm looking for. At this point I'm looking for first hand input on the mountain. Who's been there?

killclimbz 06-10-2011 10:28 AM

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I have had plenty of friends who have gone to Bridger. They all like it. Definitely a locals mountain. Lot's of good backcountry in the area. The ridge is in bounds but you have to carry full avy gear and a partner as you mentioned. I do not know if they have actual sidecountry options outside of the ridge.

The only knocks I've heard is that it gets worked over a lot quicker than the Big Sky resorts and the vertical is not nearly as big as BS either. Otherwise, it gets very positive reviews. Lift tickets are reasonable. Plus if you want to try something different, Big Sky and Moonlight are just 45 minutes away.

DrnknZag 06-13-2011 10:08 AM

Thanks for the reply, kill. Bridged really sounds like the type of place I'm looking for. From what I've heard from friends, Bozeman is a pretty chill town too. I also like the fact that I could hit Big Sky too if I wanted. Not to mention Jackson is definitely within driving distance!

Do you have any other recommendations of similar places? I don't want to decide on Bridger without looking into a couple other places.

killclimbz 06-13-2011 10:55 AM

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I think for anything similar, you are probably going to have to venture into Canaduh. Which in general, their resorts in the west are much bigger than most anything in the US. Jackson is the only real competitor.

Some of the far corner areas of Colorado sort of fit the bill. Durango has Purgatory right there, but I wouldn't call Purg a great moutain. Silverton and Wolf Creek are around an hour to 90 minutes away. Something like that, I I have only made that drive in the area a couple of times. The backcountry off of Red Mountain pass is pretty damn amazing. Great terrain and there are all sort of abandoned mining camps all over the place. Which are pretty neat to ride by on your tour. Telluride is doable too. Durango is a pretty chill college town. It's also completely different terrain than what you find in the Front Range. Summit, Vail, etc. So if you are looking states you might look around there. Crowds in the Durango area are definitely not an issue.

DrnknZag 06-15-2011 12:20 PM

SW Colorado would be awesome, Silverton is definitely on my bucket list of places to shred! That being said, I'm not sure if that's quite where I want to spend next winter; it's a bit far away from the PNW than I'd like (for the moving aspect). The more I read about Bridger, the more I think it's the place I'd like to spend next year.

killclimbz 06-15-2011 12:39 PM

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I was just throwing it out there as it fit the bill of what you were looking for. I think Bridger is your number 1 choice and SW Colorado would be number poop...

kramer213 06-15-2011 11:08 PM

I have grown up in montana and i am currently going to school in bozeman. Bridger Bowl is my home mountain, i love riding there this last year we had some great powder days. Idk if you are a park rider the park is not Bridgers strong point. What Bridger has that i have not come across at other mountains is "the ridge" think of it as a built in back country riding. The mountain tests it and riders hike whenever they want and can pick their own lines and bomb down its sick. Bozeman is also an hour away from Big Sky another good resort. But Bridger is amazing i love riding there and love the people too.

chupacabraman 06-18-2011 05:48 PM

Go to Bridger Bowl. It fits what you're looking for to a T. A great hill for freeriding and 'slackcountry'
Not many hills I can put in that category, <10 in North America.

walove 06-19-2011 09:33 AM

I'm a washington transplant to bozeman, and been riding bridger for a few years. It is really a one of a kind ski area. What most people have been saying is true, its a comunity owned non profit runs it, no high speed lifts, lots of diverse steep terrain. If you are coming from baker, you will miss some powder days. Bridger gets 350 in a year, not quite the powder factory as other places.

As the slack country goes the ridge is in bounds but requires a hike from the top of the lifts. They have open boundries so once you one the ridge you can hike out of bounds to the north to or south as far as you want, or head down the west side and skin back up. Avy danger is more serious then WA, we had a death this year on the west side, and miss a bullet last year when saddle peak to the south slide big with multiple people on it. The inbounds riding will keep you happy for years

Another thing to note is that it is a skier dominated mountain, id guess 90% skiers to boarders, you'll have to be ready to take the board off to make it up side steps, one footing icy traveres and hike along the ridge while skiers skate by.

Snow was great this year, and a cool spring means its stayed around. I had a nice ride down super coulior from the ridge on the split board yesterday.

walove 06-19-2011 09:43 AM

Buy a frequency card for big sky, $49 gets you the first and last weeks of the skiing for free and a discount the rest of the year. The skiing off the tram is good, but lacks the diversity of terrain that bridger has. The wind is a lot more kind to bridger too, big sky and moonlight get scoured by the wind leaving rocks exposed, or just under the pow all year long, something I was not used to coming from washington.

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