By Emily Wolfe
1) Bitter End
Traverse and sidestep left along the ridge from the top of the chair, then bootpack five minutes to the south boundary line. Option one is to ski a 35-degree, consistent fall line directly down the ridge, following the Bitter End rope line until it curves left to the lift. Or you can cut left from Bitter End and drop into Mundy’s South.
2) Mundy’s Bowls
Named in memory of Kevin Mundy, a patroller who died doing summer tree work at the ski area, these two broad bowls are split by Lucy’s Rib. Turn left off the lift. The first plumb-line gully is the south-facing Poop Chute, with Mundy’s North to the right. For Mundy’s South, ski past Lucy’s, then milk the smooth wind buff.
3) Pat’s Chute
To reach this south-facing chute from the top of the chair, follow the ridge crest under the lift until you’re between towers 12 and 13. A 15-foot wall on the south-facing edge marks the skier’s left side of Pat’s. Work through the tight spot, then funnel into Mundy’s apron.
4) Deno’s Delight
Head right off the chair and cruise to tower 10, then cut under the lift and enter this treed, consistent slope, named after Dene Brandt, a Bridger patroller for over 30 years. The best line is an 800-foot alley through the trees. On a powder day, get here early, before traverse tracks from Mundy’s spoil it.
5) Diagonal Chute
Rip the lift line until you reach a gate 350 feet down on skier’s left. Bang a left below a huge dead whitebark pine and look for the steep entrance marked by another pine tree. Diagonal Chute, which holds cold smoke on its northerly aspects, is narrow at the top and then fans out into a broad apron.
6) Little Schlasman’s Ravine
To access all 1,600 vertical feet, start with a five-minute bootpack directly above the chair. Go right at the top, follow the cornice for 150 feet, and drop in. The bowl quickly funnels into a narrow, winding limestone ravine that, early in the season, has two mandatory airs between five and 12 feet high.
Summit elevation: 8,700 feet
Base elevation: 7,000 feet
Total vertical drop: 1,700 feet
Skiable acres: 2,000
In 1885, an avalanche killed four German coal miners. The drainage where they worked was named after one of them, P.B. Schlasman. For years, the area was misspelled as “Slushman’s.” When Bridger built the new lift, it opted for the historically accurate spelling.
The hard-to-predict so-called Bridger Bowl Cloud (the BBC) seems to park itself over the Ridge on otherwise sunny days and dump a fury of snow. In January 2004, it dropped 72 inches in 24 hours, breaking the previous world record.
The sign at the top of the lift reads, “Use Your Brain—Don’t Die Out of Bounds.” Bridger’s backcountry gates allow access to Saddle Peak and other serious, uncontrolled avalanche terrain. Check avy conditions at mtavalanche.com.
The double-seater at Schlasman’s is a hand-me-down from Snowbird, Utah, where it was installed as the Peruvian chair in 1976. Now in its second incarnation, the chair got a facelift and a tune-up before entering its new life in the fall of 2008.