Ski Resort Life

Bridger Bowl

Big Sky is the big, developed resort; Bridger is the local's hangout.

Bozeman is centrally located between two well-known places to ski and ride: Big Sky to the south and Bridger Bowl to the north. But Bozeman is the only common denominator, as the two areas couldn’t be more different. Big Sky is the big, developed resort; Bridger is the local’s hangout. Big Sky is more than three times the size of Bridger and has more than twice the vertical. But this is the wide open west, and with 1,000 acres of terrain and 2,000 feet of vertical (even more of both with hike-to terrain), Bridger is hardly small. And since both places attract different crowds, it’s really not fair to make too close a comparison.

Bridger’s non-profit status means reasonably-priced lift tickets and season passes, an attraction to nearby Montana State University students and families. And its reputation for some of the state’s most radical terrain draws hardcore, serious skiers and riders. But Bridger’s softer side appeals to families, who enjoy the area’s many green and blue trails.

The Virginia City and Powder Park lifts serve ten green circle trails; the Alpine lift serves four plus a half dozen blue trails and some short blacks; and the Pierre’s Knob lift serves eight blues, three blacks, and a short double black. So those skiers and riders who make up the majority have plenty of choices and more than 1500 feet of vertical on which to play.