Living and skiing in Big Sky, Montana, we often see a bumper sticker that says “Never Bridger”, a cheeky dig at Bridger Bowl ski area north of Bozeman. Bridger is less than a two-hour drive from Big Sky, but it’s amazing how many Big Sky skiers have stubbornly never skied Bridger. In fairness, it’s pretty hard to drive away from Lone Peak and many of us don’t leave our mountain town bubble for weeks or months at a time in the winter. When you have the “Biggest Skiing in America” in your backyard, topped off with world-class backcountry skiing in Beehive Basin, why go anywhere else?
As much as I love our mountain home, I make a point to leave Big Sky at least a few times a winter to explore other ski mountains. Earlier this winter we skied Lost Trail Powder Mountain south of Missoula and a few weeks ago we made the trek up to Whitefish Mountain Resort, outside of Glacier National Park. This winter, I really wanted to make it to Bridger because our friend and former roommate Al joined the ski patrol squad there this winter and he was offering to show us the classics, including the Bridger Ridge: a 2.5 mile long ridgeline hike across the top of the Bridger Mountain Range. I also wanted to put an end to my partner Dan’s 8-year “Never Bridger” streak.
Yesterday after a warmup lap on the “Fingers”, we followed Al onto the Bridger lift and then strapped our skis to our backpacks and bootpacked straight up about 500 feet onto the ridge. From there we hiked north along the windy, corniced ridge to an area called the Apron, where we clicked into our skis and dropped into Hidden Gully, a steep, narrow and snowy chute on the east side of the ridge. And then we did it again. Never Say Never Bridger Mission Accomplished!
We have about three weeks left of skiing in Big Sky before the lifts stop spinning April 22. Then we’ll be taking our skis to Iceland! In the meantime, Aerial Geology is back in stock! Signed copies direct from me are $30 plus $5 shipping. Read more about my book here.