Rio’s Very Unofficial Guide to Bridger Bowl
This guide is currently under construction. I will attempt to finish it as the season progresses and I have a chance to refresh my memory, snow pack permitting.
Getting on the lifts:
Three of the lifts are Bridger Bowl (Powder Park, Bridger and Pierre’s Knob) have lift loading assistance hardware from ChairKids. To load on lifts using them move forward in the lift gate and lean gently on the gate. Do not crash into the gate like you’re a World Cup racer; you will get yelled at. When it is your turn to load the gates will open. Let yourself glide down onto the ChairKids mat. You do not have to do any stepping or pushing yourself except on days when it’s well above freezing. If you have a child with you that needs a boost tell the lift operators and they will have the ChairKid device raise up. No physical boosting of the child will be necessary. If you are loading with a child getting a lift be aware that the chair will be coming in much lower than normal.
Two of the lifts at Bridger (Alpine and Virginia City) are vintage Riblet chairs. Riblet chairs are two seat chairs with the pole in the center. When loading onto these lifts be sure to look towards the center of the chair. If you are riding solo on these lifts sit on the inside.
Bridger Bowl has four distinct areas: Lower Mountain, Upper Mountain, Schlauchman’s Chair and the Ridge. The lower mountain is mainly beginner terrain. The upper mountain has runs from easy greens to extreme expert. The Ridge is mainly expert terrain that requires some hiking to access. Schlauchman's Chair is mainly expert terrain, also. Both Schlauchman's Chair and the Ridge require the rider to have a transceiver. Shovels and partners are not required, but highly recommended for both.
The lower mountain is mainly beginner and lower-intermediate terrain. It is serviced by 3 chair lifts. Snowflake Chair services the bunny hill off to the left of the Saddlepeak Lodge. Powder Park Chair is a quad located to the right of the base area. Virginia City is an old Riblet Chair adjacent to the Saddlepeak Lodge.
While the lower mountain is beginner terrain is sometimes has the least hospitable snow & weather. Due to winds, manmade snow and sun exposure it is more prone to icy snow than the rest of the mountain. It is usually more wind exposed on windy days. When cold arctic fronts move through inversions often make the lower mountain significantly colder than the upper mountain, also.
The most popular run off the Powder Park chair is Sunnyside which is to the left as you exit the lift. This run is where the terrain park is, also. The most popular run off Virginia City is Coyote Flats which is to the right as you exit the lift.
The upper mountain has terrain ranging from advance beginner to extreme. It is serviced by three lifts, Alpine, Pierre’s Knob and the legendary Bridger Chair. Alpine chair is an old Riblet two seater on the north end of resort. It services mainly advance beginner and intermediate terrain. The most popular runs on the Alpine chair are Limestone, Wolverine, Bobcat and the Three Bears. To get to Alpine Lift take Powder Park and exit to the right.
Most people exit the Alpine chair to the right which leads to easier terrain. The first run you encounter to the right is Limestone, an easy green run. Some beginners find the first turns on Limestone daunting. To avoid that part of the run, keep going right and follow the easy way down signs. As you proceed down Limestone you will see signs pointing to other runs. Keep to the left to stay on Limestone.
Two other popular runs accessed off Limestone are Wolverine and Bobcat. Wolverine is a narrow, fun blue run that meanders through the trees. Bobcat is a much more wide open run with a good pitch for warming up on. Bobcat is usually groomed just after Bridger closes so it has a smooth surface under any powder that might accumulate overnight making it an ideal run for people starting to ski powder.
The Three Bears Bowl is a good area to do some off-piste skiing. The bowl consists of three chutes, Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. You access the chutes by exiting Alpine chair to the left and following the traverse. The first chute you come to is Baby Bear, the second Mama Bear and the third Papa Bear.
There are numerous ways to return to the other parts of the mountain from Alpine lift. The easiest is to ski down Limestone. When you return to the lift follow Mully Road which is just below the base of the lift. This route will take you back to the base area. If you want to access other parts of the upper mountain then either take the Three Bears Traverse and keep going until you reach Powder Park or take Rugrat which is at the bottom of Alpine Face.
Pierre’s Knob Lift is on the other side of the ski area from Alpine Lift. It services a good selection of intermediate runs with a few expert runs, also. To get to Pierre’s Knob take either the Virginia City Lift or Powder Park Lift and exit to the left then follow the road.
(To be continued)