Top Ten Unheralded Extreme Ski Slopes

Beyond Black: The World's Top Ten Unheralded Steeps
By Peter Oliver & Alistair Wearmouth

The scale of Montana skiing is best eulogized by the state moniker, Big Sky Country. But at Bridger Bowl, there's also truth in the adage, "Small is beautiful." Especially if it's one of the country's hidden double-black gems you're after.

Bridger Bowl is in many ways the antithesis to extreme skiing—a low-key resort with small acreage and short runs. But Bridger more than makes up for its reputation as Big Sky's little cousin with good-value prices—it's one of only two non-profit resorts in the U.S.—short lift lines, and a 10 percent coverage of expert terrain. Of this 10 percent, the grail of Bridger extreme is the indomitable Ridge, open only to those with an avalanche transreceiver, shovel, partner, and expertise to ski it.

The Ridge's lines aren't long, but the jumble of chutes, cliffs, trees, and gullies make it one of the great tests in America, not only of steep-skiing skills, but of route-finding too. Looming 400 vertical feet above the Bridger Lift, it will require a grueling 20-minute hike to reach the object of your affection. Alas, though, the Ridge is a cruel mistress: Misjudge your line here and an unexpected take-off from some unseen cliff is a very real possibility.

Resort Facts

Web: www.bridgerbowl.com

Phone: 1-800-223-9609

2004-05 lift pass: $37


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