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Bozeman's Ski Area Comparison: Bridger Bowl and Big Sky

Posted by Visit Bozeman on Oct 6, 2016 8:49:00 AM
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There is no doubt that Bozeman offers some of the best skiing opportunities in the United States, North America, and even the World. Bozeman was recently named to National Geographic's list of The World's Best Ski Towns due to its proximity to all the surrounding National Forest that offers an array of backcountry skiing, but what has really put Bozeman on the map as a vacation destination are Big Sky Resort and Bridger Bowl. Both offer amazing terrain but have completely different personalities. Big Sky Resort is a full service resort offering lodging options, dining, night life, shopping, and other activities beyond skiing. Bridger Bowl is a community based non-profit ski area that is focused on providing a great skiing experience, without the lodging, fine dining, and shopping. The skiing at both is amazing, but we thought we would break them down in more detail to help you get a feel for each option.

Big Sky Resort


A photo posted by Big Sky Resort (@bigskyresort) on

  • Skiable Acreage: 5,800 acres
  • Top Elevation: 11,166 ft
  • Vertical Drop: 4,350 ft
  • Lifts: 34 total lifts
  • Annual Average Snowfall: 400+ Inches
  • Distance from Bozeman: 50 miles

Big Sky Resort has aggressively positioned itself as the "Biggest Skiing In America", meaning that it offers the most skiable acreage of any ski resort in the United States. It has a great mix of green, blue, and black runs and there is truly something for everybody. Their lift system offers mostly high-speed chairlifts which can meet the demand of over 38,000 skiers per hour, but the great thing is that you rarely battle long lift lines at Big Sky. With all that acreage and the high lift capacity, visitors are easily spread out keeping lift lines low and the skiing great. 

Bridger Bowl

  • Skiable Acreage: 2,000+ acres
  • Top Elevation: 8,800 ft
  • Vertical Drop: 2,700 ft
  • Lifts: 8 total lifts
  • Distance from Bozeman: 17 miles

What Bridger Bowl lacks in high speed chairlifts, it more than makes up for in character. Bridger is a non-profit ski area that is very family friendly while still offering some of the best terrain in North America. With recent improvements to their lift system, the mountain spreads the crowd out across the upper mountain with a variety of terrain. Beginners will love the Alpine lift while Intermediates can find plenty of options on Pierre's Knob and Powder Park, and the Experts can push their abilities on the Bridger lift. Looking for more of an extreme experience, head to Schlasman’s lift or take a hike up to The Ridge. Both locations require an avalanche transceiver and should only be skied by experts. Bridger Bowl has a community atmosphere with many locals making the drive from Bozeman, since it's only 17 miles away. 

Honestly it's hard to go wrong with either ski resort. They each have their differences, but we sure are lucky to have both of these great winter wonderlands right in our backyard. To take advantage of both locations, we recommend using Bozeman as your base camp. Spend your days on the snow and your evenings exploring all that Bozeman has to offer, including great restaurants, lots of shopping, and a fun nightlife. The winter forecast for the mountains around Bozeman is looking great, so be sure to start planning your trip now. We look forward to sharing our ski runs with you this winter. 

Bozeman Travel & Relocation Guide

Tags: Winter, Skiing

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Your Guide To Bozeman, Montana and the Surrounding Area

This blog offers a variety of content to help you plan your visit to Bozeman and the Yellowstone area. Get inspired to hit the slopes, cast your fly rod, or just take a stroll down Main Street. There are a lot of reasons to love Bozeman, and we want to share them all with you. 

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