Bridger Bowl is our "local" downhill ski area. By local, I mean, a 90 mile drive, each way from our location, or about 20 miles outside of the college town (and our source for all things retail) Bozeman, Montana. We left our cabin guests tucked in this morning and headed out the door.
Kinplingers (November 2006) called Bridger Bowl, "...what skiing was like before resorts started charging $7 for hot chocolate and life lines were longer than runs." Because they are a non-profit, community ski area, you'll find the prices very reasonable and the terrain varied enough to keep everybody from Tim (on the Ridge with a beacon) and me (on the bunny hill chasing the kids) happy.
While Bridger Bridger Bowl recently opened 311 acres of new lift-served terrain for expert skiers only (avalanche transceivers are required here), it is an excellent FAMILY destination. Great ski school, lots of moderate terrain, and a wild amount of freedom for our preteen kids, who's spirits seem to lift visibly without parental restriction!
This isn't Aspen, or even Big Sky. You'll find nowhere special to eat or shop, and a very low number of hot pink ski suits but lots of telemarkers, kids with koolaid mustaches, sunshine and mountain views. (Foodies - pack a lunch!)
My favorite piece of terrain has to be the Snowflake Lift - $5/day buys you all the trips up and downs it's 100 yards of nearly flat topography and lots of small people to ski around. With out last daughter ready to leave Snowflake for the bigger lifts, I was feeling quite sentimental when I took these pictures. Goodbye Snowflake! You've served us well.
If you are feeling like a day away from Yellowstone; consider Bridger Bowl. Follow it up with a drive down to Bozeman and dinner at one of the many great restaurants that surround the historic downtown area. Hit a bookstore, grab an espresso for the road, and in less than two hours you are tucked in here.