Bridger Bowl's new Schlasman's lift last year opened up the first new terrain at the resort in 30 years. The lift offers those looking for backcountry-like thrills the advantage of lift access without the hard work of slogging thousands of vertical feet up on foot.

The lift, which spans views of Montana's Crazy and Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains from its 8,700-foot top, services two monster bowls and the ridge. Mundy's Bowl and Slushman's Ravine sprawl on opposite sides of the lift, plummeting with a jaunty mix of cliff bands, glades, chutes, and open fall line deep powder meadows. The bowls deposit skiers back at the base of Schlasman's lift.

A hiker's trail departs from the top of the lift to traverse west across the top of the ridge to reach the steep powder drops of the Fingers, South Bowl, the Nose, North Bowl, Bridger Gully, and the Apron-all with varying degrees of expert pitch and difficulty. The ridge routes drop back in to the main part of the ski area, requiring the use of other lifts to return back to Schlasman's lift.

Schlasman's lift, accessed via Pierre's Knob lift and for advanced skiers only, requires an avalanche beacon for access and recommends a partner, shovel, and probe. "The gear is required to weed out those who aren't ready," marketing director Doug Wales told last winter while skiing there. The Bridger patrol performs avalanche control work in the zone, but does not mark hazards. No marked trails, no grooming, no string lines denoting cliff rims. 

Those with the skiing or riding skills, but unsure of route selections, can take a three-hour Ridge Terrain Tour. The guides provide packs, shovels, and transceivers, but skiers or riders needs to bring their own helmets. The tour costs $140 for the first person and $55 per person for up to three more participants.

More information. Or call 406-556-5662.