Hikers at Bridger Bowl this summer found restricted access. But few complained, because the closure was due to the installation of the new Bridger Lift. A triple chair lift will replace the old double Bridger and Deer Park lifts.

Dismantling the old lifts started earlier this summer when helicopters flew out the towers and assemblies. Crews at Bridger are pouring concrete for tower pads and assembling tower parts with the intention of flying towers for the new lift into place by early October with load testing by mid-November.

The new lift is expected to provide 1,500 feet of uninterrupted fall line skiing on a wide slope. Crews are grading out the Deer Park switchback road and unload area to make the terrain one big bowl descending from its 8,100-foot summit.

"We're trying to turn the terrain back to its natural slope," said Bridger's Doug Wales. "The Deer Park Lift area made a big wedge of obstruction, and the road cut smack in the middle of Bronco slope. Eliminating those will make for nonstop skiing down the run."

Two complaints dogged the old Bridger Lift. It closed frequently in high winds and accumulated big lift lines on powder days. The new lift, equipped with heavy triple chairs that weigh 250 pounds each, was designed to withstand strong cross winds, which should minimize the numbers of closure days. The resort also anticipates that powder day lines will dissipate faster as the lift's uphill capacity increases by 7.5 percent more than the two lifts combined that it replaces.

The new lift is expected to be ready for opening day, which depends on snowfall. "We're usually prepared for opening by Thanksgiving weekend," added Wales. Check out the new Bridger Lift alignment on the updated trail maps for Bridger. 

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