The new lift-served terrain expansion in 30 years at Bridger Bowl has not only Bozeman buzzing, but all of Montana. The new Schlasman double chair drops skiers into acres of ungroomed, unmarked expert terrain.

Crews finished the two-year lift project after hanging chairs on its cable in late November, just as snows crept down the mountain slopes and snowmakers prepped their equipment to blow snow. Bridger's work is on schedule for its season opening Dec. 12.

"There's a lot of excitement in the local community," snow reporter Rob Wales told "Pass sales are up even with the sluggish economy. There's a pent up demand for some new expert terrain."

Head up Pierre's Knob Lift and shoot down Southbound to catch the new lift, which climbs 1,700 vertical feet up to within 100 feet of the ridge top. Mundy's Bowl sits to skier's right, and Slushman's Ravine to the left.

Wales, who skied the new terrain last year via open boundary gates, described its 311 acres of uninterrupted fall lines with enthusiasm. "The upper quarter has cliffs and routes down similar to the hiking terrain above the Bridger Lift," he said. "I would compare the lower part of the area to open aprons like the Hobacks at Jackson Hole."

The new terrain and chair is managed the same as Bridger's hike-to-ridge terrain. Skiers and riders are required to carry avalanche transceivers. Partners and shovels are strongly recommended.

"It's kind of the first real exciting news for hard core skiers in the local area," said Wales.