Words and photos by Jason Thompson in 2014. Check out his website for more great images: www.jthompsonphotography.com
Bridger Bowl, located about 20 minutes outside of Bozeman, Montana provides high-quality skiing experiences for everyone. This non-profit ski area is steered by a volunteer board of directors. This business model, which is unique, allows Bridger Bowl to put the money back into the quality of their product, the skiing experience. It’s hard to argue a better value for what you pay for. Being a non-profit allows Bridger Bowl to keep ticket prices at a very reasonable rate. This allows families to be able to afford skiing. Introducing young generations of skiers to a lifetime activity that is good for the soul.
“Bridger has great energy overall. A true home town ski hill feel. Really passionate locals and sick terrain. I can see why there are so many good skiers, the place breeds good skiers.” Said Forrest Coots after his first time skiing at Bridger Bowl
The vibe that has been cultivated at Bridger Bowl is special. You can’t teach it or force it. The employees of Bridger Bowl love being there, they love working there. You see it and feel it when you ski here. Lift attendants dancing for an entire ski day at the mid-way station on the Bridger lift can’t be forced. Employees are just as stoked for the customers on powder as the skiers. It’s a refreshing thing to be skiing in an area that contains this magic. Skiing changes people’s lives, it cultivates friendships and communities. Showing positive examples of the skiing community to the next generation is a good thing. Bridger Bowl encompasses the soul of skiing.
“So many people rip and no one has an attitude about it. The goal is good skiing and that’s what the locals do. If something is skiing good people will tell one another.” Andrew Dombroski
My friends Forrest Coots and Hanne Myers (brother and sister duo) came and visited Bridger Bowl last week. It was Forrest’s first time skiing at Bridger, Hanne had skied a couple of times in years past. They were born and raised in Mt Shasta California, their Dad has been working at the Ski Park in Mt Shasta since 1985, the year it opened. We were joined by my good pal Andrew Dombroski for the week, his brother Zach also joined us during lunch breaks from his rental shop job. Andrew and Zach are products of Bridger Bowl, their Dad, Ray Dombroski has ski patrolled at Bridger for over 30 years. I asked Andrew what his most vibrant memories were about growing up at Bridger Bowl. “Family ski days, the big pow days. Getting up to the ski hill super early on control mornings when I was little and waiting for first chair.” Skiing is such a simple activity yet provides us with an enormous amount of joy. Deep, forged friendships have been created because of skiing.
The improvements that Bridger Bowl has made to their infrastructure over the years shows their dedication to providing a high-quality product while offering the lowest ticket prices around (certainly in SW Montana). Staying true to their mission of a family-oriented ski hill, all are invited to learn the art of skiing at Bridger, no matter your level of skiing, Bridger provides. Its a refreshing vibe in a ski world that promotes everyone to GoPro. Skiing teaches us to give back rather than to take.
Jason Thompson is a freelance photographer living in Bozeman Montana. Follow along on his upcoming travels to Chamonix and La Grave Instagram @_jt_photo & @forrestCoots