How To Have An Epic Ski Season In Bozeman: Everything You Need To Know

Local Blog Charlotte Durham November 27, 2023


How To Have An Epic Ski Season In Bozeman: Everything You Need To Know

Nestled in the Bridger Mountains, Bozeman is a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts. And it’s almost every Bozeman local’s favorite time of the year – ski season! The city is fortunate enough to be within a short driving distance from not just one, but two, places to ski: Bridger Bowl Ski Area and Big Sky Resort. Each destination offers miles of groomed trails, varied terrain for every skill level, and a number of fun events.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the 2023-24 season at Bridger Bowl and Big Sky. Plus, you’ll learn how to prepare for the season so you’re ready to hit the slopes once the snow starts to fall!

What You Need to Know About Bozeman’s Ski Resorts

Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Bridger Bowl’s projected operating season runs from Friday, December 8, 2023, to Sunday, April 7, 2024. Bozeman’s had a longer fall than usual this year, so there’s a chance the opening date will be pushed back. Stay updated on Bridger Bowl’s website.
While you’re waiting for Bridger to open, add some of their events to your calendar! Attend the Torchlight Parade for fireworks and festivities at the end of December. The King and Queen of the Ridge competition in February is a local favorite, during which participants see who can hike up the Ridge and ski down the most times. Plus, this event raises funds for the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. Make time for the Bridger Gully Freeride, Terrain Park Jam, and Ride and Seek, all of which take place in February and March. See the rest of their festivities on the event calendar.
Big Sky Resort
Big Sky planned to open earlier this year – and every year moving forward – welcoming skiers and snowboarders on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. With a projected closing date of April 28, 2024, this will probably be the longest season at Big Sky so far!
About one month after opening, visitors have something else to look forward to the opening of the new Lone Peak Tram. According to Big Sky Resort, it’s the “biggest on-mountain infrastructure project in Big Sky history.” The tram goes to the top of Lone Peak, where guests can soak up the stunning views and easily explore even more terrain. You can even bid for a seat on the first tram ride on December 19, 2023! Proceeds from the auction will go to local organizations.
In addition to the tram opening, Big Sky has something else to celebrate: fifty years in operation! Guests can expect fun festivities throughout the 2023-24 winter season, with live music, food, drinks, and more. Event details are coming soon, so watch this page for updates.
But that’s not all: the resort has one more surprise up its sleeves! This year, they’re adding a new trail rating. On the 2023-24 map, you’ll see a double-blue symbol, which marks advanced intermediate runs.
And of course, Big Sky will still provide all the usual entertainment. Expect avalanche dog meet and greets, complimentary s’more making at the Mountain Village Plaza, and weekend après-ski parties, just to name a few. Plus, you can attend seasonal events like the popular Enchanted Forest, a display of over 10,000 lights along a pathway at the resort. They’ll have plenty of holiday activities for Christmas and New Year’s, like fireworks, meetings with Santa, a parade, Christmas Eve dinner, and more. Check out the full list of 2023-24 events here.

How To Prep For Ski Season

Check Your Equipment
Before your first day out, go through your equipment and make sure it’s all in working order. Look for holes in clothing, inspect your gear for damages, and make sure you have everything you need. You don’t want to realize you’re missing a glove or have a broken binding the day of!
If you need to rent or buy new gear, head to Chalet Sports, Montana Ski Tuning & Boot Fitting, or Roundhouse Sports in Bozeman. World Boards and REI also have a wide selection of new items for purchase. If you’d prefer to grab everything on the mountain, both Big Sky and Bridger Bowl have equipment available for rent.
Prep Your Skis or Snowboard
Make sure to get your snowboard or skis waxed for smoother riding. This will help you go faster, make turns easier, and increase the longevity of your equipment. In addition to waxing, many shops provide tune-ups as part of their services. This might be a good idea if you’ve never serviced your equipment before. Just like regular car maintenance, tuning your gear helps it last longer and enhances its performance!
Fortunately, there are plenty of stores to choose from around town. Bozeman’s REI has an array of tuning services at the ski and snowboard shop. Members can take advantage of free machine waxes and save on other tuning services. Montana Ski Tuning & Boot Fitting offers, you guessed it, everything from tune-ups to boot fitting and customization. And if you’d prefer to tune in on location, you’re in luck! Both Bridger Bowl and Big Sky have repair shops with tuning services.
Pre-Season Training
Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding activities, and getting in shape beforehand can help improve your riding and prevent injuries. Consider working on your flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health so you get down the mountain with confidence!
Start by choosing a fitness routine that targets the muscles you use most when you ski and snowboard, primarily in your legs and core. Exercises like walking lunges, squats, ski jumps, and crunches are a great start. Incorporate cardio like running or biking into your routine, along with stretches that help with mobility. REI has a great online workout routine specifically for ski season. The Mountain Project, a local Bozeman gym, offers an online ski conditioning program as well as in-person classes.
Purchase Lift Tickets and Passes
Purchase lift tickets or season passes to Bridger Bowl here, and Big Sky here. Also, note that the Ikon Pass is valid at Big Sky.
There are plenty of other nearby resorts to explore if you’d like to venture out a little further. Discovery Ski Area in Philipsburg is known for its chocolate chip cookies. Head to Maverick Mountain near Dillon for a traditional mom-and-pop ski experience – there’s just one lift, but still plenty of terrain to explore! Also check out Great Divide Ski Area in Helena, Showdown Montana in Neihart, or Lost Trail Ski Area in Sula.
Wherever you decide to go, you’re sure to have a good time. Just remember to prep your gear and keep up with your fitness routine, and you’ll be ready to carve through the snow-covered mountains in no time!
For more of the best of Bozeman, see the best things to do in Bozeman in the winterour favorite outdoor eateries, and distilleries & microbreweries.
For more of the best of Bozeman, check our posts!
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