The Eastern Ramparts – A Photographic Tribute To Bridger Bowl

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Slushman's and Saddle Peak By Pat Clayton

A place where the sprawling plains begrudgingly throw themselves skyward, the north slope of the greater Yellowstone Plateau is a geological and meteorological anomaly. Frigid arctic air from Alberta meets storms from the North Pacific, dropping legendary northern Rockies cold smoke on the limestone clefts of the Bridger Mountains — training grounds for the likes of Doug Coombs and Scot Schmidt.

Montana’s Bridger Bowl ski resort has the yin of world-class terrain with the yang of being far enough away to avoid the limelight. Locals still ski in rear-entry boots on the continent’s most progressive chairlift, Schlasman's, a lift that drops you on top of classic ridge lines, sans ropes, signs, or closures. As you disembark onto open terrain with exposure in both directions, the future and the past seem to blend into one.

Here, the double pole plant still works, as does a fat pair of rockered boards on a wide-eyed 18-year-old skipping class to get a piece of it. The ski hill is run by and for the community. Trailheads are devoid of other people. A stepping stone for some, a hideout for others, there still exists a place where people just go skiing, a throwback to a bygone era.

All photos by Pat Clayton.

Matt Shortland Airs The Ridge At Bridger Bowl By Pat ClaytonMatt Shortland catches air on The Ridge at Bridger Bowl.

Joe Wilson In The Bridger Backcountry By Pat ClaytonJoe Wilson drops a cornice in the Bridger backcountry.

Shane Cottom Going Huge By Pat ClaytonShane Cottom goes huge.

Northern Bridgers By Pat ClaytonThe Northern Bridgers.

Matt Shortland on The Ridge By Pat ClaytonMatt Shortland loves The Ridge.

At Bridger Bowl, to air is normal by Pat ClaytonAt Bridger Bowl, to air is normal.

Shane Cottom on The Ridge at Bridger Bowl By Pat ClaytonLawn dart.

Absaroka Range By Pat ClaytonThe Absaroka Range.

Shane Cottom by Pat ClaytonShane Cottom airs it out.

Shane Cottom skis the virtues at Bridger Bowl by Pat ClaytonThe Virtues.

The Gallatin Range by Pat ClaytonOut for a walk in the Gallatin Range.

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