Record snow brings record attendance at Bridger Bowl
BRIDGER BOWL, Mont. - The snowfall on Saturday added to what is a record snow pack in some places across western Montana. For skiers in southwestern Montana, that translated into a record year for attendance. Bridger Bowl is reporting their highest attendance in history, at 214,000 visits this year. Compare that to the last record season, in 2010-2011, when Bridger Bowl received 210,000 visits. The ski area officially closes on Monday, which means, for many skiers and snow boarders, Sunday was their last day on the slopes. Bozeman resident Ryan Falconer enjoyed his last opportunity to snow board at Bridger Bowl this season. "It's one of the last days to come ride, come soak up the sun, and just shred it up," he said. He said he boarded more than 70 days this year. "74 to be exact." Emily Lind with the Bridger Bowl marketing department said numbers like that have been typical this season. "We are looking at about 214,000 skier visits so far this year," she reported. She said they have the cold weather to thank for those numbers. "It has brought skiers and snow boarders both from the Bozeman area and from all around the country," she explained, "and we are enjoying probably our best ski year so far in history." And skiers and snow boarders explained the high attendance numbers are no doubt because of the amazing snow this year. Even on closing weekend, the settled snow depth read 99 inches. "It's mainly just this snow," Falconer explained. "If it snows a bunch, a lot of people are going to want to come up here and ride it. That's what it comes down to, people want to catch these ten inch pow days." Candace Sylvester said she came to Bridger this season more times than she can remember, and sometimes the great snow conditions made for a busy day on the mountain. "We came here at about 9:30, and we got the last row of parking," she said. "It was nuts. I think we waited forty minutes at the quad lift." And while some skiers and snow boarders were sad that the historic season is coming to a close, they made the most of the little time they have left. "It's an awesome hill, awesome day, why not?" skier Chad Zeitner said. "Last weekend of the season is always the most fun," explained skier Heather Jones. "Everybody gets really rowdy." Monday, April 14 is Bridger Bowl's official last day. Bridger Bowl says over the summer, they plan to install a new alpine cabin at the bottom of their two new lifts. They hope to have it open by next season.