Post-Season Prospects

Part of the spirit of backcountry skiing is finding sweet spots on your own—but everybody can use a head start. First on the list is the resorts themselves: Bridger Bowl is on Forest Service land, meaning after their annual lease date passes, you’re free to hike at will. The North Bridgers are a local mainstay; take Brackett Creek or Fairy Lake roads and just pick a spot that looks good. Beehive Basin in Big Sky remains powdery well after the resort closes. For a more social atmosphere, mid-April marks the annual Sweet Corn Festival, where hundreds of backcountry aficionados converge on Cooke City for a raucous weekend of skiing and snowmobiling. Nearby Bell Lake Yurt in the Tobacco Roots offers high-altitude turns and accommodations through June on north-facing couloirs and alpine bowls. Around Memorial Day (depending on snowpack and weather conditions), the clearing of Beartooth Pass opens up thousands of acres of skiable terrain. Some north-facing couloirs in the Beartooths can be skied well into July. For those of you too cheap to buy skins, a pommel lift at Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area runs intermittently until the snow’s gone. Keep your ears open for this fortuity—if you’re lucky, you can have your cake and eat it too.