Higher Education: The Lonesome, Crowded West

Brian Joenig buried at Bridger Bowl. Photo: Jeff Hawe
Brian Joenig buried at Bridger Bowl. Photo: Jeff Hawe

Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana

Cowboys, ‘Ridge Hippies’ and academia mesh in this small mountain town of 30,000 people. While known as an agriculture and engineering school, Montana State also has a sprouting film and photo program. Given its proximity to backcountry exits and a few choice resorts, Bozeman served as the alma mater for more than one TWSnow editor. The community-owned and run Bridger Bowl resort is a quick half hour drive and notorious for big dumps and steep terrain. Big Sky claims the park for the region and nearly 4,000 acres to shred, too. For those who just won the lottery or have the combined wealth of some hundred trustifarians, you can go south and shred all the lift-accessed private powder you want at the Yellowstone Club. Hell, you might even share a lift ride with a Hollywood celeb or CEO big wig. Back in reality, Beartooth Pass and the sledneck city known as Cook City, offer weekend backcountry escapes where the snow stays long after the semester ends. If there’s a storm looming you can pack up the rig and jet to Jackson Hole, it’s just over four hours away.

Nearest resort(s): Bridger Bowl (18 miles), Big Sky (50 miles), Moonlight Basin (52 miles)

Website: montana.edu

Snowboard club/team: Backcountry Riding Club