The Traverses of Big Sky
Challenger & The North Side
By Dan Egan and Ben Brosseau
At the top of the Challenger Lift, straight ahead is a gate that is the beginning of the Headwaters Bowl Traverse. This is also accessible at the top of the Headwaters Lift. You will immediately see several vertical fences with tracks running off to the left below them. The top of this traverse can often have exposed rocks in the track. Descending along the vertical fences is where the best snow is. The Headwaters Bowl is directly below these fences just to the right of the lift line.
Skiers and riders looking to go back to the Headwaters Lift can catch the unmarked Headwaters Lift Traverse through the trees on the right at the top of the Stillwater Bowl back to the lift.
Alder Gulch and Cold Spring Traverse – at the top of the Headwaters Lift, go right and sidestep up a slight slope and follow the track around the backside of the lift station. The track will go off to the left and traverse across a steep slope to the entrances of Alder Gulch and eventually Cold Spring Chute. This is an exciting route that maximizes the descent down these two classic narrow steep chutes.
Midnight/Moonlight Traverse crosses under the Challenger Lift and accesses the slopes of Midnight and Moonlight. It is a well-traveled traverse and follows the fence. It delivers skiers and riders to the top section of the Midnight run which is often filled with moguls. Watch for uphill traffic from skiers and riders exiting to the right of the Challenger lift and accessing Midnight directly off of the top of the lift.
The Midnight BRT Traverse is accessed by skiing down the right side of the Midnight run, look for a path of snow through the rocks, travel slowly across this track as it ends on the skiers left of the BRT Main Chute.
BRT North Traverse – This traverse is located at the top of Moonlight on the right, it comes to an end abruptly at a rock ridge. The rock ridge can be navigated by shushing between the notches in the rocks onto BRT North Slope which is a steep open slope that holds wind-blown and soft snow.
Little Rock Tongue (LRT) connects from the Challenger Lift to Powder Seeker Lift. Exit Challenger to the left and ski down through the entrance to Country Club. You will see a rope line on the right-hand side of the slope. Three-quarters of the way down the rope line is a gate. Proceed with caution: this traverse crosses over steep terrain and can often have rocks in the rut. The traverse will round the corner and you will have several options to drop in and ski down. This traverse will open up on south-facing slopes. Skiers and riders can traverse across the entire slope to access the terrain below and still gain access to the Powder Seeker Lift.
Obsidian Traverse, located at the top of the lift, accesses the lower section of Obsidian, lower DTM (Don’t Tell Momma), and Stillwater Bowl. This traverse starts at the gate just to the left of the top of the lift and requires a short 50-yard uphill track to the traverse. This key to this traverse is to take the highest route, the lower track will not access DTM or Stillwater Bowl. This is a difficult traverse due to the angle it takes across the slope. But your efforts will be rewarded with some exciting skiing and riding and soft snow with few tracks.