The speed limit drops from 65 to 25 mph at the town limit of Bridgeport, California. But you wouldn’t want to be driving fast, anyway. A one-street town with a population of 575, Bridgeport marks the northern end of the Sierra Nevada’s steep eastern escarpment, where skiers are drawn to 14,000-foot summits that precipitously drop 8,000 vertical feet to vast plains. For skiers driving south from Reno or Tahoe on spring backcountry missions, Bridgeport is their first stop.
“A campfire, a bottle of wine, and a guitar, and you can climb something up to 8,000 vertical feet and ski it and spend the night in the hot spring,” says Glen Poulsen, 57, a Tahoe-based skier who has been skiing lines in the High Sierra since well before he got his driver’s license. In 1998, he and four buddies bought 475 acres just outside of Bridgeport, home to hot springs, sagebrush, wildlife, and stunning views. Poulsen (whose father co-founded Squaw Valley in 1948) and his friends donated 75 acres to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, and set up camp to launch ski tours into the surrounding backcountry.Read More