Bridger Canyon Lodge
The web site
is a chronicle of our
(Gary and Pauline's)
retirement from the hectic world of high-tech startups and college
administration to a rural life in Montana.
We call our home
Bridger Canyon Lodge
because it is located in Bridger Canyon and because we envisioned it as
a lodge-like home where we could entertain.
While we originally intended to operate a Bed and Breakfast,
circumstances led us to live a more sedate life.
The property is 196 acres located 7 miles from the Main Street of
Just 9 miles further up the road is the Bridger Bowl ski area.
Our land extends up the side of the canyon and has ecologies ranging
from thick shady forests to sagebrush grassland.
There is a year-round creek
running approximately through the center.
We get regular visits from hawks,
deer and many other varieties of wildlife.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did you find the property?
Why so much land?
The first problem was to find an agent.
Starting in early Summer of 2002,
we used the web to locate and send email to real estate agents.
Only two responded and we quickly eliminated one of the two.
On our first exploratory trip to Bozeman
late that Summer,
we literally bought the first piece of land we looked at.
We told the agent 40 acres was ideal,
thinking that would provide us with the rural feel we wanted.
The 196 acre property was listed for sale the day we arrived,
and our agent probably wanted to see it herself.
The prospect of so much land only 7 miles from Main Street was a rare
but we continued looking.
Our expectations were set high and nothing else was appealing.
Back in the Bay Area,
we decided to stretch our budget and made an offer even though we did
not plan to move for almost 2 years.
The offer was accepted!
Property prices sky-rocketed soon after;
had we waited,
we would never have been able to afford the land.
We wanted to live in a place with real winters and with easy access to
skiing and other outdoor activities.
Gary had travelled through Montana many times in his youth.
Pauline had once lived in Alberta and figured Montana was close by.
we have a friend who had lived in the area and recommended it.
Bozeman was a small town of 30,000 with a major state university and a
With no other
(the nearest larger city is Billings, 140 miles to the east),
Bozeman serves as a cultural and shopping center for a substantial part
The intermixing of relatively liberal academicians with the surrounding
relatively conservative ranchers and farmers make it an interesting
place to live.
Big Sky Ski Resort
is within easy driving distance,
we prefer to ski at
only 9 miles from us in the canyon.
Doesn't it get cold?
How much snow do you get?
it can get quite cold.
We have seen temperatures as low as −32°F,
but average lows tend more to the 20's and 30's.
Bozeman gets 90 inches of snow per year.
At 7 miles up the canyon,
we average 150 inches of snow,
and 9 miles further up the canyon Bridger Bowl gets anywhere from 300 to
400 inches per year.
Precipitation changes rapidly as one goes up the canyon!
Our property has a southern exposure,
so snow melts quickly.
We figure Winter lasts a month longer for our neighbors just across the
canyon because they get less sun.
We have one mile of driveway and ancillary roads to plow,
so we own a
with chains on all 4 wheels and a plow up front to clear our roads.
At the end of the driveway,
the state highway has high priority for plowing since it goes to the ski
What was on the property when you bought it?
We had to put in 1 mile of road,
bury electric and phone lines up the road,
dig a well and build the house.
on the property several times before we had a place to stay.
We built two homes.
The first we call the Carriage House,
a barn-like structure built using plans Gary adapted from plans found on
It has an 1,100 square foot two-bedroom,
one bath residence on the upper floor plus a three car garage and mud
room with full bath on the lower floor.
It was completed in
We set up house-keeping
and moved in
late June, 2004.
We lived there for just over 3 years while the Main House was built.
We moved into the Main House in
The Carriage House is now occupied by caretakers in exchange for help
with odd jobs around the property.
Why Bridger Canyon?
We actually started our search in Big Sky,
but quickly determined that the ambiance there was more
Most of the homes there were unoccupied for the majority of the year.
Things like schools,
shopping and entertainment required an hour drive to Bozeman along a
As a result,
we did not bother to look at property there and continued on to Bozeman
to look for property near the city.
After looking at the property in Bridger Canyon,
we did some research and determined that the canyon was mostly
year-round residents with many active clubs and organizations,
giving it the feel of a real community.
is a short drive up the canyon!
Isn't yours the house that burned down?
Someday we hope not to be known as
“the people whose house burned down.”
The house burned on
6 December 2005.
We built a smaller home on the same site,
and finished it in September of 2007.
Who designed the house?
The house was designed by
with a lot of consultation and input from Gary and Pauline.
Gary did extensive reading on architecture and created an
11 page document
outlining our preferences for the design.
We were fully aware that many of our goals were impossible or
so the design was a process of working out the best compromise.
Once the design philosophy was established and construction began,
we were careful to adhere to the philosophy as it was necessary to make
Many of these decisions are outlined in our
and are summarized in a
retrospective web page.