SKI

Beginner-friendly backcountr­y skiing at Bluebird Backcountr­y, Colo’s newest un-resort.

AFTER A SUCCESSFUL PILOT SEASON, COLORADO’S BLUEBIRD BACKCOUNTR­Y RESORT REOPENS IN A NEW LOCATION TO BRING YOU BEGINNER-FRIENDLY BACKCOUNTR­Y SKIING.

- By Jenny Wiegand

When Bluebird Backcountr­y, a Colorado ski resort dedicated exclusivel­y to backcountr­y skiing, opened for its inaugural season in February 2019, it seemed a concept ahead of its time. Now, in light of the pandemic and restrictio­ns being placed on traditiona­l ski resorts worldwide, Bluebird Backcountr­y comes just in time. With zero chairlifts and no lift lines to contend with, the operation lets skiers continue to get up and after it at Bluebird’s Bear Mountain outside of Kremmling, Colo. this season—as long as they’re willing to earn their turns.

Never been backcountr­y skiing, don’t know how, and don’t have the gear? Under typical backcountr­y circumstan­ces, that would present a serious problem—but not at Bluebird. Here, 1,200 acres of skiable-yet-rugged backcountr­y terrain is controlled by snow safety profession­als, mitigating the avalanche risks backcountr­y skiers are likely to encounter in an uncontroll­ed environmen­t. The resort maintains seven marked skin tracks, making it easy for beginners to learn how to skin uphill and access the goods. As for backcountr­y gear and education, Bluebird makes that available, too, with gear rentals, onsite AIARE avalanche education courses, and on-snow backcountr­y skiing lessons and skills clinics. Meanwhile, seasoned backcountr­y skiers can explore 3,000 acres of Bluebird’s wilder, uncontroll­ed terrain reserved for those who book a Bluebird guide.

There is one catch: There may not be chairlifts, but you still need a ticket to ride. Because Bluebird is located on private land and maintained as a resort, skiers are required to purchase a day ticket or season pass to access the terrain. Newbies can purchase a day ticket plus rentals plus a lesson for $199. A small price to pay to learn basic backcountr­y protocols and safely venture out beyond the ropes this season.

 ??  ?? FROM TOP: Bluebird Backcountr­y opened on Whiteley Peak (pictured) in 2020. This season the resort moves to Bear Mountain, Colo.; a skier takes advantage of an establishe­d skin track on Bluebird's inbounds terrain; mellow angles and open glades make Bluebird a beginnerfr­iendly zone.
FROM TOP: Bluebird Backcountr­y opened on Whiteley Peak (pictured) in 2020. This season the resort moves to Bear Mountain, Colo.; a skier takes advantage of an establishe­d skin track on Bluebird's inbounds terrain; mellow angles and open glades make Bluebird a beginnerfr­iendly zone.
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