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Backcountry

Bluebird Backcountry Resort Brings Beginner-Friendly Backcountry Skiing to Colorado

The fledgling operation opened in a new location this season, offering backcountry lessons, avy education courses, and guiding services.

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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.

Skiers skin uphill at Bluebird Backcountry
There are no ski lifts at Bluebird Backcountry—you have to earn your turns. Photo: Courtesy of Bluebird Backcountry/Doug McLennan

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.

Before You Go: 10 Best Backcountry Skis of the Year

An uphill skier making her way up a skin track at Bluebird Backcountry
A skier takes advantage of an established skin track on Bluebird’s inbounds terrain. Photo: Courtesy of Bluebird Backcountry/Doug McLennan

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.

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.

About Bluebird Backcountry

Base area yurt at Bluebird Backcountry
Amenities at Bluebird include a modest base lodge and two on-hill warming huts. Photo: Courtesy of Bluebird Backcountry/Doug McLennan

Bluebird Backcountry operates on Bear Mountain, halfway between Kremmling and Steamboat Springs on U.S. Route 40. The 2020-’21 season is scheduled for Dec. 24 through March 28.

  • Cost: $50 day pass; $199 day pass + rentals + lesson; $950 private guiding for group of 6; $25 parking lot camping/vehicle
  • Education: Onsite backcountry skills lessons and AIARE 1, AIARE 1 Splitboard, AIARE 1 Women’s Course, and AIARE 2 courses
  • Info: bluebirdbackcountry.com

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