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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.
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
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
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