Berthoud Pass Backcountry Skiing


Original Post
Joe FIshel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

Does anyone have experience skiing there? If so, would you recommend it? It looks like a nice spot that's not too far from Denver. Looking to go this Friday (12/16) if anyone is interested!

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

Yes it's a great spot, but if you aren't aware the snow pack is EXTREMELY sketchy (high and considerable) right now. Please use huge amounts of caution if you aren't familiar with the area.

http://boc123.com/berthoudpass/berthoudpass.cfm

http://www.frontrangeskimo.com/berthoud-pass-north/

Eric Klammer · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 2,075

I've skied up there a decent amount over the past couple of years. Definitely a fun place to make some turns that's not far from Denver!

Backcountry Recon has some decent info for the more popular runs that are close to the top of the pass. There is also a guidebook for the area but it is long out of print and pretty hard to find.

Like Scott said the avi conditions are not looking great right now and it's probably unlikely to change much over this next snowy/windy week.

I've got Friday off so far and would be glad to get up there to ski some of the safer stuff though. Hit me up!

-Eric (918) 527-2706

cmartin1345 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 75

Yer Gonna Die!! seriously thou, the snowpack up there is extremely sketchy and you dont seem like you have the gear or experience to just "head up". Keep shredding the rails at keystone and please stay in the park.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

For additional local stuff check out the East Portal / Moffat Tunnel area up in Rollinsville or the old Hidden Valley ski area in RMNP. HV is "typically" very low avy danger and is a good place to tour when things are sketch, but please take that statement with a grain of salt. There are two types of avalanche conditions. Either 100% safe or unknown.

KevinCO · · Loveland, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 60

Near Berthoud Pass, I triggered a 'small' avalanche. In comparison it was small, but still extremely deadly. It was like gigantic river white water waves going over terrain features.

I was staying for a few days in one of the BC cabins near Berthoud Pass during a storm cycle. It was very obvious that conditions were extreme and I didn't even consider skiing the bowls. I was awakened each morning by the DOT firing artillery.

It was frustrating as I just toured in super safe terrain and trees. At one point, there was an open, steeper draw through the trees with a small cornice at it's head. I skied gradually closer until cracks shot to the cornice, releasing the slide.

Mike Lane · · Centennial, CO · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 905

Back when Hidden Valley was operating I caused a large avalanche in the bowl up above the upper T bar that went pretty far into the ski area.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
Mike Lane wrote:Back when Hidden Valley was operating I caused a large avalanche in the bowl up above the upper T bar that went pretty far into the ski area.
Damn that's crazy Mike. Well glad to see you are still around.
mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0
cmartin1345 wrote:Yer Gonna Die!! seriously thou, the snowpack up there is extremely sketchy and you dont seem like you have the gear or experience to just "head up". Keep shredding the rails at keystone and please stay in the park.
Are we a little grumpy this morning?
Jason Antin · · Golden, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 1,270
Joe FIshel wrote:Does anyone have experience skiing there? If so, would you recommend it? It looks like a nice spot that's not too far from Denver. Looking to go this Friday (12/16) if anyone is interested!
Joe, Great spot. I ski there on a regular basis, usually before work.

I echo Scott's advice. Because it's such easy access with a short approach you have a higher concentration of inexperience. Go out and have a blast, but just make sure you are completely dialed when it comes to travel in avalanche terrain and be aware of those above and around you (people, dogs, etc...) who may not have significant BC experience.

2 days ago:
This is a skier triggered avalanche on Berthoud Pass in the Front Range zone on 12-11-2016. This was the group's second lap on the same slope. The first rider skied the path without incident. The second rider made three to four turns and the slope released. The skier was able to exit the avalanche without injury. The avalanche is classified as SS-ASu-R2-D2-G.

Jason
Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

Fun spot but with more snow coming on Wednesday and a big storm Friday into Saturday I would keep it really mellow. The bottom layer of the snow pack is really bad and basically everything is ripping to ground. I am personally avoiding any areas over 30 degrees and where a lot of people ski. Getting good use out of my resort pass right now.

If you already don't read the forecast daily and ski the BC you really should. avalanche.state.co.us/

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

More activity from Berthoud and Loveland passes to exemplify that it's not always the wide bowls that go.

Berthoud Pass

Loveland Pass photo Dan Moroz

Mike Robinson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 165

Anyone got more information on the slide at BG on Saturday? I was up on Friday and agree with the sketchy snowpack sentiment.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
Mike Robinson wrote:Anyone got more information on the slide at BG on Saturday? I was up on Friday and agree with the sketchy snowpack sentiment.
They are still working on the full analysis at CAIC, but I grabbed this from Chuck McQuade at the Colorado spliboarders FB page.

Quick post to get the info out there... Butler Gulch: a popular goto for storm skiing, early season tours. Today our group of 4 witnessed and came upon this large av that buried two (1 full and 1 partial). Upon our arrival all victims had been rescued without injury. The group was looking for buried gear at the time of arrival.

observations:
see low quality photo below enhanced to see debris and crown (4-5 ft thick)
caltopo and superimposed google earth - yellow dot was full burial blue partial. The black like was the caught groups line.

unsure if slide occurred due to a lengthy propagation upslope vs remotely triggered as a member of the group attempted to cross under the headwall moving skiers left. The group said burial occurred from behind, all members unaware of the avalanche...completely caught by surprise.

we did see the group ski all together down their line

this is a popular line ski'd at butler....the av toe stopped about 20 yards above the common skin track

Butler Gulch Slide

Butler Gulch Topo 1

Butler Gulch topo 2

http://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/obs/obs_report.php?obs_id=43084
Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

Just to keep pushing this narrative there have been a TON of really close calls lately with multiple parties either been caught or narrowly missing potential untimely demise. To be blunt people are being fucking stupid and riding highly dangerous terrain. Large amounts of shedding happening and we've had two deaths in Nevada and Montana over the weekend. Play it safe everyone.

Photo from Fritz Sperry

How tight is your butthole now?

Skier Triggered avy Loveland pass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JGXGjqtRJs&app=desktop

Mike Robinson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 165
Scott McMahon wrote: They are still working on the full analysis at CAIC, but I grabbed this from Chuck McQuade at the Colorado spliboarders FB page. Quick post to get the info out there... Butler Gulch: a popular goto for storm skiing, early season tours. Today our group of 4 witnessed and came upon this large av that buried two (1 full and 1 partial). Upon our arrival all victims had been rescued without injury. The group was looking for buried gear at the time of arrival. observations: see low quality photo below enhanced to see debris and crown (4-5 ft thick) caltopo and superimposed google earth - yellow dot was full burial blue partial. The black like was the caught groups line. unsure if slide occurred due to a lengthy propagation upslope vs remotely triggered as a member of the group attempted to cross under the headwall moving skiers left. The group said burial occurred from behind, all members unaware of the avalanche...completely caught by surprise. we did see the group ski all together down their line this is a popular line ski'd at butler....the av toe stopped about 20 yards above the common skin track avalanche.state.co.us/caic/...
Awesome Scott. Thanks for the info! My partner and I were scratching our heads after seeing the CAIC report and wondering what slid.
Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
Mike Robinson wrote: Awesome Scott. Thanks for the info! My partner and I were scratching our heads after seeing the CAIC report and wondering what slid.
From what I gather this is a pretty typical slide path that a skin track cuts across, and it was a matter of time before an accident happened here.

Always gotta factor in the "above" aspect of things!
Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175
Joe FIshel wrote:Does anyone have experience skiing there? If so, would you recommend it? It looks like a nice spot that's not too far from Denver. Looking to go this Friday (12/16) if anyone is interested!
climbing friend,

you are going to do the dying
Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,455

Yes, please be safe everyone. Don't let the late start to the early season make you blind!

I drove over Loveland Pass yesterday for work. I did see many slides that appeared to be natural from a distance. All ripped to the ground. And more than less were at tree line, as opposed to above treeline.
Some were higher, but the bulk were lower.

In skiing (before the last Saturday night storm which tipped the balance..) at Moffat/Forest Lakes, Berthoud/Russel, and Mayflower Gulch/Tenmile I found all similar conditions.
Sugar base, dense slab (varying thickness and density), and storm snow on top.

In any tests completed at these areas, things would shear/collapse with little force! Then the storm (and continued storminess that we are getting through the holidays) tipped the balance.

Don't think about the one thing, or the one pit or whatever. Look at and observe the big picture.

Maybe we should start a thread of FrontRangeAvalanche&SnowObservations2016/2017 just like we do for the ice conditions…

Cheers all.
Cory

Mike Robinson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 165
Cor wrote: Sugar base, dense slab (varying thickness and density), and storm snow on top. In any tests completed at these areas, things would shear/collapse with little force! Then the storm (and continued storminess that we are getting through the holidays) tipped the balance. Don't think about the one thing, or the one pit or whatever. Look at and observe the big picture. Maybe we should start a thread of FrontRangeAvalanche&SnowObservations2016/2017 just like we do for the ice conditions… Cheers all. Cory
Similar conditions to what we saw on Friday at BG. We made our observation close to where the skin track crosses below the slide described above.

I'd be game for something like that, but didn't want to add more noise to the internet.
Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425
Cor wrote:Maybe we should start a thread of FrontRangeAvalanche&SnowObservations2016/2017 just like we do for the ice conditions… Cheers all. Cory
Great idea. I pull my info from multiple different sources and could always use another!
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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