Mellow backcountry in the front range to train my pup


Original Post
Anfarwal Vr · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 150

Hi MP,

I'm trying to get ideas for a mellow backcountry area that would be good for training my 1 year old puppy on how to act in the backcountry. I'm planning on going this Thursday with a few friends so I won't disrupt anyone's stoke. Ideally this would be a place with a wide open bowl/wide spaced trees, not a crazy approach, a 20-30 degree slope that would be easy to do laps on. Obviously off leash for dogs, and lots of snow! Also not too far from denver (within 1.5 hrs). I'd like to avoid the I-70 corridor if possible.

Some ideas I've come up with: east portal of moffatt (not sure if snow is great there now), Jenny Lind bowl (snow is iffy?), Butler gulch.

Any ideas are welcome! Also if anyone has any recent beta of conditions, that would be great too. Thanks!

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

Please no dogs at the crag

MacP · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 25

Berthoud Pass is just up the road from Butler and less of an approach.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 63

The meadows at berthoud are probably what you are looking for, really easy access (2/3 a mile) and short open runs (1/4 mile with 500' of drop or so).

You could try hidden knoll at berthoud but a longer approach. It is more protected and you could ride the mellow north facing trees (the actual knoll is a bit steeper). It is about 1.4 miles from the main parking area via the ditch or about a 1-1.25 miles from current creek parking (depending on where you cut up at).

I have found most the snow above treeline is a shitty wind slab right now though. I would avoid anything south facing with this warm up as well.

Edit:
If you are willing to go further on I-70 Mt Baldy in Breck (haven't been this year though), super mellow runs and easy approach (less than a mile), it does face north west though but in the open trees near the mines it holds snow good.

Another option past copper is mayflower gulch. Trees are a bit denser but you get a bit steep turns. nice short runs though.

Anfarwal Vr · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 150

Thanks, that sounds perfect! I've never been to berthoud pass, so this might be a great opportunity.

jmapping · · Carbondale, co · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 763

Don't forget that puppies have sensitive joints for the first 2 - 4 years depending on breed. It's really easy to overwork them. They tend to keep going even when their tired which leads to their joints taking more impact. Many a outdoor enthusiast have ended up with dogs having severe arthritis earlier than they should because of this. Training is excellent but don't let it lead to overworking them.

Sorry if this came off as a lecture. Just trying to spread some info that I didn't know about till my more recent dog.

Anfarwal Vr · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 150

Thanks for the warning, I'll definitely make sure not to overwork her too much!

Dave Hurst · · somewhat near Boulder CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 0
Anfarwal Vr wrote:Hi MP, Some ideas I've come up with: east portal of moffatt (not sure if snow is great there now), Jenny Lind bowl (snow is iffy?), Butler gulch. Any ideas are welcome! Also if anyone has any recent beta of conditions, that would be great too. Thanks!
Huge snow at East Portal, dogs are allowed and plentiful there, but no real terrain for what you are describing.
AFAIK, Jenny Lind Gulch is closed permanently, surrounded by private property, for both the approach from the Tolland Road and the top entry via Apex. When it was open, that old tour was really great, up from the Tolland road, climbing thru a beautifully forested gulch, and out into the big bowl that is below and north of the old ghost town on top of Colorado Mtn--then down and out thru the Baltimore townsite. However, a ski tour up the Apex Road from Tolland will access the old Mammoth Reservoir site about 2 miles up that road, which is a big open area with lots of very mellow turns and plenty of snow right now. Park at the Apex Road turn at Tolland.
bearded sam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 0

To echo earlier post. A dog ACL is $4000 and a ski edge is no match for dog fur and skin. I've seen some pretty awful scars on dogs and have heard the stories to go along.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 200

How can there be so much talk of a puppy without a photo?! To me that's totally unacceptable. Anyway, I'm not a very hardcore backcountry person, but I do like to take my dog out to play in the snow. South of Woods Mountain near the Herman Gulch trailhead has some pretty mellow slopes (and some steep ones) for your pup to play on, west of Gray Wolf Mountain near Guanella Pass also has some low angle stuff. The approach for both is pretty mellow, but definitely longer than Berthoud Pass. I haven't been out at all this year, so I don't know the conditions right now.

Also, in case you're thinking of getting an avalanche transmitter for your dog, the Pieps TX600/DSP Pro is the only combo I know of on the market.

Near Woods Mountain

Anthony O. · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 20

Perfect Trees in current creek on Berthoud Pass is a good place. Short approach, mellow skiing, wide open slope so you can have a visual on your pup. I'd avoid east portal, not a great place to teach a dog IMO.

I'd also recommend taking a few turns then calling your dog down to you, then repeat. Be sure you go first and have your friends coax the pup if needed. If that doesn't work, always have someone above in case you need to pick up/carry the pup down.

Mushers wax on the paws AND stomach/chest to prevent snowballing. Don't be afraid to nudge them away from you with the handle side of your ski pole when your skinning up so they don't step on your skis/tail clips. Same goes for the down! Helps them keep some distance away while you're on skis.

Most importantly, positive reinforcement! Don't make them hate skiing right off the bat...

Just my .02 cents. I've been splitboarding with my Aussie for a few winters now.

buster

buster

buster

curt86iroc · · Golden, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 3
Dave Hurst wrote: Huge snow at East Portal, dogs are allowed and plentiful there, but no real terrain for what you are describing. AFAIK, Jenny Lind Gulch is closed permanently, surrounded by private property, for both the approach from the Tolland Road and the top entry via Apex. When it was open, that old tour was really great, up from the Tolland road, climbing thru a beautifully forested gulch, and out into the big bowl that is below and north of the old ghost town on top of Colorado Mtn--then down and out thru the Baltimore townsite. However, a ski tour up the Apex Road from Tolland will access the old Mammoth Reservoir site about 2 miles up that road, which is a big open area with lots of very mellow turns and plenty of snow right now. Park at the Apex Road turn at Tolland.
FYI - you can access jenny lind without crossing private property...
Anfarwal Vr · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 150

Really? Where do you park for that?

Here is the puppy in question :

My future backcountry pup!

She already likes the snow...just needs to learn the ropes

Nick Seaman · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 80

Nala! Haha! Good lookin pup!

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 820

Caribou up above Nederland is pretty nice. Maybe a mile of flattish rolling terrain to nice mellow trees and bowls. I've had my dog up there many times. Always see a few other skiiers but pretty low volume.
Nice looking dog! Have fun!

Dave Hurst · · somewhat near Boulder CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 0
curt86iroc wrote: FYI - you can access jenny lind without crossing private property...
Hey, that's great, please let us know the access route, you can even send it as a PM,
Thanks!
Dave
Anfarwal Vr · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 150

Cool, thanks everyone for the beta!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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