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Beginner Backcountry Recommendations


Original Post
Michael Burnell · · Denver, CO · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 43

Hey MP, Just getting into Backcountry Skiing. Looking for a place to get out and get comfortable on the gear. Looking to get some mileage on the skins rather then really get down a ripper line. Any recommendations on an area that's low risk, low crowd, and not on 70 to go get the skii's running? We all have limited Avy experience and the lack of snow pushed my Avy 1 class back until end of February. So it needs to be somewhere really safe....If you also all say wait until we all take the class, I will wait, but taming the "stoke" is a real challenge. 

Asking for a friend of course....  

Jim Fox · · Westminster, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 40
Michael Burnell wrote:

Hey MP, Just getting into Backcountry Skiing. Looking for a place to get out and get comfortable on the gear. Looking to get some mileage on the skins rather then really get down a ripper line. Any recommendations on an area that's low risk, low crowd, and not on 70 to go get the skii's running? We all have limited Avy experience and the lack of snow pushed my Avy 1 class back until end of February. So it needs to be somewhere really safe....If you also all say wait until we all take the class, I will wait, but taming the "stoke" is a real challenge. 

Asking for a friend of course....  

Hidden Valley in RMNP, if snow conditions are ok. Fairly low angle (and low avi risk), ranger station/warming hut at base (by sledding hill) and easy route finding.

Eldora allows uphill skiing (for a small fee, of course) on weekdays and this is a reasonable way to test out gear without major risk (can't guarantee low crowds but weekdays usually not too bad)

Goodhue · · Colorado · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 10

I would recommend skinning up Arapahoe Basin (free uphill pass required), Loveland, or Winter Park to get comfortable on your gear until you get your avy 1 class done. There will be no avalanche danger. Crowds are low before and after operating hours, but it is on I-70.

doligo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 277

Find a public dirt road (FS, BLM, County) that doesn't get plowed in the winter and has no overhead hazards.  Or some cross country trails, if downhill is not much of a priority.

Patrick Bodnar · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 140

I agreed with Hidden Valley in RMNP. Good, safe place to learn with lots of terrain for a beginner to play around in, though it can get crowded. Berthoud Pass is littered with good, low-angle beginner spots right next to the road, but you'll have to consider traffic. If you don't already, get in the habit of at least checking conditions on the CAIC website before every trip. 

Michael Burnell · · Denver, CO · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 43

Thanks everyone! All great recommendations. I'll check out Hidden Valley this weekend and always checking the CAIC. 

todd duncan · · colorado · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

Berthoud pass, either east or west side, be aware of the terrain, you can get some short easy laps, or go for a longer tour.

Butler gulch/Jones pass, easy skin in, then lots of options for skiing, ranging from easy to extreme, be aware of the terrain.  

Jenny Lind gulch, easy approach, generally mellow open terrain

need a thrid? let me know

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

Go anywhere.  Just stay on 30degrees or less.  

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75
Cor wrote:

Go anywhere.  Just stay on 30degrees or less.  

And no slopes above the terrain you’re skiing that have slide potential, ie don’t play in the runout zone. Remote trigger is a real thing to consider.

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

Word on the slopes is we haven’t had a snowpack structure like this since the 13-14 season..  A good year to pay attention!

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

This is a really crappy year for skiing in general, but probably worse for backcountry due to this:



As some suggested above, skiing the ungroomed but avy controlled areas of A-Basin and the like might be your best bet.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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