Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park presents greater than 265,000 acres of mountainous, snow-covered backcountry terrain. Whereas a lot of that is skiable in winter, there’s only one downside: There aren’t any lifts. That implies that if you wish to ski contained in the park, it’s essential to “earn your turns.” In different phrases, you gotta stand up to get down. Backcountry snowboarding and snowboarding are very talked-about contained in the park, providing each nice train and unbelievable views of peaks that the majority solely ever see in the summertime. Plan correctly, get geared up, and be prepared for a exercise. Climbing a mountain is much more enjoyable within the snow.
Making ready for a day within the backcountry
Earlier than ever heading into the backcountry it’s essential to correctly prepare and equip your self within the case of an avalanche, damage, or one other surprising incident. All the time have an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe on you, in addition to a winter-specific backpack that may carry this gear. You’ll additionally want loads of water, meals, and applicable ski or snowboard gear. And, critically, it’s essential to have a buddy with the entire similar tools. By no means ski or snowboard within the backcountry alone.
Test with the Colorado Avalanche Data Heart the day earlier than and the morning of your expedition to make sure circumstances are secure. Normally, slopes larger than 30 levels are at a heightened danger of slides, and that is amplified after recent snow or quickly altering climate circumstances. See Matador’s information to planning a backcountry ski or snowboard journey for more information.
Rocky’s main backcountry ski space didn’t use to be backcountry in any respect. Till 1991, the Hidden Valley ski space operated inside the park’s boundaries with a full-functioning operation that included lifts. Since its closure, backcountry skiers and split-boarders have used the simple entry to the world for enjoyable powder laps that don’t require a large uphill climb.
Hidden Valley is nice for newbie backcountry skiers and households. The terrain is large open, and parking is obtainable simply off Path Ridge Street. Strap on the skins and comply with the well-established tracks up so far as you’d like, stopping sometimes to show round and take within the view of seemingly infinite snow-covered peaks. A street switches again and crosses above the ski space, marking the highest of a comparatively simple climb that takes lower than an hour. For a more difficult ascent and an extended descent, cross the street and proceed uphill.
Flat High Mountain
Powder fans from Colorado’s entrance vary head to Flat High Mountain to ski the Banana Bowls after a recent storm. As a result of the slope faces east and far of the rideable terrain is at a slope angle of fewer than 30 levels, the terrain is mostly secure even when new snow falls in a single day. (Even so, at all times examine present avalanche circumstances.) You’ll ascend Flat High Mountain from Bear Lake on each the Bear Lake and Fern Lake trails in an ascent that may be achieved in a morning in case you’re on the path by 9 AM. Regardless of their low-angled terrain, the Banana Bowls provide extra problem than Hidden Valley and the joys of strapping in on the summit of a mountain.
A steeper trip beckons on a day with secure circumstances, and Corral Couloir is there to reply the decision. Additionally dropping from Flat High Mountain, this steep and quick run is among the many more difficult of the simply accessible ski runs contained in the park. You could possibly additionally take it a bit simpler on North Bowl or head over to Ptarmigan Glacier for a mellower trip.
Using with a information
Backcountry circumstances may be hazardous, and wayfinding isn’t at all times simple, particularly if there’s inclement climate concerned. A number of tour outfitters together with Colorado Wilderness Rides & Guides and Colorado Mountain College provide full-day guided ski excursions in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park. On a guided tour, anticipate to obtain loads of insider data on figuring out secure slopes to trip and what hazards to look out for — although a guided tour isn’t any substitute for correct avalanche coaching. Snowboarding or driving with a information service additionally ensures you’ll be taken to the good things whereas avoiding something that isn’t secure.