What to know before skinning Breckenridge, Copper and A-Basin
Over in ECO…
The snow is melting much faster than in Summit, as always, but there are still a few weeks of uphill travel remaining at Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek. What to know if you head across Vail Pass, courtesy of Vail Resorts and the local U.S. Forest Service:
Check the hotline first: Before heading anywhere uphill, call the trails hotline at Vail (970-754-3049) or Beaver Creek (970-754-5907) for a list of approved trails.
Bring the right gear: Travel at both Vail and Beaver Creek is still limited to skis and snowboarders, meaning no fat tire snow bikes, mountain bikes, snow skates, ski trikes, sleds, disks, toboggans, or power-driven mobility devices.
Get visible: If traveling before or after dark, carry a light, wear reflective clothing and travel along the side of ski trails while remaining visible
Keep Fido on a leash: Snowcats, snowmobiles and other machinery is still in use at both mountains and the last thing anyone wants is to patch up a pup. Keep your dogs leashed and nearby.
Leave the drone at home: For safety reasons, recreational drone use, small unmanned air vehicles (SUAV) or remote-controlled air vehicles are not permitted on or over any of the resorts’ property.
It’s that time of year again, when the lifts shut down and the only way anyone gets turns at the resort is by earning them. And those turns are more than worth it. After plenty of snow earlier this April — not to mention predictions for another foot over the weekend — touring at local resorts is a must for anyone who didn’t get enough of Springmeier or Claimjumper in the past five months.
That said, every resort in Summit County has rules and regulations for on-mountain access after the season comes to a close. True, Breckenridge and the rest are on public U.S. Forest Service property, but the ski area lease terms let management lay out a set of rules to keep uphill skiers and splitboarders safe while snowcats, snowmobiles and the rest are busy cleaning up the slopes for summer operations.
Before heading out, here’s a look at the basics at all four ski resorts in the county. Remember: If you bring the dog, keep it on a leash.
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If you spent the season touring Breck before lifts open to the public, you already know the routine. The spring routes are essentially the same as the winter routes, with occasional closures when snow clearing is in progress. Guests can travel anytime during the day — not only before 8:30 a.m. or after 4 p.m. — but officials recommend going early or late.
Not matter what, be sure to call the trails hotline (970-547-5627) before heading out to know what’s open and closed. And remember: there is no avalanche mitigation after the lifts close. Be sure to carry the proper gear if you plan to exit through a backcountry gate.
Peak 7: Fort Mary B to Claimjumper to Lower Forget Me Not to the top of Independence chair. Return down the same route.
Peak 8: Springmeier to Upper 4 O’Clock to Lonewolf Access to T-Bar hut. Return down the same route.
Lower Peak 8, gondola: Gondola Ski Back to Lower 4 O’Clock to Springmeier.
Lower Peak 8, downtown: Lower 4 O’Clock from town to Springmeier.
Peak 9: Silverthorne to Lower American to Bonanza to top Beaver Run chair or top of Mercury chair. Return down same route.
Peak 10: Silverthorne to Red Rover to Crystal to top of Falcon chair. Return down the same route.
The Basin is open until at least June 5, and so that means the same rules apply to uphill travel now as they did back in January. All guests must first get a free uphill access pass through the season pass office during operating hours.
As the ski area begins closing terrain, be sure to check the online status sheet for closures and more. From A-Basin marketing director Adrienne Saia Isaac:
“Uphill access is limited to open terrain — it is your responsibility to know which runs are open,” Saia Isaac said. “When certain terrain closes, as Montezuma Bowl and Pallavicini do before the rest of the ski area, that terrain is considered closed to uphill access. East Wall terrain, especially above the traverse, is always closed to uphill access.”
A-Basin tends to close for uphill access a week or two before the official closing day, Saia Isaac said, but that’s not always the case. Check the terrain statues page on the website for updates in late-May and early-June.
Thanks to on-mountain snow clearing and summer prep work — remember, this is the home of the county’s only dedicated downhill bike park — all trails at Keystone are closed to uphill access. Bummer. Watch for the bike park and other summer activities to kick off on June 10.
Like Keystone to the east, all trails at Copper Mountain are closed to uphill access while crews finish cleaning up after winter. But, that doesn’t mean Copper will only be open for summery activities like biking and disc golf when June 10 rolls around. Woodward’s on-snow camps get started June 5 and the public Pavilion Park (built on the melting bones of the Main Vein superpipe) opens every Saturday soon after.
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