Skinning in Summit County
There is no doubt that uphill skiing has become all the rage within the past couple of years. Between light-hearted touring, ski mountaineering (Ski-mo) and aggressive back country for pow stashes, the lot of locals and new comers all seem to take a slight interest in this activity. We’d like to start off by saying, ANYTIME you go into the back country please be prepared. Check the CAIC website for avalanche safety and if you heir on the “more extreme” side of things, we highly recommend at LEAST completing an AIARE Avalanche Level 1 course which teaches you how to make calculated decisions in avalanche terrain.
OK! Now let’s get to the fun stuff. Here are some fun ways (and places) to get outside in the fresh air and NOT have to wait in lift lines.
Grab a group of friends, spend some time outside, sleep in a “cabin in the woods” and possibly experience some all-time skiing around the area. Hut trips can be as demanding or as lax as you make them, but getting out into the wilderness and “unplugged” for a night or two hasn’t seemed to do many people harm these days. Check out these two organizations below that offer huts around Summit County and beyond. Locals note: Book in advance. These huts gets booked 8-10 months prior so if you know which hut you’d like, get on top of it!
Summit Huts was designed and created to provide meaningful backcountry experience for self-propelled mountain recreational users. Currently there are four huts within the system; Francie’s Cabin, Janet’s Cabin, Section House and Ken’s Cabin. These are located within Breckenridge. Francie’s Cabin is one of the most popular huts in Colorado, featuring a kitchen, sauna and solar powered lights. Although there CAN be some exceptional skiing in the areas surrounding these cabins, they are also very good options to just get out and experience something different for a night or two.
Mike from Summit Huts recently took some TV guys up to Francie’s Cabin. This was great exposure for Summit Huts and includes some awesome interviews with the kids who were staying up at the hut at the time. Check out the video here.
Stuff can get real now. With options around Summit County (and very much beyond), the 10th Mountain Division is a non-profit organization that manages 34 backcountry huts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The 10th Mountain Division honors men of the U.S. Army who trained during World War II at Camp Hale in central Colorado.
This website gives you tons of resources on how to plan your hut trip, family and kids trips as well as how to make your reservation. Plus tutorials on hut set up and hut clean up. Each hut has tons of information including both winter and summer routes and trailheads, hut location, layout capacity and much more.
For more huts not listed by either of these organizations, click here.
“Safe” day tour areas
We use quotes around “safe” because you never know what can happen in the backcountry. You need to always be prepared. Below are three recommendations we offer for new, less experienced OR for people who are just looking to get their exercise on and maybe run your pooch. Please advise that in no way are we condoning that you go out blind. Please do your research before entering ANY backcountry terrain.
Bald Mountain – A most popular scene, this low angle, long approach is great for getting out with friends and the dogs. The path is clear and there is not much avy danger to be concerned. About a 4-mile round trip ski will get you high enough to link some decent turns together, and you honestly can’t beat the view.
Ken’s Cabin / Section House – see above for more information under Summit Huts.
Your favorite Epic Pass Resort – Most resorts offer up hill access prior to lifts turning and after hours. Check your local resort for up hill access, routes and information to stay safe. Pow can be nice but there is also something sweet about getting first tracks on freshly groomed corduroy!
More “extreme” day trips
Like above: Please do your research before entering ANY backcountry terrain.
Loveland pass – Although no formal reading on what is offered off of Loveland Pass, there are plenty of trip reports and wise words of wisdom from skiers past. The nice option about Lovelandd pass… hitchhiking and shuttling is available. While uphill access is still also an option, this is a great way to get out into some fresh snow with without the work of skinning. Check out some literacy below:
East Vail – Also known as EV and also known for avalanche danger and the lives of some, when the conditions are right, the skiing is too. We suggest going with a local, someone who knows the area and following their instructions. There is a vast area of chutes so you may not end up as close as you think. (Defer to your local here). Not much information out on the web, so talk to people and google pictures to get a general idea of the expansiveness of the chutes.
Mt. Guyot – Also a long approach. Mt. Guyot has some lines for fantastic skiing. The Northwest Slope is a fun ski when conditions are RIGHT. Not a far drive if you are staying in Breckenridge, this trailhead and route can also just be a fun tour, hike, or snowshoe.
The days are getting longer. It’s starting to get a little warmer. Birds and other animals that haven’t been seen too much in the last few months are starting to make their way back from their various winter haunts and people across the country are counting down the days until that one precious week in March when schools see fit to cut the children loose. That glorious week also known as spring break is almost here. It’s a time to get away, step out from the busy lives that each of us leads and let go for a week. For those coming to Breckenridge to shred, March is a great time to let it out and throw down just a little bit. Here are some ideas on how to fill your nights (and days) this Spring Break in Breckenridge.
Party: Isn’t partying what spring break is all about? In a one-mile stretch of town Breckenridge there are a lot of restaurants and bars, almost 100 in fact. There is no shortage of places to go for a meal, drink, entertainment and plain old good times. From Apres’ to late night, Breckenridge has a spot for everyone. Almost every night in March there is live music, trivia games, comedy, killer deals and plain good times. A great resource for finding the best deals and events in the local restaurants and bars is imnotatwork.com. Check it out and start planning your good times now.
Relax: Spending all day slaying powder is hard work and weather you decide to rip some turns or not there is nothing better than a massage, body wrap or any spa treatment to ease achy muscles and recharge a tired spirit. There are many spas all over Breckenridge so these is no shortage of different types of massages and spa treatments. Check out our recent blog on spas in Breckenridge for some great spa options in town.
Music and Arts: One of the coolest things that Breckenridge has done in the past few years is ramp up town’s cultural offerings including the creation of the Breckenridge Arts District or CreateBreck.org. Breckenridge has the second largest arts district in Colorado and Breck Create has done some very good work to bring in a variety of performing acts that span from rock bands to art exhibits to events. This March events such as the Banff Mountain Film Festival and bands like Donovan Frankenreiter, Comedy performances like Sandra Bernhard and much more are on tap. Click here to see the full lineup of events produced by Create Breck.
Try something besides skiing: Spring is still winter in Breckenridge and skiing is why it is so popular here in March. Of popularity comes with a price and that can be crowded slopes especially in March. Of course regardless of the crowds, you should ski and ski a lot! But consider taking a day to try a different winter activity like dog sledding, snowmobiling or cross country skiing. All of these activities are perfect to try in Breckenridge. Here is a great blog on things to in Breck without skis.
March is a fantastic time to visit Breckenridge. It is a time when everything is open and town is clicking on all cylinders. Spring Breakers rejoice! There is so much to do in Breckenridge. In fact we wrote a blog all about that. Here are 100 things to do in Breckenridge this winter.
Don’t’ forget if you haven’t booked lodging for you Breckenridge spring break adventure yet visit http://www.breckenridgediscountlodging.com/.