Backcountry Lite: Find Your Perfect Colorado Adventure With Safety in Mind

Escape to the rugged natural beauty of Colorado’s backcountry — all while limiting risk — with these approachable self-propelled and guided adventures.
 

Trekking through Colorado's winter backcountry
Trekking through Colorado's winter backcountry
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Self-Propelled Uphill Skiing

Uphill skiing — also known as skinning or alpine touring — is the perfect way to seek out blissful solitude and pristine powder. Earn your turns at Bluebird Backcountry near Kremmling, where a season pass includes unlimited access to avalanche-managed Bear Mountain, with no reservations, blackout dates, chair lifts or lines. Many ski resorts also offer uphill skiing options (after-hours time slots or separate passes may be required) including Copper Mountain, Loveland Ski Area, Aspen Snowmass, A-Basin and Monarch Mountain in Salida. Winter Park Resort offers an Intro to Uphill guided tour for those looking to get started.

See more places for lung-busting adventure >>

Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing

Want something slower paced? Then it’s time to trek through Colorado’s backcountry on snowshoes or cross-country skis at several “ghost-town” ski areas that were once abandoned — but are now open to recreation. At Cuchara Mountain Park in La Veta, snowshoe anywhere on the grounds or follow the cross-country ski trail along the creek. Hidden Valley Ski Area in Estes Park offers a more challenging snowshoe hike with panoramic views as a reward.

Guided Snowcat Skiing

Hop in a snowcat and ride your way up to deep powder and steep drops. Purgatory Snowcat Adventures in Durango will deliver you to pristine black-diamond territory in the San Juan Mountains. Behind Ski Cooper in Leadville, Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours powers along the Continental Divide for unparalleled views and skiing. And at Copper Mountain, take a free ride on the Tucker Mountain Snowcat to reach high-mountain back bowls.

Find more snowcat experiences here and here >>

Heli-Skiing

For the ultimate thrill ride, soar to new heights on a helicopter with Telluride Helitrax or Silverton Mountain Heli Skiing. You’ll be dropped off at the summit (with an experienced guide, of course) to ride untracked powder the whole way down.

Backcountry Safety

Stay safe in Colorado's backcountry with educational programs and certifications. Learn how to recognize the risks and pick up tips here >>

Want More?

Learn about all 28 of Colorado's ski and snowboard spots >>

Level up with new on-mountain skills this winter >>

Find your perfect ski-town match >>