Gotta get up to get down

Gotta get up to get down

The Bluebird has landed. Colorado’s first “backcountry-only” ski area fired up the, uh, skin tracks Dec. 31, 2020. Located on Bear Mountain, along the Continental Divide between Kremmling and Steamboat, the idea was the brainchild of ski buddies Erik Lambert and Jeff Woodward. The idea behind Bluebird is a ski area that caters to pretty much everyone, provided they don’t mind slogging for their turns.

“Our hope is to make sure that everyone, no matter their backcountry experience level, feels incredibly welcomed,” said Lambert.

The area offers a backcountry experience with the amenities of a resort (patrol, two warming huts and a base hut) while also providing a safe place for newbs to learn the intricacies of everything from skin application and removal to walk/ski mode and beacon usage.

Bluebird opened for a trial run last season at the nearby Whiteley Peak. However, its new location on Bear Mountain, a few miles up the road, receives around 50 percent more snow on average, according to the ski area. The peak tops out at nearly 10,000 feet and includes 1,200 acres of avalanche-evaluated terrain, from steeps to meandering open meadows. An additional 3,000 acres are also open to those who hire a guide or take an AIARE course at Bluebird.

The area also offers rentals, lessons, guides, avi classes and, for the true dirtbag experience, parking lot camping ($25/night.)  

And while not as cheap as the real backcountry experience, Bluebird comes in at a fairly reasonable rate compared to jaw-dropping resort prices, at $50/day (reservations required.) There are also discounts for 10-day and 4-day packages, which can be split among your whole crew. Season passes were also available – they have long since sold out.

The area is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thurs. - Mon. To book a day at Bluebird (a mere 6.5-hour drive from Durango, in good weather), go to: bluebirdbackcountry.com


Warm and fuzzy

In honor of MLK Day, the city of Durango is hosting a winter clothing drive for clean scarves, hats and socks (new or gently used) and new cloth face coverings. Collection bins will be set up at the Community Recreation Center, Police Department. Durango Public Library and City Hall through Jan. 15.
 

Clothing items will be distributed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mon., Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. - noon at Manna Soup Kitchen.

 

 

 

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