In addition to my realtor duties, I have been training for The Grand Traverse, a 40 mile backcountry ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen, Colorado the last week of March. As a result, I have been spending countless hours skiing the peaks around the Continental Divide outside Nederland, Colorado. It is a fantastic area to explore, and it’s really a hidden gem in Colorado. If you are growing weary of the traffic and drama if I70, the Indian Peaks is a great alternative.
Skinning near the Moffat Tunnel
There are some great backcountry options just West of Rollinsville. Just head West from Rollinsville on 16 all the way to the Moffat Tunnel. There is a large parking area right next to the tunnel. There are several good hiking and skinning options from here. Head up the trail and follow the signs to Arapahoe Lakes for some great turns. I recently returned from a ski in this area on Saturday. Though I bumped into other people skinning most of the day, there were still plenty of fresh lines to ski above Timberline. In approximately 3 ish miles, and just under 2000 feet of climbing you can treat yourself to lots of fresh powder and beautiful views of the Indian Peaks all the way back to Denver.
Another option is to stay straight on the trail and ski up to the Rogers Pass/Heart Lake area. In about 4 miles and 2000 feet of climbing, you will be treated to several open glades and bowls to ski. Make sure to bring avalanche gear and check the snow before skiing.
If you are looking for a mellow cross country ski, try the Rollins Pass road just east of the Moffat Tunnel. This gentle incline will take you all the way up to Rollins Pass in about 9 miles or so. You will probably run into a few snowmobiles, but its a great way to get into the backcountry on a mellow grade.
Skinning Near Eldora Ski Area
The Eldora Ski Area has a great program now where you can skin up the Eldora Ski area on a designated AT course. You have to purchase a day AT lift ticket, or a season AT pass, but its quite reasonable. The front side AT trails gains about 1000 ft of elevation.
Starting at the base of the ski area, the Jenny Creek Trail will take you into the backcountry behind the ski resort as well. Follow the Jenny Creek Trail West and you can either ski some nice backcountry loops, or follow the Ginn Mountain Trail up to the Arestua Hut, or beyond up to Rollins Pass. It is about 4.5 miles and about 2000 feet of climbing to get to the Hut.
Recently I started at Eldora Ski Area and skied up past the Arestua Hut to Rollins Pass, and kept going over the pass on the Moffat Road all the way to Winter Park.
There are several snowmobile trails on the Winter Park side, so your route will take somewhere between 12-15 miles depending on which way down you go. Ask a snowmobiler the quickest way down, or enjoy the mellow groomed track all the way down to Winter Park from the Riflesight Notch a few miles down from Rollins Pass.
The Town of Eldora
Just past the town of Eldora, you will find some great ski trails. Park at the end of the road where it dead ends and head either up the 4th of July Road, or stay straight and head up the Hessie Trails. Both are great for Cross Country and backcountry skiers looking for a mellow adventure in the woods.
For any questions regarding backcountry in the area, or any real estate questions, feel free to reach out to me, Jeff Fox at The Fox Group at 720-891-5751, or by email at email@example.com