Colorado mountain towns are vulnerable to a COVID-19 spread. Please refrain from traveling to our small mountain towns to backcountry ski at this time. Given the CDC guidelines on social distancing, it is not recommended that you visit popular backcountry locations such as Loveland Pass. Certain counties and towns have also restricted non-residents from visiting, including Rocky Mountain National Park, San Juan County, Summit County and Aspen. Additionally, health and rescue workers are stretched thin and the availability of rescuers, or lack thereof, should be considered before attempting backcountry access.
Colorado Backcountry intends to serve as a resource for those interested in getting into backcountry skiing or riding. Visit our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for more information or browse around!
The information on this site should serve as reference only - education, training and further research should be conducted before accessing backcountry terrain in Colorado (or elsewhere).
The ten commandments of co backcountry
Thou shalt be AIARE certified - this goes for your partner(s) too.
Thou shalt always carry the Big 3 - beacon, probe, shovel, and know how to use it.
Thou shalt know the route - do your research on your ascent and descent route, and the terrain it entails.
Thou shalt check the CAIC forecast - for avalanche risk and weather - and this doesn't mean you can skip #5!
Thou shalt test snow conditions before riding - find small test slopes that you can jump on to see how the snow respond.
Thou shalt not boot on the skin track - This is related to #3. Don't ruin the skin track for others if you are bootpacking. Make your own lane. If the skin track is ruined, knowing your route well means you can create your own without infringing on the trail.
Thou shalt go one at a time in avalanche terrain - in avy terrain, leave someone in a safe spot so they can perform a rescue if needed. However, this tactic should not be used in dense trees, where losing partner(s) can be fatal.
Thou shalt not cross above others - triggering an avalanche on top of your partner or on another party below will likely get everyone killed.
Thou shalt have their dog under control - or not bring their dog at all. A wandering dog means a wandering avalanche trigger.
Thou shalt have snow tires for I-70 - don't be that guy/girl that prevents everyone else from getting to the mountains.