Skiers flock to Bluebird Backcountry’s balance between resort and remote terrain
Cory Feign was ready to try this whole backcountry skiing thing. The Boulder resident had skied the resorts and was eager to explore beyond the boundaries.
He wondered what gear he would need. How would he identify a safe place to ski? Should he buy all the gear — backcountry skis and avalanche equipment — and take an avalanche safety class before even venturing into the backcountry?
“It seemed like there were some difficult but important decisions I needed to make and it was like ‘Argh. I don’t know what to do,’” he said. “So we came here.”
Feign was among 94 skiers last Thursday at Bluebird Backcountry, the state’s first human-powered backcountry ski area, where skiers can hike uphill on skis — called skinning — to reach fields of untrammeled powder. He and his friend rented equipment and followed established skintracks into backcountry terrain that had been assessed and mitigated to reduce the threat of avalanche.
“It was the perfect middle ground. It was really the perfect balance of getting away from resorts but not totally off on our own yet,” Feign said.
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