Bluebird Backcountry lift tickets go on sale for 1st full season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Imagine skiing everyday on trackless powder, surrounded by towering pines, drooping from snow, with no one else in sight. It sounds like an impossible dream, a snapshot of ski resorts of the past, or perhaps, the future.
In reality, this place exists, just 30 miles east of Steamboat Springs, and tickets are on sale now.
For the past few years, Bluebird Backcountry at Bear Mountain has had test runs, popups and shortened seasons. This winter, the lift-less, human-powered resort is opening for its first-ever full season with an estimated opening day of Dec. 24.
Bluebird Backcountry was open for two weeks last year at Peak Ranch in Kremmling, attracting 1,000 skiers during those 14 days. This year, Bluebird moved down the road to Bear Mountain, which sees about 50% more snow than the previous location.
With countdowns ticking until the opening days at major resorts, there is still a lot up in the air about how many people will be on the mountain at one time, as well as how lift lines and restaurants and dining facilities will operate.
None of that matters at Bluebird Backcountry. With no lifts, there are no lines. With a cap of 200 people per day on the 1,200-acre property, there is plenty of space to go around.
In fact, there’s even more space. The 1,200 acres is avalanche-evaluated and considered inbounds. There’s an additional 3,000 acres when including the land for guided tours.
Bluebird isn’t just a getaway for seasoned skinners and expert backcountry adventurers. Bluebird has rentals and classes for newbies and intermediate level backcountry skiers.
“Your reasons to come do this are to get away from the crowd, ski better snow and have a more soulful experience,” said Jeff Woodward, Bluebird Backcountry’s co-founder and CEO. “Obviously, that applies to expert skiers, but that’s also true for blue skiers and green skiers who want a different experience. I expect we’ll have customers with a range of abilities, and we have the terrain to support that.”
While there aren’t lodges scattered across the area like typical resorts, there are two warming huts inbounds, as well as a base hut and slopeside camping and a food truck.
Classes cover the basics of backcountry skiing as well as avalanche safety. Avalanche training is a huge priority at Bluebird, as the resort is an official AIARE — American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education — provider, offering a variety of avalanche training courses.
“We started this to make it easier to learn to backcountry ski and give people a great place to do that,” Woodward said. “It’s part of a holistic piece to offer up a great place to learn backcountry skiing and more about it, whether you’re someone who’s trying it for the first time or someone who’s been doing it for years and wants to brush up on their skills.”
Season passes and avalanche courses are on sale now, but backcountry courses, day passes, lessons and rental reservations will go on sale in November.
Bluebird is hiring for a number of positions and will be posting those in the coming week.
“We would welcome and love for folks from Steamboat to apply for roles here.” Woodward said.
Visit https://bluebirdbackcountry.com for more information.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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