Backcountry Winter Ski Lifestyle2

New Runs, On-Site Camping: Bluebird Backcountry Ready for Best Season Yet

Bluebird Backcountry is designed for backcountry skiing at all levels, with runs maintained by ski patrol. Skin uphill, camp on-site, and ski with your dog this season on 1,200+ acres.

In 2020, Colorado’s Bear Mountain hosted Bluebird Backcountry’s first season in business. A lot of work went into the 2-week “test” season; this year will be Bluebird’s first in full operation. On December 30, the unique young resort will open on the heels of what it hopes will be a strong storm.

Bluebird’s professionally tended backcountry runs set it apart as it aims for approachability for skiers at all levels. Work started on the resort in 2017, thanks to $100,000 raised via Kickstarter.

The resort is located between Steamboat Springs and Kremmling. This year, it effectively doubles its rideable acreage with 12 new runs and four new skin tracks.

“We take pride in being really, really welcoming to people whether they’ve tried [backcountry] before or not,” co-founder Jeff Woodward said. “The mountain is ready, and our team is ready. Let it snow!”

The idea made a splash in the pandemic as less-experienced skiers sought to socially distance themselves but still wanted to get out. Bluebird Backcountry skips the amenities that draw dense crowds to other resorts, like a lodge, bars, or chair lifts.

Instead, a Quonset hut squats in the parking lot, and a few heated geodesic domes dot the base area for lodging. From there, over 1,200 acres of trails from green to double black criss-cross Bear Mountain.

bluebird backcountry trail map
Bluebird added 12 new runs and 4 skin tracks for 2021.

The location’s simplified approach opens the door for possibilities many resorts can’t support. You can go backcountry skiing with your dog at Bluebird, camp in the parking lot, and take AIARE-certified avalanche safety courses.

Bluebird Backcountry is open to snowboarders or skiers, but all visitors need to bring backcountry safety equipment — a beacon, shovel, and probe. The resort does task roving instructors to teach guests how to use them. Bluebird also manages its terrain to mitigate avalanches to the same standard as any resort in the state.

Bluebird Backcountry is open Thursday through Monday and plans to operate until late March. Check out its website for pricing info — suffice it to say, it’s a fair bit cheaper than just about anywhere else you can ride in bounds.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.