Posted on June 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Approval includes summer closure to protect wildlife
The new Weber Gulch Hut on Baldy Mountain, near Breckenridge, Colorado, will provide access to some outstanding ski terrain.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — After more than five years of study, the nonprofit Summit Huts Association has a green light to build a new 16-person backcountry shelter on the northern flanks of Baldy Mountain, near Breckenridge, to be called the Weber Gulch Hut.
To protect wildlife habitat, the new hut will only be open in the winter, which represents a change from SHA’s initial proposal to include summer use.
White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams signed the formal decision notice on June 17, explaining that he weighed all the public comments and relied on a team of scientists and ski experts, who found in their environmental analysis that the hut wouldn’t have a significant impact on the environment. All documents related to the Weber Gulch Hut are posted on this Forest Service web page. Continue reading
Filed under: Breckenridge, Colorado, recreation, skiing and riding, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: backcountry huts, backcountry skiing, Baldy Mountain, Breckenridge Colorado, Colorado, skiing, Summit Huts Association, Weber Gulch hut | 3 Comments »
Posted on December 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A strong storm will increase the avalanche danger in the Colorado mountains.
Avalanche cycle likely by Sunday, experts say
FRISCO — An incoming winter storm has prompted the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to issue an avalanche watch for most of the Colorado Mountains, with the exception of the southern San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos.
Heavy snow falling on a weak snowpack will quickly push the avalanche hazard into the red zone, with triggered avalanches all but certain on slide-prone terrain the next few days. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: avalanches, backcountry skiing, CAIC, Colorado, Colorado avalanche watch, high avalanche danger, skiing | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Another season under way …
Flying high in the superpipe at Copper Mountain.
FRISCO — With another ski season starting today at Arapahoe Basin, it’s time to dust off a few pictures from the Summit Voice archives to celebrate the best sport ever invented. As far as I’m concerned, skiing is the closest you’ll ever come to flying with your feet on the ground (or not), and floating through a blanket of fresh powder is pure bliss. Dream on, do your snow dances and get ready — winter is coming! Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Morning photo, photography, skiing and riding, snow | Tagged: Arapahoe Basin, backcountry skiing, Colorado, Copper Mountain, photography, skiing, Winter Sports | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Public review session set for Aug. 22 at Breckenridge ice rink
The Weber Gulch Hut is proposed for the north flank of Baldy Mountain, near Breckenridge, Colorado. Map courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The long range vision for encircling Summit County with a network of backcountry ski huts may come into a little more focus this month.
The White River National Forest is preparing to release a draft environmental study for the proposed Weber Gulch hut during the next few weeks, with a public review of the document set for Aug. 22 (5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m) at the Breckenridge ice rink. Continue reading
Filed under: Breckenridge, Colorado, skiing and riding, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, White River National Forest | Tagged: backcountry ski huts, backcountry skiing, Baldy Mountain, Colorado, Summit Huts Association, Weber Gulch | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Backcountry paradise in the Canadian Rockies
Our camp at around noon on the day we flew in to the Oasis Lake area in the Selkirks.
By Stan Wagon (All photos by Stan Wagon unless otherwise noted.)
After 23 years of skiing in British Columbia, either visiting a nice lodge (with many comforts) or doing a ski traverse (camping, and traveling with heavy packs), we tried something new this year — a week-long base camp at a single location. We chose Oasis Lake in the Selkirks southwest of Golden, a spot we had passed through on a traverse on 2004. To our group of six Coloradans we added a guide, Pierre Hungr, who last year led us on a hut-to-hut trip near the Lyell Icefield.
We used a Bell 212 helicopter flown by Alpine Helicopters in Golden. It is a powerful and spacious machine, but it cannot fly in low visibility, and we were delayed a day going in (and the same going out). Speaking of delays, the drive up was a bit of an adventure as I-25 was closed at the Wyoming border and we had to make a complicated detour via Highway 14 through Cameron Pass in whiteout conditions, and then use a route through Idaho. This added eight hours to what is already a long 1.5-day drive.
A view of the Wrong icefall from near the camp, with the descent route at looker’s right. This picture proves that there was more snow here this year than in April 2004, where more rocks were showing.
Filed under: recreation, skiing and riding, Travel | Tagged: backcountry skiing, Canadian Rockies, Oasis Lake, Selkirks, skiing, Stan Wagon | 3 Comments »
Posted on April 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
State report concludes the April 20 avalanche accident that killed five people was avoidable
Looking east along the crown line of an April 20 avalanche that killed five men in the Sheep Creek drainage near Loveland Pass, Colorado. Photo courtesy CAIC.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — It’s April in Colorado and heavy snow is falling on the mountains of the Continental Divide, where a high-spirited group of mountain enthusiasts gather to plan a short backcountry tour, envisioning dreamy, floating turns and faceshots on the slopes of Mt. Sniktau, a mountain along the Continental Divide between Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin where planners once hoped to create an Olympic ski arena.
Well equipped and versed in backcountry travel, the six men head up Loveland Pass, a Mecca for Colorado backcountry skiers since the early days of the sport. At Scotty’s Corner, the last hairpin before the crest, the men headed east across the face of the 13,234-foot peak, aiming for northwest facing slopes on the far side of a broad gully that splits the face of the peak, according to an April 24 report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
Recognizing the potential danger of avalanches, the group identifies what they thought was a safe zone near a cluster of trees on a knoll on the far side of the drainage. They discuss the avalanche danger again, agreeing to spread out as they crossed the slope. But they aren’t cautious enough, given the magnitude of the slide they ultimately trigger at about 10:15 a.m. Continue reading
Filed under: avalanches, climate and weather, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: backcountry skiing, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Colorado snow, Loveland Pass, Loveland Pass avalanche, search and rescue | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New snow brings spike in avalanche danger
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Avalanches have killed four people since March 1, including a snowboarder near Cameron Pass (west of Fort Collins, March 2), a snowmobiler in Utah and a climber on Mountain Washington, in New Hampshire.
The latest Colorado avalanche was a monster, breaking up to six feet deep in places. The slide was estimated at 1,200 feet wide and broke trees as it crashed down the mountain. A second person was injured in the slide and evacuated from the scene by helicopter, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Continue reading
Filed under: avalanches, climate and weather, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: 2013 avalanche deaths, avalanches, backcountry skiing, Cameron Pass, Colorado, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, snow | Leave a comment »