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Avalanches kill two in Colorado

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High avalanche danger prevailed across the Colorado mountains when two backcountry skiers died in snow slides Feb. 10.

High slide danger persists across the mountains

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado’s exceptionally deep snowpack turned deadly this week, as a backcountry traveler near Kebler Pass was killed in a large avalanche. Search and rescue crews also found  another victim in the backcountry between Keystone and Breckenridge after a two-day search.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the Feb. 10 Kebler Pass slide involved two snowmobilers caught in a “very large avalanche” on a south- to southeast-facing slope below treeline. The slide broke between two to five-feet deep, about 600 feet wide and ran about 750 vertical feet. Debris at the bottom of the slide piled up to 20 feet deep.

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Colorado: New snowmobile rules on national forest lands

Winter travel maps detail new closures and designated trails

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New winter travel maps available for national forest lands in Summit County. Click on the image to view, download or print maps for your area.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The White River National Forest has started enforcing new winter motorized travel rules on the Dillon Ranger District, including the closure of some areas that were previously open to snowmobiles.

The winter travel maps are available at the Dillon Ranger District visitor center in Silverthorne and also online at this Forest Service web page. Dillon District winter rangers will be educating the public about the new changes, checking snowmobile registrations, and responding to snowmobiles in closed areas.  Anyone observing snowmobiles in closed areas is encouraged to record detailed information and report it to the Dillon Ranger District at 970-468-5400.

Motorized users are responsible for obtaining a map to determine where they can ride.  “NO SNOWMOBLE” signs will not be posted except in key areas. More information is available on the White River National Forest recreation web page. Continue reading

Fee collection at Vail Pass winter rec area starts Nov. 25

Day use passes are $6, season passes available for $40

Snowmobilers prepare for a day of recreation at the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area.

Fee collection at the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area starts Nov. 25.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —Fee collection and patrols in the Vail Pass Winter Recreation area will start Nov. 25, with a $6 charge for day use passes and a limited number of $40 season passes available for snowmobiling and crosscountry skiing.

The Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area includes more than 50,000 acres of  White River National Forest lands  from Copper Mountain on the east to Vail Mountain on the west, Camp Hale on the south, and the I-70 corridor on the north.

The management strategy for this very popular winter recreation area is the result of many years of collaboration between the Vail Pass Task Force (a citizen’s advisory group) and the Forest Service. The user fees pay for visitor maps, signage of motorized and non-motorized trails, trail grooming, parking lot management and snow removal, visitor information services, backcountry monitoring, and enforcement by uniformed Forest Service personnel. Continue reading

40-mile snowmobile ‘Poker Run’ in North Park

Colorado snowmobilers race for cash and glory in North Park this weekend.

Colorado snowmobilers hold big crosscountry race this weekend

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The North Park Snow Snakes’ Annual Snowmobile Poker Run will be held Saturday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting at the State Forest State Park Maintenance Shop,  2746 Jackson County Road 41 in Gould. The race will run over a 40-mile groomed course through forest, open glades and steep hills in the scenic state park and the Routt National Forest. Continue reading

Vail Pass winter rec fees start Nov. 26

Day use fees at Vail Pass are $6 per person.

Courtesy and consideration needed in the high-use area

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’re headed to Vail Pass to play in the snow this weekend, be aware that the annual seasonal fee program takes effect beginning Nov. 26, with day-use passes selling for $6 per person, while season passes are available for $40. Children 15 and under are free.

Season passes can be purchased at the Vail Pass trailhead on Saturdays and Sundays, at the Dillon Ranger District office in Silverthorne and at the Holy Cross Ranger District office in Minturn. Fee stations with self pay envelops are located at all VPWRA trailheads. Continue reading

FS cracks down on Vail Pass snowmobile abuse

Map of the Vail Pass winter recreation area in Summit County, Colorado.

After issuing 10 tickets in the past two weeks, the Forest Service message for snowmobilers in the Vail Pass area is "know before you go."

Know the rules and be prepared before you go to avoid snowmobiling hassles

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Backcountry rangers with the U.S. Forest Service have cracked down on illegal snowmobile activities in the Vail Pass area, issuing 10 tickets in the past couple of weeks, according to a press release from the White River National Forest.

Snowmobiles are prohibited in areas where there is less than six inches of packed snow cover to prevent damage to trails and vegetation. Other concerns include impacts to wildlife habitat and conflicts with non-motorized users. Individual users are responsible for knowing where they can and cannot go in the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area. The Forest Service wants to remind snowmobilers that, with warmer weather, conditions in the Vail Pass area change constantly and trail signing does not always reflect current conditions. Continue reading

More trail closures at Vail Pass

The U.S. Forest Service has closed more snowmobile trails in the Vail Pass area.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Limited snow continues to pinch snowmobile access at the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, where the Forest Service has closed a few more trails until there’s more snow on the ground.

The closures are intended to prevent damage to vegetation, rangers said. In addition to the popular trail leading to Machine Gun Ridge, Trail number 2, leading to Shrine Bowl, is also closed. Winter roads 9 and 10 are also closed pending more snow.

The Ptarmigan Hill snow play area is also closed. Forest Service rangers will be monitoring conditions daily in order to re-open snow roads and areas as soon as favorable conditions allow.  Please check in with Forest Service rangers at the fee booth for the latest information regarding closures.

Additional questions can be directed to Graham Predeger at (970) 274-9911 or Tyler Kirkpatrick at (970) 376-4317.

More information on the Vail Pass trails, including maps, in online here.

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