Forest Service finalizes national snowmobile rules

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Snowmobiles at Vail Pass, Colorado.

New policy requires designation of motorized winter use

Staff Report

FRISCO — With the recent huge growth in motorized winter sports, the Forest Service has been behind the curve in managing public lands, but last month, the agency released its final policy for managing snowmobile and other “over-snow” vehicle use.

As directed by court order, the policy requires that roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur be specifically designated by local Forest Service mangers. Previously, managers had the discretion to decide whether to designate specific areas for over-snow vehicle use. Continue reading

Colorado: Feds eye fee increase for Vail Pass winter use

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Snowmobiling at Vail Pass.

Season pass would increase to $100

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service wants to increase winter day use recreation fees at Vail Pass by a whopping 30 percent, from $6 to $9, while the price of a season pass would rise from $40 to $100.

The current fees have been in place for more than 10 years and the agency says it’s facing increased management costs in the heavily used recreation area. Continue reading

Yellowstone NP launches lottery for snowmobile permits

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Snowmobilers can apply for a permit lottery to lead a non-commercial guided tour in the Yellowstone National Park this winter.

Slots for non-commercial guided tours up for grabs through early October

Staff Report

FRISCO — Strict limits on snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park mean access is by permit only, and those permits are now available via a lottery, with spots available for non-commercially guided snowmobile trip into Yellowstone National Park this winter. Applications can be submitted online at http://recreation.gov through October 3, 2014. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

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