The Arapaho National Forest recently approved a ski resort's proposal to provide guided snowcat tours in the beautiful backcountry of Colorado.
Loveland Ski Area is planning to add guided snowcat skiing and riding by next winter. Tours will encompass 580 acres of backcountry terrain in the upper Dry Gulch area located just north of I-70. According to the official release from the U.S. Forest Service, three seasonal over-snow routes will serve as drop-off and pick-up points for customers skiing and snowboarding on guided tours.
We've approved @LovelandSkiArea's proposal to provide guided snowcat tours in Dry Gulch. There's growing demand across Colo. for guided backcountry terrain access. Guided tours help ensure quality experiences for those new to area or backcountry skiing... https://t.co/TMtOQaPhSJ pic.twitter.com/dp0xpWlhiP— Forest Service, ARP (@usfsarp) July 9, 2020
“There is growing demand across Colorado for guided backcountry terrain access. This project will help meet that demand within an hours’ drive of Denver while helping Loveland Ski Area remain competitive within the ski industry," stated Clear Creek District Ranger Scott Haas. “
Officials report about a third of the project area is outside of the existing ski area boundary. When avalanche mitigation is not underway, "backcountry skiers and recreationists" will still be able to explore the out-of-bounds terrain.
“Providing commercially guided ski and snowboard access helps ensure a quality experience for those who are either unfamiliar with the area or lack the skill or equipment to experience the setting unguided,” Haas added. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Loveland Ski Area to expand recreational opportunities and improve access on the National Forest.”
Loveland Ski Area is situated along the Continental Divide. It is located about 53 miles west of Denver and 12 miles east of Silverthorne. The 1,800-acre resort features 9 lifts with terrain dedicated to 13% beginner, 41% intermediate, and 46% advanced.
Details about the project, including the full environmental assessment, map, and decision notice can be found here.