Bluebird Backcountry, Report: Colorado’s Newest Ski Resort is Also its Most Unique

Aunika Skogen | BackcountryBackcountry | Trip ReportTrip Report
Bluebird Backcountry
Check-in at Bluebird Backcountry’s Base; image: SnowBrains

Bluebird Backcountry, Colorado’s newest ski resort, is truly unique. Breaking trail as the first resort of its kind, it bridges the gap between traditional resort skiing and backcountry skiing. Bluebird Backcountry is setting a new standard in backcountry safety and education, creating a new community of backcountry enthusiasts.

Located in the heart of Colorado’s ski country, just outside of Kremmling and Steamboat Springs, Bluebird Backcountry is an escape from everyday life. It’s perfect for honing backcountry safety skills while being able to enjoy soft pow turns and other comfort commodities typically found at a traditional ski resort.

Welcome to Bluebird
Welcome to Bluebird Backcountry; image: SnowBrains

Backcountry skiing is an intimidating sport; there is so much to learn between safety and gear. Not to mention a slip-up could mean life or death. Bluebird Backcountry Co-founder Jeff Woodward came to this realization while taking his brother backcountry skiing for the first time in Crested Butte. 

“Bluebird Backcountry is the place I wish had existed when I was learning to backcountry ski.” – Co-Founder Jeff Woodward

It was like a lightbulb went off — Woodward began researching how to create a human-powered ski resort that could cultivate a backcountry community. A place where beginners could safely learn about traveling through the backcountry and become familiar with the gear; a community to serve experienced backcountry skiers somewhere they could instill good habits as well as further avalanche and snow science knowledge.   

After announcing the idea in 2018 through a survey, the results were wildly in support of a backcountry ski area. With that, the mission to open a backcountry ski resort was set into action. In the spring of 2019, Bluebird Backcountry prototyped the concept at two different locations: Mosquito Pass and Winter Park Resort at the end of the season. Each prototype pointed towards success with plenty of interest from the public. Using what was learned at the demo, Bluebird opened for a test season in 2020. Over 1,000 backcountry enthusiasts joined at Peak Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado to enjoy a crowdless resort, filled with powder — and zero lift lines.

Portal at Bluebird
Through the Portal at Bluebird Backcountry; image: SnowBrains

As of 2023, Bluebird Backcountry has had three successful seasons and continues to make the backcountry more accessible to the public. Now located at Bear Mountain in Kremmling, Colorado, not far from the original location of Peak Ranch, Bluebird Backcountry remains the only resort of its kind.    

There’s no shortage of terrain at Bluebird Backcountry, from low-angle aspens meadows to spicy couloirs, there is something for everyone. With over 1,200 acres of avalanche-mitigated and ski-patrolled terrain and a daily cap of 200 visitors, there are roughly six acres per guest at Bluebird. Forget waiting in lift lines, 11 marked skin tracks access 28 named runs across the area, allowing for lap after lap of fresh tracks across a variety of terrain. Private guides can be hired for a personal backcountry experience in an additional 3,000 acres of terrain, including the chutes off of Bear Mountain and the aspen glades of Diamond Mountain.  

Trail Map Bluebird
Bluebird Backcountry Ski Resort Trail Map; image: Bluebird Backcountry
Bluebird Backcountry Map
Trail Map of Bluebird Backcountry Ski Resort; image: Bluebird Backcountry

As of this year, Bluebird is officially offering multiple lodging options, both on the mountain as well as at the base. Strategically located off the beaten path, staying at Bluebird under the stars is the perfect way to reset. Campsites at the far side of the lot are available for $25 a night — perfect for those with a winterized camping rig.

Dome Camping
Dome Camping at Bluebird Backcountry; image: SnowBrains

Guests can now book dome and cabin rentals equipped with beds, wood-burning stoves in huts, and small heaters in cabins. Skin to domes and cabins require a small tour to reach as they are located less than a half mile from the base. Guests staying at either are welcome to use the facilities at the Grizzly Hostel for cooking and unwinding after a long day on the mountain. They are remote and everything must be packed in and packed out. Base Camp Domes and the Campfire Cabin are located at the far end of the parking lot and are a little more convenient for guests to access. A communal Basecamp Central is available with a basic kitchen for guests to utilize for cooking and hanging out. Bluebird Backcountry is located on a working ranch. All the facilities are temporary and removed in the summer. Therefore, there isn’t any electricity or plumbing. 

Campfire Cabin
Campfire Cabin Available for Overnight Guests; image: SnowBrains

Rooted in the goal of bringing more people safely into the backcountry, Bluebird offers a variety of Intro to Backcountry and AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) classes. Whether you’ve never stepped into a pin binding before or are a seasoned pro looking for a refresh to keep up with industry standards, Bluebird’s reasonably priced classes are a great option. Being located in Colorado at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass along the Continental Divide, the terrain at Bluebird guarantees the opportunity to study a classic Continental snowpack featuring a variety of snow crystals and distinct layers.

Zero Liftlines
Avoid Lift Lines, Skin Up Ski Down; image: Bluebird Backcountry

Bluebird has a welcoming vibe that embraces the culture of skiing. Day passes and rentals remain very affordable at just $39 a day and are the perfect way to test out the backcountry. Season passes are available for $350 and come with plenty of additional benefits, including budding passes, discounts on rentals and camping, unlimited dog passes for your furry friend, and free days at local resorts like A-Basin, Monarch, Sunlight, and Powderhorn. Those born after 1997 can purchase the “Next Gen Pass” at just $250 for the season, which encourages the next generation to gain experience in learning how to safely enjoy the backcountry. 

Bluebird Backcountry is the future of backcountry ski resorts. It brings the spirit of skiing back to the basics — just you and the mountains. It’s the perfect escape from the rush of modern society. Anyone is welcome at Bluebird, a true community of people passionate about the backcountry.

Bluebird Backcountry Hut
Heading to the Warming Hut – The Perch; image: SnowBrains

Related Articles

One thought on “Bluebird Backcountry, Report: Colorado’s Newest Ski Resort is Also its Most Unique

  1. In essence, this was the AMC’s Cardigan Mt. Lodge in Alexandria NH with its group of slopes, pastures and trails in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Back to the future.

Got an opinion? Let us know...