Back country skiing is one of the most rewarding winter activities one can partake in around Ouray during the winter months. Skinning up mountains, catching beautiful sunrises, working hard for your uncrowded, glorious, sometimes untracked turns rewards you with a great feeling of accomplishment. It’s also a lot cheaper than a day pass to any ski resort in Colorado! It’s definitely not for the weary or unenergetic, though. Back country touring takes a lot of patience, wits, and tenacity. Being captured by an avalanche when snow pack conditions are poor is a real threat to you and your fellow partners. But with the right equipment, knowledge, and drive, anyone can fulfill their back country ski dreams! Trust this girl who was grew up in the prairie lands of Kansas!
I moved to Ouray for many reasons, but one of the main reasons for the move was the incredible back country skiing southwest Colorado possesses. From skiing over Red Mountain Pass from Ouray almost all the way to Durango, to Ophir and Telluride back country access, to Wolf Creek Pass outside Pagosa Springs the amount of terrain to explore is nearly endless. One of my favorite runs up Red Mountain Pass takes you on top of a saddle with beautiful 360* views of the San Juan Mountains over westward toward highway 550 as well as east over into Silverton Ski Area. It’s a lot of hiking to this point, but the smooth glide down in wide open terrain, down through some trees, and back out to your vehicle is very much worth it.
If you are interested in an adventure in back country skiing, consider hiring a guide from Peak Mountain Guides or San Juan Mountain Guides – our local experts in all things fun. They even offer amazing hut trip options, for a fun memorable time being out in the mountains overnight in cozy ski hut. They’ll hook you up with all the gear you need, including skis, boots, beacon, probe, shovel, etc. They’ll also teach you how to travel in the back country safely, touring & skiing techniques, and avalanche risks so that you can go about your next adventure with care. And of course, a night at the Box Canyon Lodge, soaking in the soothing mineral hot spring tubs is an excellent way to rejuvenate after any back country adventure!