Backcountry Ski at Snodgrass Mountain

Crested Butte, Colorado


Added by Katie Lyons

Snodgrass Mountain provides powder and the opportunity to earn turns in Crested Butte without the crowds. 

Settled in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Crested Butte is a mecca for winter sports. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a local favorite for downhill skiing, but if lift lines (or lifts in general) aren't really your thing, head to Snodgrass Mountain for miles of untouched snow.

Snodgrass lies approximately three miles Northwest of CBMR and offers easy roadside parking. The main trail is used by skiers (Nordic and backcountry), and snow shoers. It is groomed occasionally, and there are no fees to use this area. Due to its access to low angle skiing, this is an ideal place for beginners to perfect their skinning skills, experience what backcountry skiing is all about, and not be too concerned about avalanche conditions. 

Start your tour by following the main trail. Depending on the day, you may have tracks to follow or you might be breaking trail. The ascent angle varies in steepness, but isn't too strenuous in any particular area. You can follow the trail for as long as you'd like, and go to any area on the mountain as nothing is off limits or private property. If you stick to the north side of the mountain on your ascent you will get panoramic views of the nearby West Elk Range. Alternately, on the south side of the mountain you will see the impressive surrounding peaks closer to Crested Butte like Whetstone Mountain, Mt. Axtell, and Red Lady. Sporadic clearings in the aspen and pine trees are great places for photography or to relax before the ski back down.

When you've gotten to a point that you want to ski down from, peel off your skins and head back the same way you came up. Take extra caution not to venture into avalanche terrain (areas where the ski slope is >30 degrees) if you do not have appropriate rescue equipment. The ski down can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on where you start from and if you stop to take breaks. Be cautious of other people using the area, and enjoy the acres of untouched snow and terrain.

As with all backcountry skiing exercise caution, bring appropriate gear, ski with a buddy, and be prepared for anything. Check weather maps and avalanche conditions before heading out (even if you're not planning on going into avalanche terrain). The skin up is worth the ski down, and might inspire you to check out some of the more advanced backcountry territory of Crested Butte. 

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
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