Do you dream of carving turns through fresh, untracked snow without having to wait in a lift line? Then backcountry skiing and snowboarding is what you’re looking for. Granby provides wonderful access to winter outdoor recreation opportunities in our surrounding mountain areas.
ON YOUR OWN
Traveling in the backcountry in the winter is quiet, beautiful, and a whole lot of fun, but it can also be risky. If you choose to venture into the backcountry without a guide, make sure you know your limits and are well prepared. It is essential to get educated on avalanches and backcountry travel before you start. Many places offer free avalanche awareness classes and formal avalanche training courses, including the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Make sure to check out their website for tons of important information.
Before heading out for the day, check the avalanche forecast, and know where you are going and how to call for help. Make sure to bring all the appropriate gear, including essential safety gear of avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe, and make sure you know how to use it. Check out Colorado’s backcountry safety page for more information.
Bluebird Backcountry, located near Kremmling and just an hour from Granby, aims to blend the best of the backcountry with the best of resorts. Guests use backcountry touring equipment to hike and skin uphill—they don’t have any chairlifts—before transitioning to ski or snowboard back down. If you want to try backcountry skiing and you want a safe area to learn, this is the place for you.
They have almost everything you’d expect at a small ski area—a lodge and warming hut, on-site rentals, instructors, and ski patrol to evaluate avalanche terrain and respond to emergencies. Instructors and guides are also on hand for backcountry and avalanche education. Their ski-patrolled terrain provides a safe way to learn and try backcountry skills.
With snowcat skiing, every day is a powder day. In this form of guided backcountry skiing, you’ll get to the top of the mountain by snowcat rather than hiking or using a chairlift. While you make epic powder turns following a guide, the snowcat makes its way to the bottom to pick you up. It’s perfect for anyone who is addicted to skiing fresh powder.
Jones Pass Guides offers snowcat skiing and operates on their own permitted area of 2,600 acres in the Arapaho National Forest. With elevations from 10,500’ to 12,800’, they have access to high alpine bowls, gladed meadows, open chutes, and gullies.
Purchase a single seat or grab a group of your like-minded adrenaline seekers to rent a private snowcat at a discounted rate. All tours leave from their headquarters in Empire, a one hour drive from Granby. They have the powder, vertical, and adventure for an epic guided backcountry experience.
Searching for something a little more laid back? Nearby Winter Park Resort offers scenic snowcat tours throughout the winter ski season. Just a 30 minute drive from Granby, this is a great way to view the mountains from a different perspective.
The 90 minute tour will give you incredible views of the Fraser Valley, Vasquez Peak Wilderness, and the Continental Divide. You’ll explore varied terrain and touch on the history of the Winter Park Resort and the Fraser Valley, as well as information about local flora and fauna. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
For an unforgettable experience, take their nighttime snowcat tour. You’ll watch the sun set over the Fraser Valley and see the stars come alive over expansive views as you make your way to Vasquez Ridge. Atop Vasquez Ridge, enjoy s’mores and beverages for the entire family before heading back.