Backcountry Recon: A Directory of Backcountry Skiing Information

Backcountry Recon is a card-catalog of backcountry skiing & snowboarding resources. Click on a region to list and map the skiable terrain in that area.

You can either search for an area by name, or look for it on the map. We’ll give you everything we’ve been able to find on it. Please note that this website is not intended to be a guide, but rather a resource to help you find the guides, websites, trip reports, avalanche reports & any other information that may be out there on any specific zone. It’s always dangerous to ski or ride in the backcountry. If you’re going to do it anyway, you should take the time to review all the materials that could help you make better decisions. Read the avy reports. Watch the videos. Buy the guidebooks. Remember that none of these things should be considered a substitute for firsthand experience, and that it’s always best to go out with someone who knows the area.

Colorado

Boulder & Gilpin Counties

The front range lines closest to Boulder and Denver, there is no easy access out here.

Clear Creek County

Big lines that require big hikes. Also contains part of Berthoud Pass.

Berthoud Pass

Terrain of all types with a lot of yearly snowfall. This zone is known for big lines and big slides.

Butler Gulch

The non-motorized-travel side of Jones Pass, Butler Gulch is accessed to the West of Berthoud Falls.

Jones Pass

Snowmobiling is allowed at Jones Pass, and there’s a commercial snowcat operation running as well. There’s a variety of terrain to access.
Look for Jones Pass to the West of Berthoud Falls.

Crested Butte

The backcountry terrain around Crested Butte is in the Elk Mountain Range.

Eagle-Vail

Eagle County is home to a variety ski terrain in the Gore Range and the Sawatch Range.

Vail Pass

Motorized Access on the South side of the highway, skinning and hiking on the North side. Deep snow and varied terrain up here.

Park & Lake Counties

Park and Lake Counties are home to the Sawatch Range (Lake County) and the Mosquito Range (Park and Lake Counties)

Mosquito Range

The Mosquito Range is the extension of the Tenmile Range to the South of the continental divide (below North Star Peak).

Sawatch Range

The Sawatch Range covers all of Lake County and extends up into Eagle-Vail. It is home to some huge and somewhat remote mountains.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado has some huge lines for aspiring ski mountaineers.

Summit County

Mostly difficult access, steep avalanche prone terrain.

Loveland Pass

Some easy access terrain mixed with some difficult to get to, high consequence terrain.

Montezuma & Summit Front Range

Montezuma has a lot of huge, remote, dangerous terrain to ski. The Front Range in Summit includes Montezuma and runs West from there to Hoosier Pass.

Tenmile Range

The Tenmile Range stretches from Frisco down to the South of Breckenridge and features a variety of big-mountain terrain.

The Gore Range

The Gore Range lies to the north of Silverthorne, Frisco, and Vail. Many lines are extremely remote and not frequently skied.

Williams Fork Mountains

A small range to the Northeast of Silverthorne, the Williams Fork Mountains have a couple of zones that are skied.

Wolf Creek Pass

In the Southern San Juans, where the snow piles up deep, you can find skiable terrain across the highway from Wolf Creek Ski Area on Wolf Creek Pass.

Wyoming

Teton Pass

Highway 22 (WYO 22) connects Wilson, Wyoming and Victor, Idaho. There are several pullouts, the biggest being at the top of the pass. From that one, you can reach the bootpack up Mt. Glory on the North side of the road, and the skintrack going South toward Mt. Elly. The terrain on the South side of the highway is part of the Snake River Range, and the North side of the highway is in the Teton Range.

Teton Pass South

Teton Pass, South of the highway, has an incredible amount and variety of terrain. A lot of it is accessed from the top of the pass by heading Southwest from the parking area up Pass Ridge toward Mt. Elly, but there are other parking pull-outs and starting points West along the pass towards Idaho. If you don’t know where you’re going you could easily end up stranded in remote wilderness. This is part of the Snake River Range.

Teton Pass North

Most terrain North of the highway on Teton Pass is accessed from the top of the pass, where an obvious boot-pack can be found going North up Mt. Glory. This zone is especially avalanche-prone, and a big slide in many commonly skied areas could run over the highway or over commonly used trails, threatening innocent passersby. The amount of big terrain accessible here, if skied safely and responsibly, would keep you busy for years. This is part of the Teton Range.

Jackson Hole Accessible Backcountry

Jackson Hole provides backcountry access gates to get into the National Forest land from their lift accessible terrain. If you go out there, you’re on your own in some of the most dangerous terrain in the country with no ski patrol to help you. Skiers trigger avalanches out there frequently, and often end up buried and dead. This terrain should be treated just as seriously as an expedition into Grand Teton National Park. Granite Canyon to the North is especially deadly and has a very long and difficult exit. Never go into the backcountry without the necessary safety equipment, knowledge, experience, partners, and an exact plan to get to your objective and back out to your vehicle alive. The terrain around the resort is part of the Teton Range.

Northern Tetons – Grand Teton National Park

The Tetons North of Jackson Hole, including Grand Teton National Park, offer some huge, technical, and exceedingly dangerous terrain choices. Grand Teton National Park has big couloirs and even bigger avalanches. The access is mostly long, and the hikes and climbs are high. Mountaineers are drawn to challenges of this mighty range, and many of them have died here skiing these routes. When we speak of them we do so with respect, and we must learn what lessons we can from their stories and their inspirational lives.