Rocky Mountain National Park Couloirs and Descents Intro and Beginner
Seasons: Late Fall, Winter, Spring. Best months: April and May.
Departure: Boulder, Denver, Estes Park
Activity: Ski Tours, Ski Mountaineering, Backcountry Skiing Colorado
$210 per person
We guarantee departure regardless of your group size, but there are different prices. $210 pp for 4 people or more; $255 pp for 3 people; $295 for 2 people; $495 for 1 person.
Location of Trip:
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Front Range Mountains
Length of Trip:
Custom, 7 days a week based on request.
Full day: 7am -3 pm; 8 am – 4 pm or Custom
You’ve skied all the resorts, you’re confident, and you’re looking for the next challenge. Join us on a trip into Rocky Mountain National Park, as we learn how to ski steep lines and thrilling couloirs. This intro to couloirs and descents will teach you how to jump turn, how to control your speed, and how to confidently ski tougher lines. This will prepare you for such lines as The Cristo Couloir on Quandary Peak. Our experienced, AIARE-trained guides will take you to find the hidden powder stashes and big lines that you’ve always dreamed of.
Itinerary: For this guided ski tour, we depart Boulder, Denver, or Estes Park in the early morning and travel through the town of Estes Park or Allenspark into Rocky Mountain National Park. Expect a brisk 1 to 3 hour approach to most of these couloirs before we drop in to the goods. We then spend the day skiing in the best spots based on the desires of the groups and the weather / snow conditions.
Included in our rates: The services of a professional ski guide, round-trip transportation from Boulder office or hotel, snacks and water (lunch is also included during full-day excursions), education about local and natural history (including library of Rocky Mountain flora and fauna), medical kit, personal avalanche gear (beacon, probe, shovel), touring ski poles (if needed), and contingency and emergency support.
Not included in our rates: Park entrance fees, $10 per person per week for Rocky Mountain National Park, payable directly to the park upon entry, ski touring equipment (AT randonee skis, boots, and skis – we can arrange rentals) and gratuities for your guide (the amount is at your discretion, but the recommended gratuity is 20%).
Special Notes: AT ski touring skis or Tele skis, skins, and boots can be rented from Crystals Ski Shop for $50 per day. When on a guided trip, we supple avalanche rescue gear (beacon, shovel, and probe). On a side note: Crystals also rent beacon, probe, shovel for $30 per day. The whole package for all gear (ski and safety) is $65 per day for future reference. PH: 303-449-7669.
All our trips are custom and private and thus will be catered to the abilities and desires of the group. We can make each trip as mellow or intense as the client wishes
Moderate: D2 – D4: D2 – Angle around 25 degrees with simple topography. D3 – Perhaps slightly steeper than D2, or may include more challenging terrain features. Examples include East Face of Flat-top Peak D4 – Similar to an easier “Expert” run at a resort. Slope angles usually around 30 degrees. (For example: D2: Southeast Face, James Peak, Front Range, Colorado or D4: Lakeview Avalanche Path, Buffalo Mountain, Gore Range, Colorado (II D4 R1). Grade 2 in length or 4-6 hours.
Hard: D5 – Similar to an “Expert” run at a resort, steeper (35 degree range) or more terrain obstacles than previous rating. D6 – Similar angles to previous, harder because it might have longer steep sections or complicating terrain features such as longer crux sections, dogleg turns, rollovers, trees, ridges, etc. (For example: D5: Ruby Gulch (SW Face) Grays Peak, Colorado. RMNP: Corral Couloir to Tyndall Glacier. D6: East Slopes summit ski descent, Mount Elbert, Colorado. South Face, (Pinko or Redneck Gullies) Mount Democrat, Colorado.). Grade III or 6-8 hours.
Very Hard: D7 – Change in angle category would usually occur here, to slopes probably around 40 degrees. Few terrain obstacles (e.g., steep sections not that long, no cliffs you have to work around, no runnels, easy tree skiing). RMNP Example: Lambs Slide Couloir (40 degrees and steepest short section 45 degrees. 1500’ descent from 13,300’ to 11,800’ and takes 8-10 hours). D8 – While similar in angle to a D7, terrain, angle or long crux sections make this harder than a D7. RMNP: Notchtop Couloir. D9 – Slopes probably around 45 degrees. Crux sections are short. (For example: D7: Tuning Fork, Torreys Peak, Colorado, (via easiest entrance). The Ribbon (splits NW face), Grays Peak, Colorado (III D7 R2) D8: Silver Couloir (North Couloir), Buffalo Mountain, Gore Range, Colorado (II D8 R2). RMNP Example: South Face of Hallett Peak (2600’ from 12,700’ to 10,100’ at Lake Haiyaha. Average angle is 40 degrees. Steepest short section close to top is 45 degrees and moderate complicated terrain.). D9: North Face, Mount Democrat, Colorado.). Grade III and IV or 6-14 hours. RMNP Example: Dragon’s Tail Couloir without top 3rd or 4th class section or would make around D15. 1700’. Average angle is 45 degrees. Steepest short section close to top is 47 degrees and not complicated terrain.
What to Bring: Sent with trip confirmation