Vail Colorado Backcountry, Telemark Skiing

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Backcountry Skiing

Cure the lift line blues with a trip into the Vail backcountry where hair-raising chutes and glorious glades await the intrepid off-piste Vail skier.

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  • Take a snowcat tour of Vail Pass. Guides minimize the avalanche danger and whisk skiers to the best powder stashes.
  • Winter permits available through the White River National Forest are required for parking on Vail Pass.
  • Three backcountry huts known collectively as Shrine Mountain Inn are easily accessed from Vail Pass.
  • The East Vail Chutes should only be attempted with someone who has extensive experience skiing the area.

Where to go Backcountry Skiing:

  • Vail Pass
    Vail Pass backcountry skiing has incredibly varied terrain for all abilities. Hit the ridge early, heading south-southwest and pick a fall line, any fall line.
  • East Vail Chutes
    Accessed from the resort's eastern boundary, these advanced chutes are must-dos for the hardcore backcountry skier.
  • Minturn Mile
    Great for first-time backcountry skiers, exit the resort's western boundary for this mellow, heavily gladed run. When the snowpack is deepest, you'll arrive within a few hundred yards of Minturn's favorite watering hole ready to toast the day!
  • Hit the Huts
    Vail backcountry skiing gets no better than a hut trip. Ski free all day and stay warm and cozy at night.

Snow Conditions

Check conditions with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The most-stable snowpack generally occurs in late April through May.

Guide Knowledge

Vail backcountry ski guides know the ins and outs of the best backcountry runs.

Pack Avy Gear

And know how to use it! At minimum bring a shovel, probe and beacon.

Other Backcountry Skiing Resources

Berthoud Pass Skiing

The lifts are closed, but you can still ski Berthoud Pass.