Forest Service approves snowcat-guided backcountry wintersports tours at Loveland Ski Area

Contact(s): Travis Mason-Bushman

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo.—February 7, 2020—The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland released its draft decision today which will allow Loveland Ski Area to begin offering snowcat-guided backcountry skiing and snowboarding opportunities in Dry Gulch. The 580-acre area, north of Interstate 70 and Loveland Basin, 53 miles west of Denver, is adjacent to the ski area’s existing frontcountry permit.

Under the expanded special use permit, the ski area will be able to offer up to two guided trips per day into Dry Gulch, with no more than 16 people on each trip. Snowcat operations will be limited to three designated routes. The area will remain open to the public for non-guided use, and the activities are consistent with Loveland Ski Area’s 2017 Master Development Plan.

“Creating opportunities to responsibly enjoy the outdoors is a key mission of the Forest Service, and expanding our longstanding partnership with Loveland Ski Area through this special use permit will accomplish just that,” Clear Creek District Ranger Scott Haas said.

A number of monitoring and mitigation requirements will be implemented to protect the area’s environment and natural resources. Among them are that snowcat use will require at least two feet of snow cover, tree removal will be prohibited, compacted snow/ice routes must be broken up at the end of the season, and water quality and fish populations in the area will be monitored to ensure there are no negative hydrological impacts of the permitted activities.

More information about the proposal, including the draft Decision Notice, Environmental Assessment, public comments, and other supporting documents, can be found on the web at Publication of the legal notice in the Fort Collins Coloradoan begins a 45-day objection period, during which time those who commented on the proposal may file objections to the proposed activity or certain aspects of it.