I’ve seen some ambitious Kickstarter campaigns in my day, but this one takes the cake. A team of dedicated Colorado backcountry skiers and snowboarders is trying to create a new category of ski hill by blending the best aspects of backcountry riding with the comforts of a traditional resort, but there’s one major thing missing….no chairlifts.
“We will have almost everything you’d expect at a small ski area—a lodge and warming hut, on-site rentals, lessons, and ski patrol to evaluate avalanche terrain and respond to emergencies—but we won’t have any chairlifts.”
Here’s the pitch:
We’re a team of dedicated backcountry skiers and snowboarders who want to share amazing experiences.
Learning to backcountry ski or snowboard isn’t easy. Unless you have a friend who is willing to mentor you, getting started is logistically complicated and overwhelming, not to mention expensive. We’ve imagined a better way.
We’re opening a human-powered backcountry ski area designed for learning and adventure.
Our vision is to blend the best of the backcountry with the best of resorts. We will have almost everything you’d expect at a small ski area—a lodge and warming hut, on-site rentals, lessons, and ski patrol to evaluate avalanche terrain and respond to emergencies—but we won’t have any chairlifts. Guests will use backcountry touring equipment to hike and skin uphill before transitioning to ski or snowboard back down. We imagine a welcoming place to explore, learn and practice backcountry skills, ski great lines, and cozy up in a hut with a hot chocolate and new friends.
We want to reduce barriers to entry, improve education, and create a gathering place for the backcountry skiing community. All backcountry experience levels will be welcome at Bluebird Backcountry, even those who have never tried backcountry skiing or splitboarding (backcountry snowboarding). Yes, skiing uphill is challenging. It’s also rewarding. And you don’t need to be a marathon runner to enjoy it—most anyone who’s fit can give it a try.
Bluebird Backcountry has leased an enormous mountain in Colorado for a 15-day test season.
This season we have leased 1,500 acres on Whiteley Peak (10,115’) between the towns of Kremmling and Steamboat Springs (about 2–2.5 hours from Denver). Roughly 300 acres will be in bounds and open for all guests to explore; the rest of the terrain will be accessible exclusively with a mountain guide.
The mountain has more than 2,000 vertical feet, open powder fields, old-growth aspen skiing, and a remarkable summit. It’s also entirely unimproved, so the skiing will be variable and adventurous more than manicured or groomed. Our aim is to provide a more natural and remote experience where you can explore and learn, spot wildlife, and take in grand views. For those ready for the challenge of going uphill, Bluebird Backcountry will be an amazing place to ski, far away from crowded resorts.
We’re not Vail or Alterra, and we don’t have any fancy venture backing.
We’re just a couple of guys and a team of awesome volunteers who think the idea of a human-powered ski area is cool and will improve backcountry access, education, and community. We’ve been volunteering our time for three years to bring Bluebird Backcountry to life, designing the place we wish we had when we were making mistakes early in our backcountry lives. We are so excited that we’ve made it this far!
Even when there are no chairlifts and the land is totally unimproved, opening a new ski area is a massive project and REALLY HARD! We’re purchasing a substantial rental fleet for skiers and splitboarders who don’t yet own their own gear. We still need to cover the costs of temporary buildings and bathrooms, equipment, plowing, parking and other improvements. These things are obviously necessary in order to provide the experience we want to give guests at Bluebird Backcountry this year. We also hope to open other locations in future years… help us get a “kick start” this year so that we can thrive and expand the Bluebird Backcountry concept to your neck of the woods!
Tell us you’re excited about the idea of a backcountry ski area by supporting our Kickstarter or volunteering.
We are super grateful for your contribution at any level. We’ve designed our rewards so that there are lots of ways to support the Bluebird Backcountry cause:
- Tickets are Limited! Kickstarter is your chance to reserve a spot before tickets go on sale on our website. We are only selling 100 season passes this year, and season pass holders will get early access to the mountain on February 15 & 16.
- Bluebird Merch & Avy Equipment. We’ve made stickers, posters, and other swag to celebrate our Peak Ranch announcement. We’re also offering essential backcountry safety equipment at a discount. Whether or not you can visit us this season, consider supporting the Bluebird Backcountry cause.
- Special Opportunities. There are a couple of big-ticket items we’re offering through Kickstarter, including renting out the entire mountain!
If you’re interested in volunteering with Bluebird Backcountry, either on site or behind a desk, please let us know by filling out this form. We are super grateful to our 200+ volunteers (and counting) who are helping make Bluebird Backcountry a reality.