Independence Pass, Colorado — When Will it Open for Backcountry Skiing?

Post by blogger | May 19, 2008      

WildSnow Evening Edition…
Blog reader Joel emailed me and pointed out that our countdown timer was set to the older, more optimistic Independence Pass opening date. (Thanks Joel.) Fact of the matter, Indy is buried in so much snow it’s like the Pacific Northwest up there, and snow removal is delayed. Now they’re saying it’ll open the 30th of this month. Should still be good by then, but too bad the traditional Memorial Day weekend opening is not happening, as getting up there around the 25th would have been incredible. As it is, you can access much of the Indy goods by using an ATV to drive the dry pavement past the gate, or use a bicycle it if you’ve got the legs and lungs to cycle your ski gear up there.

Yesterday and today (and perhaps tomorrow) we’re having the “warming event” that happens many years around this time in Colorado. Key for backcountry skiing during this sort of weather is to use higher trailheads where nighttime temperatures drop cool enough to keep the snowpack firmer at your start/end point so you don’t end up slogging out through deep and dangerous slush piles. More, doing westerly routes that don’t get early sun is also key. Without Independence Pass we don’t have many options for high trailheads around here this time of year, but elsewhere in Colorado you can drive to plenty of high altitude zones. Examples: Loveland Pass, Red Mountain Pass, Yankee Boy Basin.



7 Responses to “Independence Pass, Colorado — When Will it Open for Backcountry Skiing?”

  1. Jason May 19th, 2008 4:34 pm

    We’ve had similar news from the DOT up here too. McKenzie Pass, which is a great scenic bike ride in the summer may open in August or September, but most likely not at all. There’s just too much snow (which is a good problem)!

  2. Carver May 19th, 2008 4:43 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I was looking forward to another Memorial Day weekend on Indy Pass – Colorado’s verion of the Indy 500!

    Hey, I like those bumper stickers, how can I get some?


  3. Lou May 19th, 2008 4:48 pm

    Carver, use the contact link to left and email us your address, in return we’ll email you an address you can send a SASE to and we’ll send you stickers.

  4. Chris Beh May 19th, 2008 5:11 pm

    I flew into Denver from California yesterday with a great view of the central mountains from 30,000 feet. The Elks and Independence Pass area have so much snow that it looks like March not May. Really amazing cover.

  5. Michael Logan May 19th, 2008 10:02 pm

    Found frozen to snow at the base of Thomas Lakes Bowl on Sunday morning: Yellow fleece vest, polypro top, hat, socks, neoprene knee braces. Call Michael at 963-0724 if you this stuff belongs to you.

  6. Frank May 19th, 2008 11:07 pm

    Michael, that stuff is mine. Was going to go up on Wednesday to see if it was still there…the skiing was so good Sat. morning I totally forgot about that stuff till I hit the parking lot saw my truck and remembered the I put the key in the vest pocket…but I appreciate you bringing that stuff down. When I call remind me what your beer of choice is.


  7. Godius September 17th, 2008 2:32 am

    Great article! Keep it up.

    Grz, Godius

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version