Berthoud Pass: 80s and 90s

Berthoud Pass's 80s and 90s from the North.  Photo: Rob Writz

The 80s and 90s is one of the most popular areas at Berthoud Pass. The terrain is easily visible when driving north on Highway 40, and it is very reasonable to car shuttle or hitchhike to access these steep routes. The Berthoud Pass Ditch (Aqueduct) cuts bisects the 80s and 90s and this allows for the easier access. Skiers and snowboarders can also drop into this terrain from the top of Berthoud Pass’s West Side. The runs all end at the Current Creek Trailhead.

There are several additional hazards to be aware of in this area. The Aqueduct can have debris under the snow, thin coverage below the edge, and large holes. CDT frequently bombs the 80s and blast holes are common in this area. The 90s and Flume are so popular that you may find moguls!

+ ROUTES

Berthoud Pass 80s and 90s

  • Season: Winter
  • Summit Elevation: 11,945’ (top of West Side), 11,460’ (top of Flume), 11,290’ (Aqueduct)
  • Aspect: North
  • Elevation Range: 10,800’ – 11,945’
  • Vertical: 500’ - 1,145’
  • Snowmobile Access: Snowmobiles are not allowed at Berthoud Pass.

Skin Track:

At the Aqueduct entrance, follow the well-defined Berthoud Pass Ditch Road north through the forest to the top of the Rock Garden (about 0.3 miles). Use the road to traverse to the other routes.

Another way to access the 90s area is to skin up the West Side and use The Meadows to access the Flume and 90s area. From the top of the West Side, ski down the left side of The Meadows heading directly north. At the edge of the forest there is an old wood post, aim for this. After the wood post trend right and curve into Flume. To the left leads into Hourglass Cliffs. Alternatively, ski the far right side of The Meadows to the forest. Find a narrow entrance that you can follow to the top of Rock Garden.

Exit:

The 90s routes end at the old road leading to the Current Creek trailhead on Highway 40 [39.8102, -105.7785,]. The exit of the 80s is spicier and requires a hard left turn to gain the road leading to the Current Creek trailhead. Many skiers leave a shuttle at Current Creek or hitchhike back to the summit.

Routes:

47 – The 80s – Head skier’s right to the 80s when you exit the Aqueduct at Rock Garden. A hard left is required at the bottom to avoid Highway 40 and to get to Current Creek.

48 – Rock Garden – The Rock Garden is the first open chute you encounter on the Aqueduct.

49 - Vigilante – Vigilante is skier’s left of the trees at the start of Rock Garden, and the run trends left towards Current Creek.

50 – The 90s – Continue on the Aqueduct past Vigilante to a chute with the trees on skier’s left.

51 - Outlaw – Outlaw is an open face leading to an isolated chute past The 90s. The Launch Pad trees are to skier’s left.

52 - Flume – Flume is a classic Berthoud Pass Run. From the top of the West Side, in combination with The Meadows, this run can be over 1,000’ vertical. Curve right from the wooden post, and follow a gully to the Aqueduct and into the distinct chute below.

53 - Top Secret – When skiing Flume, Top Secret is a small stash on the left past the Aqueduct.

54- Hourglass Cliffs – There are numerous chutes through the Hourglass Cliffs, aka Red Dot. You may want to scout this area from the Aqueduct before dropping in.

55 - Wiebel’s Wobble – This run is the backside of Hourglass Cliffs and trends left on the edge of the trees and cliff. There is a cliff at the bottom than can be avoided, and then you exit to the Aqueduct. The terrain below the Aqueduct often holds cold powder.

56 – Nelson’s Folly – Black (note Sam’s skier’s left) – Nelson’s can be accessed from the top of the West Side. Instead of turning right to Flume, take a hard left into Nelson’s. This leads to a creek bed that passes the Aqueduct and leads to the skin track from Current Creek Trailhead.

57 – Skull Bite – Skull Bite is a wind-swept zone accessed from the top of the West Side. It is not frequently skied due to being on the windward side of the mountain. The creek bed at the bottom leads to Nelson’s.

58 – Coconut Ridge – These cliffs can be accessed from Nelson’s or from the Aqueduct.

+ TRAILHEAD

There are two common ways to enter the 80s and 90s area. The Aqueduct (Berthoud Pass Ditch) bisects this area and many skiers use this road to access the 80s and 90s, and then hitchhike back to the trailhead or Berthoud Pass from the Current Creek Trailhead. The other option is to skin or climb up the West Side and enter the 90s area below The Meadows or West Side Cliffs.

Aqueduct (11,245’)

The Aqueduct Trailhead is just north of Berthoud Pass on Highway 40. Driving north from the pass, the entrance is on the left at 0.3 miles from the top of the pass. [39.8026, -105.7772] There is a parking pull out on the right after the Aqueduct. After a large snow storm the pull out is probably not plowed.

Berthoud Pass Summit (11,300’)

The summit of Berthoud Pass is the epicenter of backcountry skiing on this part of the Front Range. There is a large parking lot and a small building with restrooms and a warm room that you can use to gear up on cold day. The summit is on Highway 40 18 miles from Empire (near exit 232 on Interstate 70) and 11.3 miles on Highway 40 from Winter Park. [39.798, -105.7771]

+ MAPS & PICTURES

Below we have included a link to a Google interactive map and a curated list of photos of the mountain.

Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website

Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website