Berthoud Pass: Mines Peak
The ski routes in the Frasier River drainage extending from Mines Peak are some of the bigger backcountry ski runs at Berthoud Pass. This is no joke terrain. The Mines 1 and Mines 2 avalanche paths slide every winter, and these slides are massive and catastrophic. Berthoud Pass skiers who are used to areas like the West Side and 90s where persistent slabs are pounded into moguls need to pay attention in the Mines area. This area is also far from the Pass and requires a skin back up to Hells Half Acre, or a 3 mile ski down the Seven Mile trail to a shuttle.
Berthoud Pass Mines Peak
- Season: Winter, Spring
- Summit Elevation: 12,200’
- Aspect: Northwest, North
- Elevation Range: 11,300’ – 12,200’
- Vertical: 1,000’ – 1,400+
- Snowmobile Access: Snowmobiles are not allowed at Berthoud Pass
Follow the skin track described on the Hells Half Acre and East Side routes to tree line. Pass the High Trail Cliffs to access the entrances to The Shoulder and Mines 2. [39.8011, -105.7682] To get to Mines 1 and Vortex continue up the slopes of Colorado Mines Peak to avoid the Mines 1 and 2 avalanche terrain, and then traverse east into the bowl. The skin and traverse into the Vortex area is approximately 1.3 miles.
The bottom of Vortex, Mines 1, and Mines 2 exit into a steep creek bed that is a terrain trap exposed to avalanches from the Mines 1 and 2 slide paths. Be very careful here. The Fraser River drainage coming out of Vortex, Mines 1, and Mines 2 intersects the Seven Mile ski trail. You can follow Seven Mile three miles down to the final switchback of Highway 40 leading to Winter Park. [39.8267, -105.759] Alternatively, you can skin west and then southwest a half mile up Seven Mile, below High Trail Cliffs, and to the second switchback on Highway 40 at Hells Half Acre.
1- Vortex – This is the large bowl East of the Mines slide paths. A long run can be had here if the snow line is high on Mount Flora.
2 - Mines 1 – Mines 1 is further east than the Mines 2 slide path. There is some tasty tree skiing between Mines 1 and Vortex.
3- Mines 2 - Mines 2 is the massive avalanche path facing north. The entrance is convex, loaded, and ready to slide.
4 - The Shoulder – The Shoulder is the broad area between the High Trail Cliffs and the Mines 2 starting zone. There are steeper trees on the skier’s left as well as higher avalanche potential.
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.