Berthoud Pass: West Side

Berthoud Pass's West Side from the East.  Photo: Rob Writz

This is the West Side of the old Berthoud Pass Ski area. The lifts and lodge are gone, but it feels like the Pass sees as many skiers today as when the ski area was last open for lift service. The West Side is a popular area, and has quick access to a high point that enables you to drop into Pumphouse Basin, Current Creek, the 90s, or down the West Side and back to the Pass. Despite having a lot of skier traffic, the avalanche hazard in this area is significant, especially on the terrain between The Roll and The Plunge. The West Side Cliff area, the cliffs running from Rush Chute to Nitro Chute, was the scene of the old Berthoud Pass Bad Ass competitions.

+ ROUTES

Berthoud Pass West Side

  • Season: Winter
  • Summit Elevation: 11,945’
  • Aspect: North, Northeast, East
  • Elevation Range: 11,300’ – 11,945’
  • Vertical: 600’
  • Snowmobile Access: Snowmobiles are not allowed at Berthoud Pass.

Skin Track:

There is one primary skin track that serves all of the runs on the West Side. From the main parking lot, cross Highway 40 to the base of Great Divide The skin track turns southwest through the trees to CDT West and then up to the summit of the West Side. A boot pack line heads directly up CDT West. You can skin to the top and decide where to drop in from there. [39.8026, -105.7867]

Exit:

The skin track brings you across the top of all of the runs of the West Side. The majority of the runs on the West Side exit back to the pass. There is a long traverse starting at the Meadows that leads past the West Side Cliffs and back to the Pass. Continuing down Meadows run drops you into the 90s area and Sam and Nelson’s.

Routes:

31 - Wyskis Wonder – A fun glade run. Too far skier’s right goes into Pumphouse and Highway 40; skier’s left brings you back to CDT West.

32 – CDT West – A green run at the old ski area, CDT West is mostly used for the skin track up the mountain.

33 - Mainline – Mainline descends from the summit and is used to access all of the West Side Cliff runs. It then becomes the wide run directly above the pass.

34 - Triple Rock – Triple Rock is an area of comprised of multiple chutes. Access this area from Mainline and past the Plunge.

35 - The Plunge – Black – The skier’s right side of Lift Gully. Access the Plunge from Mainline.

36 - Lift Gully – The old ski lift line at Berthoud Pass, and host to many rock drops. Ski down Mainline to the point where the run becomes convex and take a left.

37 - Rush Chute – Double Black – A series of cliffs and chutes that frequently maroon skiers who get in over their heads. The West Side Cliffs run between Rush Chute and Nitro Chute.

38 - Nitro Chute – Black – There are several chutes on the skier’s left side of the West Side Cliffs. From the summit trend skier’s right around the roll to the chutes and drops.

39- The Roll – The Roll and surrounding terrain are the perfect avalanche angle. From the summit ski north to where the slope disappears past a convex hump. An alternative is far skier’s left through the trees bordering The Roll, but you then need to descend “Test Slope” to the base of the Roll. Berthoud Pass ski area called it Test Slope for a reason!

40 - The Meadows – The Meadows is an area of lower angle and windswept terrain that is comprised of patches of krumholtz and clearings. It is frequently used to access the 90s area. Otherwise, break hard right to traverse to the Test Slope at the bottom of the Roll.

+ TRAILHEAD

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