Unparalleled Terrain Access
The terrain around Red Mountain Pass is like no other in the mountain west. Inspiring, remote, high, and beautiful – the mountains between Ouray and Silverton that can be accessed via Highway 550 are simply remarkable for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. In the Winter (November through April) ski touring is practically limitless with routes of all shapes and sizes available to explore. Mellow tree runs, high alpine bowls, couloirs, summits, and traverses. We have it all in the San Juans and Red Mountain Pass.
The Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is situated at the top of the pass at 11,000′, surrounded and enveloped by tall, healthy spruce trees but only 300 yards from Highway 550. This means you can easily access both sides (East and West) of the highway for maximum skiing flexibility. Conditions and snow stability looking good for a ski descent of one the many 13,000′ peaks in the area? The lodge is positioned right at the base of the mountains and all you have to do is set the skin track to the top.
Looking to sniff out some powder runs on some North facing trees? There are literally hundreds of acres of prime tree skiing right out our front door on both sides of highway 550. You simply cannot find better access to backcountry ski terrain in the mountain west, and here’s the best part – the terrain is so vast and the tours so many that there is ALWAYS a fresh line and untouched powder to ski.
Red Mountain Pass receives over 300″ of snow per year and is one of the most reliable and deepest annual snowpacks in Colorado. Consistent storms, low moisture content, and complex layering typify the conditions in this part of the range.
If you are unfamiliar with the terrain around Red Mountain Pass or the snowpack in a continental climate we highly suggest you utilize local expert guide service San Juan Mountain Guides (SJMG) for at least 1 of your planned touring days. SJMG can offer a wide range of services from a single day terrain familiarization tour to custom descents of local classic routes and peaks. A review from one of our guests last year says it all:
“We stayed for four days with the purpose of backcountry skiing. In hindsight we should have hired a guide as the mountains in the San Juans are big and the snowpack is incredibly complex. We were able to tour the area and Red Mountain #3 is literally in the Lodge’s backyard.” – Brian L.
Sample Ski Touring Options
The backcountry around Red Mountain Pass represents the best backcountry ski touring in Colorado. There is a lifetime worth of skiing to do in the San Juans, but here is a short list of what you can consider in the area:
Ski Touring from the Lodge on Red Mtn Pass
North Facing Below Tree Line Powder Skiing
Above Tree Line High Alpine Bowls on all Aspects North, East, West, South
Highway 550 Corridor Tours and Descents
Ridge Traverses and Peak Link Ups
1/2 Day of Touring on the East Side and 1/2 Day of Touring on the West Side of Hwy 550
Ski Mountaineering Options and Descents
Options, Tours, and Skiing for all Avalanche Hazard Ratings