The Arapaho National Forest has approved Loveland Ski Area’s proposal to provide guided snowcat tours within and directly adjacent to the ski area.
“There is growing demand across Colorado for guided backcountry terrain access,” said Clear Creek District Ranger Scott Haas. “This project will help meet that demand within an hours’ drive of Denver while helping Loveland Ski Area remain competitive within the ski industry.”
The decision allows Loveland Ski Area to establish three seasonal over-snow routes for drop-off and pick-up points for customers skiing and snowboarding on guided tours. The snowcat routes will provide access to 580 acres of backcountry terrain in the upper Dry Gulch area north of I-70. About a third of the project area is located outside of the existing ski area boundary.
Loveland’s proposed operations include a plan for avalanche mitigation. Terrain outside of the ski area boundary will remain available for use by other backcountry skiers and recreationists unless avalanche mitigation is actively underway, and the ski area will place educational signage about wintering wildlife at major access points into the area.
“Providing commercially guided ski and snowboard access helps ensure a quality experience for those who are either unfamiliar with the area or lack the skill or equipment to experience the setting unguided,” Haas added. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Loveland Ski Area to expand recreational opportunities and improve access on the National Forest.”
Loveland Ski Area has operated on the Arapaho National Forest through a special use permit since 1937.
Details about the project, including the full environmental assessment, map and decision notice can be found online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/lovelandsnowcat.