Powder Ghost Towns

Now that winter is here, time look at a great book for backcountry skiing: Powder Ghost Towns.


Colorado is well-known for such ski resorts as Vail, Aspen and Steamboat.

Places where a skier can ride a lift ,get to the top and swoosh down the slopes.

A quintessential Colorado experience.

But frankly one I don’t enjoy as much as most people. 🙂

I must confess to enjoying the backcountry more. I do not like the expense, the crowds or the traffic associated with lift-served skiing.   Though I prefer Nordic backcountry skiing (rolling terrain, covering distance and less about the downhill and more about the traveling), I do occasionally enjoy more technical backcountry skiing with steeper grades.  Having said that, there is something to be said, however,  about skiing in an area with wide cuts, deep powder and being less likely to crash into trees.  For a person like myself who is moderate at best in terms of technique at steeper grades, the resort areas can be nice in concept.

So how to get some more technical skiing in wider areas without the crowds? And some  backcountry-like skiing without the tighter turns often needed?

By skiing at old ski areas.

Hidden Valley in RMNP

Colorado is dotted with now-defunct ski areas. Among them are some fairly recently closed ones such as Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park, Geneva Basin and even locations that were ski areas long ago in the past.

St Vrain

But there are many others scattered throughout Colorado and even nearby southern Wyoming and northern New Mexico.

And the best way to find out about these gems scattered throughout the area?   I find a book called Powder Ghost Towns: Epic Backcountry Runs in Colorado’s Lost Ski Resorts works well.

The description on the website describes the book best:

The book’s 36 backcountry ski destinations—from lost or abandoned ski resorts to ones that were never built—include: Detailed descriptions of trailhead locations, approach routes, and ski descents, plus key GPS waypoints; 36 topo maps showing the recommended approach and descents; Fascinating history behind each ski area—how it started, its glory days, and how it ended, and; Where to eat and drink after a great day of lost-resort skiing

Basically a complete day of skiing is described: From locations to ski, to maps needed, to suggested routes to where to get the all important post-ski burger and beer.

It’s a great little book and well worth it for anyone who wants to explore areas a little more off the beaten path (old ski trail?).  Note that the author updates the info via his website as well. (Private property issues mainly)

So get your skis ready, grab a copy of the book and plan the next ski trip!

Note: I purchased this book with my own funds.

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