Backcountry Skiing via Canyons Resort Backcountry Gates with a chance of Shrine Pass, Colorado 2010
The Backcountry Skiing options out of the Canyons Resort are endless.
Shrine Pass, Colorado 2010
Image by Gord McKenna
On a recent visit to Vail to take in the Tailings and Mine Waste 2010 Conference, I was able to travel around the highways and biways of the area, and even got some good light. There is a certain zen about the Colorado Rockies.
Shrine Pass (el. 11,089 ft.) is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States.
The pass is located at the northern end of the Sawatch Range, along the border of Eagle and Summit counties west of Frisco and just northwest of Vail Pass. It is traversed by a narrow unpaved road connecting the eastern side of Vail Pass near Interstate 70 (east) with the town of Red Cliff in the upper valley of the Eagle River (west). Most of the time, it is a 4WD or jeep trail; however, in ideal weather the road is considered traversable by sturdy 2WD vehicles and light trucks.
The pass was formerly the principal route between the upper valleys of the Blue and Eagle before the construction of U.S. Highway 6 over nearby Vail Pass, which subsequently became the main route. The pass offers scenic view of wildflower meadows and pine woodlands during the summer and autumn months, as well as distant view of Mount of the Holy Cross to the north. It is especially popular as a sightseeing route during the autumn months.
During the winter, it is a popular snowmobile and cross-country skiing route. A car shuttle from the resort town of Vail in the Eagle Valley to the town of Red Cliff allows skiers to access the pass. After a one mile hike upwards, it is possible to descend a ten-mile course back down to the town of Red Cliff.
Skiers and snowboarders sometimes ride over the back side of Vail Resort’s Blue Sky Basin, finding themselves on Shrine Pass. Lost skiers and snowboarders are often picked up by snowmobilers and taken to Red Cliff.