A couple of weekends ago I went nordic skiing with a big groups of friends on Webster Pass. Our friend Hunter lives up in the town of Montezuma off of the Webster Pass road in a gorgeous house with an amazing view of the mountains. We spent Christmas there in a blizzard and it was beautiful.
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Webster Pass begins on the west side in Montezuma and ends at Hall Valley Campground between Jefferson and Grant Colorado off of route 285. The road itself in the summer time is 4WD and I’ve heard that it’s a fun route in a lifted truck or jeep.
Montezuma is a quiet little town east of Keystone. It’s about an hour west of Denver in Summit County, Colorado. It’s hidden in a low valley and the locals prefer to keep it that way. The local pack of hounds roam the streets like they own the place and once you’re past the center of town the road turns to dirt. If you keep going straight you will end up at Deer Valley where the 2WD road ends and in the winter it’s not plowed past here.
A couple of miles before the end of the road is a left turn to Webster Pass. In the summer you can drive up the road a ways as long as you have good clearance, but in the winter you must park at the Deer Valley parking lot and hike up the Webster Pass road to get back there.
It’s a little tricky to navigate back to the actual Webster Pass road through the neighborhood so make sure you have a good map with you. Once you’re on the road and you leave the neighborhood, you will cross a large avalanche path. If it is a high danger day, please make sure you have a beacon, shovel, probe and a partner. You can check the avalanche forecast by visiting Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s website. You will cross many dangerous areas if you are heading all the way back into the bowl. If it’s unsafe conditions you may want to rethink this trip.
After about 2 miles of skiing up the road you’ll continue straight following the valley into the bowl under the mountains of Teller and Handcart. Here you will find a beautiful cirque of mountains and if your brave enough there is a relatively mellow slope to the right that you can make some loose nordic turns on. We hit it while the snow was still soft and it was super fun!
If you go..
- 5 miles RT
- 1050 ft of elevation gain
- Closest town: Montezuma, CO
- Closest REAL town: Dillon, CO
Suggested Gear List:
- nordic skis, poles, boots or an alpine touring set up on skis or a splitboard
- clothing layers – it get’s warm when it sunny, cold when it’s not
- wool socks
- food – bars, sandwich, maybe a hot beverage
- camera or iphone (there is no service back here)
- sunglasses, maybe goggles if it’s snowing
- a sense of adventure!
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