How COVID-19 Will Change the Future of Backcountry Skiing

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When ski resorts closed in March due to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, many skiers would not be deterred from getting their turns. With unused season pass days snatched away, they took to the backcountry to get their skiing fix. Out-of-bounds dabblers and novices joined the dedicated backcountry skiers and showed up at trailheads in droves.

With the influx of backcountry traffic came trailhead crowding and parking issues, skier-triggered avalanches, new strategies from avalanche centers, and more than a little outrage from those choosing to abstain from the backcountry.

In Colorado, cars lined the highways near easily accessible backcountry zones like Berthoud and Loveland Pass; the Colorado Department of Transportation had to block off roadside parking with snowbanks to mitigate the traffic and Colorado State Patrol was giving out tickets to…

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