So it turns out that Colorado has had a lot of ski resorts over the years. At least 175 from what I can tell. Many of these resorts have closed down but almost all are still on public land, and skiable.
The other day I decided to check out one called Geneva Basin.
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You have to get the time of year and wether conditions just right to hit many of these abandoned resorts and Geneva Basin is no exception. If you approach in the winter from the north on Guanella Pass Road you’ll encounter a locked gate about 1.5 miles from the top of the pass. For an adventure you can skin up to the pass, then down to the base of the resort. You’ll put in at least seven miles this way.
I live south of Guanella Pass Road and Highway 285 and I don’t remember there being a gate on this side of the pass. Sure enough, there isn’t and I drove all the way to the base of the old resort, but not without complications.
From Highway 285 the parking lot is just over 10 miles up Guanella Pass Road. Guanella Pass currently offers stretches of both dirt and pavement on the south side (the north side is now paved all the way to the top of the pass). The road was nicely plowed up to the five mile point, where I reached a sign declaring no winter maintenance.
You’ll find a few homes past this point so the road was still decent. That all change two miles later, or seven miles from Highway 285. The road was definitely no longer plowed but there was a decent single lane track in the snow. It had been about one week since it snowed here and I had high clearance four wheel drive so I went for it. I didn’t have any issues, but would have surely been stuck even in an all wheel drive car.
From my parking spot, you’ll see I’m pretty close to the base of Geneva Basin.
I took the line on the right and began skinning. It’s important to note that you should be able to read avalanche forecasts and asses the snow condition on site. Travel with a partner and don’t forget your beacon, shovel, and probe in the car.
This is the view about halfway up. You’ll see tracks going up and down here. The slope steepened to about 45 degrees and I wasn’t happy with the avalanche danger, so I headed back to a safe spot to take off my skins.
Skiing down as the sun comes up.
I skied the line on the right.
Pretty fun terrain.
And everyone needs a dog to tour with. This is Kalli, borrowed from a friend.
Geneva Basin is a great place to tour and backcountry ski. I’ll definitely be back while remembering to think through the road conditions. The worst case scenario from the south is skinning up 5 miles from where the plows stop, making it 10 miles round trip. From the north you’re looking at about seven.
Have you skied abandoned resorts?