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Forest Service Approves Guided Backcountry Snowcat Tours at Loveland Ski Area

Loveland - A view of Dry Gulch from the proposed southern drop off area. 0
Loveland – A view of Dry Gulch from the proposed southern drop off area.

The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland released its draft decision on Friday, February 7 permitting Loveland Ski Area to offer guided snowcat skiing and snowboarding opportunities in Dry Gulch. The 580-acre area is adjacent to Loveland’s existing permit area north of Interstate 70.

“We are honored to partner with the US Forest Service to offer a unique guided backcountry skiing and snowboarding experience,” said Rob Goodell, COO of Loveland Ski Area. “This special use permit will allow us to expand opportunities for winter recreational use consistent with our 2017 Master Plan and the Forest Service mission.”

Under the expanded special use permit, Loveland Ski Area will be able to offer up to two guided trips per day into Dry Gulch with no more than 16 people on each trip. Snowcat operations will be limited to three designated routes. The area will remain open to the public for non-guided use.  

Loveland Dry Gulch Snow Cat Tour ProjectLoveland Dry Gulch Snow Cat Tour Project

A number of monitoring and mitigation requirements will be implemented to protect the area’s environment and natural resources. Among them are that snowcat use will require at least two feet of snow cover, tree removal will be prohibited, compacted snow/ice routes must be broken up at the end of the season, and water quality and fish populations in the area will be monitored to ensure there are no negative hydrological impacts of the permitted activities.

More information about the proposal, including the draft Decision Notice, Environmental Assessment, public comments, and other supporting documents, can be found online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=54196. Publication of the draft Decision Notice in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on Friday, February 7 began a 45-day objection period, during which time those who commented on the proposal may file objections to the proposed activity or certain aspects of it.