Bear Creek Access Gate Closed?

Last week, the United States Forest Service decided to abruptly and immediately close the access gate to Bear Creek – a gigantic valley of chutes, couloirs and open powder fields located directly east of the ski area – and already the Town of Telluride is up in arms.

According to numerous articles published in local papers as the “Daily Planet” and the “Telluride Watch,” as well as an in-depth piece on, the closure appears to be due to a combination of mining rights issues and concerns from a few private landowners having backcountry skiers continually “trespass” over their property when heading out the access gate to ski Bear Creek.

Regardless of who is right in the matter, the fact remains that Bear Creek provides a Euro-skiing atmosphere to the resort, where visitors can exit the area’s boundaries and tempt fate by skiing in very dangerous terrain. Some of the best skiing I’ve ever had has been in that area; some of the best skiers in the Telluride valley have died there.

Whether this closure will remain temporary or permanent has yet to be seen. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that for all avid backcountry skiers, including us, this really sucks.

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