By Audra Streetman

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – The Arapaho National Forest approved Loveland Ski Area’s proposal to provide guided snowcat tours. Loveland will add three seasonal over-snow routes.

(source: Loveland Ski Area)

The routes will serve as drop-off and pick-up points for customers skiing and snowboarding on guided tours.

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“There is growing demand across Colorado for guided backcountry terrain access,” said Clear Creek District Ranger Scott Haas. “This project will help meet that demand within an hour’s drive of Denver while helping Loveland Ski Area remain competitive within the ski industry.”

The snowcat tours will access 580 acres of backcountry terrain in the upper Dry Gulch area north of I-70. Officials said about a third of the project area is located outside of the existing ski area boundary.

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Loveland’s proposal includes an avalanche mitigation plan. When avalanche mitigation is not underway, backcountry skiers and recreationists will still be able to access terrain outside the ski area boundary.

“Providing commercially guided ski and snowboard access helps ensure a quality experience for those who are either unfamiliar with the area or lack the skill or equipment to experience the setting unguided,” Haas added. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Loveland Ski Area to expand recreational opportunities and improve access on the National Forest.”

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Details about the project, including the full environmental assessment, map and decision notice can be found here.

Audra Streetman