What to Expect for Opening Weekend 22/23

It’s happening! Opening weekend is upon us, setup is behind us, and there’s a ton to know before you go. Let’s get an idea of what opening weekend will look like:

First things first – what can I ski?

An extremely important question. Early storms in November have built us a top notch base at Bluebird Backcountry. There’s truly something open for everyone, from first time visitors to seasoned Bluebird veterans. West Bowl can’t wait to welcome you back. Cruise a warm up lap on Meat Hill. The Hundred Acre Woods, Slumpy Ridge, and The Shire will also be open. Opening day turns are gonna be sweet – don’t forget to stay tuned for other terrain opening surprises.

The best part? Terrain on Bear Mountain will be open for the first time in Bluebird history! We’ll have Bearclaw Meadows open for part of the weekend.

The Far Side will be available for access with a ski patroller in groups of seven.

The Perch: Open for Business

Free bacon is back, baby. Come warm up opening weekend at the Perch, our mid-mountain warming hut. We’ve also got hot cocoa and other quick food and beverage options for sale as you make your way back up West Bowl. 

Catch ya at the Base Area

Vibe checks are complete, here’s the word on the street: the coolest base area in Colorado is ready to go. Opening day will feature firepits and picnic tables for guest après use, as well as our Gravity Haus domes. Food and beverage amenities will be available all weekend long (hello, burritos).

Backcountry lessons and rentals will be available for guests out of our base area beginning opening weekend. Let’s get after it!

Season of Learning

You won’t need to wait for Bluebird to ramp up our education course offerings – we’ve got backcountry lessons happening all weekend long. Our Backcountry 1, 2, and 3 courses are rolling out daily. Learn a new skill or tune up old knowledge right out of the gate. Find out more about our backcountry courses here.

Last-minute reminders

Quick! Four packs are only available in the pre-season this year, and with opening day rapidly approaching, there’s no time to waste. Get your four pack before the season starts here.

Note: The pricing for Bluebird day passes is tiered this year. There’s only a limited number of $39 day passes for sale each day…then prices will go up. Buy early to save!

Opening day at Bluebird

Let’s celebrate!

Did we mention we’ll have a band?! Chase the Wind will be performing at our base area. Don’t miss out on all the fun, good vibes, and Bluebird cookies opening weekend has to offer! It’s the start of our third season at Bear Mountain and we’re pretty excited. There might even be some New Year’s Eve treats…

Let’s lap the skin track. Bluebird Backcountry opens Thursday, December 29th and is open every Thursday through Monday from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM.

6 Things to Do While You Wait for Bluebird to Open

It’s the final stretch – opening day is in sight, right there, circled in red on our calendars. The 29th of December (a nice prime number). With less than two weeks to go, though, it’s hard not to be impatient. Between the holidays and crazy schedules, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied until the Portal reopens. But if not…here are 6 things that’ll keep you busy before Bluebird opens.

Check out some Indy Pass mountains

Rediscover the spirit of skiing with the Indy Pass! Bluebird Backcountry is stoked to be one of 120+ ski areas accessible with the Indy Pass. There’s a ton of Indy Pass mountains around Colorado, from Sunlight Mountain Resort to Granby Ranch. 

Our suggestion? Make a road trip of it! With the Indy Pass, you get to spend 2 days at each location. It’s a great way to experience the unique, eclectic vibes these independent resorts offer. Find out more about the Indy Pass here.

Take your dog on a run

Skinning up mountains is hard (but fun!) work, and it’s important that your body is up to the challenge. Not to mention, if you plan to bring your dog to Bluebird, they’ve gotta be ready too. Head out on some runs with your dog to gear up for your season of human-powered skiing.

Sidewalks covered in snow? Make sure you have the proper footwear before running in a winter wonderland. Or, check out our pre-season exercise routine here.

Waiting for Bluebird to Open

Organize your backpack

The functionality of your backpack can make or break a day in the backcountry. Go crazy – lay out all your gear on the floor and see what’s what. Spending time setting up your backpack can really get the wheels turning: what do I want out of this season? Set some goals while you’re setting yourself up for success.

Reminder: Bring a backpack to Bluebird to carry required avalanche safety gear (not to mention snacks, water, and other essential items). We’ve got beacons, shovels, and probes available for rent.

Ski at one of our partner ski areas

Day at A-Bay, anyone? Bluebird season passholders get FREE ski days at our partner ski areas, including Arapahoe Basin, Monarch Mountain, Sunlight Mountain, and Powderhorn Mountain. For full details on this perk, check out our passholder benefits page here.

If you’re a season passholder and want to spend a day at one of our partner ski areas before Bluebird opens, simply bring proof of your season pass purchase to their ticket office.

Tune your skis

If you haven’t already, it’s time: get your touring gear ready to go. Whether you take ‘em in for a tune or do it yourself, come out speedy on opening day with your freshly tuned boards.

Don’t have your own touring setup? Remember – Bluebird offers on-site backcountry gear rentals. Reserve your rentals in advance here.

Note: We love our friends at mountainFLOW Eco-wax. They’re a great plant-based option that’s eco-friendly AND high-performing.

Pick up a new hobby

Nothing fills up my hours waiting for Bluebird to open quite like knitting does. I’ve been CRANKING out beanies for the holidays – my knitting is more dialed than my skiing right now, if I’m being honest. For you, it might be whittling, or quilting, or baking elaborate desserts. A new hobby will keep you busy til opening day.

See you out there December 29th!

Set-Up Update 22/23

If you were a bird flying over Rabbit Ears Pass this week, you might not hear the usual shouts of joy as skiers cruise through the pow or yells for “more bacon!” up at the Perch. But you would hear the sounds of…CONSTRUCTION!

How many members of our flock does it take to build a skin-to dome? What are we naming our new trail? Setup is in full swing over on Bear Mountain and there’s not a moment to waste. Opening Day is Thursday, December 29th, and we’re working to create the best day ever for the Bluebird fam. Let’s take a look at what the team is up to.

Getting West Bowl ready

Our ski patrol team has been keeping busy with avalanche mitigation work over on West Bowl. Snow compaction has been a major focus. The team also set up signage, ropes, and terrain closures. It’s almost ready to ski…

Avalanche mitigation work has begun on Bear Mountain as well – we can’t wait to ski our new run, Disco Picnic. Full steam ahead through Opening Day!

Domes, domes, and more domes!

Setting up domes is our biggest focus at the moment. Our education dome is framed up and nearly ready to go – get stoked for those AIARE courses! However, there are many more domes to be built. With our new basecamp dome and skin-to dome lodging options, we’re not worried about staying busy as setup rolls into next week.

Rental preparations

As you might guess, we’ve got a lot of skis (and splitboards, and boots, and safety gear). We’ve gotta get them all tuned and polished before renting ‘em out! Our team has spent a lot of time this week preparing our rentals for guest use.

Reserve your rentals today for a no-stress day at Bluebird.

Setting up utilities

Did you know that much of Bluebird is powered by solar energy?! This week, we set up the utilities that keep Bluebird up and running (think: keeping our warming huts warm). Our solar panels are in place and propane tanks ready – we’re just waiting on firewood!

Setup at Bluebird Backcountry

Havin’ some fun

Ski area setup is hard work, but luckily, our team is getting a chance to get out and play in the snow. Keep it up, guys!

For a closer look at setup, check out our video below:

What’s New for the 22/23 Season

New year, new things…there are exciting changes and updates afoot at Bluebird Backcountry. We can’t wait for you to experience our new trail, stay on-site in Bluebird’s lodging, and meet our avalanche dog! Sharpen your backcountry skills with our updated course offerings, including hut-based AIARE 1 courses. Remember – opening day is Thursday, December 29th, and we’ll be open Thursday through Monday from 8:30am to 4:00pm.

Read on to find out what’s new for the 22/23 season.

4 Packs Only Available in the Pre-Season

We’re selling shareable 4 packs of Day Passes up until the mountain opens! 4 Packs are the most flexible way to experience Bluebird. You can bring four friends, your family, or ski four separate days yourself! You don’t need to make a reservation to ski at Bluebird with a shareable 4 Pack. You can just show up with your crew! Or yourself. Four. different. times.

Get your shareable 4 Pack before opening day and don’t miss out on the most laid back, friend group friendly ski day in Colorado.


Tiered Day Pass Pricing

This season, our Day Pass pricing is tiered. This means that we have a limited number of $39 day passes for sale each day. When they’re gone, the price will increase. So, the earlier you buy your day pass, the better! Make sure to get yours before prices go up.


What's new at Bluebird Backcountry

Hut-Based AIARE 1 Courses

If you’re looking to take your AIARE 1 course in a hut trip-style setting, this is the class for you! You’ve got two options for hut-based AIARE courses: a hybrid hut-based AIARE course and a 3-day, select hut-based AIARE course.

Our $899 hybrid hut-based AIARE class is similar to our hybrid AIARE 1 course, except…you’ll spend Saturday night at our hut!

Our $1395 select hut-based AIARE course is a 3-day course with a brief evening Zoom beforehand to discuss logistics. You’ll spend two nights up at Bluebird’s fully-furnished hut – there’ll be hot showers, incredible views, and cozy fireplaces waiting for you after a long day of learning. You won’t need to worry about bringing your own food for our select hut-based AIARE course. You’ll have chef prepared breakfasts and dinners, and we’ll provide provisions for lunch in the field.

Hut-based AIARE courses will be limited to 12 participants, which means it’s the perfect chance to learn in a smaller group and meet new people. Please note that our hut-based AIARE courses are only offered at the AIARE 1 level.


New Education Course Offerings

We’ve got a bunch of new and advanced course offerings this season at Bluebird! Whether you’re looking to brush up on your avalanche knowledge or want to dive into ski mountaineering, the Bluebird education team is stoked to share their expertise with you.

New courses include:

  • Wilderness First Aid
  • Hut Trip 101
  • Avalanche Refresher
  • Maps in the Real World
  • Skiing with Your Dog
  • Ski Mountaineering
  • Women’s Clinic

Keep your eyes out for announcements about these courses — spots will fill up quickly!

On-site, overnight accommodations

This year, we are offering on-site, overnight accommodations Wednesday through Sunday at Bluebird Backcountry.

We’ve got a variety of accommodation options available – there’s something for every skier! Our skin-to domes are the perfect choice for a group wanting a hut trip-style stay at Bluebird. The Grizzly Hostel is great for solo skiers or a group of 5. Our charming Brown Bear Cabins sleep 2 guests and provide a cozy, rustic experience you won’t find on any other mountain.

Living the #vanlife? Don’t worry – Bluebird will continue to offer camping this year for $25. Camping includes access to a shared kitchen and outhouses.

Consider your ski trip simplified – not only are there no crowds at Bluebird, our new lodging options make it easy to keep the joy of skiing going for multi-day trips.


Mountain Improvements

What's new at Bluebird Backcountry

  1. We’ve got a new trail!

    We’re opening a new trail this season at Bluebird Backcountry – Disco Picnic! We can’t wait for our guests to try it out (…and to throw some disco picnics of their own).

  2. Glading on Ursa Minor and Ursa Major

    You asked, we listened…we’ve made big improvements to trail conditions on Ursa Minor and Ursa Major this year. Our team has been hard at work up there clearing fallen trees, trimming low hanging branches, and removing other hazards. We think it’s gonna ski pretty nice…

  3. Improvements to the access road

    Making it easier to get to Bluebird means more sweet days on Bear Mountain for everyone! We made improvements to our access road’s drainage system and added road base over the off-season. We’re aiming to improve road safety for our guests and working to minimize muddy vehicles come springtime.

Penny the Avalanche Dog

What's new at Bluebird Backcountry 22/23

We’re excited for you to meet Penny, our avalanche dog, this year! Penny is a 1 and a half year old golden retriever. Penny has cousins at search and rescue programs around the US. When she’s not on duty, she loves to play tug of war. We can’t wait for her to get started at Bluebird!

Dog Days, Every Day

Remember when dogs were only allowed at Bluebird on weekdays? Well, that was last year. This year, dogs can ski with you every day that we’re open (Thur-Mon).


New Season Pass Benefits

Season passholders have unlimited, no-reservation access to the mountain all winter long. This year we’re bringing back all of our popular season pass benefits, plus some great new additions:

  • Unlimited and guaranteed mountain access; no reservations required
  • 1 Guest Pass (up to $59 value, no blackouts)
  • 5 Buddy Codes for 20% off day passes (up to $59 value)
  • 5 Nights of Camping ($125 value)
  • Unlimited Dog Passes ($10/day value)
  • 2 Lift Tickets to Arapahoe Basin (up to $316 value, no blackouts)
  • NEW! 3 Lift Tickets to Powderhorn Mountain Resort
  • NEW! 2 Lift Tickets to Monarch Mountain 
  • NEW! 1 Lift Ticket to Sunlight Mountain Resort
  • NEW! 30% off all daily equipment rentals
  • And so much more

Click here to learn more about 22/23 season pass benefits.

Meet the Team: Melissa Baker

We’re stoked to have Melissa as our Base Area Director this winter! Melissa is no stranger to the Bluebird team – previously, she was in charge of Group Sales, Partnerships, and Events. Melissa loves snowboarding, river rafting, and all things outdoors. She also used to own a bar! Read on to learn more about Melissa and don’t forget to say hi if you see her on the mountain this season!


Base Area Director

Social Media Handle:


How many seasons have you worked at Bluebird?

This will be my second.

Why did you want to work for Bluebird?

One day it dawned on me… I love the outdoor industry – I need to work in it! I love snowboarding and hate crowded resorts, it was meant to be.

What are you most excited for this season?

I’m super excited to be working onsite this year and living in an RV just down the road. I feel like I am going to be living out all my dirtbag dreams but winter RV living and I can’t wait. And of course – Boot Tan Fest!

Favorite skin track at Bluebird?

Lost in the Woodwards, so pretty!

Outside of Bluebird, where else do you like to ski/ride?

The trees at Steamboat on a bluebird powder day…or bombing groomers, also on a bluebird day. I’m very picky when resort riding 🙂

When not skiing/splitboarding, what do you love to do?

I live for rafting in the summer and squeezing in some peak bagging in between.

Aside from Bluebird, what’s your favorite type of bird?

The California Condor… I haven’t actually ever seen one, but I really want to.

Do you have an insider tip for guests visiting Bluebird for the first time?

Download the onX backcountry app, you get a free pro trial with your day pass and it works great, even when you lose cell service.

What is your favorite kind of burrito?

MMM breakfast burritos… smothered in hot sauce. I have a hot sauce addiction.

Melissa, Bluebird's Base Area Director


Crush Your First Winter Camping Trip

Cold weather camping is a whole different beast — after all, it’s hard enough to want to leave the confines of our cozy sleeping bag even on a high alpine start in the summer. While the thought of roughing it in frigid temps may sound daunting, there are simple ways to embrace the chill and appreciate the facets of cold weather camping that make it so special. Read on for all the reasons you can – and SHOULD – crush your first winter camping trip at Camp Bluebird.

Location, Location, Location

Just like camping the rest of the year, be sure to park your rig in an amazing spot! You’ll want stellar views, a quiet place away from busy roads, and easy access to outdoor activities. Luckily, Bluebird’s new camping spot offers all three.

Now available in the main parking area at Bluebird’s base, your morning view will be the sun spilling over the glistening snowy peaks of Bear Mountain. More of a night owl? We promise our starry night skies will beat the socks off of anything you’ve seen in the Front Range. And thanks to our new location, you’re tucked away from road noise for a quiet and peaceful camping experience. But the best part of all is that you have zero commute to the best backcountry skiing northwest Colorado has to offer. No race to the parking lot, no I-70 traffic — just first dibs on powder turns all weekend long.

Camp with Amenities

We all have that friend on a camping trip who needs access to a bathroom every morning no matter what. Bathroom lovers rejoice, because Bluebird has you covered. Portable restrooms are available for campers all hours of the day and night, in addition to other superb amenities.

In the 2021/2022 Season, Bluebird has added a larger community area with picnic tables and a communal fire pit. So you have plenty of room in the evening to prep and cook your 12-ounce sirloin (well-deserved) or sip cider by the fire as you debate with friends which slope had the best powder turns of the day.

We also have a camp host on site all season long, so if your car battery tanks or your ride gets stuck in the fresh pow, we’re here to help.

Bring the Heat

Perhaps we’re stating the obvious, but staying warm is a top priority for winter camping. Luckily, keeping toasty doesn’t mean you have to have a tricked out camper van. With just a few steps, you, too, can sleep pleasantly through the night.

  • First, pack a warm bag! For a general rule of thumb, go with a sleeping bag that is rated for ten degrees lower than the outside temperatures. So if nighttime temps are dropping to 20 degrees, then go with a 10-degree bag — or a 0-degree bag if you run cold.
  • Second, sleeping pads are important for maximizing warmth and comfort too. If you don’t have a four-season pad, then stack two sleeping pads on top of each other or lay down a blanket for additional insulation.
  • Third, get into bed warm. Spend your evenings around the Bluebird shared campfire, telling ski stories before retreating to your sleeping bag. When you do turn in for the night, do a round of pushups to increase your body temperature before crawling into bed. You can also pour hot water into a Nalgene and tuck it away at your feet for an insulated bottle that will put off heat all night long.

Fuel Up

Unless you’re training for Everest or an intense winter backpacking expedition, there’s no need to pack light. That means you can travel with your gourmet espresso machine or your portable grill to start the day right. In fact, we encourage it, because fueling well is essential to shredding the slopes all day long.

But in case you forget your cooking fuel at home or you just want to hop in the car and go, we have you covered. Breakfast burritos and hot coffee are available for purchase every morning, and we have a variety of camping friendly foods available throughout the day as well. Have a suggestion on snacks and foods you’d like to see more of? Let us know over at Bluebird Backcountry Community.

Bring (or Meet) a Friend

Epic adventures build character — and friendship. So grab a friend and plan your first (or your 50th) winter camping trip at Bluebird Backcountry together. Camping at Bluebird costs just $25 per vehicle, so having a secondary heat-producer in your rig comes at no additional cost.

Or if you’re visiting solo, we love that too. We’re all about community at Bluebird, so bring yourself and s’more supplies and we guarantee you’ll be making friends and meeting new ski buddies in no time.

two women backcountry touring

Build the Stoke

Like any great adventure, the key to winter camping starts with getting stoked! Set a goal for the amount of vert you and a partner want to ski over the weekend, or test your skills on one of Bluebird’s new steeps. Make it your objective to get first tracks down The West Bowl on a powder day, or see who can transition the fastest at the top of Bear Mountain.

Whatever the reason, your winter camping will be all the more fun when it’s paired with a stoke-filled objective at Colorado’s one and only backcountry ski resort. Want more ideas? Check out our Events Calendar for a list of awesome activities happening at Bluebird.

Ready to toss the camping gear in the car and come stay with us? Purchase your Day Passes or Multi-Packs and reserve your camping experience today!

Need more info? Visit our Camping Page for more information and FAQs.