Skiers choose Pikes Peak for undesignated skiing

Pikes Peak / Christina Dawidowicz FOX21 News
Pikes Peak / Christina Dawidowicz -- FOX21 News

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — Pikes Peak is not a designated ski area and the U.S. Forest Service says they do not keep track of how many people ski on the mountain.

But they say it isn’t uncommon.

At more than 14,000 feet in elevation, Pikes Peak can offer a different experience to skiers and snowboarders.

“Nowadays, it’s all open, off piece skiing above Glen Clove, which is above 11,000 feet in elevation,” said Al Schlafli, a part-time ranger on Pikes Peak and shop technician at the Ski Shop.

Because it’s a designated ski area, it’s much different.

“In resort-bound areas you have ski patrol, you have people watching your speed, making sure you’re skiing in control. It’s a little bit more established, terrain is always groomed in the morning. You pretty much know the conditions when you go to a resort versus when going out in the back country,” Schlafli said.

“I came up here today with the idea of dropping in on one of the couloirs from the summit on the north side, the technical side. But neither of the couloirs was interested in were in condition,” said Tim Edinger, a skier and snowboarder.

Avid skiers of Pikes Peak say it’s a lot steeper and is better for the more moderate or experienced skier or snowboarder.

“I even check in the summer time to see what’s going on underneath where all the rocks are, big boulders. I study is all year-long. It’s just something I passionate about and I gotta come home to a wife and daughter as well. So, it’s something you really test out and scope out,” said MauiMatt Dallmann, who skis Pikes Peak often.

It can be a journey to get to the top.

“You have folks do laps from Devil’s Playground down to where we are right now, which is Glen Cove. And then some people will go over to the west and hit the Ws or even further out to Little Italy, but it allows you, if you have a crew, four or 5 guys, you can send one guy up in the car to drop everybody off, then he’ll drive back down and by the time he’s down, the others would have skied down,” Edinger said.

Skiers say there’s nothing like Pikes Peak.

Pikes Peak ranger officials say it used to be an established ski area with rope tows in the early 40s before it shut down.

Ranger officials say apart from Rachel Dewey’s death Sunday, two others have died while skiing on the mountain.

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