After a heralded abbreviated season in February 2020, Bluebird Backcountry is back for the 2020/21 ski season. The ski area with no lifts is pushing the boundaries that define traditional ski areas, and it has added energy to the list of things it is doing differently.
Bluebird has partnered with Elevated Independent Energy, a Denver-based renewable energy contractor, to provide off-grid, renewable energy at its base area. Elevated has provided a mobile solar unit, SPOT (Solar Powered Off-grid Trailer), to produce and store Bluebird’s energy for the season.
“Bluebird strives to be a ‘leave no trace ski’ area,” said co-founder Erik Lambert, noting that Bluebird’s presence at its former Peak Ranch location was undetectable once the snow melted after the 2020 season. That goal, he added, fits in with Elevated’s mission; owner Kyle Judson agrees.
“The goal for our company is to help Coloradans produce and consume as much distributed, sustainable energy as possible,” Judson said. With the right system and expectations in place, the sun can do that; it’s local and the source is infinite. “I believe Bluebird offers the same to skiers and split boarders. By using their own power to skin uphill, it makes the turns downhill that much more enjoyable.”
During the 2020/21 season, Bluebird will run all of its electrical needs through SPOT, which means patrons can warm their feet with the base area heater and enjoy their hot food and drinks with zero guilt and zero carbon.
Bluebird Backcountry is a human-powered backcountry ski area halfway between Steamboat Springs and Kremmling, Colorado. It’s operated by backcountry skiers and snowboarders with the aim to reduce barriers to entry, improve gaps in current education formats, and create a soulful gathering place for the backcountry skiing community