With snowcat skiing operations at Keystone’s Erickson and Bergman bowls deemed a success by the resort and U.S. Forest Service, the resort is looking to open an additional 278 acres for cat skiing and hike-to access, possibly as soon as this winter.
“Everybody we’ve talked to says they want a little steeper and north-facing terrain,” said Chuck Tolton, Keystone’s director of mountain operations, describing public demand for the new terrain, which the resort for now is calling Independence Bowl.
As described in a Forest Service scoping notice, the new terrain would be on the upper reaches of the north aspect of Keystone Mountain (south of Erickson Bowl), as well as on the west and southwest aspects of Bear and Independence mountains, encompassing the head of the Jones Gulch drainage.
The proposed skiing and snowcat activities would be within Keystone’s permitted area, mostly in alpine terrain above tree line at about 11,000 feet. Snowcats would pick up guests at the Summit House or the Outpost and use established over-snow routes to access the new terrain.