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Erik Lambert and partner Jeff Woodward founded Bluebird Backcountry in 2019 on a snowy hill outside of Kremmling Colorado. They wanted to test their idea that skiers could use an introduction to fundamentals of backcountry skiing before diving headfirst into avalanche education and risky terrain. They offered the basis of a ski resort: warming huts, equipment rental, ski patrollers and avalanche mitigation, but they replaced the lifts with skin tracks. This year, the two lifelong skiers have expanded their vision onto a new mountain, offering 1,200 acres of backcountry-like terrain for an entire season and skiers are flocking.
listen in as Erik shares the evolution of the one-of-a-kind bluebird backcountry vision and creating a program that elevates backcountry education as a first step before avalanche education.
[03:15] Starting from scratch with a new reservation system to help keep numbers small.
[05:45] Finding a middle ground between resort and backcountry skiing.
[10:45] Figuring out how to make the program sustainable.
[12:40] What makes Bluebird different from another mountain’s Backcountry 101.
[13:30] Why people just beginning their backcountry journey are often not ready for Avalanche One.
[19:22] The feedback from Aerie-certified instructors.
[20:42] Formalizing the way people learn and grow.
[23:40] Growing up as a skier in Upstate New York.
[25:00] Who the Bluebird Backcountry clients are and why the demographics surprised Erik.
[29:00] The different skills required for backcountry skiing.
[32:00] Erik’s solid piece of backcountry advice.