Breckenridge Ski Resort
Begin at the Breckenridge ski resort. Your starting point will differ based upon snow and whether Breck is still operating.
Drive to South Park Avenue on the south end of Breckenridge. Turn west and drive 0.2 miles and turn left on Village Road. Drive 0.2 miles on Village Road and turn left into a large parking lot near the Beaver Run complex. Turn left, cross the lot and turn right onto County Road (CR) 751 (dirt). This road leads to the top of the Peak 9 section of the ski area. After 0.5 miles keep left. There is a gated road on the right. Pass a lift and drive around to another intersection near 0.8 miles. Stay right on the main road and begin the climb into the ski area. Near 1.5 miles, stay right. Near 3.0 miles, go under a lift. Stay on the main road and pass the Peak 9 Restaurant. Continue up to the highest lifts near 3.6 miles. This is the trailhead. Past this point, the road is rough and 4WD is required.
In winter and spring while Breckenridge Ski Resort is still operating, you can take the Mercury Super Chair to the start of this route. Above the lift, start up the road. Backcountry access is not always open here, so call the ski patrol to check on the status before you plan a trip. Never duck closed backcountry gates. This violates the Colorado Skier Act, and will get you a hefty fine.
Peak 9 is a great touring and skiing mountain. It has several beginner and intermediate lines on its Eastern side, facing Breck Ski Resort. When Breck is operating, access is very easy from lifts and backcountry gates. In late spring, after Breck has closed and CR 751 melts out, you can park high and skin to the summit in a short day.
If you are packing skis or a board, then the East Ridge Route is the way to go. Also, if you skin, pick a good line into the basin between 9 and 10 and simply pick a good skin route to the top. The southeastern side is very mellow, and an easy skin.
I'll break the skiing areas down into three main areas: Colors refer to the TOPO.
There are countless lines to ski on this wide slope. All are beginner. This is a great place to take a novice backcountry skier for their first tour. Simply drop off the summit to the SE and pick a line. The benefit of the SE slopes is that they drop you off on the same route you climbed, and will likely have continuous snow late in the season. During Breck's Ski season, these slopes will drop you back off in the resort.
The NE slopes are only slightly harder than the SE slopes. This is a deceptively long ski, however, and can be really enjoyable on a powder day. These slopes drop you off below CR 751, so in late spring, you may have to pack your skis back up to the road if snow is not continuous. Preview from the summit. During Breck's ski season, this will drop you off back in the resort.
Northeastern Slopes from Peak 8-9 Ridge
These are the hardest lines on Peak 9. There are several steeper lines from this ridge. Beware of cornices that develop along the ridge. These slopes can be accessed by skiing down part of the NE Slopes and traversing below the cornice. These slopes drop you off below CR 751, so in late spring, you may have to pack your skis back up to the road if snow is not continuous. Preview from the summit. During Breck's ski season, this will drop you off back in the resort.
A skier Just Below the Actual Summit of Peak 9
The Southeast Slopes of Peak 9 from Peak 10
Peak 10 - Peak 9 Tour
This is a great backcountry ski outing. Essentially, you will climb and ski Peak 10, traverse the basin to Peak 9, skin it, and then ski down Peak 9. It requires good fitness and good timing.
This route works best if you climb Peak 10 from the Breckenridge route.
From here, skin or climb Peak 10. Ski the Norheast Face.
After you descend the NE Face of Peak 10, keep good speed and traverse across the basin to the bottom of the East Ridge of Peak 9.
Skin the East Ridge to 9's summit and then descend Peak 9 into the basin.
This is best done doing Peak 10 first because of the aspect of the NE Face.
A good idea for timing is:
Ski Peak 10
: Ski Peak 9
Skis, naturally. Bring the skins, Peak 9 is an easy mountain to skin to its summit.
Backcountry Ski Ratings and Disclaimer
Skiing in the backcountry is nothing like skiing at a resort. Ratings of "beginner," "intermediate," and "advanced" are backcountry
ratings. They do not correspond to ski resorts. At ski resorts, beginner and intermediate runs are almost always groomed and cleared of obstacles. Not so in the backcountry. Expect to find rocks, trees, patchy snow, and all sorts of obstacles on the easiest of runs. Route selection and avalanche avoidance are also key to your safe navigation of backcountry ski terrain.
Don't think that you can safely ski a "beginner" backcountry route if you can ski green runs at resorts. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Being a "no falls" skier in all types of snow conditions is usually necessary before tackling backcountry terrain. Find an experienced partner or become an expert in resort terrain before trying backcountry.
Ok, lecture over. I just don't want anyone to get the wrong idea here and get hurt.
Colorado Avalanche information Center's Website
for current information on Peak 9.
The above ski routes are generally low-angled, so avalanche danger here is less than steeper routes. However, much care should be taken if you decide to ski below the Ridge connecting Peaks 8-9. A large cornice develops here, and this slope slides in the late season wet slide cycle.