Rabbit Ears to the Steamboat Ski Area
The Hogan Park winter ski trail is about 6.5 miles long one way. This is a point to point trail that connects Rabbit Ears Pass to the Steamboat Ski Area.
Most skiers ski from Rabbit Ears to the Steamboat Ski Area for the long downhill runs in the resort. Some ski from the ski area to the pass. And others will ski from the pass for an out-n-back long 13 mile tour.
This week we did the out-n-back. Rabbit Ears to the ski area, turn around, and ski back to the Pass. The weather was beautiful. The snow wonderful. And the scenery along the way, stunning.
Lost and Disoriented
To be sure, there are stories upon stories of skiers getting lost along the way. Nasty weather can disorient you in a heart beat. A slower skier in your party can make the tour seem endless. There are numerous drainages and obscure parks that deceivingly draw you in and down like the Sirens in the Odyssey. Avoid these mis-turns that can turn a nice tour into an epic!
This last time across had me thinking about the first time I did this tour. I was new to town and with friends who had done Hogan once or twice before. It was a snowy wintery day and visibility was low. We broke trail through deep snow until we were unsure of our direction. A small group of skiers came up behind us and assured us we were on the right track.
The second party broke trail until they started to second guess themselves. After a brief discussion, our party was for turing back and the second party was saying “it will be shorter if we just ski down this drainage!” No one knew where we were. It was decided to turn around and follow our track to the trucks. It was the right decision.
I’ve also skied this trail during a full moon. No headlamps needed (although we had them with us). Moon shadows abound. The moonlight brilliant in the sky and reflecting millions of sparkling crystals off the snowpack. Oh so wonderful!
Hogan Park has a reputation of holding fun and disastrous memories with lots of skiers.
When You Go Remember to Take…
Whether you are skiing 6.5 miles or 13 you need to take the right gear with you. A map, compass, GPS, plenty of food and water, extra clothes, fire starter, and emergency shelter. If you have it odds are you won’t need it. If you don’t have it you may wish you did!
The USFS describes this trail this way: “This route is recommended for EXPERTS only. The route crosses large open meadows and many streams. Steep ascents and descents will be encountered. During heavy snowfall or whiteout conditions, the route is very difficult to follow across the large meadows. Carry emergency/survival gear.”
Hogan Park is truly a Colorado classic. It has to be ranked in the top 10 of must ski cross country ski routes. With our longer days of sunlight and warming temperatures now is the perfect opportunity.
Wax up and go!