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  Backcountry Snowsports Initiative     


The Backcountry Snowsports Initiative is the winter advocacy program of CMC's Conservation department. It was created in 2009 through the merger of the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance and the CMC.


News & Events


BSI Receives SHIFT Sustainability Award!  Winners were selected from over 600 hundred initiatives under consideration based on their ability to produce a measurable, meaningful contribution in one of the following areas: Increased efficiency; Decreased toxicity; Reduced consumption; Increased transparency; Healthier ecosystems; Healthier communities.  Recipients of the awards range from an energy efficient affordable housing initiative in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, to a ski area powered by clean coal in Aspen, Colorado, to a community based food nonprofit in La Paz, Mexico.   Learn more...


Current Campaigns

Forest Service Over-Snow Vehicle Rule

On June 18, 2014 the Forest Service released a draft rule outlining how National Forests throughout the country should manage winter motorized travel. This is an opportunity to mitigate user conflict and resource damage in our National Forests and to ensure that quiet winter recreation areas have designation and protection.

BSI supporters submitted over 150 comment letters to represent non-motorized user interests and recommend a few key changes to the draft rule.  Additionally, it appears that more than 70% of the 1700+ comments submitted were oriented towards quite use and reflected the talking points that BSI promoted.  A HUGE THANKS goes out to everyone who submitted comments and signed on to letters during this process.  Also many thanks to Winter Wildlands Alliance and others groups who helped with letter writing and outreach!

The public comment period closed August 4 and the final rule is expected to be released sometime this fall.

Initial Alert & General Info

Draft Rule - published in the Federal Register 6/8/14

BSI Comment Letter


Many use Colorado's Public Lands

Colorado Mountain Club's Backcountry Snowsports Initiative - BSI - seeks to defend human-powered winter recreation for skiers, snowshoers, snowboarders, and other users, while protecting the wild lands that support these activities. There are many users of Colorado's public lands, and all deserve a chance to responsibly enjoy recreation on our public lands.

Due to technological advances increasing access into the winter backcounty, land managers are faced with the challenge of finding an equitable balance for a growing number of winter recreation opportunities. At times this has resulted in  the loss of quiet-use recreation opportunities and  user-related conflicts. To address this growing concern, BSI aims to find lasting solutions through dialogue and cooperation among the many backcountry users. 


Fostering Collaborative Winter Backcountry Management


BSI works with federal land management agencies, snowmobile clubs, and concerned human-powered backcountry users in developing collaborative winter management solutions for Colorado's famous backcountry. BSI has proven successful in working with the White River National Forest's travel management planning process, been apart of the Vail Pass Task Force since its inception, helped to fund winter rangers on Red Mountain Pass, and developed solutions to alleviate user-related conflicts on Rabbit Ear's Pass near Steamboat Springs.    


The goals of the BSI are to:

    • Facilitate dialogue among user groups and collaborative solutions to local issues
    • Educate backcountry users on winter safety and backcountry ethics
    • Identify winter recreation areas in Colorado and work with policy-makers towards active winter management
    • Proactively advocate for non-motorized winter users in Forest Service Travel Management Plans
    • Preserve pristine backcountry terrain for quality skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing



BSI Steering Committee


The BSI steering committee is an advisory group that helps CMC staff identify and prioritize winter recreation issues, raise awareness about campaigns and build capacity for programming.  If you are interested in joining the steering committee please CLICK HERE to email Julie Mach.



Partners & Resources