Spring skiing a bear on run at Powderhorn

Skis, boots, poles, bears. Everything you need for a day of spring skiing.

The abnormally warm spring temperatures across western Colorado have brought out the blooms and the bears.

On Saturday, Powderhorn Ski Resort announced the closure of the West End Lift for the remainder of the season because a couple black bears have made an early appearance from their winter’s nap.

“There’s no danger; it’s more of a precautionary move,” Powderhorn spokeswoman Sara Allen said. “The ski patrol has been monitoring the activity of at least two bears, and we felt it was in the best interest of the bears and our guests to close the lift.”

Powderhorn is scheduled to close March 29. Lift tickets have been reduced to $35 a day because of the lift closure.

“We feel that we are guests in (the bears’) environment and want to have as little impact as
possible,” Allen said.

Bears on ski areas aren’t exactly new. Powderhorn had a similar event two years ago, and Steamboat regularly has ursine visitors to its slopes.

“It’s a reminder that most of us in western Colorado live in or near bear country,” Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said. “This is the time of year bears start to make their appearance, so people should be aware of taking precautions to prevent encounters with bears.”

Hampton said black bears for the most part are timid and will avoid people.

“The problems start when bears have been fed or have found an easy source of food close to humans and become accustomed to human activity,” he said. “Once a bear associates food with people, the problems start to escalate.”

The DOW offers some advice on its Web site to help prevent unwanted conflicts with bears. Go to wildlife.state.co.us, click on Education and then click on Living With Bears.


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