Ever since visiting Maroon Bells in the fall, we’ve talked about coming back up in the winter to see what it looks like covered in snow.
Maroon Bells in the Fall (Disclaimer: I heavily edited this photo for fun)
We’ve heard the road to Maroon Bells (Maroon Creek Road – CR 13) is groomed in the winter, but couldn’t really find much information online. The only thing I could really find were the expensive snow mobile tours that T-Lazy-7 ranch runs. I’ve heard the tours are really nice, but I didn’t really have that kind of cash to spend. I made K call T-Lazy-7 ranch to ask about the grooming, and all they said was “yeah it’s groomed sometimes, not sure what the schedule is”.
Since we didn’t have anything exciting going on, we decided to drive over to Aspen on a Tuesday night to see if we could do it the next day. We packed microspikes and our skis, depending on the conditions we were going to make it one way or another. Much to our delight the road was groomed, and even had classic tracks set. The beginning of the groomed part even had a really helpful sign.
So the next day bright and early we went cross country skating up the damn thing. It was… a lot harder than I expected. I can’t say I was really in good enough shape to do this. But hey, I made it with A LOT of stopping, and it involved cramping, but no one needs to know that.
Really nice conditions going up.
Made it! OMG that was hard.
We got passed by many snowmobilers going way faster, but hey, I was burning calories. The guides running the snowmobile tours from T-Lazy-7 ranch were super nice at the Bells, gave us lots of congrats and offered us free hot chocolate.
The downhill part was a bit more terrifying and steeper than I expected. I still think the bells are prettiest in the fall, but getting to XC up this and the relative solitude was totally worth it. Definitely a good workout at ~13 miles round trip and ~1400 ft of climbing.